New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Fifteen species of vultures found in over 120 countries, including four India, got a fresh lease of life as a 12-year multi-species coordinated action plan to conserve them got the nod at a UN summit that ended in the Philippines on Saturday.
However, the proposal to extend additional protection to the chinkara or Indian gazelle was withdrawn, the summit’s organisers said.
But the whale shark, a victim of over-fishing also in India, got global protection too.
The week-long 12th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals or CMS COP12 concluded in Manila with decisions on 34 species in submissions made by 24 countries from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania.
These include action, which as per the convention, comes into force 90 days after the COP, on Africa’s great carnivores and the endangered whale shark, known as the butanding in the Philippines.
Delegates from 91 countries, including India, had attended the summit, which will next be held in India in 2020.
Experts say the Indian vultures that are set to get collaborative international protection under the Multi-Species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures are the red-headed, white-rumped, long-billed and the slender-billed species.
The action plan would mean programmes to protect the vultures across Africa, Asia and Europe from all of threats faced by them — ranging from poisoning to hunting to collision with electricity cables to habitat degradation.
Widespread over-fishing is driving many shark species, including the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, to extinction.
India is among 121 nations that are home to this species with continuing global population declines. The major threats to it are fishermen’s catches, bycatch in nets and vessel strikes.
Three countries — the Philippines, Israel and Sri Lanka — had jointly submitted a proposal for including the whale shark, found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) for its conservation.
The proposal has been adopted, a spokesperson for CMS COP12 told IANS on the phone.
Likewise, proposals for conservation of the blue shark, common guitarfish and development and management of marine protected area networks within the Asean region have been adopted, the spokesperson said.
Proposals submitted by Mongolia to protect two of Central Asia’s rarest species, Przewalski’s horse and the Gobi bear, also got the nod.
The conference in Manila has been a real game changer for the convention. An intensive week of negotiations have resulted in a stronger commitment by countries to step up their efforts to conserve the planet’s migratory wildlife,” an official statement quoted CMS Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers as saying.
Governments also agreed to cooperate on reducing the negative impact of marine debris, noise pollution, renewable energy and climate change on migratory species.
The CMS COP12 in Manila has been the largest in the 38-year history of the Convention, which is also known as the Bonn Convention after the German city in which it was signed.
The summit saw some notable outcomes, including all fish proposals being endorsed, which means three species of shark and three species of ray will receive greater protection with the whale shark on Appendix I and the angelshark being listed on both Appendices.
The dusky shark, the blue shark, the common guitarfish and the white-spotted wedgefish are listed in Appendix II.
The spokesperson said for the first time, the giraffe would receive protection under an international treaty with a listing on CMS Appendix II.
Although populations in many Southern African countries are thriving, they are in overall decline across Africa with less than 90,000 animals remaining in the wild.
The leopard and lion will also be listed on CMS Appendix II, paving the way for a joint initiative on protecting Africa’s great carnivores.
The African Carnivores Initiative will become a focal point for the implementation of resolutions and decisions on lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs under CMS and CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The humans’ closest relative, the chimpanzee, is now listed on both CMS Appendices. It is facing a 50 per cent drop in numbers over three generations and rapid habitat loss, especially in the western and eastern parts of its historic range.
Date : 28 October 2017