CMS COP12 Concludes, Lists Lions, Chimps, Giraffe and Leopards
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

The Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) adopted 54 resolutions.

The COP took decisions on 34 species in submissions made by 24 Parties.

Delegates endorsed all fish and avian proposals.

CMS COP12 also held a Champions Night, which recognized five new Migratory Species Champions.

28 October 2017: The twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) concluded with the adoption of 54 resolutions and a declaration on the links between sustainable development and migratory wildlife, including the adoption of the African Elephant Action Plan. Over 1,000 participants attended the week-long event, which met under the theme ‘Their Future is Our Future: Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People.’

COP12 convened in Manilla, the Philippines, from 23-28 October 2017.

Preceding COP12, on 22 October, a day of high-level events took place, where dignitaries and participants gathered to address how implementation of CMS can help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A leaders’ breakfast was held in the morning, followed by a high-level panel discussion in the afternoon. Countless delegates reiterated the interdependence of humans and wildlife, underlining the ways in which healthy ecosystems and wildlife contribute to sustainable development through the socio-economic benefits of food, pollination, pest control, medicinal and genetic resources, ecotourism, and human health. The ‘Manila Declaration on Sustainable Development and Migratory Wildlife,’ adopted during the closing plenary, requests Parties to work towards achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a view to contributing inputs and raising awareness on the important contribution that the conservation of migratory wildlife makes to sustainable development.

The COP took decisions on 34 species in submissions made by 24 Parties from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. Throughout the meeting, the definition of “migratory” complicated negotiations, especially for the lion, chimpanzee, giraffe, and leopard. For the first-time ever, the COP had to vote on the listing of species in CMS appendices. The result was that, also for the first time, the giraffe—with fewer than 90,000 remaining in the wild—will receive protection under an international treaty. The listing of the leopard and the lion will pave the way for the implementation of the joint CMS-CITES African Carnivores Initiative, which aims to increase coherence between the Secretariats on conservation of the African lion, cheetah, leopard, and African wild dog. And the chimpanzee, which is facing a 50% drop in numbers over three generations and rapid habitat loss, will receive attention.

Delegates also endorsed all fish proposals, giving greater protection to the Whale Shark, Angelshark, Dusky Shark, the Blue Shark, the Common Guitarfish and the White-spotted Wedgefish. All avian proposals were also approved, with the Steppe Eagle, four species of Asian Vulture, five Sub-Saharan Vulture Species, the Lappet-faced Vulture, and the Christmas Frigatebird listed under Appendix I, which requires Party governments to protect the species.

Other resolutions adopted by the COP led to consensus on: a new intergovernmental task force to curb the illegal killing of birds crossing the East Asian-Australasian Flyway; a ‘Conservation Roadmap’ for the critically endangered African Wild Ass; a ‘Vulture Multi-Species Action Plan’ to better protect 15 species of Old World Vulture in more than 120 countries; CMS guidelines on assessing impacts of marine noise activities; expanding the Convention’s work on preventing the poisoning of birds with a particular focus lead; and action on aquatic wild meat.

CMS COP12 also held a Champions Night, which recognized five new Migratory Species Champions for their contributions to wildlife conservation. They included the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi for conservation of birds of prey and dugongs in Africa and Eurasia; the European Commission for protection of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean; the Government of Germany for reconciling energy sector developments with migratory species conservation; the Principality of Monaco for its commitment to marine species conservation 2018-2020; and the Government of the Philippines for its efforts to protect the Whale Shark.

CMS COP13 will be held in 2020 and will be hosted by the Government of India. [IISD RS Coverage of CMS COP12] [CMS Opening Press Release] [CMS Closing Press Release] [CMS COP12 Webpage] [Species Added to the Convention] [CMS Press Release on Migratory Birds Partnership] [CMS Press Release on Marine Noise] [Manilla Declaration]


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