CMS Climate Change Workshop Develops Strategy to Mitigate the Impact of Climate Change on Migratory Species

San José / Bonn, 14 April 2014 - CMS held a workshop of national representatives and experts in Guácimo, Costa Rica from 9-11 April in the light of new information published on climate change.

The workshop coincided with the release of the latest Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which also warns about the impacts of climate change on many plant and animal species.

“The workshop has confirmed that climate change is one of the most important threats to migratory species and the ecosystems on which they depend”, said Professor Colin Galbraith, CMS Scientific Councillor for Climate Change, who chaired the meeting.  “Participants have stressed the need for urgent international actions to address the complex threats from climate change. It is encouraging to see delegates from around the world working together to outline a Programme of Work for countries in the CMS to combat the effects of climate change on migratory animals.

The purpose of the workshop was to prepare a CMS Programme of Work on Climate Change and Migratory Species, in line with Resolution 10.19 of the Conference of the Parties. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to share their opinions, experiences and the best practices to address the impact of climate change on migratory species.  As a result of the workshop, Parties will be in a better position to develop national guidelines on the required measures to assist migratory species in adapting to climate change.

The Programme builds upon the discussions and the draft resolution adopted during the Technical Workshop on the Impact of Climate Change on Migratory Species, held in Tour du Valat, France, in 2011. The topics include the interpretation of the Convention text in the light of climate change, species assessments and monitoring, species population management, habitat management, ecological networks’ tertiary effects, and the coordination between countries and all other stakeholders.

One of the key items is to increase our understanding of the impact climate change is having on migratory species and the habitats on which they depend. As such, the Programme urges Parties to develop and implement monitoring regimes in order to assess the susceptibility of these species to such disturbances, and to prepare targeted action plans for those species considered to be most vulnerable to climate change. At the same time, the Programme urges Parties to implement actions at the ecosystem level to improve the resilience of migratory species and their habitats to climate change. Moreover, the Programme further encourages parties to explore the interlinkages that exists between conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, to reduce the additional impacts on migratory species resulting from changes in human behaviour due to environmental change. Finally, it also strives to strengthen the synergies amongst and within Parties, and the coordination of the UNEP/CMS Secretariat with other MEAs, in order to implement a harmonized response to climate change at all levels.

Participants had also the opportunity to discuss a draft resolution on climate change to be submitted to COP11. The main objective of this resolution will be to adopt the Programme and to highlight the key priorities in which Parties should concentrate to mitigate impacts of climate change on migratory species. During a field visit after the workshop they could also assess the severe impacts of climate change in the coastal ecosystems of Cahuita National Park on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

The results of the workshop will be presented to CMS COP11, which will be held in Quito, Ecuador, 4 – 9 November 2014.

Last updated on 08 May 2014

Climate Change