Science and Environment

Philippines ends 3-year presidency of UN migratory species conservation

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — “Greater international cooperation and coordination” marked the Philippine government’s three-year presidency of the United Nation’s convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

The Philippine government has formally ended its presidency of the 12th Conference of Parties (COP12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) during a ceremonial turnover of COP13 presidency to the government of India held at Gandhinagar City, India on Feb. 13.

“As the Philippines ends its term, we take pride that we have successfully strengthened both international and regional cooperation for greater protection of wildlife migratory species and their habitats,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said during the turnover ceremony. 

Cimatu said that since the assumption of COP12 presidency in 2017, the Philippine government, through the DENR and its Biodiversity Management Bureau, was able to convince its Southeast Asian neighbors to integrate CMS agenda in their environmental policies.

“The integration of CMS resolutions in the promotion of marine protected areas in the ASEAN region and the management of ASEAN Heritage Parks, including sites relevant to migratory species, are key achievements we share with CMS parties,” Cimatu said.

He said the country also effectively integrated the CMS objectives into the framework of Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), a regional cooperation of six countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and the Philippines— for a shared responsibility of protecting the diverse marine ecosystem of the region.

Cimatu said that with the implementation of the CTI Regional Conservation Action Plan, the protection of marine turtles, sharks, rays and marine mammals is now put into action.

“We will soon realize our vision of connectivity conservation once the Marine Turtle Protected Area Network is established. This will connect the habitats of marine turtles across Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines,” Cimatu added.

Cimatu said the Philippine government, through its Protected Area System, had also identified and is now efficiently managing 15 internationally important sites for waterbirds.

“These sites for waterbirds across the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are designated as flyway network sites, showing how conservation efforts for migratory species interconnect,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu also cited the efforts to rehabilitate Boracay Island and Manila Bay, which he said are important habitats of migratory birds.


With the theme, “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home,” the COP13 will highlight the importance of “ecological connectivity” that links biodiversity conservation, economies, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.

High on its agenda is the adoption of proposed resolutions seeking to include 10 new species under CMS protection, including the Asian elephant, jaguar, great Indian bustard and smooth hammerhead shark.

The COP delegates are also expected to draw up a blueprint for the adoption of “dedicated concerted actions” for 12 other species such as giraffe, Ganges River dolphin, common guitarfish and Antipodean albatross.



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