20 June 2012 - Regional UNEP Biodiversity MEA Focal
Points last week visited the Secretariats of CMS, the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Intensive briefing sessions over 1½ days at CMS have
left the focal points with a deeper understanding of the
work of the CMS Secretariat as well as the Secretariats
of its daughter Agreements, its priority areas and activities,
and its niche in the biodiversity MEA world working to address
the unique challenges faced by migratory species.
UNEP hosts a biodiversity MEA Focal Point
in each of five UNEP regional offices - Africa, Latin America
& the Caribbean, West Asia, Asia & the Pacific,
and Europe. The Focal Points’ role is to provide technical
and advisory support directly to MEA secretariats, as well
as to enhance countries' capacities to implement biodiversity-related
agreements, such as CMS, CITES and the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD). They work at the regional and national
level with countries by providing technical and advisory
services, information exchange and capacity-building for
synergistic implementation of MEAs.
The Focal Points’ pilot phase was
established in 2009. Now, thanks to generous funding from
the governments of Norway, Spain and Sweden, UNEP, and a
project called the “ENRTP Strategic Cooperation Agreement
(SCA) between European Commission and UNEP”, the Focal
Point posts, as well as an operational budget, are in place
for the next three years.
The assistance that will be provided to
CMS from the Focal Points, on top of the implementation
of new CMS joint work plans with the other biodiversity-related
conventions - CITES, Ramsar and CBD - bodes well for enhanced
synergies among the Conventions at the national level.