PH vows to continue supporting global efforts to save migratory species

The Philippines will continue to collaborate with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and to support global efforts to protect migratory species and habitats critical to their survival.

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) gave this assurance at the end of the 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the CMS (COP12) held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Saturday.

“Conserving migratory species, as we know, is likewise a shared responsibility. Thus, we should endeavor to promote political support and awareness among our constituents, and the importance of taking concerted action against the threats to migratory species,” Cimatu said in his closing remarks read by DENR Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Rodolfo Garcia.

Cimatu, the head of the Philippine delegation to the CMS-COP12, also extended the country’s “commitment of full support and cooperation” to ensure the success of the 13th session of the COP to be held in India in 2020.

The environment chief also thanked the delegates, observers, and the people and organizations behind the successful Philippine hosting of the “world’s largest wildlife conference in 2017.”

“There is no doubt that through our individual and collective contributions, we have together made the CMS-COP12 a very successful event and a major milestone in the history of the convention,” Cimatu said.

COP12, which marked the first time a CMS global event was held in Asia, broke attendance record with more than 1,000 participants from 93 countries.

At the same time, Cimatu expressed his gratitude to the delegates for adopting the resolutions proposed by the Philippines, including the listing of butanding and four other migratory species frequenting the country on the CMS appendices, and the recognition of the important role of migratory species in achieving sustainable development goals, also known as the “Manila Declaration.”

“The Manila Declaration on sustainable development and migratory species, enriched by the outcome of the high level segment conducted back-to-back at the beginning of this conference, and adopted by the COP takes full cognizance that wildlife supports many national and global economic activities,” said Cimatu.

With the approval of five Philippine-drafted resolutions providing greater protection for migratory species, butanding and Chirstmas island frigatebird will now be listed on Appendix I of the CMS, while the yellow bunting, black noddy and white-spotted wedgefish will be included in Appendix II.

Appendix I comprises migratory species that have been assessed as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. Appendix II, on the other hand, covers species that have unfavorable conservation status and that require international agreements for their conservation and management.

“These developments should help ensure the very survival of the migratory animals that bring so many benefits, not only to the Philippines, but to several other countries that rely on them in terms of ecosystem services and livelihood opportunities,” Cimatu pointed out.

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. ###