More than 500 delegates from over 100 countries gathered in Manila on October 22-28, 2017 for the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP12), the first time that the COP was held in Asia. This year’s theme - “Their Future is Our Future: Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People” - underscores the invaluable roles of wildlife and migratory species in sustainable development through provision of various ecosystem goods and services.
At the COP, representatives of governments have greenlighted the inclusion of various endangered species to the two appendices of the convention. These include migratory species from the Asia-Pacific region, including the Christmas frigatebird, black noddy, yellow bunting, whale shark, dusky shark, blue shark, angelshark and the white-spotted wedgefish. The summit also addressed various issues affecting marine wildlife, such as aquatic wild meat trade, recreational in-water interaction with aquatic mammals, boat-based wildlife watching and marine noise.
The Manila Declaration on Sustainable Development and Migratory Species – drafted during the high-level panel preceding the CMS COP12, underscoring the importance of wildlife to national and global economic activities – was adopted and submitted to the United Nations General Assembly.
The CMS, an intergovernmental treaty under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), brings together nations to lay the legal foundation for globally-coordinated conservation of migratory species. The triennial COP is the decision making body for reviewing CMS implementation and for deciding priorities for future work. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the sponsors of this year’s CMS COP12. (PWP/ Lawrence San Diego)