Thirteenth Conference of Parties of Convention on Migratory Species of wild animals (CMS CoP13)


“Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home” is  the theme of a major UN Wildlife Conference dedicated to migratory species in India that was held from 15th to 22nd February, 2020 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. The CoP13 was officially inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India on 17th February, 2020.  Senior government officials, environment advocates, activists, researchers and biodiversity leaders from as many as 130 countries participated in this conference. Inaugurating this key UN Summit the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that the CMS COP13 is of particular significance to India, which is known for its rich biodiversity and is one of the seven megadiverse countries in the world. “India has four biodiversity hotspots – Eastern Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo Myanmar landscape and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and home to as many as 500 species of migratory birds from across the globe”, said the Prime Minister. In his speech he has also informed the efforts of India in conserving migratory species that included the bustard conservation breeding programme, dugong recovery programme, etc.

Wildlife Institute of India has showcased the conservation efforts of India with respect to several threatened migratory species such as Dugongs, Great Indian Bustard, Gangetic Dolphin, Amur Falcon, Snow Leopard, etc. in its Exhibition Hall. WII stall is one of the most visited stalls of the Conference by delegates and students.

WII has conducted a side event on behalf of MoEF&CC with partnership of CMFRI and WTI on ‘Marine Animals Conservation Programme: Sea turtles, whale shark, Arabian Sea Humpback Whales and Dugongs in India’ on 19th February, 2020. This side event was Co-chaired by Shri Soumitra Dasgupta, IGF(WL), MoEFCC, GoI with Dr. Dhananjay Mohan, Director, WII. Inaugurating the side event, Shri Dasgupta reiterated the commitment of the Government of India in conservation of migratory marine animals and he told that the marine conservation programme is one of the priority of the government. He has also mentioned that the MoEF&CC is going to release the National Action Plan of marine turtles and also policies related to marine animals stranding. The speakers of the programme include Dr. Suresh Kumar (WII), Dr. Dipani Sutaria (Marine Biologist) and Mr Sajan John (WTI). The programme was coordinated by Dr Bitapi Sinha, WII. Dr. K. Sivakumar, who organized this side event highlighted the India’s efforts in conservation of marine migratory animals especially the dugongs and their habitats. Chief Wildlife Wardens and their representatives from various coastal states and UTs have participated in the discussion and highlighted the conservation efforts of their respective states and UTs. Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra state officials participated in this side event along with delegates from various international organizations  such as IWC, GOBI,, CMS Dugong MoU, etc and India.

Dr. Dhananjay Mohan, Director, WII in his closing address highlighted the true nature of migration of marine animals and stressed the importance of having a better conservation strategy for these migratory marine animals and their habitats. He has also appreciated the efforts of coastal States and UTs in conservation of marine animals and their habitts such as dugongs, sea turtles, whale sharks, etc. He thanked all delegates especially the forest department officials for their supports to WII.

Further, WII especially the NMCG Team has organized a side event at the Indian Pavilion and showcased the conservation efforts of WII with respect to migratory species of Ganges. More than 20 scientists and researchers from WII participated in this conference and spoken in the various side events organized at the Conference. Dr S. Sathyakumar and Dr K. Sivakumar have also participated in the Working Group Meetings of CMS CoP 13 of Terrestrial and Aquatic species respectively along with officials from MoEF&CC.