2 September 2003 – The Convention on
the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
(CMS) and the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification (UNCCD) have today signed, during
the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties
to the UNCCD in Havana, Cuba, a memorandum of understanding
in which they agree to cooperate further to achieve
better coherence in the development of specific targeted
actions to address issues relating to migratory species
in areas affected by drought and desertification.
“Collaboration between environmental conventions
is critical, as they deal with issues that are closely
interlinked,” said Hama Arba Diallo, Executive
Secretary of the UNCCD. “This is a step forward
in strengthening synergies between the CMS and the
UNCCD aimed at a holistic and consultative approach
to preserving both fragile ecosystems and human habitats
in the drylands.”
“The memorandum is a milestone in the efforts
of the CMS to foster synergies with other conventions
in the environment and development field,” noted
CMS Executive Secretary Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht.
“Efforts to combat desertification, erosion
and drought will provide a better life for people
and should include wildlife conservation and restoration.
Desert and steppe plants and animals,” he explained,
“are integral to the landscape. They are adapted
to the climate and, when conserved and sustainably
used, they have the potential to provide local communities
with a means to reach their development goals.”
Cooperation between the two organizations aims at
avoiding duplication and integrating implementation
of both conventions at the national and regional levels.
The initiative will enable their respective Parties
to take advantage of the convergence of objectives
between the two conventions in these fragile ecosystems.
In the memorandum, the two conventions agree to participate
in each other’s major meetings and to share
information of mutual interest, in order to deepen
their cooperation. The memorandum also requires the
UNCCD secretariat to call on the Parties to the UNCCD
to integrate the concerns of migratory species into
their national, subregional and regional action programmes,
and to consult with the CMS in identifying areas critical
to the conservation and management of migratory species.
In order to assess to what extent synergies between
the two conventions have evolved, the initiation of
case studies and the holding of a workshop are envisaged,
as a preliminary step, following the signing.
A significant number of migratory species listed
as “endangered” by the CMS are found in
arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, and much
of their survival depends in part on the successful
implementation of programmes to combat desertification
at all levels. Also, hundreds of millions of birds
cross all the world’s drylands twice a year.
With the ongoing expansion of the dry areas and increasing
drought within them, the birds will one day not have
the energy reserves to cross these areas. Many of
them will become extinct.
The agreement follows repeated calls made at Conferences
of the Parties to strengthen collaboration between
the UNCCD and other relevant environmental conventions.
The Conferences of the Parties have also called for
interlinkages to be set up among the environmental
conventions, in support of sustainable development.
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