The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. Working under an environmental treaty headed by the United Nations Environment Program, CMS converges territories that migratory animals pass and prescribe the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout such migratory range.
To fulfill this initiative, CMS hosted the 11th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP11) held in Quito, Ecuador from November 4 to 9.
Part of the CMS COP 11 agenda is to adopt—for the first time—potentially important frameworks for flyway conservation, including intergovernmental working groups and task forces designed to help the implementation of measures to address the key threats to migratory birds.
They have presented a resolution to adopt global guidelines that will stop poisoning of migratory birds, making way for the global “Preventing Poisoning Working Group” to continue their advocacy as authors of these guidelines, which includes insecticides, rodenticides, and poison baits.
They also call for a complete ban on lead ammunition and lead fishing weights in freshwater habitats. The working group is also aiming to achieve a complete ban on veterinary diclofenac that has caused catastrophic declines of vultures in Asia, however was now licensed in Europe.
The second main resolution that is of interest to BirdLife is the establishment of a global “Energy Task Force,” which initially will focus on African-Eurasian birds. This will help implement global guidelines on renewable energy.
A resolution to establish a “Pan-Mediterranean Task Force” on the illegal killing, taking and trade of birds are also being discussed. Fortunately, these resolutions are linked to many existing BirdLife Partner initiatives already in existence, and will thus help strengthen its implementation and practice.
Finally, a resolution to adopt an action plan for African-Eurasian Land birds has not been laid out. Surprisingly, with the knowledge available about these birds, there is currently no framework to address declines.
“It is essential that we plug this gap for landbirds as they are the group of birds declining fastest in Europe,” said Nicola Crockford, International Species Policy officer at the RSPB (BirdLife in the United Kingdom). He added, “The development of this action plan has been revolutionary. It has been the African nations that have called for and driven its development, with support from Switzerland. ”
The conservation of migratory land birds needs to be tackled on a broad front, in a very different way to water birds, where connected sites can be protected. There is a need for a large-scale influence, and make land use decisions for the benefit of both migratory birds and local people.
A particular focus of this implementation is likely to be trying to influence land use in Africa, in collaboration with poverty alleviation, food and water security, anti-desertification and climate change mitigation communities.
“If we get this right then it’s a win-win situation for birds and people”, concluded Crockford. “These proposed frameworks should also substantially assist the European Union’s efforts to conserve migratory birds within its territory, and to ensure that these efforts are not undermined through damaging activities elsewhere along the flyway.”
The Philippines is part of what is called the East Asian-Australian Flyway that stretches from the north in Russia, China, and Japan to South East Asia and finally to Australia and New Zealand. This shows that every year, birds complete a roundtrip spanning thousands of kilometers across oceans. It’s no wonder that upon their arrival, their primary goal is to find food and to gain back the weight they’ve lost.
In the Philippines, migratory birds enter the country in late September and ends in February.
Haribon Foundation is the BirdLife partner in the Philippines.