Wildlife & Biodiversity

CMS COP14: Expect listing of new species, action plans for conservation at Samarkand summit

Parties are expected to discuss draft to protect and conserve number of species and their habitats  

By Himanshu Nitnaware
Published: Monday 12 February 2024
COP14 will see proposals to include Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in CMS Appendix II. Photo: iStock

The Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) will see a number of terrestrial animals proposed for listing in the CMS list, among others, expecting a new action plan for their protection. 

The summit, by United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UN-WCMC), began on February 12, 2024. “COP14 demands urgent action by international governments and different sectors, such as agriculture, industries, among other stakeholders, for the protection and conservation of migratory species,” Amy Fraenkel, CMS executive secretary, said while addressing the journalists at Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

COP14 will see proposals to include Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in CMS Appendix II and its subspecies Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus) for Appendix I. The proposal has been made by North Macedonia with co-proponents Uzbekistan, Albania and Bosina and Herzegovina.

The proposal to include guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and Pallas’s cat (Felis manul) in Appendix II of the CMS will also be tabled. 

The upcoming days are also expected to have discussions on the proposal for concerted action for the straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum) from African nations of Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda and Rwanda, among others, to list the species under CMS Appendix II. 

Among migratory aquatic species, COP14 is expected to consider three new single species action plans (SSAP) to be developed for marine species such as Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) belonging to southeast Asia and the western Pacific Ocean region. 

It would also consider SSAP proposals for Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuzii) and angelshark (Squatina squatina) in the Mediterranean sea. 

COP14 will also see proposals to amend the appendices of species such as Lahille’s bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus gephyreus), harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the Baltic sea, sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus), blackchin guitarfish (Glaucostegus cemiculus), bull ray (Aetomylaeus bovinus), Lusitanian cownose ray (Rhinoptera marginata), gilded catfish (Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii) and Laulao catfish or Piramuta (Brachyplatystoma vaillantii).

For 962 species of migratory birds listed in CMS, the COP14 will focus on considering draft decisions on illegal killing of birds. For migratory landbirds from African-Eurasian region, the summit will see a revised programme of work of the region’s action plan. 

Besides, the parties will also discuss proposals related to use of modern technologies such as satellite imaging, climate models, and interactive bird atlas tools.

The technological tools help to prioritise and implement actions for species and their habitats in the Action Plan for Migratory Landbirds in the African-Eurasian Region range.

The event will also introduce a SSAP for sooty falcon (Falco concolor), a long-distance migratory bird of prey for period 2024-36 and Christmas Island frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi), a threatened migratory shorebird. A new action plan for great bustard (Otis tarda) will also be tabled for adoption. 

For listings in CMS appendices, species such as Peruvian pelican (Pelecanus thagus), magellanic plover (Pluvianellus socialis) and bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis) will also be proposed.

Species specific plans for conservation and regional initiatives such as the Central Asian Mammal Initiative will also see draft arguments, among others, Fraenkel stated.

She added that many species are in decline and show a trajectory towards decline, mainly due to human activities. The past assumption that habitat degradation is a key driver of species loss is not entirely true, as it depends on the species, and overexploitation has come out to be a major threat to these species,” Fraenkel said.

Kelly Malsch, head of UNEP-WCMC’s species programme and one of the authors of State of Migratory Species 2024, said that there are about 1,200 species listed in CMS and about 3,000 more lack protections. “Further declines are not inevitable, and urgent actions are needed to conserve and protect the species that offer ecosystem services,” Malsch said. 

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