Protecting our wildlife

By: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos October 23,2017 - 02:56 AM

Atty. Gloria Ramos

This week is very significant for the Philippines and the rest of the world. All roads lead to Manila as we are hosting the first-ever-in-Asia 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP12), (, from October 23 to 28.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) is the only global and UN-based intergovernmental organization established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range.

CMS brings together the states through which migratory animals pass, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures.

Since the Convention’s entry into force, its membership has grown steadily to include 124 parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The Philippines became a State Party in 1994.

CMS complements and cooperates with several other international organizations, NGOs, and partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector.

It acts as a framework convention by encouraging states to conclude global or regional agreements tailored to the conservation needs of individual or groups of species throughout their range. CMS and its daughter agreements, known as CMS Family, determine policy and provide further guidance on specific issues through their strategic plans, action plans, resolutions, decisions and guidelines.

The theme for the COP12, “Their Future is Our Future – Sustainable Development for Wildlife & People,” links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agreed by the world’s governments in 2015 to end poverty and hunger, improve health and education, combat climate change and protect oceans and forests.

The CMS COP highlights the indubitable fact that migratory animals provide vital services to our everyday needs — as a source of food and medicine, as pollinators and seed dispersers and as a means of pest control. They bring out the best in us, our passion, creativity and imagination with their fascinating beauty and magic that endlessly inspire us with their intrepid journeys across oceans, deserts and forests.

COP12 is a crucial opportunity to mainstream the cause of nature conservation in the wider dialogue about the future of the planet and the fate of its residents — human and animal. Participants from around the world are expected to highlight the importance of aligning global efforts to reach SDG which ultimately will benefit people and wildlife and naturally, our home planet Earth.

It is said that “Migratory species rely on a network of interlinked habitats throughout their journeys, including for feeding, resting and breeding. But their dependence on multiple sites makes them particularly vulnerable: When one or more of these habitats is fragmented by a road or dam, for example, or destroyed by human activity, such as agriculture or mining, it can impact on the species’ long-term survival.

The challenge for conservationists is to know where to intervene and what to prioritize in these complex networks, which often reach across multiple national boundaries and cover vast expanses of ocean, sky or land.

A resolution will be presented at CMS COP12, which aims to draw attention to the connectivity-related aspects of conservation strategies and the importance of cooperation and shared efforts across countries and continents to protect migratory animals.

CMS is uniquely placed to foster multinational agreements, for example, to protect corridors along migratory routes linking key sites. Conservation interventions should consider the requirements of the animals concerned throughout their entire range and lifecycle, the proposal suggests.

Habitat destruction and fragmentation are primary threats to migratory species. The identification and conservation of habitats of appropriate quality, extent, distribution and connectivity are of paramount importance in both the terrestrial and marine environments, the draft resolution says.

“The proposal, which consolidates past resolutions, stresses the need for habitat protection and international cooperation as well as for active local community support.” (

The Twelfth Session of the COP was preceded by a high-level panel yesterday at the Philippine International Conference Center, chaired by Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The event was moderated by our very own Rico Hizon, a leading international broadcast journalist, and participated in by dignitaries and celebrities including executives of international organizations and prominent goodwill ambassadors. They discussed the interlinkages between sustainable development and the conservation of wildlife with a special focus on migratory species and the Sustainable Development Goals.

An award night followed, under the Migratory Species Champion Programme. Several governments, organizations and companies were recognized as Migratory Species Champions for their long-term support to initiatives that benefit migratory species.

It is a busy week ahead for the stakeholders and conservation specialists expected to do a robust discussion on the challenges and solutions that are in our hands for the protection of our migratory species. NGOs like Oceana have photo exhibits on Benham Bank and the Tañon Strait.

If you happen to be in Manila, drop by and be a part of this compelling event. If not, it helps to integrate in our discussion, whether in school or elsewhere, the need for the conservation and nurturing of our migratory species like tuna, whales, dolphins and birds and our important role to ensure the species and their habitat’s protection.

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TAGS: animals, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, Philippines, United Nations

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