First UN-level negotiations on insect decline and light pollution
Ten species including the Asian elephant, the jaguar and several shark and bird species were added to the list of endangered species at the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The conference, which was opened on 15 February by Indian Prime Minister Modi and lasted until last weekend, sent an important signal in a year that is crucial for biodiversity and species conservation. The German government was successful in pursuing the protection of the school shark, a species that can be found in Germany, but which is becoming increasingly rare in the North Sea and the world's oceans.
Federal Environment Minister Schulze said: "2020 must become a turning point for international species and nature conservation. The Conference of the Parties to the CMS has laid the foundation during the meeting in India: We need more progress to protect species that are threatened with extinction. This includes conservation measures at local level that help raise the chances of survival for migrating species."
The international community is also now giving greater consideration to the increasing problem of light pollution and insect decline. The German government was successful in putting these two topics on the international agenda. The developments in these areas also have grave impacts on migrating species.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "Insect decline is an international challenge that has a major effect on ecosystems. Insect decline also means less food for migrating species like bats and birds. That is why it is good that the Parties to the CMS have decided to reduce the use of pesticides in and around designated protected areas and jointly tackle the problem of excess light pollution at international level."
More than 100 countries participated in the conference, where they adopted measures to improve the situation of many migrating species that are adversely affected by the fragmentation of their habitats. The increasing expansion of infrastructure (roads, railways, waterways) make it impossible for many species to follow their migration route. This problem requires the construction of species-specific wildlife crossings.
The Parties also cooperate to halt the decline in biodiversity with concrete action plans. Germany, for example, cooperates with initiatives for the protection of African wild cats, Asian steppe species such as the Saiga antelope and the last specimens of the African wild ass. With the State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, Jochen Flasbarth, Germany sent a high-level representative to the conference. Host country India showed great commitment and drew attention to successful conservation measures regarding lions and tigers. India plans to become generally more involved in international species conservation in the context of the CMS and is taking on the presidency of the Conference of the Parties for the next three years.