New Delhi: The 13th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species kicked off in Gandhinagar today in the presence of senior government officials, environment advocates, activists, researchers and biodiversity leaders from as many as 130 countries.
Inaugurating the key UN Summit via video conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the CMS COP13 is of particular significance to India, which is known for its rich biodiversity and is one of the seven megadiverse countries in the world.
“India has four biodiversity hotspots – Eastern Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo-Myanmar landscape and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and home to as many as 500 species of migratory birds from across the globe,” said the Prime Minister.
Modi informed that his government is committed to championing sustainable lifestyle, conservation and a green development model. He further added that in India’s role as the COP President in the next three years, it will look at conserving the Central Asian Flyway. To achieve this, India has prepared a National Action Plan. He further added that India is keen to facilitate action plans of other countries in this regard and aims at taking conservation to a new paradigm with active cooperation from all.
Modi added that India has launched the Marine Turtle Policy and Marine Standing Policy to address pollution caused by micro-plastics in the marine ecosystem. Other areas that will be under focus include trans-boundary cooperation, and the establishment of eco-development committees. He called upon Tiger Range Countries present at CMS COP13, and also others, to come together to strengthen tiger conservation through sharing of benchmarking practices.
As President, India shall also look at strengthening cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries for Indo-Pacific activities and conservation of marine biodiversity.
The Conference kicks off ‘Super Year for Environment’, which will include a UN Summit in September and culminate in the UN Biodiversity Conference at the end of 2020, when a new global biodiversity strategy for the next decade will be adopted – the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
India assumed the Presidency of COP for the next three years with a focus on Collaborative Approach to tackle Biodiversity Issues. Assuming the presidency, the Union Minister, Prakash Javadekar said that CMS is very important to India and is at an exciting moment of development and the COP in India will mark the start of focused attention to migratory species and their habitats.
“Migratory birds, mammals and aquatic species are increasingly in danger on their migration routes and countries need to work together to protect them. For India, caring about these species is part of our ethos to protect all animals and natural life on earth. India is very happy to host CMS COP13,” said Javadekar.
Stressing the urgency to take collaborative action towards conservation, CMS Executive Secretary, Amy Fraenkel said, “COP13 comes at a critical time for wildlife conservation, with continued downward trends of habitat loss and species decline.”
Among others, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani and Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Babul Supriyo were also present at the opening ceremony.
The Convention on Migratory Species is the only multilateral treaty dedicated to addressing the needs of migratory species and their habitats on a global scale. The conference will set in motion actions needed to better protect migratory species that rely on multilateral cooperation for their survival.
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. The movement between habitats, can sometimes exceed thousands of kilometers 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 a suitable habitat before and after each migration.
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.
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