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International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) to be Established in India

New Delhi: In a landmark decision, the Union Cabinet, has approved the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) with its headquarters based in India. The initiative, aimed at global collaboration for the conservation of big cats, has been granted a one-time budgetary support of Rs. 150 crore for a period of five years, spanning from 2023-24 to 2027-28.

The IBCA is envisioned as a coalition involving 96 big cat range countries, non-range countries interested in big cat conservation, conservation partners, scientific organizations, and business entities willing to contribute to the cause.

The seven big cats covered by the alliance include the Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and the Cheetah, with India being home to five of these species. The IBCA is designed to serve as a centralized platform for sharing successful conservation practices, expertise, and financial support to strengthen the global conservation agenda, arrest the decline in big cat populations, and reverse negative trends.

The alliance will operate through mutual cooperation among countries, focusing on knowledge sharing, capacity building, networking, advocacy, financial and resource support, research, technical assistance, education, and awareness. By bringing together range countries and other stakeholders, IBCA aims to promote sustainable development, livelihood security, environmental resilience, and climate change mitigation.

The framework of IBCA includes an Assembly of Members, a Standing Committee, and a Secretariat based in India. The governance structure draws inspiration from the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The alliance has secured an initial budgetary support of Rs. 150 crore from the Government of India for the first five years, and additional contributions from bilateral and multilateral agencies, institutions, and financial organizations will be explored to enhance the financial corpus.

IBCA’s establishment aligns with the integration of biodiversity policies with sustainable development goals (SDGs). It emphasizes mainstreaming biodiversity considerations into sectoral policies and development planning processes across various sectors such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, and infrastructure development.

The IBCA governance will involve an Assembly of Members at the Ministerial level, chaired by the President, HMEFCC, Government of India. The alliance envisions a collaborative and action-oriented approach to address conservation challenges, leading to enhanced green economy projects.

By safeguarding big cats and their habitats, the International Big Cat Alliance seeks to contribute to natural climate adaptation, water and food security, and the well-being of communities dependent on these ecosystems. The initiative marks a significant step forward in fostering global cooperation to ensure the sustainable future of big cats and their habitats.

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