Animals Without Borders: The United Nations’ Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals kicks off in India

(17 JANUARY, 2020) – Conservationists and governments from around the world have gathered at a major wildlife conference in Gujarat, India to agree on vital protections for migratory species such as elephants, jaguars, porpoises and sharks whose survival depends on trans-national co-operation and action. The Conference of Parties, which officially kicks off from today, was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.

This meeting of the 130 nations that are parties to The United Nations’ Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals is an important opportunity for policy makers from across the globe to collaborate in order to ensure that protections are in place for species whose range extends across countries.

With estimates of up to one million species at risk of extinction, nations have a shared responsibility to act on behalf of chimpanzees, giraffes, whales, sharks and more. Experts will also discuss the hugely important issue of animal culture and how this needs to be taken into account when constructing wildlife conservation strategies for species that have complex social structures.

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of Humane Society International/India said; “Today marks an important day in the history of India where we are hosting for the first time a COP on conservation of migratory species. There are many significant conservation challenges for India ahead, including meetings its development ambitions, whilst also conserving its wildlife. However, it is excellent to see that my country has come forward with some key proposals here, including adding the Asian Elephant and the Great Indian Bustard onto appendix I of the convention, both of which we hope, will be accepted.”

Some of the key proposals for this meeting are
A proposal to place the Asian elephant on Appendix 1 of the convention (imbuing it with the highest level of protection);
A proposal to place the jaguar on Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 of the convention (Appendix 2 means that a formal regional agreement should be concluded);
A proposal to put urgent conservation action in place for a West African population of chimpanzees which are defined by their culture (a ground breaking development in conservation terms);
An associated proposal for further work on the conservation of cultural units of animals;
Proposals for the protection of a number of bird species, including Indian bustards and the Antipodean albatross;
A proposal for action for the critically endangered and genetically distinct Baltic harbour porpoise; and
Proposals to list a number of shark species on the CMS appendices.