October 30, 2017
The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) on Saturday adopted all five resolutions submitted by the Philippines, which sought to provide greater protection for certain migratory species, including the whale shark or butanding.
In behalf of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo, Jr., hailed as “victory for the environment and future generations” the adoption of the Philippine-drafted resolutions by the COP during its 12th session held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the DENR said in a statement on Monday.
The conference also adopted resolutions on Christmas Island frigatebird (Fregata andewsi), yellow bunting (Emberiza sulphurata), worcesteri sub-species of the black noddy (Anous minutes), and white-spotted wedgefish (Rhyncobatus australiae).
“This is a victory not only for the environment but also for future generations because this is our way of contributing to global efforts to protect these species and ensure that they will still be enjoyed by our grandchildren and their children,” Adobo said.
With the adoption of the resolution, the whale shark will now be included in Appendix I of the CMS, while maintaining its current status under Appendix II.
The species covered by CMS are listed either in one or both of the two appendices, depending on the degree of protection they need.
Appendix I covers migratory species threatened with extinction. CMS member-countries strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.
Appendix II covers migratory species that need or could significantly benefit from international cooperation. Thus, the Convention encourages the range states to conclude global or regional agreements.
The listing of whale shark under Appendix I requires CMS party-states, especially those within the whale shark’s range, to protect the world’s largest living fish by strictly prohibiting its capture, conserving and restoring its habitats, and removing obstacles to its migration.
The resolution also included retaining the whale shark’s listing under Appendix II, which requires international agreements to be drawn up for its conservation and management. Aside from the Philippines, Israel and Sri Lanka also sponsored the resolution on whale shark.
Also approved for inclusion in Appendix I was the Christmas Island frigatebird, a critically endangered bird that breeds exclusively on Christmas Island in Australia but includes the Philippines in its migration range.
The yellow bunting, worcesteri sub-species of black noddy and the white-spotted wedgefish will now be listed under Appendix II.
All five migratory species have been sighted in various parts of the Philippines. DMS
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