Thursday, November 24, 2011

U.N Calls for Global Cooperation to Protect Pathways of Migratory Species

African elephants on the move

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has recently called for the international community to boost its efforts to protect pathways and networks of different migratory species threatened by human activities. The program stated that if no immediate action is taken by, then the world will experience a loss of abundance and species of wildlife equivalent to annihilating all flora and fauna in an area the size of the U.S or China by 2050. In order to activate a response to this issue, representatives from some hundred governments met at a U.N conference in Bergen, Norway. Organized by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), this six-day conference is putting particular focus on the significance of ecological networks as an effective key to protect a wide variety of migratory animals.
Shark populations in Palau are benefitting as a result of global cooperation.

According to Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of CMS, global cooperation is essential to manage these large transboundary networks. The program also presented a report on how to protect migratory pathways, bringing out stories where international partnership has led to positive results. One example was seen in the island nation of Palau, where sharks have roamed for over 400 million years. However, they became endangered due to demand for their fins for soup. Fortunately, new measures were taken and not only did they help protect the species but also boost the local economy. Other successful programs included a ten-year program to conserve and restore seven million hectares of wetland in China, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Russia, which increased the possibilities of survival for the Siberian crane and improved drinking water supplies. There was even one about a transboundary enforcement measure to protect the mountain gorilla population on the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda. But despite these success stories, the program also expressed its concern about countries that account for almost 36 percent of global land area which are not allies to the Convention. These nations pose challenges for protecting migratory species worldwide. In addition to that, illegal practices such as poaching are on the rise, especially in grasslands and savannas of Africa and Central Asia.
Event the Siberian crane has experienced a similar success.

I also firmly believe that international cooperation is vital for the survival of migratory species in this world. Just because there have been some success stories does not mean that the status of such species is safe. There are several other species living in nations that have never joined forces with the Convention. And these nations include Central Asia and Africa, which are generally considered havens for migratory species. Animals like antelopes, elephants, and rhinos are abundant in these areas. However, these animals have and still are becoming victims of poaching and other illicit activities plundering their homelands. This is why it is crucial that these countries should join forces with the UNEP, in order to ensure protection of the animals and their migratory pathways. At the same time, action should also be taken regarding the livelihoods of the local people. For example, in parts of Africa, bushmeat trade has been proving to be a lucrative yet destructive business. People maybe benefitting because of the trade, but they are also exploiting their local wildlife. That is why it is essential that more partnerships with the UNEP should be formed, in order to protect and benefit the lives of both people and animals.

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