The 13th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, held in Gandhinagar, India in February 2020, lead to the adoption of resolutions and decisions to help conserve migratory species globally.
The meeting featured a special dialogue between Member States, non-governmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations to discuss the importance of "ecological connectivity" for migratory species and showcased a number of local community-based initiatives in the conservation of migratory species in India.
The event demonstrated how communities can have a positive impact on the conservation of biodiversity through collective action, but also highlighted the need for the international community to amplify and share these success stories. The meeting also recommended that the Convention secretariat explore establishing a civil society network.
Among the key highlights of the meeting was the adoption of the Gandhinagar Declaration, which calls for migratory species and the concept of "ecological connectivity" to be integrated and prioritized in the new (zero-draft) post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
The Gandhinagar Declaration emphasizes that improvement of ecological connectivity is the top priority for the Convention on Migratory Species in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and that the role of the Convention body should be clearly reflected in the post-2020 framework.
The Declaration also recognizes the importance of synergies and cooperation among biodiversity-related conventions and other multilateral environmental agreements, and that their role should be clearly reflected in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
The Declaration urges Parties and other governments to ensure effective liaison between the national focal points of the Convention on Migratory Species and those of the Convention on Biodiversity and other biodiversity-related conventions and agreements, as well as the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is with a view to reflect the respective priorities of, and align their efforts under the various agreements related to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
Another key outcome of the meeting was the addition of 10 new species to the Convention on Migratory Species Appendices, including Asian elephants, jaguars, and great Indian bustards, Bengal floricans, little bustards, antipodean albatrosses and oceanic white-tip sharks, all slated to receive the strictest protection under Appendix I.
"The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals is uniquely positioned to address the conservation of migratory species and their habitats, and to contribute to reversing the trends of species and biodiversity loss worldwide," said Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species.
Parties, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) were encouraged to support the assessment of the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Migratory Species 2015-2023. UNEP will continue to support governments to develop and follow-up on the Strategic Plan for Migratory Species in line with the analysis of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework once it is adopted at the Convention on Biodiversity COP 15.
Parties were requested to ensure that migratory species' needs and considerations are integrated into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. With this decision, UNEP is expected to continue to support these efforts as an important opportunity for the Convention's contribution to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
The COP urged parties to the Convention to liaise regularly with Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to ensure that migratory species are being adequately addressed and that enough data is provided on the migratory species. Parties and non-parties to the Convention on Migratory Species were urged to commit to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to any deliberate illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds, and to adopt a full and proactive role in fighting against these illegal activities. The COP also called on parties and non-party stakeholders, with the support of the secretariat, to strengthen national and local capacities of relevant institutions to address illegal trade of migratory birds.
In order to promote synergies and partnerships among parties, UNEP will support stakeholders in their engagement with indigenous peoples, youth groups and local communities, as well as strengthen cooperation with and among other biodiversity-related conventions.
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