Global wildlife summit endorses actions to save more endangered migratory animals

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-28 20:07:26|Editor: Song Lifang
Video PlayerClose

MANILA, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- After six days of intense negotiations, the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP12) adopted on Saturday actions to protect a wide range of migratory species.

"An intensive week of negotiations have resulted in a stronger commitment by countries to stepping up their efforts to conserve the planet's migratory wildlife," Bradnee Chambers, the convention's executive secretary said, adding that the outcome of the Manila conference "has been a real game changer for the convention".

Chambers said the convention now has "compliance review mechanism and has adopted species that test the boundaries of international wildlife conservation."

The week-long CMS COP12 ended on Saturday with decisions on 34 species in submissions made by 24 parties from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania, according to Chambers.

These include actions on Africa's great carnivores, 10 species of vulture, and the endangered Whale Shark, known as the "butanding" in the Philippines, he said.

Over 1,000 delegates representing more than 100 parties and non-parties representing every region of the world attended this year's meeting. It marked the first time the summit had been held in Asia.

Moreover, he said the governments also agreed to cooperate on reducing the negative impacts of marine debris, noise pollution, renewable energy and climate change on migratory species.

The CMS COP12 forum took place in the Philippine capital from Monday to Saturday under the theme "Their Future is Our Future - Sustainable Development for Wildlife & People."

Chambers said this year's theme contributed to a growing global awareness of the importance of nature to human's well-being and the multiple connections between wildlife and people.

"It has helped to convey the message that the future of migratory wildlife is integral to our own future and that we all have the responsibility to act. Agreements made at CMS COP12 have firmly underlined this important message," he said.

Chambers said the governments also agreed to protect three species of shark and three species of ray, including the angel shark, the dusky shark, the blue shark, the common guitarfish and the white-spotted wedge fish.

He said all avian species have also been included in the list of birds that need to be protected, including the steppe eagle, four species of Asian vulture, five sub-Saharan vulture species, the Lappet-faced Vulture and the Christmas Frigatebird. A subspecies of the Black Noddy, the Yellow Bunting and the Lesser and Great Grey Shrike are also now in the leis, he added.

For the first time, he said the giraffe will receive protection under an international treaty. "Although populations in many Southern African countries are thriving, they are in overall decline across Africa with less than 90,000 animals remaining in the wild," he said.

He said the leopard and lion will also be listed, paving the way for a joint initiative on protecting Africa's great carnivores.

"The African Carnivores Initiative will become a focal point for the implementation of resolutions and decisions on lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs under CMS and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)," Chambers said.

He said the chimpanzee is now listed on the CMS list. "Humans' closest relative is facing a 50 percent drop in numbers over three generations and rapid habitat loss, especially in the western and eastern parts of its historic range," he said.

Also included are the near-extinct Gobi Bear, he said, adding that only 45 individuals of the Gobi subspecies of the Brown Bear remain in the wild, shared between Mongolia and China.

He said the Caspian Seal is included in the CMS list now. "It is the only marine mammal found in the world's largest inland sea, where its migration is prompted by ice formation and foraging," he said.

Other mammals that will benefit from the additional protection include the African Wild Ass - the most endangered wild equid in the world, Przewalski's Horse and four species of Lasiurus Bat, he said.

However, Chambers said the proposal to add the Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) was withdrawn.

Unusually for a CMS COP, he said the consensus was not reached on four species proposals, which went to a vote. "Listing of the chimpanzee, giraffe, leopard and lion was approved by a wide majority at the Committee stage," Chambers said.

In total, 12 mammals were afforded greater protection under CMS, 16 birds and six species of fish.

Theresa Mundita Lim, director of the Philippines' Biodiversity and Management Bureau, said that the agreements reached in the meeting are significant.

"Migratory animals play a critical role in our planet's ecosystem. They act as pollinators, control pests and are a source of food and income. They are also an inspiration for people here in the Philippines and all around the world," Lim said.

"We will put in place the necessary national measures to integrate the conservation and protection of migratory wildlife species into our development planning processes and we will engage all sectors of society in crafting these measures," Lim said.

Other agreements reached include the formation of a new intergovernmental task force to curb the illegal killing of birds crossing the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which spans 22 countries; a conservation roadmap for the critically endangered African Wild Ass, with fewer than 70 animals remaining in the wild; and a Vulture Multi-Species Action Plan to better protect 15 species of Old World Vulture in more than 120 countries.

The meeting also reached a consensus on CMS guidelines on assessing impacts of marine noise activities; expanding the Convention's work on preventing the poisoning of birds with a particular focus on the effects of lead; and an action on aquatic wild meat, which is fast becoming a conservation problem on a scale similar to that of terrestrial bushmeat.

The CMS COP12 in Manila has been the largest-ever meeting in the 38-year history of the convention, which is also known as the "Bonn Convention" after the German city where it was signed.

Chambers said the Manila meeting has broken all records as the biggest COP in the history of CMS, with the highest number of attendees from parties, non-parties and non-governmental organizations, with a record number of proposals accepted.

India is scheduled to host COP 13 in 2020.