CMS COP14 Opening Statement from Amy Fraenkel, CMS Executive Secretary

H.E. Mr. Abdulla Nigmatovich Aripov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan,

H.E. Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov, Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change,

Ms. Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme,

Mr. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, 

Ms. Grethel Aguilar, Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honored and very pleased to welcome you to this 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, here in the magnificent city of Samarkand.   

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Aripov, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to the people and Government of Uzbekistan for hosting COP14, and through you to the President of Uzbekistan. Your leadership and commitment to the conservation of migratory species and their habitats are deeply valued.

I also wish to extend my sincere thanks to His Excellency, Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov, and his entire team at the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change for their incredible work and dedication at all levels, which made this COP a reality.

And to the UNEP Executive Director, the GEF CEO and the Director General of IUCN for being here to open what I believe will be a landmark CMS COP.

We are at a pivotal moment in the history of the Convention. While the Convention was adopted in 1979, only in 2019 did we have the first global assessment on the state of biodiversity. And that assessment found that biodiversity was being lost at an unprecedented rate, and that the global biodiversity targets agreed in 2010 had largely not been achieved. The Kunming Montreal Biodiversity Framework adopted in 2022, includes many key priorities for CMS. What is needed now is implementation.

CMS has a unique and essential role. It is the only global UN treaty addressing the conservation of migratory species and their habitats. This focus is incredibly profound, because it is about real issues that are happening in countries all over the world – involving an incredible variety of amazing species, communities, history and tradition, which are all key to arriving at pragmatic solutions.   

This focus is proving to be increasingly vital for achieving the broader global priorities to address biodiversity loss, climate change, and other environmental changes and challenges. Implementing CMS will directly contribute to achieving the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, combating desertification, and contributing to climate change mitigation.   

The theme of COP14 “Nature Knows No Borders” underscores the fundamental mission of the Convention to strengthen international cooperation for the conservation of migratory species and their habitats across their full range. Yesterday during the High-Level Segment, we heard about the truly extraordinary accomplishments and commitments of the governments of Central Asia and the work of many other CMS Parties and UN and other organizations – as well as about some of the challenges for the future. The High-Level Segment raised the bar for the ambitious agenda of this week.  

In just a few hours from now, we will be launching the first-ever "State of the World's Migratory Species" report at the Opening Press Conference of COP14.  This groundbreaking report will provide a scientific foundation and set the context for the many discussions that will be taking place here at COP14 on what actions are needed to address the threats and conservation needs of migratory species. 

While some of the findings are alarming, the report includes many reasons for hope.  It finds that 44 percent of species listed under CMS are showing population declines, yet 31 percent are stable, and 12 percent are increasing.  It also finds that the global extinction risk is growing for all migratory species including those not listed on CMS, with more than 22 percent of CMS species threatened with extinction. One of the most startling findings is that nearly all of the CMS-listed fish species are threatened with extinction. 

The good news is that we know what is needed to turn this around, and the report provides many concrete areas for action.  And in this room, we have the governments, UN organizations, scientists, conservation groups, funders and many others who are leaders in this field and are here to discuss a great range of issues and next steps on specific species, regional initiatives, and cross-cutting issues needed to advance progress under CMS.  I know we are up to the task, and look forward to an intense, productive and positive week of working together.

Here in Uzbekistan, there are also enormous opportunities to continue the leadership and vision we have already seen. For example, the conservation of nature and migratory species could be highlighted in the country priorities as the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Uzbekistan it is finalized. 

Finally, I have saved my greatest thanks for the entire CMS team and our extended family of agreements for the absolutely incredible work over the course of the intersessional period since our last COP, and in particular in preparing for this COP in a most professional, collaborative and simply excellent way. 

Thank you.   

Last updated on 16 February 2024