Voluntary disclosure scheme of MoEFCC
 About the News:  Supreme Court upheld an Allahabad High Court order granting immunity from investigation and prosecution if one declared illegal acquisition or possession of exotic wildlife species between June and December (AS per one-time voluntary disclosure scheme of MoEFCC)
What is voluntary disclosure scheme of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC):
  • It is the scheme of MOEFCC which allows owners of exotic live species that have been acquired illegally, or without documents, to declare their stock to the government between June and December 2020.
  • The disclosure has to be done online through MoEFCC’s Parivesh portal.
  • The owner of the animal(s) will have to declare the stock as on January 1, 2020 to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the concerned state or Union Territory.
Through the scheme, Gov. aims
  1. to address the challenge of zoonotic diseases
  2. develop an inventory of exotic live species for better compliance under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  3. Regulate the import of exotic species.
What kinds of exotic wildlife are covered?
  • The advisory has defined exotic live species as animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the CITES.
  • It does not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972. So, a plain reading of the advisory excludes exotic birds from scheme. 
What is Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
(Washington convention)?
  • It is an international agreement between governments which aims  to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN 
  • It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
  • Its Secretariat is located in Geneva (Switzerland). 
Classifications of flora and fauna under CITES:
It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened. They are.
  1. Appendix I: Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants .They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial for instance for scientific research and education.
  2. Appendix II species: They are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. It also includes so-called "look-alike species", i.e. species whose specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons.
  3. Appendix III species: It includes the list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation. International trade in specimens of species listed in this Appendix is allowed only on presentation of the appropriate permits or certificates.
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