Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar speaks during the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Sunday.(PTI Photo)
Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar speaks during the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Sunday.(PTI Photo)

Global meet with focus on conservation begins today

The focus on preserving biodiversity, especially migratory species, comes after a UN report last year warned that around one million animal and plant species face extinction, many within decades.
By Anonna Dutt | Gandhinagar
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2020 04:45 AM IST

Representatives from 130 countries will discuss the priorities for conservation of migratory species for the next decade at the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar from February 17 to 22.

The CMS is an international agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme in 1979 to conserve migratory species within their migratory ranges.

At a high-level segment, a day before the conference on Sunday, Union environment, forestry, and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar said, “This is 2020 and we want this year to lay the foundation for what is to come in the next one decade. We will be celebrating this year as the ‘super year’ for biodiversity.”

The focus on preserving biodiversity, especially migratory species, comes after a UN report last year warned that around one million animal and plant species face extinction, many within decades. The rate of species extinction is accelerating, found the report by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

The discussions at the CMS-COP 13 will focus on international cooperation for maintaining and restoring ecological connectivity and species-based conservation efforts.

“We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. Ecological connectivity allows migratory species the freedom of movement and provides habitats to support their needs. An essential element is that countries cooperate for shared conservation goals. The current strategic plan that covers this decade, which will come to an end this year, does not include actually any commitment that countries will work together. It will be helpful if the strategy that comes out at the end of this year includes a commitment to work across political boundaries,” said Amy Fraenkel, executive secretary, CMS. “CMS is about species and we hope to see a strong species-goal of end targets included in the post-2020 framework.”

The high-level segment discussed the zero draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, acknowledging that ambitious targets were needed to conserve biodiversity.

Speaking about the target of protecting 30% of land and sea areas by 2030 mentioned in the zero draft, Jochen Flasbarth, German state secretary at the ministry for environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety, said, “What we need is the highest ambition on biodiversity. We have to target to stop the loss. When it comes to climate change, we have made ambitious targets like bringing down the warming target to 1.5-degree C from 2-degree C. We should have more ambition on biodiversity as well. Otherwise, we are losing the capital stock of our planet. We support 30 by 30. But, in a way, they are too conservative for me.”

India has prepared a draft declaration focussing on the CMS priorities for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. It affirms the commitment to the sustainable management of migratory species and their habitats, promotion of international cooperation, addressing conservation needs of the endangered species. The draft recommends better synergies between various biodiversity-related conventions such as Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

“The Gandhinagar declaration will be a historic one and will include suggestions and recommendations from here. This high-level segment will feature a special dialogue on the convention of migratory species priorities for 2020,” said Javdekar.

The Gandhinagar declaration will be transmitted to the open-ended working group on the post-2020 and the Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15 in October.

The COP in Gujarat is the largest ever, with 3,200 people registering for it till Sunday. The six-day conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a video address.

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