Major new global initiative to protect and connect natural areas launched at UN wildlife meeting

Posted on February, 15 2024

“At WWF we are convinced that achieving ecological connectivity is the challenge of our time. However, no one entity can achieve connectivity alone. This partnership is a significant leap forward in our collective ability to deliver connectivity impact at scale, and WWF is delighted to be involved. Together it is possible.” Rafael Antelo (Ph.D.). Wildlife Connect Leader and PACHA Coordinator, WWF

Samarkand, 14 February 2024 – The destruction, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitat is one of the two greatest threats to migratory species of wild animals.  Today a major new initiative was launched at the UN wildlife meeting taking place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to ensure that areas of importance to migratory species are identified, protected and connected. Known as the Global Partnership on Ecological Connectivity (GPEC), the announcement took place on the margins of the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). 


Initiated by CMS, the partnership is joined by several organizations, including Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC), Climate Chance, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), UN Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD), the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).


Belgium, France, Monaco, and Uzbekistan are among the CMS Parties participating in this new initiative.


The launch of this new global partnership is a direct and immediate response to some of the key   recommendations of the flagship CMS report, the State of the World’s Migratory Species, released just two days ago at the opening of COP14. The report calls for increased actions to identify, protect, connect and effectively manage important sites for migratory species. This is exactly what this alliance is about, as it will ensure that actions to address ecological connectivity are mobilized around the world,” said Amy Fraenkel, CMS Executive Secretary.


The GPEC's overarching objective is to ensure that ecological connectivity is maintained, enhanced, and restored in places of importance for migratory species of wild animals. Migratory species depend on a network of specific types of sites and habitats during their life cycles and seasonal movements. While many such sites have been identified, not all are under any form of protection or conservation. Moreover, many sites of importance have yet to be identified and mapped. Migratory species must be able to reach these sites, often located across national boundaries and there are many impediments to their migrations, including from linear infrastructure such as roads, rail and fences, as well as from other types of human activities. 

But ecological connectivity is not just relevant to migratory species. It also plays a major role in addressing effective biodiversity conservation, land restoration and climate change mitigation and adaptation across terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.

Defined under CMS as “the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on Earth”, ecological connectivity is increasingly recognized as a key global conservation priority. It was at the heart of the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted in 2021, "Nature knows no borders: transboundary cooperation – a key factor for biodiversity conservation, restoration, and sustainable use" (A/75/L.73). Led by countries of Central Asia, where the CMS COP14 is being held, the Resolution urges all UN Member States to enhance international and transboundary cooperation to maintain and enhance ecological connectivity of transboundary habitats, cross-border protected areas, and ecosystems that are either vulnerable or part of the migratory range of specific species.


"Nature does not recognize man-made boundaries. Uzbekistan is acutely aware of this fact, as evidenced by the devastating effects of the Aral Sea's depletion on humans and wildlife across Central Asia and beyond. By contributing to the CMS Global Ecological Connectivity program, Uzbekistan is participating in a worldwide effort to protect migratory species. This collaboration underscores Uzbekistan's belief in the power of nature to unite nations, necessitating a collective effort to protect it," said H.A. Aziz Abdukhakimov, Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change of Uzbekistan and Host of COP14.


The importance of ecological connectivity is a major aspect of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) as well, reflected in Goal A on ecosystems, species and genetic diversity, and Targets 2 on restoration, 3 on area-based conservation measures, and 12 on enhancing green spaces and urban planning. This new partnership will contribute directly to the implementation of these and other aspects of the GBF. 


The partnership will focus on four key areas of work: 

  • Data Research and Monitoring: Prioritizing the integration and analysis of scientific data to inform conservation measures, while addressing significant data gaps in habitat identification and threat assessment.

  • Policy and Legislation: Supporting evidence-based decision-making to enhance policies and laws that foster ecological connectivity, integrating it into global targets and national priorities.

  • Uptake and Implementation: Encouraging the application of connectivity conservation strategies through tangible projects and initiatives, aiming to establish well-connected protected areas and effective area-based conservation measures.

  • Awareness Raising and Outreach: Increasing public understanding and support for ecological connectivity through campaigns, communication materials, and collaborative events.


It will also seek to mobilize funding to support implementation of priority actions.



Notes to Editors

Read: The Global Partnership on Ecological Connectivity: Concept Note

About the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

An environmental treaty of the United Nations, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. This unique treaty brings governments and wildlife experts together to address the conservation needs of terrestrial, aquatic, and avian migratory species and their habitats around the world. Since the Convention's entry into force in 1979, its membership has grown to include 133 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

For further information, please contact:
Marsden Momanyi
Whatsapp: +254719784872
Launch of a new Global Partnership on Ecological Connectivity AT CMS COP14