PH seeks more global cooperation on migratory species' conservation

By Catherine Teves

October 24, 2017, 9:59 am

MANILA -- Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu is calling for more international cooperation on conserving the world's migratory species and other wildlife.

He raised urgency for cooperation, noting pollution and other challenges continue hounding such conservation efforts.

"We believe concerted cross-boundary cooperation is possible," he said Monday in Manila at the opening of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12).

Cimatu described international cooperation on migratory specie conservation as "nothing short of imperative." Migratory species provide multiple benefits to humans and help maintain ecological balance, he noted.

Humans must reciprocate by harmoniously co-existing with such species, he said.

CMS is an inter-governmental treaty under UNEP and provides the global platform for conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and habitats of these species.

Parties to CMS agree to protect and conserve migratory species particularly those at high risk of extinction.

"We have a great deal to do before saying migratory species are thriving," CMS Exec. Sec. Dr. Bradnee Chambers said at COP 12's opening.

He cited need for elevating conservation efforts so people can continue benefiting from services migratory species provide.

CMS COP 12's theme 'Their future is our future - sustainable development for wildlife and people' highlights the link between migratory species' conservation and sustainable development. 

"That future starts now," Chambers said, highlighting need for more international cooperation on migratory specie conservation.

Migratory species are animals that cyclically and predictably cross one or more national jurisdictional boundaries in response to seasons, availability of food or need to reproduce, according to the Philippines' Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB).

"Animal migration can be found in all major animal groups including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects and crustaceans," BMB said.

Experts cited food, pollination and pest control as among migratory species' benefits. Such species also have potential as medicinal sources and eco-tourism draws, they said.

For CMS COP 12, local and foreign experts are studying how better conservation of migratory species worldwide can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Among the SDGs are zero hunger as well as good health and well-being. SDGs reflect importance of biodiversity and ecosystems, noted BMB.

Migratory species' survival is "crucial in achieving the SDGs," Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Exec. Sec. Cristiana Paşca Palmer also pointed out at COP 12's opening.

CBD is the principal global treaty on biodiversity. Chambers noted it is only by integrating sustainable development with conservation of wildlife, which includes migratory species, that Earth's remaining species can be protected.

"Our wildlife isn't an optional extra but the basis upon which all our livelihoods and progress depend," he said.

UNEP/CMS reported that Germany, Monaco, United Arab Emirates, European Commission and the Philippines received recognition during a special COP 12 event for being Migratory Species Champions.

Such champions provided long-term support to initiatives that benefit migratory specie conservation, UNEP/CMS noted.

"Each Champion led action to halt large-scale decline in species across the board and will urge others to take up this role in support of the Convention's goals," UNEP/CMS added. (PNA)