Conclusions from Convention of Migratory Species COP11
The Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) 11th Conference of the Parties concluded in Quito, Ecuador on November 9th. During five days of deliberations, representatives from governments, international organizations, and civil society, as well as scientists and biodiversity experts discussed conservation threats, barriers to migration, and mechanisms to increase cooperation across the globe. The theme of the conference was “Time for Action.”
The Conference of the Parties debated numerous issues including the lists of migratory species under threat and the vision and leadership needed to move forward into the implementation of the environmental commitments associated with the convention. Parties adopted the Strategic Plan for Migratory Species, which mirrors the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. If followed, the Strategic Plan should facilitate cooperation and work across multiple biodiversity-related agreements. Specific regional and species-based programs were also presented, as well as a series of institutional issues, including concerted and cooperative action, an implementation/review mechanism for the convention, and options for a new structure of the Scientific Council. In particular, the High-Level Ministerial Panel discussed the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and its relationship to the rights of nature.
“The Conference in Quito has generated an unprecedented level of attention for the Convention,” said Bradnee Chambers, CMS Executive Secretary. He continued, “Like never before in the 35-year history of CMS, migratory animals have become the global flagships for many of the pressing issues of our time. From plastic pollution in our oceans, to the effects of climate change, to poaching and overexploitation, the threats migratory animals face will eventually affect us all.”
The parties approved thirty-one proposals to add species to the Convention’s two appendices (the lists of protected species) to improve the conservation status of endangered species. These included the addition of a record number of 21 shark, ray, and sawfish species proposed by Kenya, Egypt, Fiji, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.
UNEP’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner highlighted the decisions made by governments and the growing awareness around the shared responsibility on the protection of wildlife. “International agreements such as the CMS work on behalf of citizens and communities around the world who wish to conserve and protect our natural heritage. They are an expression of our shared commitment that the pursuit of human development does not come at the expense of our natural world,” said Steiner.
During the week, the Committee of the Whole summarized activities for resource mobilization, the role of the Scientific Council, the relation and partnerships between CMS and Civil Society, and the programme of work on climate change and migratory species. Specific events saw discussion on the synergies between CMS and other biodiversity conventions as CITES.
Migratory species are particularly vulnerable to threats such as habitat shrinkage, hunting, and degradation of feeding grounds. The CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention, was adopted in 1979 and entered into forms in 1983. Its main objective is to recognize and operationalize the role of states as protectors of migratory species that live within or pass through their national jurisdictions and aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their ranges. CMS currently has 120 parties.
The Convention on Migratory Species is part of the Environmental Conventions Initiative developed by the Center for Governance and Sustainability at UMass Boston. . In 2011, the project was originally developed with the support of CMS Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers, friend of the Center and then Director of UNEP’s Division of Environmental Law and Conventions. This research project aims to assess the implementation of global environmental agreements and to create a policy space that supports the improvement of countries’ performance towards the fulfillment of their environmental goals. The Center also works closely with its Senior Fellow, Stanley Johnson, CMS Ambassador, who recently visited UMass to deliver a keynote lecture on global environmental governance.