News: The Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS 14) has been concluded in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

What is CMS?

• It is an intergovernmental treaty under the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)- popularly known as Bonn Convention.
• It was signed in 1979 and in force since 1983.
• As of 1st March 2022, the CMS has 133 Parties. India has also been a party to CMS since 1983.

• It aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.
• It lays the legal foundation to conduct conservation measures on a global scale.
The legal instruments under CMS may range from legally binding Agreements to less formal MoU.

Two appendices under CMS:
• Appendix I lists ‘Threatened Migratory Species’.
• Appendix II lists ‘Migratory Species requiring international cooperation’.

India and the CMS:
• India has signed a non-legally binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CMS on conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008), and Raptors (2016).
• With 2.4% of the world’s land area, India contributes to around 8% of the known global biodiversity.
India also provides temporary shelter to several migratory species including Amur Falcons, Bar-headed Geese, Black-necked Cranes, Marine Turtles, Dugongs, Humpback Whales, etc.

Key Highlights of CMS COP 14

Adoption of Listing Proposals:
• Parties agreed to adopt listing proposals for 14 migratory species, including the Eurasian lynx, Peruvian pelican, Pallas’s cat, guanaco, Lahille’s bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise, Magellanic plover, bearded vulture, Blackchin guitarfish, Bull ray, Lusitanian cownose ray, Gilded catfish, and Laulao catfish.
• These listings aim to enhance protection and conservation efforts for these species.

Cooperation and Conservation Efforts:
• The proposals emphasised the importance of cooperation between range states to address threats to migratory species, conduct research, and implement conservation activities. Range states refer to countries or territories that are within the geographical range where a particular species occurs naturally. These countries or territories are directly involved in the management, conservation, and protection of the species and its habitat.
• Efforts were focused on maintaining existing populations, improving connectivity, safeguarding habitats, and restoring populations.

Focus on Threats:
• Various threats to migratory species were highlighted, including habitat degradation, fragmentation, illegal trade, bycatch, contaminants, and human activities such as fencing, oil and gas development, mining, and underwater noise.
• The inclusion of these species in the CMS appendices aims to address these threats and promote their conservation.

International Collaboration:
• Range states collaborated to propose listing amendments and adoption of conservation measures.
• Countries like North Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, Panama, and others supported listing proposals and urged for joint efforts to protect migratory species and their habitats.

Recognition of Endangered Status:
• Several species, such as the Lahille’s bottlenose dolphin, Peruvian pelican, and Magellanic plover, were recognized as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered in IUCN Red List, due to population decline and various threats.
• Listing these species in CMS appendices aims to improve their conservation status and provide support for habitat protection.

Regional and Global Conservation Initiatives:
• The adoption of proposals reflected efforts to address conservation issues at regional and global levels.
• Measures were recommended to protect specific populations, such as the Baltic Proper population of the harbour porpoise and the Mediterranean Sea populations of various species, while also considering broader conservation strategies.

What is a Migratory Species?
• A species or lower taxon of wild animals of which the entire population or any geographically separate part of the population cyclically and predictably cross one or more national jurisdictional boundaries.
• The word ‘cyclically’ relates to a cycle of any nature, such as astronomical (circadian, annual, etc.), life or climatic, and of any frequency.
• The word ‘predictably’ implies that a phenomenon can be anticipated to recur in a given set of circumstances, though not necessarily regularly in time. 

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