Senator Cynthia Villar was the opening speaker in the opening ceremony of the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wildlife Animals (CMS COP 12) at the Philippine International Convention Center(PICC).
Villar, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, was invited by Department of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, citing that the her participation in the event will highlight the significance and affirm the Philippines’ commitment in ensuring the success of this important international event.
“It is a great opportunity for me to be speaking in front of 1,000 delegates who are all very passionate about the conservation of migratory species of wild animals. It is even more significant for us that the Las Pinas- Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area was the selected site for daily early morning bird watching activities for the convention participants,” the veteran legislator said.
The seasoned lawmaker adds that it is very significant for the Philippines to be hosting the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) event as this is the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species and migration routes.
Other distinguished personalities who were part of the opening ceremony program were Zach Beaudoin, UN Foundation Competition winner, who read the statement and the other keynote speakers- Yann Arthur-Bertrand, Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP); Øystein Størkersen, Chairman of the Standing Committee on the Agreement on the Conservation of African Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds; Ibrahim Tinio, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme; Sen. Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change; John Scanlon, Secretary General, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; Cristina Pasca Palma, Executive Secretary on the Convention on Biological Diversity and Eric Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. Dr. Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary, Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) delivered the Opening Address.
The CMS is an inter-governmental treaty supported by the United National Environment Programme (UNEP) which provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.
As of August 2016, CMS has 124 parties. The Philippines has been a party to the Convention since 1993 and is considered to be a major pathway for several species of migratory birds as well as turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins and fishes.