Manila Declaration on migratory species conservation vis-à-vis sustainable development adopted

The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS-COP), in its 12th session held in the Philippines, adopted on Saturday a resolution recognizing the role of migratory wildlife in achieving global sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In behalf of Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo, Jr. said the adoption of the resolution, also known as the “Manila Declaration,” marked an important milestone in international efforts to protect migratory species and habitats critical to their survival.

“This serves an important milestone in our common struggle to safeguard migratory species and their habitats as we seek to pursue sustainable development,” Adobo said.

The Manila Declaration acknowledges the significant contribution of migratory wildlife to sustainable development, especially in the areas of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, energy, transport and trade.

Drafted by the Philippine delegation led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – the resolution calls on CMS party states to develop national frameworks and implement relevant plans to achieve the goals of the convention, with a view of contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.

The resolution also invites the private sector to engage in dialogue to align policies and objectives of the CMS and recognizes the crucial role of indigenous and local communities in the sustainable management of natural resources.

DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna, who earlier presented the resolution before the Committee of the Whole of the CMS, said the Manila Declaration is consistent with the SDGs set by the United Nations to ensure prosperity for mankind and protection of the planet.

SDGs have 17 goals and 169 targets that seek to fulfill and strengthen a universal agenda of prosperity, peace and partnerships for people and the planet by 2030. The 2030 Agenda envisions a world in which humanity lives in harmony with nature, and in which wildlife and other living species critical to functioning ecosystems are protected.

“The Manila Declaration should spur decisions and actions that would cascade benefits that deliver the security of migratory species, and therefore, our future,” Cuna said.

“Their future is our future, and there is no other time to act but now,” he added.

Under the resolution, the CMS Secretariat based in Bonn, Germany, was tasked to collect relevant data and information, and compile a report detailing the link between migratory species and sustainable development.

The resolution will be submitted to the UN General Assembly, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the Third Meeting of the UN Environment Assembly.

The CMS, adopted by 124 nations and is under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme, is the only global environmental treaty established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.

The COP is its main decision-making body that meets every three years to adopt policies and laws, and propose new species under the framework.

The Philippines is the first country in Asia to host the COP meeting, which brought together more than 1,000 delegates and observers from 94 countries — the most attended CMS event so far. The meeting was held at the historic Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) from October 23 to 28. ### 

Int’l body adopts PH resolutions seeking greater protection for butanding, 4 other migratory species

The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) on Saturday adopted all five resolutions submitted by the Philippines, which sought to provide greater protection for certain migratory species, including the whale shark or butanding.

In behalf of Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, DENR) Undersecretary and Chair of the CMS COP12 organizing committee Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr., hailed as “victory for the environment and future generations” the adoption of the Philippine-drafted resolutions by the COP during its 12th session held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Besides the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) resolution, the COP also adopted the resolutions on Christmas Island frigatebird (Fregata andewsi), yellow bunting (Emberiza sulphurata), worcesteri sub-species of the black noddy (Anous minutes), and white-spotted wedgefish (Rhyncobatus australiae).

“This is a victory not only for the environment but also for future generations because this is our way of contributing to global efforts to protect these species and ensure that they will still be enjoyed by our grandchildren and their children,” Adobo said.

With the adoption of the resolution, the whale shark will now be included in Appendix I of the CMS, while maintaining its current status under Appendix II.

The species covered by CMS are listed either in one or both of the two appendices, depending on the degree of protection they need.

Appendix I covers migratory species threatened with extinction. As such, CMS member-countries strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.

Appendix II, on the other hand, covers migratory species that need or could significantly benefit from international cooperation. Thus, the Convention encourages the range states to conclude global or regional agreements.

The listing of whale shark under Appendix I requires CMS party-states, especially those within the whale shark’s range, to protect the world’s largest living fish by strictly prohibiting its capture, conserving and restoring its habitats, and removing obstacles to its migration.


The resolution also included retaining the whale shark’s listing under Appendix II, which requires international agreements to be drawn up for its conservation and management. Aside from the Philippines, Israel and Sri Lanka also sponsored the resolution on whale shark.

Also approved for inclusion in Appendix I was the Christmas Island frigatebird, a critically endangered bird that breeds exclusively on Christmas Island in Australia but includes the Philippines in its migration range.

Meanwhile, the yellow bunting, worcesteri sub-species of black noddy and the white-spotted wedgefish will now be listed under Appendix II.

All five migratory species have been sighted in various parts of the Philippines.

Adopted by 124 nations under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, the CMS is the only global environmental treaty established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.

The COP is its main decision-making body that meets every three years to adopt policies and laws, and propose new species under the framework.

The Philippines is the first country in Asia to host the COP meeting, which brought together more than 1,000 delegates and observers from over 94 countries — the most attended CMS event so far. ### 

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