Issue of November 5, 2017

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Confab ushers in moves to safeguard wildlife
by DENR release

The 12th Meeting of Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS-COP12) ended on a high note for the Philippines with the adoption of 11 resolutions giving boost to wildlife protection.

These include the five resolutions providing greater protection for the whale shark or butanding and four other migratory species frequenting the Philippines, and the resolution recognizing the role of migratory wildlife species in achieving global sustainable development goals, also known as the “Manila Declaration.”

Also adopted during the CMS-COP12 held at the Philippine International Convention Center from Oct. 23 to 28 were the Philippine-drafted resolutions on the Designation of the Whale Shark for Concerted Actions; Sustainable Tourism and Migratory Species; Promoting Conservation of Critical Intertidal and other Coastal Habitats for Migratory Species; Promoting Marine Protected Area Networks in the ASEAN Region, and Establishing a COP Presidency.

Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB)said the Philippine government, particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will work towards the effective implementation of the country’s commitments under the CMS and its newly approved resolutions.

“We will put in place the necessary national measures, and we will engage all sectors of society in crafting these measures,” Lim said.

These measures, she said, include public education, expansion of protected areas and creation of critical habitats, if necessary, to ensure protection of threatened migratory species.

Lim noted that the Philippines already has several laws that cover the adopted resolutions, including the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, the Fisheries Code, the National Integrated Protected Areas System or NIPAS Act, and the Ecotourism Development Act.

In implementing all CMS-related activities, Lim said the DENR will consider inputs from various sectors of society including non-government organizations, civil society, local government units and indigenous peoples to ensure transparency, accountability, and objectivity.

Lim said the BMB will propose to Sec. Roy A. Cimatu to prioritize research on five migratory species that are subjects of the Philippine resolutions adopted during CMS-COP12.

“We have to generate baseline information where these species are found and the status of their population,” Lim said.

“We also look forward that the Department will provide the necessary resources to implement the country’s commitments to the CMS.”

The event marked the first time the CMS meeting was held in Asia. At least 31 proposals from 24 countries were debated in the conference aimed at strengthening global efforts to protect and conserve threatened migratory species and their habitats.

The CMS, adopted by 124 nations and is under the auspices of the UN Environment Program, is the only global environmental treaty established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.

The COP is its main decision-making body that meets every three years to adopt policies and laws, and propose new species under the framework.

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