Migratory species international convention CMS COP 14 kicks off in Samarkand

Jakarta – The 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 14) marked a pivotal moment for global biodiversity conservation efforts, as international leaders convened for the first meeting of its kind since the global pandemic, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin reported. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the conference takes place this week in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 12 to 17 February 2024.

Aimed to address the pressing challenges facing migratory species across the globe, the meeting brought together environment ministers, experts, and conservationists. The conference focused on crucial updates to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), including proposed changes to species listings and integrating the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework’s strategies.

This meeting underscores the urgent need for enhanced transboundary cooperation to safeguard the future of migratory species, which are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation.

Aziz Abdukhakimov, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change, highlighted the dire situation, noting that one in five CMS-listed species is threatened with extinction, with 44 per cent experiencing population declines. The conference served as a platform for reinforcing the global commitment to ecological connectivity and expanding protected area networks outlined in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

The last conference (CMS COP13) in Gandhinagar, India, adopted the Gandhinagar Declaration, which emphasised the importance of migratory species and ecological connectivity in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. With 10 new species added to the CMS Appendices and conservation plans approved for 14 species, the declaration was a step forward in protecting migratory wildlife.

Amy Fraenkel, the CMS Executive Secretary, said the critical role of regional cooperation, particularly in Central Asia, is to conserve key species such as the Snow Leopard, Saiga antelope, and the Bukhara deer. She also announced the launch of the first-ever State of the World’s Migratory Species report, which is expected to provide a scientific foundation for future policy decisions to preserve and enhance migratory species’ well-being.

Echoing the sentiment of unity and collaboration, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), called for a united front in the fight against biodiversity loss. She urged participants to extend their efforts beyond environmental treaties and ministries to adopt a holistic approach involving all societal and international sectors.

CMS COP 14 represents a critical juncture in the global endeavour to conserve migratory species and their habitats. The conference aims to ensure that migratory species continue to thrive, supporting biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide through enhanced international cooperation and adopting comprehensive strategies and guidelines. (nsh)

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