The Philippine government hosted the 12th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 12) on 22-28 October 2017, held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Manila. This is the first time that a CMS COP was ever convened in Asia. Over 1,000 participants from 91 parties and many non-parties, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (IGOs and NGOs) came to attend the event with the theme, “Their Future is Our Future: Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People.”

The CMS is an intergovernmental agreement concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is the only global agreement established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial and marine migratory species throughout their range.

The Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) is the focal point of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in coordinating national efforts to fulfill the Philippine government’s commitments under the Convention.

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DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu welcoming delegates during the Opening Ceremonies

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CMS & UN Officials                                                                     Art Installation

Champions Night

The Migratory Species Champion Programme recognized institutions who provide financial assistance, political leadership and advocacy efforts to the protection and conservation of migratory species. Each of these Champions has become part of a solution to issues that concern migratory species, delivering support for their conservation beyond funding. The Champions awarded for COP 12 are Germany, Monaco, United Arab Emirates, Italy, the European Commission, and the Philippines.

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Champions Night

High-Level Panel Discussion

At the invitation of the Government of the Philippines, ministers from around the world and executives of international organizations addressed the interlinkages between sustainable development and the conservation of wildlife with a special focus on migratory species and the Sustainable Development Goals. The discussion resulted in the Manila Declaration which was presented to and eventually adopted by the Conference of the Parties.

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High Level Meeting

Plenary Sessions
(Excerpt from Earth News Bulletin,

COP12 adopted 54 resolutions, including the Manila Declaration on Sustainable Development and Migratory Species. Other resolutions adopted included those on: a Review Mechanism; consolidation and partial repeal of resolutions; the budget; the Strategic Plan for Migratory Species 2015-2023 (SPMS); the prevention of illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds; sustainable boat-based marine wildlife watching; energy and migratory species; community participation and livelihoods; aquatic wild meat; concerted actions for, among others, the whale shark, mobulid rays, and the European eel; and the adoption of the African Elephant Action Plan. The COP adopted 34 proposals to amend the Convention’s appendices, four of which were subjected to a vote—for the first time in the Convention’s history.

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23 October Press Conference

Terra Book Launching

The DENR together with the Foundation Good Planet and the CMS Secretariat launched the book, “Terra ; Their Future is Our Future”.

The book features pictures of world famous photographers with texts about biodiversity, the challenges facing it, and conservation of migratory species. The title “Terra” refers to UNEP Ambassador of Goodwill Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s film, telling the story of life.

The book highlights the 35 species proposed for listing on the CMS Appendices and 25 additional species to be discussed at the COP 12, including the whale shark (butanding), frigate bird, wedge fish, yellow bunting, among others.

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Terra Book Launching                                             Welcome Dinner

Terra film showing

The DENR together with the French Embassy and the SM Mall of Asia screened UN Ambassador Yann Arthus Bertrand’s film, “Terra”. TERRA is an essay, in the literary sense, on the human species and its relationship with other living beings. By proposing that we once again treat wildlife with the respect it deserves, TERRA shows its credentials as an ode to the human species, a humanist and deliberately positive film, openly advocating that humanity is still capable of “getting back to basics”.

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Terra Film Showing

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Terra Film Showing

Side Events

Over 50 side events were held during the meeting. Side events are an excellent opportunity for a wide range of organizations, from governments and international organizations, to civil society and private sector organizations, to highlight an array of important migratory species issues. These events provide a platform for information dissemination, capacity building, policy discussions and legitimizing global governance.

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Side Events

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Side Events

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Technical Exhibit

SIKAT PINOY Trade Fair at the CMS COP12

The Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (DTI-BDTP) in partnership with the DENR Organizing Committee featured a SIKAT PINOY Pop-up Store. This seven day retail and order-taking activity offered selected homegrown products of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in heritage/ artisanal/ modern arts and crafts, regional delicacies and specialties, and souvenir items.

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Trade Fair

Field Trips

The participants joined field trips to the following sites: the Balanga Wetland And Nature Park, where participants observed arriving migratory birds; the Anilao beaches In Batangas within the Verde Island Passage, recognized as the center of global shore-fish biodiversity; Taal Lake, where they trekked to the center of the volcano crater; the Corregidor Island, a historical island fortress, site of bloody battle between Filipino-American forces against the Japanese in the Second World War; the Las-Piñas Parañaque Critical Habitat And Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), a nature reserve situated just minutes away from the venue, which offers migratory birds sightings; and of course, a cultural tour around Metro Manila.

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Field Trip - Mabini, Batangas

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Field Trip - Taal Lake

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Field Trip - Corregidor                                              Field Trip - Luneta

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Field Trip - Taal Lake

Closing Ceremonies
(Excerpt from Earth News Bulletin,

COP12 delivered an unprecedented number of participants from parties, observer states, and civil society, a greater-than-ever number of species listing proposals and resolutions adopted, and record media attention, as delegates strived to carve out a higher CMS profile in the crowded MEA landscape.
Undersecretary and Chief of Staff, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines, on behalf of COP Chair Cimatu, emphasized the success of COP12, with large support from parties and multiple stakeholders, which raised the profile of the CMS in the public eye. He noted the Manila Declaration on Sustainable Development and Migratory Species, which states that wildlife supports many national and global economic activities, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, tourism, transport, mining, and trade.

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pre cop12 39Closing Ceremonies

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Closing Press Conference                                            BMB Staff/Local Conference Staff