Transboundary conservation of Argali gains further momentum
The threatened Argali mountain sheep (Ovis ammon) would greatly benefit from improved transboundary conservation under CMS. This is the conclusion of a study assessing the gaps and needs of Argali conservation as well as the options for promoting such cooperation under CMS. The report elaborates ways to progress Argali conservation and discusses the potential benefits and challenges of developing a new instrument for the conservation of Argali and its habitat under the aegis of CMS.
The study was initiated following a range of activities aimed at improving regional cooperation for the sustainable management of Argali populations in Central Asia. Following the listing of the species on CMS Appendix II at the 10th CMS Conference of the Parties (COP10), several range states of the species have expressed their interest in developing transboundary conservation of Argali under CMS.
A new draft information and communication platform to facilitate networking among stakeholders will promote regional information exchange. .It helps collect and share data from countries as well as to discuss relevant activities. The platform is open for comments and contributions. Decisions on the future structure and strategies of CMS, adopted at COP10 highlight the need to develop synergies and partnerships. With Resolution 10.16, CMS Parties agreed on a set of criteria which need to be considered when making any proposal for a new instrument under CMS. Consequently, the CMS Secretariat commissioned the present study to review existing initiatives and conservation activities for argali in Central Asia.
According to the study the combination of a non-binding MoU and Action Plan appears to be the most suited and promising option for pursuing the conservation of the Argali across its range. Stimulating joint monitoring activities and responses to common threats and opportunities to generate knowledge exchange among countries as well as new impetus for existing and planned conservation activities from part of this. This could catalyze resources and knowledge, both scientific and local, for the benefit of the species across its range and has the potential to bridge the divide between conservation and sustainable use.
Costs related to communication and coordination tasks are estimated to be approximately US$10,000 to 15,000 per annum. Being the largest of the world’s wild sheep and due to its huge horns, the Argali is an important species for trophy hunting, which could generate significant financial resources that could be used to conserve the species and improve local livelihoods. Thus allocating part of the revenues from hunting permits for this purpose would be one option to ensure sustainable financing of a CMS instrument on Argali. CMS worked in close collaboration with the German Society for International Cooperation / Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and obtained funding from the German government through the Regional Programme on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in Central Asia.
Development of transboundary conservation in past CMS Bulletins: