Convention on Migratory Species
The Convention on Migratory Species seeks to conserve endangered and vulnerable migratory species by prohibiting their capture or killing; and to facilitate their long-term survival by removing barriers to migration; protecting habitats; and lessening the impact of non-indigenous species. Migratory species are important from a climate impact assessment perspective as they act as linkages between ecosystems, and are good indicators of ecosystem change.
Climate change, along with other human impacts, is negatively affecting biodiversity, including species and ecosystems in terrestrial and marine environments around the globe. The Convention on Migratory Species, to which the UK is a signatory and active participant, seeks to conserve endangered and vulnerable migratory species by prohibiting their capture or killing; and to facilitate their long-term survival by removing barriers to migration; protecting habitats; and lessening the impact of non-indigenous species. Migratory species are important from a climate impact assessment perspective as they act as linkages between ecosystems, and are good indicators of ecosystem change.
The Convention on Migratory Species
The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Secretariat, its Standing and Scientific Committees, and bodies and processes under the CMS are crucial to the understanding of migratory species and climate change. In addition to the Convention of Migratory Species Secretariat, the following agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) and related bodies and processes under the CMS are relevant:
- Africa Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA),
- Indian Ocean – South-East Asian Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding (IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU),
- Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS)
- Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP),
- Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS).
Most of these bodies and processes have either provided positive indications of support or have indicated that they are canvassing their membership. Two of these bodies, ACAP and IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU have indicated the relevance of climate change to their migratory species.
Biodiversity, climate change and migratory species
The Ramsar Convention for Wetlands
The Ramsar Convention for Wetlands, and related Ramsar Secretariat are interested in climate change and migratory waterbirds. The Secretariat views migratory waterbirds, including shorebirds, integrative sentinels of global change. The Secretariat is engaged in recent proposals for establishing a global network of research groups for several key shorebird species, with the aim of better integrating understanding of change and the underlying reasons. They have indicated that these species could form a core element of the indicator species since there is as good information any waterbird species, and as the selection is designed to cover a range of life history types, migration phenologies, and coastal and inland species.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WWMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC is currently finalizing its Fourth Assessment Report for 2007.
In 2004, the Arctic Council released the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Scientific Report, which is a regional climate assessment undertaken consistently with the process of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This report included a Chapter 10:Principles of Conserving the Arctic’s Biodiversity, which is directly relevant. The Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group is implementing the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program, which responds to recommendations of the ACIA Scientific Report.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) was an UN international work program completed by March 2005, and designed to meet the needs of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Migratory Species, as well as needs of the private sector and civil society, for scientific information on the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being.
World Conservation Union
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) is a partnership of national governments, government agencies and non-governmental organisations, which includes committees and specialist groups on taxa of conservation concern, including possible key indicator species. For example, polar bears are a key indicator for climate change in the circum-arctic region and for ice-edge dependent species, and the participation of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Working Group has been sought. The participation of international and regional non-governmental organisations such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Conservation International is also important.
European Climate Change Program II
With the European Community, various European working groups addressing climate change, and impacts on biodiversity and terrestrial, coastal and marine environments. The European Climate Change Program II is just being finalized, with the Impacts and Adaptation Working Group holding consultations and issuing sectoral papers on biodiversity, species and protected areas, and terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems. A Green Paper will be issued in 2007 that will address climate change and how the Birds and Habitats Directives, Natura 2000, and Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy may also be affected or modified.
The European Environmental Agency provides expert advice on impacts of climate change, including impacts on landscapes and species. Where possible, inputs from European processes will be included in the proposal, and feedback will be sought. In the fall of 2006, the Joint Nature Conservancy Committee (JNCC) issued a discussion paper on climate impacts in the fall of 2007 (JNCC 06 P14). JNCC has just initiated a Climate Change Working Group led by Michael Usher, former Chief Scientist of Scotland, and lead author of Chapter 10 of the ACIA Scientific Report.
- General Website - Convention on Migratory Species
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