In keeping with the nature of the species it is designed to protect and conserve, the Migratory Species Convention is "on the move" across geographical and political borders, moving swiftly to mobilize the necessary political and other resources to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth.
"This is expected to be the most productive COP in the convention’s history", says CMS Executive Secretary Robert Hepworth. "The Conference theme On the move to 2010 provides a “golden thread” for our agenda. All our business – political, scientific and financial – will be underpinned by a common feeling of urgency to meet global and regional objectives to halt or reduce global biodiversity losses by 2010. We are addressing some highly topical issues – the effects of climate change on wildlife and ecosystem resources, the equally devastating threats posed by the spread of avian influenza and the crises faced by migratory species such as Saharan antelopes which are on the edge of extinction. We are also in a position to take practical steps at this Conference to finalise or implement new agreements to save saiga antelope, forest elephants, bustards, turtles and whales”.
Saturday, 19 November:Two highly topical Roundtables:
- MIGRATORY SPECIES AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Focusing on the findings of the recently-released report Climate Change and migratory species commissioned by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), discussion will be introduced by Jim Knight MP, Parliamentary Under- Secretary for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity.
Findings of the report underline that migratory birds and animals are in the front lines of the victims of climate change as their separated and diverse habitats are being destroyed by changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and increases in extreme weather events like droughts and floods due to global warming.
- MIGRATORY SPECIES AS VECTOR OF DISEASES: MYTH OR REALITY?
In the opening part of the roundtable, internationally recognized experts and scientists will discuss and help clarify the role of migratory birds both as vectors and victims of avian influenza.
The discussion will then extend the topic to include relationships between other diseases originating in animals, such as SARS, the Ebola virus, HIV/AIDS and rabies, and their impact on human health.
Sunday, 20 November: Presentation of the National Geographic Deutschland and Deutsche Lufthansa CMS Thesis Award
The formal Opening Ceremony of COP8 features the presentation by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer of the first Award for the Thesis on Migratory Species Conservation, which is sponsored by National Geographic Deutschland and Deutsche Lufthansa. The winner of the Award, Zeb Hogan, an American scientist will present his pioneering thesis on the critically endangered Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasiidae), which has made a significant contribution to improving knowledge on its conservation status.
Monday, 21 November: "CMS Partnership Fair. On the move to 2010" At this colourful evening event, the principal CMS Partners will gather with other NGOs, IGOs and Parties to discuss existing and potential new alliances. At least four Partnership Agreements will be signed between CMS and CIC (Conseil international de La Chasse); the Global Nature Fund (GNF); the International Fund for Animal Welfareiv (IFAW); the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)v and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).
There will be short presentations on relevant work undertaken and/or planned on the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species, including existing or planned collaborations with CMS. The meeting will discuss how partnerships may assist the achievement of the 2010 target of significantly reducing biodiversity loss, and provide an overview of different avenues for collaboration. Organizations will display and distribute their outreach material to all participants, exchanging information on respective and mutual areas of interest with other potential partners.
For further information and/or requests for interviews, please contact:
Paola DedaUNEP/CMS Secretariat
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species
D-53175 Bonn, Germany
Tel: +(49) 228-815-2462
Fax: +49-(0) 228-815-2449