CMS COP Expands Migratory Species Protections, Calls for Ecological Connectivity
Photo by Vladimir Cech Jr.
story highlights

The Gandhinagar Declaration calls for migratory species and the concept of “ecological connectivity” to be integrated and prioritized in the new global biodiversity framework.

Parties also agreed to add ten new species to the Appendices and adopted decisions to, inter alia, integrate biodiversity and migratory species considerations into national energy and climate policy, and promote wildlife-friendly renewable energy.

They also agreed to strengthen initiatives to combat the illegal killing, taking, and trade of migratory birds.

Participants at the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) issued the Gandhinagar Declaration, which calls for migratory species and the concept of “ecological connectivity” to feature in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The declaration was named for the COP’s host city in India. 

In addition to the Declaration’s call, a High-Level Segment also contributed outcomes for integration in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which is expected to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference, in October, in Kunming, China. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Acting Executive Secretary, informed COP 13 participants that the post-2020 biodiversity framework will be simple and transformative, but unlikely to include targets other than those already in the Aichi Targets. 

Towards this end, the High-Level Segment discussed priorities for migratory species conservation in the framework, with speakers highlighting that this was the first CMS COP since the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) sounded the alarm that a million species, including many migratory species, might be lost in the coming decade. Ministers and other high-level participants emphasized the need to mainstream biodiversity across all sectors, including through nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches. They also called for including migratory species considerations in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and Nationally Determined Contributions on climate change.

In addition to issuing the Gandhinagar Declaration, CMS Parties added ten new species to the Convention’s Appendices. 

In addition to issuing the Gandhinagar Declaration, CMS Parties added ten new species to the Convention’s Appendices. Seven were added to Appendix I, which comprises migratory species that are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. The seven species added to Appendix I included the Asian elephant, jaguar, great Indian bustard, Bengal florican, little bustard, antipodean albatross and the oceanic white-tip shark. 

The Urial sheep, smooth hammerhead shark, and the tope shark were listed for protection under Appendix II, which covers migratory species that have an unfavorable conservation status and that require international cooperation for their conservation and management. In addition, new and extended Concerted Actions with targeted conservation plans were approved for 14 species.

The Earth Negotiation Bulletin report from COP13 also indicates that Parties also agreed on the following measures benefiting migratory species:

  • integrate biodiversity and migratory species considerations into national energy and climate policy and promote wildlife-friendly renewable energy;  
  • strengthen initiatives to combat the illegal killing, taking, and trade of migratory birds; 
  • mitigate the impacts of linear infrastructure on migratory species; 
  • deepen the understanding of the importance of animal culture and social complexity for the conservation of endangered species; and 
  • investigate possible trade in CMS Appendix I species and the implications for their conservation status. 

CMS COP13 and the associated meetings of the Standing Committee met from 15-22 February 2020. It brought together 2,550 people, including 263 delegates representing 82 parties, 11 delegates from five non-party countries, 50 representatives from UN agencies, 70 representatives of international non-governmental organizations, 127 representatives of national non-governmental organizations, and over 100 members of both national and international media. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of CMS COP13] [CMS Press Release] [UNEP Press Release]


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