17 April 2012 - The CMS COP10 adopted Resolution
10.19 on Migratory Species Conservation in the Light of
Climate Change, which provides the building
blocks for a new action plan for the next triennium. The
newly appointed Scientific Councillor for Climate Change,
Prof. Colin Galbraith, a long-term expert on the subject
within the Scientific Council, is advising the Convention
on the development and implementation of this ambitious
At COP10 Parties from across the world
reported serious declines in migratory species which are
being associated with climate change. These include long-distance
migratory birds in the Sahelo-Saharan region, marine mammals
in the Arctic requiring sea ice to rest and to raise their
young, as well as marine turtles and dugongs suffering from
the destruction of seagrass pastures as a result of extreme
climatic events in Australia. There is strong evidence to
suggest that climate change is fast becoming one of the
primary threats to the survival of animals on the move.
Accordingly, Resolution 10.19 includes
a broad range of interventions. The first part targets adaptation
and how daily conservation work needs to change, including
appropriate monitoring targets and ecological network design.
The identification of those migrants most vulnerable to
climate change and the use of indicators are addressed.
The second part of the Resolution targets
mitigation, not least since those measures aimed at curbing
climate change, such as renewable energy, biofuel production
and geo-engineering, are thought to have the most immediate
negative impacts on migratory species today compared to
the direct impact of climate change. One such example is
the potential high mortality of birds and bats that can
result if a wind farm is placed within a critical habitat.
COP10 calls upon Parties, Non-Parties and
other stakeholders to further strengthen synergies in order
to tackle the threat that climate change poses for animals
on the move. At the national level, for example, the Focal
Points of CMS and the CMS Scientific Councillors are requested
to work closely with the UNFCCC Focal Points to address
the needs of migratory species and to ensure that these
are integrated into the national UNFCCC implementation.
Resolution 10.19 highlights that such close national and
international cooperation is required on climate change
across all the biodiversity-related treaties. Ultimately
success depends on the committed collaboration between all
the relevant stakeholders, from treaties, NGOs and scientists
all the way to local communities, which can inter alia contribute
invaluable traditional knowledge.
The next steps with regards to implementation
are the preparation of an action plan on climate change
for the Convention, which will be led by Prof. Galbraith
who is chairing the Working Group on Climate Change under
the Scientific Council. In March a group of experts and
partner organizations to the Convention held a teleconference
to update each other on relevant activities and discuss
the development of this work plan. Further information about
the working group can be found by clicking here.