India yesterday proposed trans-border protected areas for cooperation in wildlife conservation with neighbouring countries.
"Several protected areas in India share boundaries with the protected areas of neighbouring countries," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, adding that cooperation in conservation of wildlife by establishing 'trans-boundary protected areas' would lead to very positive outcomes."
For instance, the Sundarbans forest, home of the Bengal tiger and other wildlife, spread across India and Bangladesh.
Modi was speaking after inaugurating via video conferencing the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
India took over the presidency of the conference for three years in the presence of senior government officials, environment activists, researchers and biodiversity leaders from 130 countries.
Modi elaborated some of India's priority areas while holding the presidency.
India is a part of the Central Asian flyway for migratory birds, he said, adding that with a view to conserving birds along the flyway and their habitats, India has prepared a national action plan for conservation of migratory birds and would be happy to facilitate preparation of such plans for other countries.
"We are keen on taking the conservation of migratory birds to a new paradigm with active cooperation of all the Central Asian flyway range countries," he added.
Modi said India is one of the seven megadiverse countries in the world and has four biodiversity hotspots -- Eastern Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo-Myanmar landscape and Andaman and Nicobar Islands -- and is home to 500 species of migratory birds from across the globe.
India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said migratory birds, mammals and aquatic species are in increased danger on their migration routes and countries need to work together to protect them.
Stressing the need for taking collaborative action towards conservation, Convention on Migratory Species Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said, "COP13 comes at a critical time for wildlife conservation, with continued downward trends of habitat loss and species decline."
The Convention on Migratory Species is the only multilateral treaty dedicated to addressing the needs of migratory species and their habitats on a global scale. The conference will set in motion actions needed to better protect migratory species that rely on multilateral cooperation for their survival."
India is home to several migratory species of wildlife including snow leopard, Amur falcons, bar-headed Geese, black-necked cranes, marine turtles, dugongs and humpbacked whales.
Modi said India has been championing the cause of "climate action" through conservation, sustainable lifestyle and green development model. In this context, he mentioned the push towards electric vehicles, smart cities and conservation of water.
He explained how conservation programmes focused on species have shown encouraging results.
"India has achieved its target of doubling the number of tigers from 1,411 in 2010 to 2,967, two years before the committed date of 2022," he said, before elaborating initiatives taken for the conservation of Asian elephants, snow leopard, Asiatic Lions, one-horned rhinoceros and the Great Indian Bustard.