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Press Release

Fiji Joins Convention on Migratory Species to Support Country's Rich Biodiversity
09/ 05/ 2013

Fiji Joins Convention on Migratory Species to Support Country's Rich BiodiversityFiji becomes the 119th Party to the Convention. The country's membership is effective from 1 April 2013.

Bonn, 9 May 2013 - From the giant humpback whale, to the delicate Ruddy Turnstone bird, a host of migratory species - several of which are endangered or threatened species - are set to gain additional support, following the decision of the Republic of Fiji to join the UN-led Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Fiji - one of the most developed economies in the Pacific region - becomes the 119 th Party to the Convention. The country's membership is effective from 1 April 2013.

CMS is an intergovernmental treaty concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale, particularly terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides the Secretariat to the Convention.

Around 20 birds, marine mammals and amphibians found in Fiji are listed by CMS as either migratory species threatened with extinction, or species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation on conservation.

Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 332 coral and volcanic islands, among which 100 are inhabited. Covering a total land area of 18,376 square kilometers, some 946 endemic species have so far been recorded in Fiji.

The country can play a key role in the Convention's efforts to support sharks, whales, dolphins, and porpoises which inhabit its waters and those of neighbouring states.

Other migratory species in the region include turtles, tuna, billfish, sharks, mahi mahi and swordfish.

According to Fiji's national report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010, there are 29 species of seabirds that migrate through the country, and 22 migrant waders.

Fiji's economy depends to a great extent on tourism, fisheries, agriculture, forestry and mining. The sustainable management of the country's natural resources is therefore critical to national economic development.

The Republic of Fiji has already ratified other related Conventions to enhance the sustainable management of its environment, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Ramsar Convention, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In 2006, Fiji signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their habitats in the Pacific Islands Region under the umbrella of CMS.

By becoming a contracting Party to the Convention, Fiji has increased CMS membership in the Pacific region and among Small Island Developing States (SIDS). SIDS are members of many global biodiversity - related conventions, however, only few are contracting Parties to CMS despite the fact that they are important for the species afforded special status by the Convention.

Currently Antigua & Barbuda, Cape Verde, the Cook Islands, Cuba, Guinea - Bissau, Mauritius, Palau, Samoa, Sao Tome & Principe and the Seychelles are Parties to the Convention.

For more information, please contact:
Veronika Lenarz, UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Bonn, Germany on Tel. +49 228 815-2409, e-mail vlenarz@cms.int

UNEP Newsdesk, Nairobi, on Tel. +254 20 762 3088, e-mail unepnewsdesk@unep.org

Further Resources
UN Convention on Migratory Species