United Nations Conference on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (COP13) will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 17 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The conference, which is held every third year, is being hosted in India this time from February 15 to February 22. As part of its central agenda, a number of endangered species from around the world will be added to the global list of protected species under the Convention on conservation of migratory species (CMS)
  1. Some of the vulnerable species proposed by India will also be put to vote and may get incorporated including the Great Indian Bustard, Asian Elephant and Bengal Florican, and Irrawaddy Dolphin, the information on the website of Convention on the Convention of Migratory species showed. India has been a member of the UN conference since 1983.
  2. Under the international treaty, member nations are tasked with formulating their domestic policies in favour of protection of the listed species and to save their habitat.
  3. So far, more than 150 species from different parts of the world have made it to the list. Representatives from various countries will partake in the conference to deliberate upon the measures to mitigate the effects of climate change on the world’s fauna. 
  4. Debilitating effects of light pollution (due to artificial light), plastic pollution and energy generation are the other themes which will find a mention in the conference.
  5. Effects of artificial light, in particular, have badly affected the migratory species and insects worldwide including bats and birds.
  6. In addition to the Indian species which have been proposed to get incorporated on the global list of vulnerable species, other species which have been recommended include Little Bustard which has been proposed by European Union members, Antipodean Albatross proposed by New Zealand, Australia and Chile, Oceanic White Tip Shark proposed by Brazil, and Tope Shark proposed by European Union and member states.
  7. The mascot for CMS COP13 is ‘Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard’. It is a critically endangered species which has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
  8. The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network – the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 globally threatened species.
  9. Migratory species of wild animals move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, and climate. 
  10. The movement between habitats can sometimes exceed thousands of kilometres for some migratory birds and mammals. A migratory route will typically have nesting sites, breeding sites, availability of preferred food and requires the availability of suitable habitat before and after each migration.
  11. India is home to several migratory species of wildlife including snow leopard, Amur falcons, bar-headed geese, black-necked cranes, marine turtles, dugongs, and humpbacked whales.
  12. India has signed a non legally binding MoU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian cranes (1998), marine turtles (2007), dugongs (2008) and raptors (2016).
  13. As the host, India shall be designated as the Presidency during the intersessional period following the meeting
  14. The COP Presidency is tasked to provide political leadership and facilitate positive outcomes that further advance the objectives of the Convention, including steering efforts towards implementing the resolutions and decisions adopted by the Conference of Parties.