News Excerpt
Recently, the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the conservation of migratory species of the wild animals (CMS), an environment treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, was hosted by India at Gujarat.

•    In order to protect the migratory species throughout their range countries, a Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), has been in force, under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme.
•    Also referred to as the Bonn Convention, it provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats and brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
•    India has also signed Non-legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).

Highlights of the Convection
    The biggest threats for migratory species at risk of extinction are hunting, poaching, persecution and control.
    The Great Indian Bustard, the mascot for the COP-13 event, has seen a 90% decline in population since 1969 amid widespread poaching in neighbouring Pakistan.
    Ten new species were added to CMS at COP-13. Seven species were added to Appendix 1, which provides the strictest protection: the Asian Elephant, Jaguar, Great Indian Bustard, Bengal Florican, Little Bustard, Antipodean Albatross and Oceanic White-tip Shark.
    The Urial, Smooth hammerhead Shark and the Tope Shark were listed for protection under Appendix 2. The list covers migratory species that have an unfavourable conservation status and would benefit from enhanced international cooperation and conservation action.
    CMS COP 13 also adopted the Gandhinagar Declaration, which will send a message to the first negotiating session of the Open-ended working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework convening in Rome.

The COP also agreed on a number of cross-cutting policy measures to address threats to migratory species:
    Integrate biodiversity and migratory species considerations into national energy and climate policy and promote wildlife-friendly renewable energy.
    Strengthen initiatives to combat the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory species.
    Address the unsustainable use of aquatic wild meat.
    Undertake a review of bycatch levels of sharks and rays, and further implement bycatch mitigation measures for marine mammals in national fishing operations.
    Deepen our understanding of the importance of animal culture and social complexity for the conservation of endangered species.
    To investigate possible trade in CMS Appendix 1 species and their conservation status.

Way Forward
Governments can do their part by taking a few key steps:
    Offer more attention and resources for the implementation of work already agreed by CMS parties. There are many exciting activities that have been approved by CMS already, including a study of illegal taking and killing of migratory birds that need more attention by the governments.
    Encourage critical non-member states to join CMS. At present, key countries along the EAAF and Americas flyways — namely the United States, Canada, China, Russia, Japan, and Indonesia — are not members. Conservation of migratory birds is at stake. The problems facing these flyways are daunting, but solvable. At CoP13, CMS gives us the opportunity to start reflecting on legal issues, and work together to make CMS an even stronger platform for Parties and non-Parties.
    The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) works along the length of two critical flyways on either side of the Pacific Ocean — the Americas Flyway and the East-Asian Australian Flyway — looking for science-based solutions for conservation and sustainable coastal management issues.

The theme of CMS COP13 in India is, “Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home. “The CMS COP 13 logo is inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional art form from southern India. In the logo of CMS COP-13, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles

Migratory species
 are those animals that move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc. The movement between habitats can sometimes exceed thousands of miles/kilometres for some migratory birds and mammals. A migratory route can involve nesting and also requires the availability of habitats before and after each migration.

National Action plan for conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway:
The Environment Ministry has launched the National Action Plan. The Action Plan emphasizes on coordinated effort of all the relevant stakeholders in conservation of migratory birds.
There are 20 Species of migratory birds which have been prioritized under the National Action plan in 2018.

Great Indian Bustard, is classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List 2019 and has been included in the CMS list in the 13th COP.

Central Asian Flyway, EAAF, Americas flyways and WCS