The 13th Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention for Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 15th to 22nd February, 2020. India will assume the presidency of the Conference for the next three years after taking charge from its predecessor Philippines.
A total of ten new species were added to the appendices of CMS. Seven new species, namely the Asian Elephant, Jaguar, Bengal Florican, Great Indian Bustard, Little Bustard, Antipodean Albatross, and the Oceanic White-tip Shark, found a place in Appendix I which calls for strict actions to be taken for their conservation. The remaining three were added into the Appendix II which asks for a better international cooperation and conservation actions. The species were the Urial, Smooth Hammerhead Shark, and the Tope Shark.
The theme for the conference was ‘Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home’. The mascot of this convention was the Great Indian Bustard, also known as Gigi, a bird which has been classified as critically endangered. The logo depicting the migratory species was inspired from a traditional South Indian art form known as Kolam.
This year’s convention was attended by 2550 people who were the delegates of member parties and representatives of UN agencies, NGOs, and various media organisations from around the world, thus making it the largest in its history.
After a report on the status of migratory species showed that despite the numerous efforts the number of such species is on the decline, CMS CoP-13 came up with the following measures:-
• Promoting wildlife-friendly renewable energy
• Enforcing the prohibition of illegal killing and trading of migratory birds
• Mitigating the effects of linear infrastructure such as roads and highways on migratory species
• Addressing the unsustainable use of aquatic wild meat
• Implementing mitigation measures for sharks and rays in national fishing operations
• Deepening the understanding related to the animal culture and social complexities for the conservation of endangered species
• Investigating possible trade of the species included in CMS Appendix I
These are the species - terrestrial, avian, or aquatic - which migrate from one habitat to another in search of food, sunlight, and better climate condition during different times of the year. India is the temporary home to many migratory species such as Amur Falcons, Bar-Headed Geese, Black-necked Cranes, Marine Turtles, Humpbacked Whales, etc.
The subcontinent is also the part of Central Asian Flyway, a major bird flyway network between the Indian Ocean and The Arctic, which covers about 279 populations of 182 water-bird species out of which 29 are globally threatened ones.
Also known as the Bonn Convention (due to its origin in Bonn, Germany), it is an intergovernmental agreement between its 129 member parties who together aim to conserve the listed migratory species and their habitats. This treaty was signed in 1979 in Bonn, Germany and came into force in 1983 under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
It is one of its kind global organisation which works towards protection of the migratory species at terrestrial, avian and aquatic level. Under the convention, the species threatened with extinction and require special attention are listed in Appendix I, whereas the species whose status could be enhanced with the better international cooperation and conservation actions fall under Appendix II.