In a bid to actively involve the private sector in the global effort to protect tiger, the World Bank and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have teamed up to establish ‘India Wildlife Business Council’ (IWBC) that would promote the conservation of the endangered species.

After signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard with the CII’s Deputy Director, General Indrani Kar, the World Bank President, Mr Robert Zoellick, said that the proposed council would lead the efforts to save tiger from becoming extinct.

“At last there is some glimmer of hope for the tiger in the biodiversity that it represents. The new Indian Wildlife Business Council is leading the way. I can’t think of a better country to begin with,” Mr Zoellick said in his address to a meeting at World Bank headquarters here, organised by the Global Tiger Initiative.

“It has the potential to completely change the dynamics in the relationship between Industry and conservation. We are already down to the barest number, a few mistakes here and there and this important species is gone,” Mr Zoellick further added and hailed the initiative of the India’s private sector.

In her address to the meeting, Gen Indrani Kar said: “We will work with industry through this Wildlife Council to promote green growth models, aligning business strategies focusing on a triple bottom line approach - on profits, people and planet. Industry will thus play a major role in integrating biodiversity with the development agenda.”

The meeting, among others, was addressed by Mr Hasan Mahmud, Minister of Environment and Forest, Bangladesh; Dr Pema Gyamtsho, Minister of Agriculture and Forest, Bhutan; and US Under Secretary of State, Mr Robert Hormats.

Mr Zoellick expressed optimism in achieving the target of doubling tiger population worldwide by 2022, through new business and policy models such as Smart Green Infrastructure, which gives priority to tiger habitats while designing land and infrastructure plans.

In her remarks, Gen Kar alluded to the symbolic value of the tiger as India’s national animal.

“Given our tracts of forestland, we have a critical role to play in conservation and it is only through partnerships, collective action and effective engagement that we will be able to make an impact. This MoU is a testimony of our commitment towards this cause,” she said.

According to the MoU, the objective of the IWBC is to promote tiger and biodiversity conservation in the context of sustainable development and to improve the dialogue between business, conservation stakeholders as well as decision-makers.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC) - which comprise the ‘World Bank Group’ and CII, will work together to create and support the IWBC, which will serve as an institutionalised platform for collaboration.

Tiger population has dwindled massively due to rapid industrialisation, habitat fragmentation, poaching and illegal trade.

A mere 3000 tigers are remaining in the wildlife today, confined to only seven of their historical geographic presence.

(This article was published on June 27, 2012)
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