By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The Philippines is about to end its three-year presidency of the 12th Conference of Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) on an upbeat note.
“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,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
The country will be turning over the COP presidency to India at the opening of the COP 13 on February 17in Gandhinagar, India.
Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing Jr. will be reporting the achievement of the Philippines to the CMS COP13.
Since assuming the COP 12 presidency in 2017, the Philippines—through DENR and its Biodiversity Management Bureau and together with the CMS Secretariat, had been hosting events during international conferences promoting better protection of migratory species pursuant to the objectives of the Convention.
CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention, is the only global environmental treaty established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It has been adopted by 124 countries under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme.
Cimatu said that during its term as COP president, the Philippines had successfully promoted the CMS agenda in Southeast Asia.
“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,” he pointed out.
He noted that 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—with shared jurisdiction over the most diverse marine eco-region in the world.
According to the DENR chief, the CMS resolutions on the protection of marine turtles, sharks, rays and marine mammals are now put into action with the implementation of the CTI Regional Conservation Action Plan.
“We will soon realize our vision of connectivity conservation once the Marine Turtle Protected Area Network (MTPAN) is established. This will connect the habitats of marine turtles across Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines,” Cimatu said.
Cimatu noted that the Philippines, through its Protected Area System, manages 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,” he pointed out.
Cimatu also noted the efforts to rehabilitate Boracay and Manila Bay which are important habitats of migratory birds.