Press Releases Belgian Presidency EU: Concrete commitments for biodiversity in Samarkand

Belgian Presidency EU: Concrete commitments for biodiversity in Samarkand

From 12 to 17 February, Samarkand in Uzbekistan hosted the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14). By coordinating the negotiations on behalf of the EU and working closely with the Commission and the other Member States, the Presidency contributed to the adoption of important measures. The Convention agreed to increase international cooperation in order to improve the ecological connectivity of ecosystems and habitats. Concrete decisions have also been taken in favour of 21 species that will benefit from greater protection.

Supporting the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework

The CMS COP14 is one of the most important global meetings on biodiversity since the adoption of the Global Framework for Biodiversity. Concluded in 2022 at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15 in Montreal), this framework includes a number of global targets and objectives to be achieved by 2030 and beyond to ensure the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity. In Samarkand, the Presidency’s objective was clear: adopt an ambitious and constructive role in the negotiations to ensure the effective implementation of the Convention and hereby honours the Montreal pledge to halt biodiversity loss and restore natural ecosystems.

Worrying figures call for urgent action

It is in Samarkand that the very first report on the state of the world’s migratory species has been presented. It paints a worrying picture. All over the world, populations of migratory animals are declining, while their habitats are becoming rarer and more degraded. In fact, 1/5 of the migratory species listed by the CMS are threatened with extinction. 309 species not yet listed in the Convention, mainly birds and fish, are also at risk

The report also identifies a series of priority measures to address the pressures threatening migratory species, such as climate change, over-exploitation (poaching and capture) and pollution (by chemicals, pesticides and plastics, as well as light and noise). The report confirms that scientific knowledge on the conservation status and threats to migratory species is essential for effective decision-making.

 

Nature knows no borders

 

  • The Convention’s new Strategic Plan for Migratory Species (2024-2032) has been adopted. It includes 6 goals covering the conservation of migratory species, the protection and restoration of their habitats and distribution areas, and the elimination or reduction of threats. The implementation of its goals and targets should enable migratory species to thrive and live in restored and connected habitats by 2032;
  • A global partnership on ecological connectivity has been launched, recognising the need for cross-border cooperation on knowledge and data, political support and implementation through national biodiversity strategies and action plans. In the context of global changes such as climate change and infrastructure development, connectivity is crucial to preserving the movements of migratory species;
  • New guidelines to mitigate light pollution have been endorsed, focussing in particular on brightly lit areas that overlap with critical habitats or migration corridors. This is a real step forward as light pollution is increasing worldwide. Artificial light disturbs wildlife’s behaviour and hampers the ability of migratory species to undertake long-distance migrations;
  • Over-exploitation due to illegal and unsustainable takings is one of the greatest threats to wildlife. In accordance with the zero-tolerance approach to the killing, taking and illegal trade of migratory species, the COP14 decision aims to strengthen legislative monitoring with regard to takings;
  • Direct or indirect poisoning is one of the main threats to migratory birds worldwide. Accidental poisoning is mainly caused by poisoned carcasses. All countries are being called on to review their legislation on lead ammunition and lead for fishing weights, as well as on veterinary medicines;

10 species have been added to Appendix I, guaranteeing their strict protection. 11 other species have been listed in Appendix II, which encourages Range States to conclude global or regional agreements for their conservation and management. The EU has obtained a strict protection for the Baltic harbour porpoise (Appendix I), of which there are less than 250 individuals left in EU waters. The COP14 agreed to provide better protection for the common lynx (Appendix II) and the Balkan lynx (Appendix I), some of which have recently been spotted in Greece. The CMS will also ensure the preservation of the bull shark (Appendix I), a species facing a very high risk of extinction due to intentional fishing and bycatch.

David Jordens, Spokesperson – porte-parole – woordvoerder

TEL: +32 478 92 09 37

EMAIL: mediaEU2024BE@diplobel.fed.be

Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Rue des Petits Carmes / Karmelietenstraat 15
Brussels 1000 – Belgium
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