Report of the Eighth Meeting of the CMS Scientific Council
Wageningen, The Netherlands, 3-5 June 1998
Item 1. Opening remarks of the Chairman and Secretariat
1. The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed all participants (a list of which appears at Annex 1). A statement was also made by Dr. Jan-Willem Sneep, on behalf of the Director of the Department of Nature Management of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries of the Government of the Netherlands. He spoke of the importance of the support given by his Government to the Bonn Convention and confirmed its commitment to complete the allocation of USD 4 million to projects for the conservation of migratory waterbirds, following the terms agreed by the Conference of the Parties to CMS at its 5th meeting (COP5).
2. The Executive Secretary, Mr. Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht, also extended a welcome to the Councillors present. He acknowledged and thanked the support received from the Netherlands to the development of CMS and its pro-active role in the establishment and implementation of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. In relation with this issue, he asked all Scientific Councillors to help promote the early ratification of the Agreement. He hoped it would be able to have its first Meeting of the Parties in combination with the 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP6), in the last quarter of 1999. This was contingent upon the ratification of at least seven countries in each of the two regions, Africa and Eurasia.
3. The Executive Secretary also announced that CMS would have 54 Parties as of 1 July 1998, with the accession of Romania and Mauritania being effective on that date. Finally, he emphasized the importance of the Scientific Council as a motor for the development of CMS.
Item 2. Adoption of the agenda
4. The agenda, as contained in document CMS/ScC8/Doc.1 (Rev. 1) was adopted with the only amendment, suggested by the Chairman, that working groups be formed to discuss the allocation of funds set aside for projects by COP5 (agenda item 4.c). The agenda appears at Annex 2. The following rapporteurs were appointed: Dr. Schlatter for neotropical fauna, Dr. Perrin for cetaceans and other marine mammals (except the Monk Seal), Dr. Limpus for marine turtles, Dr. Moser for birds (except neotropical species) and, in the absence of Dr. Pfeffer, Dr. Beudels for terrestrial mammals and the Mediterranean Monk Seal. It was agreed that the working groups would meet separately during the meeting and that their conclusions would be brought to the plenary for discussion.
5. Concerning organizational matters, the Chairman introduced the proposal made by the representative of Spain that Dr. Luis Mariano González be appointed to act as the focal point of the Scientific Council for all issues relating to the conservation of the Monk Seal. The Chairman had consulted the proposal with Dr. Teixeira, who was agreeable to the appointment of Dr. González as the new focal point. The proposal was accepted unanimously by the Council. At the Chairmans suggestion, Dr. González agreed to work in collaboration with Dr. Beudels, the meetings rapporteur for that taxonomic group.
Item 3. Report on intersessional activities
6. The Chairman stated that, although the work in between meetings of the Council had always been difficult, this time a significant improvement had been noticeable with the incorporation of Mr. Pablo Canevari as Technical Officer in the Secretariat and the work developed by him in the last two years.
7. The Chairman noted that the Convention was entering a new era, after the first few years of house-keeping. He stressed the increasing importance of concerted actions, which would show that this is an operational convention. A major development had been the standardization of conservation activities in the form of action plans, like the ones developed for the Siberian Crane and, later, Sahelo-Saharan ungulates. He outlined the advantages of having achieved a set CMS format for the action plans and encouraged Councillors to adopt the same format for all other action plans to be developed under CMS.
8. A second major development was the greater focus and role of Scientific Council focal points, who had created increased awareness. He also acknowledged the role of working groups, both within and outside of the Council, between sessions. He stressed the potential involvement of Scientific Council focal points and other members of the Council, who could act as catalysers in facilitating the use of funds from external sources. In this regard, the Chairman noted that the allocation of US$ 600,000 to projects by COP5 was one of the most important outcomes of that meeting.
9. The Executive Secretary reported on the staffing situation of the CMS Secretariat. He announced the appointment, during the first quarter of 1998, of Ms. Bothena Bendahmane as Administrative / Fund Management Officer and of Mr. Carles Carboneras as Information Officer. He also informed the Council of the imminent departure of two staff members: Dr. Eugeniusz Nowak, also the Scientific Councillor for Germany, who was taking retirement, and Mr. Eric Blencowe, whose secondment from the United Kingdom was coming to an end. In relation with this, he explained that the Secretariat was working together with the Government of the United Kingdom to try to provide for continuity.
10. Continuing on the issue of seconded staff to the Secretariat, the Executive Secretary drew attention to Resolution 5.5 adopted by the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, where it was stated that the secondment of staff members from Governments should be encouraged. He appealed to Councillors to help the Secretariat by encouraging their own Governments to second staff to it. He further reminded the Council that the current budget includes two posts for Regional Officers, for Africa and Asia. These had no funds allocated as they were meant to be covered by staff on secondment. In this respect, he explained that the Secretariat had twice sent a written request to the Parties, to which there had been no positive response so far.
11. The Executive Secretary expressed the Secretariats commitment to proceed further with the integration of Agreement secretariats through their co-location in the UNEP/CMS Secretariats premises in Bonn. He reported that the Parties to EUROBATS were to consider in their next Meeting of the Parties a proposal to integrate their secretariat with that of CMS.
12. On the question of funding for projects, the Executive Secretary was of the opinion that the Trust Fund was not the best source, since the reserve would eventually be depleted. Therefore, other sources had to be sought. He described the advantages of the funds available from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the efforts made by him at the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that GEF funds should be made available for projects to implement all biodiversity-related conventions, including CMS. He said that projects directed at the implementation of Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding and Action Plans under CMS might be eligible for funding from GEF. He further noted that the task of developing such projects could not be undertaken by the Secretariat, since it had few staff, who were fully occupied with other work. Instead, non-governmental organizations operating in the countries concerned and Scientific Councillors themselves should present or encourage such projects.
13. The Executive Secretary reported that Dr. Klaus Töpfer had been appointed as the new Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) earlier this year. He also reported on the Governing Council meeting, which he attended recently, and commented on the Executive Directors commitment that UNEP should take the lead in the further development of all biodiversity-related conventions, including CMS.
14. In response to a question from Mr. Lebeau (Switzerland), who asked for more information on the central role of UNEP and also on the possibility of CMS benefiting from GEF funding, the Executive Secretary said that UNEP was currently putting a lot of effort in re-organizing itself, in allocating funds and in getting its own work plan designed and implemented. He reported that, as part of the restructuring, UNEPs biodiversity unit, water unit and its GEF-coordination unit were to expand, which should have positive ramifications for CMS.
15. Dr. Ngog Nje (Cameroon) inquired about the situation of the vacant posts of regional officers for Africa and Asia; he wanted to know if this provisional situation would last forever or whether the Secretariat would be in a position to provide a definitive solution. The Executive Secretary answered that at present the Secretariat was constrained by the limitations in the budget. He also foresaw few possibilities to obtain additional assistance from UNEP in the near future. Overhead charges were already being used to fund the post of Administrative Officer, and he did not consider it possible to request UNEP to fund the posts of regional officers. He believed it was the responsibility of the Parties to CMS to provide for those posts through secondments.
16. Mr. Ndiaye (Senegal) requested the assistance of the Secretariat and UNEP in order to find a way to convey monies to projects for the conservation of wild fauna in Africa. The Executive Secretary appreciated this appeal and said that, in addition to the Secretariats efforts, this message should be conveyed on a political level by Government representatives who attend the UNEP Governing Council.
17. Dr. Beudels (Belgium) reported on activities of the Convention on Biological Diversity of relevance to CMS. The Conference of the Parties to CBD, in its third meeting, had passed a specific resolution instructing its Secretariat to co-ordinate with other related Secretariats. This had resulted, in the case of CMS, in a Memorandum of Understanding on co-ordinated work being signed between the heads of the two Secretariats. Dr. Beudels further reported on the meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), where she had also represented CMS.
18. Dr. Schlatter reported on the 7th meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. He explained that, prior to that meeting, a workshop was held on quick evaluation of risks and on early warning on problems arising in wetlands. A number of interesting scientific and technical documents on prevention of damage had been presented. On the meeting itself, Dr. Schlatter informed that the global water crisis had been a major issue. Scientists should reinforce the concept of catchment area, which would become one of the main themes for the next COP to be held in Costa Rica. On the issue of the Convention tools, the restoration of wetlands had been identified as an important development in recent years. There were plans to hold a technical session, during Ramsars next COP, on the definition of the ecological character of wetlands and its changes. Emphasis would be put on the type of change rather than on its causes. A number of other issues were dealt with in the meeting, including revision of the small fund available for projects. He said that experience had shown the importance of evaluating the results of the projects funded, for example through questionnaires. Dr. Schlatter believed that CMS should follow the example of Ramsar in the management and funding of projects. He stressed that monitoring and evaluation of the development of the projects were among the most important aspects.
19. Dr. Moser stressed the importance given by the Convention on Biological Diversity to inland waters. He believed that inland waters would become one of the main issues for CBD in the near future, and suggested that the CMS Scientific Council should look into this area as well. He thought it appropriate for CMS to work on inland waters and their importance for migratory species, since future development work would be influenced by the results attained.
Item 4. Scientific Council tasks arising from resolutions of the Conference of the Parties and other recommendations
(a) Actions for selected Appendix I species/groups, according to Resolutions 3.2, 4.2 and 5.1
20. Dr. Beudels (Belgium) reported on the actions developed for the conservation of Sahelo-Saharan ungulates. She said that funds had been used for the compilation of a comprehensive status report on the six species concerned, the updating and extension of the action plan, the organization and holding of a seminar and, finally, on the revision of the status reports and action plan on the basis of the findings of that workshop.
21. The status report on the six species of Sahelo-Saharan ungulates had been based on an analysis of over 350 published and unpublished papers and reports. This formed the core information that was brought to the workshop. At the same time, a network comprising over 80 experts representing more than 60 institutions, was organized. A GIS database was also created, and information on the historical and present distribution of each species was introduced in it. Dr. Beudels said that they had followed the format of the CMS action plan for the Siberian Crane. In this case, it was decided to follow the species-by-species and country-by-country approach, which might make reading less interesting but provided enormous advantages as a working tool.
22. Dr. Beudels reported on the workshop held in Djerba at the invitation of the Tunisian Government. She expressed her satisfaction with the fact that all Range States were present, including Saudi Arabia, which was taking a very active role. Most of the work of the workshop had consisted of the review and update of the status report and of the action plan. One of the results had been the clear statement by the participants that the States they represented would welcome an Agreement on Sahelo-Saharan ungulates developed under CMS. A draft had been prepared and circulated.
23. Dr. Beudels considered that, for the next two years, continuing support and funding from CMS would be critical for the conservation of those six species, and that it was essential to find other sources for funding.
24. The Executive Secretary stressed the political importance of the Djerba Declaration, which had been presented to the CBD COP in Bratislava. He believed it to be an excellent example of how CMS complements and co-ordinates with CBD and how the two conventions could work together for the implementation of CBD.
25. In the absence of the Councillor who had drawn attention to this species at the last meeting, the Executive Secretary said that unfortunately the Secretariat had little additional information to report. He reminded the Council that CMS had only one Party in the distribution range of the species, the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Zaire), which was in the process of organizing itself after recent events. He said it had been difficult to establish contact with the authorities of either Uganda or Rwanda, which were the other two Range States for the Mountain Gorilla.
26. The Technical Officer, Mr. Canevari, presented a brief report on this species based on the contents of document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 3.1. He added that a project proposal had been received and would be considered in the general discussion on the allocation of funds (agenda item 4.c). If accepted, the development of that project could perhaps be an important step forward for the conservation of the Huemul.
27. Referring to document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 3.2 prepared by the Secretariat, the Technical Officer presented an oral report updating the actions taken for this species.
Mediterranean Monk Seal
28. The Technical Officer introduced document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 3.3 prepared by the Secretariat. The Chairman added a short report on his conversation with Dr. Teixeira, who had been acting as Scientific Council focal point for the Monk Seal. Dr. Teixeira had confirmed that he would be agreeable to another Councillor being appointed focal point for this species.
29. Dr. Luis Mariano González (Spain) had been directly involved in the rescue activities of the Mediterranean Monk Seals affected by a severe die-off in the Cap Blanc colony. He said that the Spanish authorities had worked in collaboration with the Government of Mauritania. As a result of the die-off, the world population of the species had been brought to only one half of its former number in a very short period of time. He said a new analysis, carried out in Spain after the meeting in Amsterdam, had led to the unequivocal conclusion that the die-off had been caused by toxic algae.
30. The emergency plan that was signed at the moment of the catastrophe did not produce the desired effects. A Spanish team of scientists was permanently working at the colony. The good news of this year was that, so far, there had been no further deaths and that reproduction was continuing. However, a preventive measure system had been established, since the event could repeat itself any time in the future. In fact, a detailed examination of the bloom of the toxic algae revealed that it had been caused by natural phenomena which will almost certainly happen again in the future. It was clear that the Mediterranean Monk Seal populations in European waters (Greece, Turkey and Madeira) had been stabilised and were progressing well. In contrast, the African populations (Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania) had an uncertain future, with conservation measures and other plans still to be developed. Spain suggested that efforts be directed towards the co-ordination of forces in northern Africa.
31. The Executive Secretary recalled an earlier proposal to nominate a co-ordinator for activities on this species. He described the ideal candidate as a well-known person, with a reputation that would make him acceptable by NGOs, Governments, institutions, etc. He pointed out that most of the activities carried so far on the colony, like the ones developed by Spain, had been focussed on research, but not so much on conservation. He said that there were two proposals for the Council to consider: a) the nomination of a focal point for the species, who would replace Dr. Teixeira; b) the nomination of a co-ordinator for all conservation activities throughout the range of the species.
32. Dr. Wolff (Netherlands) inquired whether the European Commission had been consulted on the latter proposal and, if so, what their reaction had been. The Executive Secretary replied that he had not consulted with the European Commission yet, since he believed that the experts were sitting at the Council, and he wanted to have their opinion first.
33. Mr. Ndiaye (Senegal) said the prime interest of the Scientific Council should be science and conservation. A good number of international conventions (Bern, Bonn, Barcelona) made a specific reference to this species. However, too often money was made available only after the catastrophe had already taken place: the species would disappear if it had no place to live in the wild. He proposed to have a fund at the disposal of the Scientific Council that would allow for immediate and direct action wherever and whenever it was needed.
34. The Executive Secretary explained that the European Community was a Party to CMS, and that it had already provided funds for the rescue and monitoring activities carried out in the area. He further informed that the Secretariat had taken action last year, as a result of which two consequences had been obtained: a greater awareness of the situation of the species and a reaction from UNEP, which had requested funds through GEF. He proposed that a workshop be held by the most relevant experts on this species to decide on further action.
35. Dr. González believed that there were enough co-ordinating bodies, such as the IUCN/Species Survival Commission experts, and that activities in Spain, Greece and Portugal were well co-ordinated. However, the problem was how to extend that co-ordination to northern Africa.
36. Dr. Wolff expressed doubts at the proposal of the Secretariat, and said that one of the problems with conservation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal was the various efforts to take the lead in co-ordination. He thought that there was no point in adding another proposal for co-ordination. Players had to be integrated and consulted in the first place. Mr. Lebeau (Switzerland) agreed with the preceding intervention.
37. Concluding the discussion, the Chairman commented that so far it had proven impossible to get people to agree on what needed to be done, therefore, he could see no reason why it should work now. He felt sceptical that CMS should be the place for the co-ordination of Monk Seal activities, as other conventions might also feel entitled. On the positive side, he expressed his satisfaction that some programmes had been successful, especially the European Union programme. Furthermore, the disaster of the Cap Blanc colony had given proof that that population could not act as the reservoir from where natural recolonization would take place.
38. On the question of the nomination of Dr. González (Spain) as the CMS Scientific Council focal-point for the Monk Seal, the Chairman asked the Council for its approval, which was given unanimously.
39. The Chairman felt more sceptical about the second proposal to try to identify a co-ordinator for all Monk Seal activities, and also on who that person might be. The Executive Secretary defined the co-ordinators role as being to report to the donor bodies to CMS. The Chairman proposed that a working group be created, in order to assist Dr. González and to provide him with their views. Dr. González would in turn report to the nominated rapporteur on mammals of the CMS Scientific Council. The Chairman was of the opinion that this structure was not in variance with the Executive Secretarys views, and was in fact close to the operational organization that existed already in relation to the Slender-billed Curlew, with the position of Dr. Nowak and the working group led by Dr. Boere.
40. Dr. Vaz Ferreira (Uruguay) expressed his wish to extend the proposed solution to a number of other seal species. He said that the Mediterranean Monk Seal was not the only seal species that was currently in trouble. He proposed that the Council should study the possibility of creating a study group in order to determine the conservation needs of seals and sea lions.
General discussion on mammals
41. The Chairman summarised the discussion in relation to mammalian species. The Council had been presented with a full range of situations. On one end of the spectrum was the Mountain Gorilla, for which no specific project, action or ideas were available. Therefore, he proposed that no resolution proposals concerning the Mountain Gorilla be submitted to COP6. Dr. Botha (South Africa) insisted that if the Council was concerned but could not take action itself or could not produce a project proposal, then it should ask someone else to produce it. After further consultations, it was agreed that Dr. Beudels would look into the question in detail with a view to providing a status report on the species.
42. The Mediterranean Monk Seal was in a better situation. This species had been on CMS COP resolutions for a very long time, but the Convention had not done much in the past. However, there were new facts now, with a new focal point for the species recently nominated. The Chairman thus expected the working group on mammals to come up with a proposal and a clear view on which way CMS should be heading in relation to the Mediterranean Monk Seal.
43. As far as the Huemul and Franciscana Dolphin were concerned, the Chairman believed these two species to be in an intermediate position. There had not been much work done in the past, but one could say that at least something was moving.
44. The Chairman believed the ungulate species to be at the other end of the scale, ahead of the other species. There were clear projects being executed already and an action plan was available. He could still see one final step that would need to be taken by CMS: funding of the project. He appealed that the final phase be undertaken as well, so that the whole programme could be completed.
45. The Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Douglas Hykle, introduced document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 3.4, prepared by the Secretariat. He further explained that the International Crane Foundation (ICF) had been contracted to produce a project proposal that would be submitted for funding by the GEF. The Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding had shown their interest in holding a third meeting of Range States in 1998, and the Islamic Republic of Iran had been identified as a potential host. He also outlined the actions taken in the field of information and public awareness, with the production of a video and the compilation of reports from the Range States.
46. The Chairman welcomed that information and said that this was another species where action had been developed in a very satisfactory way. He particularly praised the model of action plan developed for this species under CMS together with ICF. He said the action plan was realistic and that it also showed very clearly who the different players were. He therefore urged all Scientific Councillors to adopt this action plans format as a model for future reference, and to use it for all species under CMS.
47. Document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 3.5 prepared by the Secretariat was used as a reference paper for the discussion on this species. The Technical Officer, in his oral report, added that a workshop held in La Paz two weeks before had updated information on these species. Conservation and research needs had also been identified and a project proposal had been submitted. All scientists agreed that a first priority would be to conduct winter censuses. The whereabouts of these species were quite well known now during the breeding season, after comprehensive summer censuses had been carried out in previous years. It would be necessary to extend these to the winter season, since many of the lakes identified as being important for the flamingos would most likely freeze over in the cold winter weather. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which could be signed by the four Range States, had also been proposed. Dr. Schlatter added that all four countries seemed to be favourable to signing such an MoU, and that that could become the first agreement signed in the so-called Comunidad del Altiplano or "Andean plateau community".
48. Lic. Blanco (Argentina) reported on this species, referring to document CMS/ScC8/Doc.3.6. He described the three activities which had been conducted: (a) field censuses, with a first draft report already available; (b) information material, which was being worked on, and (c) the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding between Chile and Argentina for the conservation of this endangered species.
Lesser White-fronted Goose
49. Dr. Madsen (Denmark) introduced document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 3.7 and described the progress achieved in tracing the migration routes with the aid of PTT transmitters. He also drew the attention of the Council to the high impact of mortality caused by hunting on this species. In order to reduce it, a project proposal had been prepared. This would consist of an awareness-raising campaign to be carried out among hunters in the areas frequented by the geese in winter.
50. Dr. Tatwany (Saudi Arabia) reported on the activities carried out by the Houbara Bustard Working Group. He explained that a proposal for an Agreement had been drafted and was currently with the Environmental Law Centre of the IUCN. The Executive Secretary added that both documents were still being worked on and were meant to be officially endorsed by a meeting of experts which should have taken place two weeks before but had had to be cancelled in the last minute. He said that both the draft Agreement and the action plan would be distributed immediately after that meeting had taken place.
51. Dr. Bankovics (Hungary) reported on the latest figures available on population size and distribution: in Hungary, the population had stabilized at about 1200 birds; in Yugoslavia, there were about 20 birds in the north; in Romania, there were over 100 birds, and a small population still survived in an area close to the borders of Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. He reckoned that the species was extinct in Poland, and was close to extinction both in Bulgaria and in the Czech Republic. So, in all, the central European population of the species could be considered to number just over 1500 birds, including the population still remaining in Germany.
52. Dr. Bankovics identified the main threats to this species as being: (a) agricultural activities in the breeding habitat; (b) increased mortality resulting from hunting at winter quarters (the species was not purely but partially migratory, many birds being displaced by cold winter weather and sometimes ending up in unfamiliar places where they easily fell prey to hunting), and (c) predation, mostly by foxes on females and young.
53. Dr. Bankovics announced that an area of 1302 ha, roughly corresponding to the necessary living space for 100 birds, had been bought within a national park in Hungary after a donation from a British company. On the development of a Memorandum of Understanding and an action plan, he said that a first draft of both documents had been prepared and that they were now under discussion. The draft Agreement had been further examined by the Secretariat and was being screened by IUCNs Environmental Law Centre. The Executive Secretary added that both documents were now to be discussed among experts and with the Bern Convention, the Council of Europe and the European Commission, and would be ready for circulation thereafter.
54. Document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 3.8 prepared by Dr. Nowak (Germany) was used as a reference paper for the discussion on this species. Dr. Nowak added, in his oral presentation, some information on the European Community-funded LIFE project on this species, and referred to the 4th issue of the AEWA newsletter for further details. He also made an appeal to the Council to encourage such countries as Italy and Turkey to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on this species without delay.
55. Dr. Devillers gave a brief report on the conservation activities undertaken in relation with this species. He identified the main tool as being the action plan prepared by BirdLife International. He said that BirdLife International had agreed to adapt that action plan to the CMS format for its further implementation.
General discussion on birds
56. In his summary, the Chairman said that the birds could be considered a more homogeneous group, in terms of development of conservation activities under CMS. The Siberian Crane was indeed the most advanced and considered it to be at a similar stage as that of the ungulates. He reckoned that activities for all other species were less advanced, more or less in the same situation. He welcomed that a working group had been created for the Slender-billed Curlew. He also proposed that the existing working group on the Lesser White-fronted Goose be regarded from now on as a formal working group under CMS in the same way as the one on the Slender-billed Curlew.
57. Dr. Limpus reported on two CMS-sponsored workshops held in the Indian Ocean, which had been especially geared towards building capacity in those countries where populations were being, or were to be, managed. Concerning a proposed workshop in West Africa, he informed the Council that the preparatory work was in progress and that a small prototype meeting had already been held in Gabon, attended by the Secretariat. Another area of interest was the Arabian / Persian Gulf region. Dr. Limpus also praised Jack Fraziers paper (Document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 10) on recommendations on future CMS activities for marine turtle conservation. Some additional work was needed to elaborate a set of focussed actions, in order to obtain the most from it.
58. Dr. Limpus gave the Council his impressions on a recent visit to the Mediterranean, as he thought that the situation there was actually a small vision of what was happening at the global level. He noted that, on the positive side, (a) one could see colonies in the Mediterranean which were known to have been there for the last 2000 years; (b) a tremendous effort was being put to protect nesting beaches of marine turtles, mainly threatened by pressure from tourism, and (c) awareness-raising campaigns were proving very successful. On the negative side, he identified: (a) a wide gap in knowledge between different, sometimes neighbouring countries; (b) lack of co-operation between countries, but also sometimes between parallel institutions within the same country or between different authorities, and (c) serious mortality caused by fishing activities, both as incidental by-catch and as intentional capture, which was particularly important in international waters. Dr. Limpus lamented that the Mediterranean seemed the ideal place for international action to be successfully implemented, yet the obvious lack of co-operation did not make that possible.
59. Dr. Limpus also reviewed the status of each species individually, starting with the Mediterranean. In this area, he said that the Green Turtle was in a critical state, and that the Loggerhead was also endangered. On the global scene, the Leatherback Turtle was in a tremendously critical state. He identified its two main problems being harvesting at nesting beaches and by-catch mortality.
60. Dr. Limpus thought that the Councils consideration of marine turtles under that general heading was too broad, and recommended that in the future each species be treated individually. On the question of their listing in the CMS Appendices, he said that the Flatback Turtle had been formerly considered to be restricted to Australia; it had not been included in the CMS Appendices because it was not known to cross international borders. However, there was evidence now that it extended more widely in the western Indian Ocean. Therefore, he recommended considering it for potential listing in Appendix I.
61. The Deputy Executive Secretary further reported that the Secretariat had contracted and produced a report by Dr. Jacques Fretey on the status and distribution of marine turtles in West Africa and that copies had been made available to Scientific Councillors. The Secretariat had also funded the production of a poster in French on marine turtle identification. It was especially relevant for francophone West African countries and he encouraged the Scientific Councillors concerned to take a good number of copies and distribute them in their own countries. He also clarified that the projected workshop on marine turtles to be held in West Africa had not been mentioned in the list of projects; not because the project was no longer programmed, but because it had received funds from other sources. The same was also applicable to the proposed workshop in Saudi Arabia, for which funds had already been identified.
62. The Deputy Executive Secretary drew the Councillors attention again to document CMS/ScC8/Doc.10, and asked them to study it in detail, since it included recommendations on future actions to be taken by CMS. Councillors were requested to study the tables included as Annexes and to comment on their format and content.
63. On the last day of the meeting, the Council mandated Dr. Limpus to review document CMS/ScC8/Doc.10, with the assistance of Mr. McNee (Australia), and to suggest the necessary changes prior to its being incorporated to the CMS strategic plan for consideration by the Standing Committee. Mr. Rao (Pakistan) noted that there were some inaccuracies in the document, in relation to his country, and said he would report them to Dr. Limpus. All Councillors were asked to submit further comments, in writing, directly to Dr. Limpus.
(b) Co-operative actions for Appendix II species, in particular: Corncrake, Common Quail, Black-necked Swan (Recommendation 5.2)
64. The Chairman introduced the background to co-operative actions and the philosophy behind them. Co-operative actions had been an innovation of COP5 and they provided another tool for the conservation of those Appendix II species not suitable for agreements or Memoranda of Understanding. He reckoned that some species required instruments of a softer kind and that co-operative actions would prove to be the right tool for them.
Corncrake and Common Quail
65. The Chairman explained that, as for other species, BirdLife International had agreed to adapt their action plans to the CMS format and that, once available, these would become the main source of action for those species. The Council agreed unanimously the nomination of Dr. Colin Galbraith (United Kingdom) as the CMS Scientific Council focal-point for the Corncrake.
66. Dr. Schlatter reported on the various activities that were being undertaken in southern South America in the form of co-operative actions for the conservation of various waterbird species. The Black-necked Swan was being used as a flagship species, but action was being extended to other species that could possibly benefit as well, such as the Coscoroba Swan.
(c) Proposed allocation of the $600,000 set aside by COP5
67. The discussion on this item was resumed on the morning of 5 June 1998, after the Council had split into five informal working groups, chaired by the rapporteurs, who had met separately on the previous two days. The projects proposed as a result of the discussion of the working groups added up to a sum that was slightly above the $600,000 available. The Chairman did not see that as a drawback, because experience in the past had shown that the final sums actually spent on projects tended to be below the funds allocated initially. A table with all the projects agreed in principle is included as Annex 3 to this report. The Chairman thanked the representative of the Government of Switzerland for an additional voluntary contribution, not yet earmarked for any particular CMS-related activity, of US$ 10,000.
68. The Chairman reminded Councillors of the need to submit project proposals without delay, in a format that suits CMS needs and that would make them suitable for processing by UNEP. The Deputy Executive Secretary added that it was important to identify at this meeting who would prepare the project proposal in each case. This information should be made available at least to the rapporteurs and to the Secretariat for follow-up.
69. Dr. Moser presented the results of the discussion of the working group on birds. A total of 12 projects had been identified, however, two of those projects had already received funding, and had been removed from the list. Three projects qualified as high priorities: the Lesser White-fronted Goose awareness campaign, the project to transform the Siberian Crane action plan into a GEF project, and the Slender-billed Curlew expedition to Iran.
70. The remaining seven projects were identified as being of medium priority. $15,000 were to be allocated to BirdLife International for it to transform the existing action plans on the Corncrake and Lesser Kestrel into CMS action plans and to carry out a scoping study on Common Quail; $20,000 were allocated for projects to be elaborated by a working group on Slender-billed Curlew and $15,000 for a workshop on the Houbara Bustard. The working group considered that, while the proposal for funding of activities related to waterbirds of the central Asian flyway did not meet the agreed criteria, CMS funding should be sought from another source, in order to contribute to the holding of a workshop. Finally, a small sum was allocated to obtain more information on the status of the Syrian Serin, Serinus syriacus.
71. In summary, the working group on birds proposed the allocation of a total sum of $98,959 for seven projects. The Council endorsed the oral report presented by Dr. Moser, of which a summary was made available to the Secretariat.
72. Dr. Beudels reported on the discussions of the working group on mammals. The group had identified the following species or groups as warranting the most attention: a recovery plan for the Atlantic population of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (under the responsibility of the Scientifc Council focal point, with funds to be channelled through the Canary Islands Government) and a project on Sahelo-Saharan antelopes (to be developed in fours parts by the working group) to implement the CMS action plan adopted at the Djerba meeting ($101,000). The total sum for requested allocation was of $116,000. Additionally, Dr. Beudels offered to prepare a literature review and status report on the Mountain Gorilla, for which funding was not required. The report was unanimously endorsed by the Council.
73. Dr. Perrin presented the report of the working group on small cetaceans and large fish. He said that the group had only considered those projects for which at least a project concept had been submitted. They had identified two high-priority projects and two other ones for which they also recommended funding. These were, ranked by priority, a survey on small cetacean populations in Australian / Indonesian waters, a workshop in Guinea, a survey in China / Viet Nam, and a research project to determine the conservation status of small cetaceans in Senegal. In case more funds were available, they had held a similar research project in the Gambia in reserve. In relation to the proposed project on Sturgeon, he said that the group had found it interesting but had recommended no funds be allocated to it. They thought it would be better to wait until further action was taken by CMS, whether in the form of an Agreement, its listing in Appendix I for concerted action, or otherwise. The working groups proposals were fully endorsed by the Council.
74. Dr. Limpus presented the results of the discussions by the marine turtle working group. The group considered an initial 14 proposals for which at least a project concept was already available, totalling some $700,000. In the screening process, they had looked also at the capacity of the executing teams to initiate and complete the projects. Four were identified as being of the highest priority: a five-country study of marine turtles on the West coast of Africa, with assistance from Dr. Jacques Fretey; a survey of nesting beaches in Guinea-Bissau (to be extended to neighbouring countries); a pilot study by WCMC to develop a GIS nesting beach database for the Indian Ocean, and a study of marine turtle genetics to help elucidate migration in the Indo-Pacific area ($40,000). A fifth project was agreed in principle, for Sri Lanka, but some reworking was needed to combine activities related to tagging and monitoring of fisheries. The Council unanimously endorsed the recommendations on marine turtles projects, totalling the amount of USD 147,900.
75. Dr. Schlatter presented the results of the discussions of the working group on Neotropical fauna. They had identified five projects for which they thought funds should be allocated: a project for the conservation of the Franciscana Dolphin on the coast of Argentina and Uruguay; follow-up action to a previous project on the Ruddy-headed Goose (conceived as a bi-lateral project and increased in budget due to the projected assistance of Dr. Madsen who would advise in his capacity as a goose specialist); action for the southern Huemul; a winter census of Andean Flamingos (in which Bolivia, a non-Party country, would participate as well) and a workshop on co-ordinated activities for a waterbird census in southern South America. The total sum agreed in principle by the Council for these five projects was $152,000.
76. The Chairman thanked the rapporteurs for their able assistance. He was disappointed that certain projects could not be funded this time, even though some of them were good projects. In view of COP6 ahead, with the possibility of new funding opportunities, he appealed to the Scientific Councillors concerned to keep in touch with the Secretariat so that worthy projects could be re-submitted. The Chairman reminded that projects should be submitted as soon as possible, as sums would be distributed on a first come - first serve basis. It was agreed that the Secretariat would send UNEP-format forms to all Scientific Councillors who would then return the completed proposal to the Secretariat and to the corresponding rapporteur. The Chairman finally requested the Secretariat that all substantive reports resulting from the funded projects, such as action plans, status reports, minutes of meetings, etc., be distributed to all Scientific Councillors.
77. The Deputy Executive Secretary noted that the amounts corresponding to each of the projects might be subject to slight variations, of no more than 10-15 %, as the proposals would come with more precise budgets. Therefore, the figures should be taken as indicative and small adjustments should be expected. He noted that about 25 projects had been agreed in principle. These were to be executed in the years 1998, 1999 and 2000, according to the Resolution of COP5, and therefore the projects would have to be spaced out and adjusted according to what is available in the budget and taking into account the Secretariats resources.
(d) Climate Change and its implications for CMS (Recommendation 5.5)
78. The Technical Officer provided a short update on this issue, referring to the terms of Recommendation 5.5, as approved by COP5. The Secretariat had circulated a letter on this issue to the other relevant Conventions, but had received no replies. He noted the workshop organized by BirdLife International and WWF, held in the United States, on the subject of climate change and its impact on fauna. Dr. Perrin further reported on the International Whaling Commission meeting in Oman, which he had attended as an observer on behalf of CMS. He referred to his report contained in CMS/ScC8/Inf.13.
79. To conclude on this item, the Technical Officer requested the Councils advice on how best to proceed, since it was unclear what CMS could do or contribute in this field. Without diminishing the importance of the issue, it was agreed that the Secretariat would continue to gather information so that it would be ready to react when it was considered appropriate, but take no other action for the moment.
Agenda item 5. Progress on matters requiring Scientific Council advice
(a) Small cetaceans and other threatened marine mammals of southern South America, South-east Asia and West Africa
80. Dr. Perrin described the tasks carried out in previous meetings to identify and consider potential areas for regional Agreements. In the area of southern South America, Dr. Schlatter reported on the work carried out with CMS funds. This had resulted in the Review of the Conservation Status of Small Cetaceans in Southern South America, available to Scientific Councillors as document CMS/ScC8/Inf.9. The report provided a general idea on species distribution, but data was insufficient as to their conservation status. Dr. Schlatter noted as well that the document contained recommendations on the potential listing of some species in Appendices I and II.
81. Dr. Perrin reported on the situation in South-East Asia. He said that there had been some obvious progress in the area, although activities had to be withheld at the moment because of the economic crisis that had struck that region. In West Africa, CMS engagement of a consultant had been a significant improvement. He expected further progress to be attained in the future.
82. The Chairman also welcomed the progress attained in the area of regional agreements and of co-operation on conservation activities for cetaceans. He considered this to be an important field of action. He appealed to Scientific Councillors to list those species that were suitable for future co-operative action, and encouraged them to make use of this new instrument introduced by COP5. He thanked Dr. Perrin and asked him to continue collaborating with CMS as he had done in the past, by acting as observer to other meetings and as the CMS Scientific Council focal point for cetaceans.
(b) Albatrosses - southern hemisphere
83. Document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 13, prepared by Mr. McNee (Australia), was used as a reference paper for the discussion. Mr. McNee stressed Australias commitment to the development of an Agreement for the conservation of albatrosses of the southern hemisphere. He said that all the countries involved were working collaborativelly. Some technical problems had arisen, due to the substantive revision in albatross taxonomy carried out recently. This revision had increased the number of species to 24 and had revealed more and more populations that were under threat.
84. Dr. Vaz Ferreira (Uruguay) drew attention to the actions carried out in Uruguay in relation with albatross conservation. He identified a new cause of mortality: the extension of fishing activities to formerly non-commercial fish species, like black hake and ray. He said that although incidental by-catch in the new fishing methods was not as high as in the ones used for traditionally commercial species, the increase in fishing effort had been substantial, and therefore overall by-catch incidence had increased accordingly.
85. Dr. Schlatter endorsed the document prepared by Mr. McNee. He drew attention to the fact that albatross biology was peculiar, with an unusually long deferred maturity and very long life expectancy. As a result, any increase in adult mortality could have a very adverse effect. He reckoned that the true incidence of by-catch mortality in overall populations was not known. Dr. Schlatter raised the question of how CMS, which for him was the appropriate tool, could take more effective action in order to research and analyse the impact of by-catch. He said that, in this respect, he had been in contact with Dr. John Cooper, from South Africa, who also requested a pronouncement from CMS on this issue. He said that it would be very useful to have such a statement and suggested it could extend to similar species, like the Procellaria and Macronectes petrels, which was also proposed by BirdLife International.
86. The Chairman replied that it seemed advisable to him to proceed carefully on this terrain, in view of the past record of relationships with fisheries. He said he did not personally endorse the idea of a strong pronouncement, as had been proposed by Dr. Schlatter.
87. On the question of the Agreement on southern hemisphere albatrosses, the Chairman acknowledged the good progress attained. He also thanked and encouraged the efforts of Australia, and of Mr. McNee in particular, for the development of such an important agreement. The Council endorsed these activities unanimously. The Council also gave Mr. McNee the mandate to consider what seabird species, other than albatrosses, might benefit from action taken within the framework of the proposed Agreement. The Chairman also introduced a suggestion for possible action, in the form of an advice to the COP, to include albatross species in their future recommendations or resolutions.
88. Dr. Wolff (Netherlands) noted that all albatross species were listed in CMS Appendices. Therefore, he enquired about the possibilities to include the northern hemisphere species also in the proposed Agreement and to take further action. The Chairman replied that the distribution range of northern hemisphere albatrosses included many other Range States, of which not even the majority were Parties to CMS. He believed that there was the possibility that such a wide-ranging Agreement might lose efficiency. Things would be different if both the USA and Japan signed such an Agreement, but that did not seem probable as of now. He asked the representative of Australia not to exclude the possibility of a global Agreement and to keep an open mind. Dr. Wolff insisted that many of the countries that operate long-line fisheries in the southern hemisphere do so in the northern hemisphere as well, and that it would be an awkward situation if these countries were not included in the Agreement. At the Chairmans proposal, the Council agreed to give the representative of Australia the mandate to look into that matter as well.
89. Dr. Galbraith (United Kingdom) enquired about the effects that the new taxonomy of albatrosses would have on CMS Appendix listings. He wanted to know if the new species resulting from the revision in taxonomy would automatically be included or otherwise excluded from the listings, or what their situation would be. The Chairman said that he seemed to remember that the COP Resolution which included all albatross species in CMS Appendices had made some specific reference to the fact that all species should be included. In any case, he said that CMS was an instrument specifically intended to provide for conservation measures and that the general attitude should be towards not excluding any species from its listings unless there was sufficient reason for such a measure.
(c) Sandgrouse (southern Africa)
90. Dr. Botha (South Africa) reported on the development of the negotiations towards an agreement among South Africa, Namibia and Botswana for the conservation of sandgrouse species. He said that significant progress had been achieved with the drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding. He also noted that the subsequent action plan was already in preparation. He expressed hope that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding could be announced during the next COP meeting to be held in South Africa. The Secretariat requested a copy of the current draft.
91. Before closing this point, the Chairman opened a general discussion. Dr. Tatwany (Saudi Arabia) reported on the progress made in the development of an Agreement on ungulates of the Arabian peninsula. He said that a draft was already in circulation among the countries neighbouring Saudi Arabia. He had informed the Secretariat that he expected the text could be finalized in a meeting to be held in Riyadh in the second half of the year. The Executive Secretary said that a copy of the draft Agreement had been submitted to the Secretariat and was being screened by the Environmental Law Centre of the IUCN.
92. Mr. Rao (Pakistan) proposed that, since many countries were involved in many Agreements, it would be more expeditious and cost-effective to base them on geographical areas rather than on single species. In reply, the Chairman reviewed briefly the history of most Agreement proposals, noting that multi-species Agreements covering large areas were not always feasible.
93. Dr. Perrin said that, with respect to South American species, there was a need for concerted action on the Franciscana Dolphin. The Chairman advised him to consult with the Secretariat as to the next steps to take, such as the appropriateness of drafting a Memorandum of Understanding.
(d) Review of Appendix I listings (WCMC project)
94. Document CMS/ScC8/Doc. 6, prepared by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), was used as a reference paper for the discussion. An earlier draft of this document had been distributed by the Secretariat to all Scientific Councillors. Before initiating the discussion, the Chairman announced that he would appeal to the Council to acknowledge the report and to endorse it if they considered it appropriate, and to decide or not on whether they supported the proposals put forward by the WCMC. He said that this report was not a purely academic exercise, but required action. If a species were to be listed in Appendix I, then it should be appropriate to include it also in a resolution on the next COP, and concerted action for its conservation should be taken immediately thereafter.
95. Dr. Tim Johnson, on behalf of WCMC, summarized the report and described the work undertaken by WCMC.
96. Referring to the recommendations contained in the report, the Chairman asked whether the Council wished to make a specific statement in relation to the African Elephant. A discussion then followed, in which Mr. Punguse (Ghana) stated his opinion that the African Elephant should be listed in Appendix I. Mr. Ndiaye (Senegal) raised the question of whether it would be appropriate to list only some but not all of the populations of African Elephant in Appendix I. The Chairman suggested that, if the African Elephant were to be listed in Appendix I, then it should be the subject of a specific resolution (of the 3.2-type), and concerted action should then be identified and arranged. The representative of South Africa said that his country might have serious reasons to object to that proposal, and others considered it premature to make a statement at this point. The Council would, in any case, be called upon to consider any proposal for listing in due course.
97. The second action proposed by the Chairman was in relation with the other species mentioned in the WCMC report. He reckoned that it was a more technical matter in that case, and asked the Council whether they would be willing to give a mandate to a number of experts (the five rapporteurs, for example) to study the question in more detail over the next few months. The other Scientific Councillors would then have to liaise with the rapporteurs and study whether they thought it was appropriate to take action and on what species. Finally, it would be for the Parties to make proposals as appropriate. The Council agreed unanimously, and the mandate was accepted by the rapporteurs.
98. Prof. Woloszyn (Poland) commented on the importance of bats and of their conservation. He noted that there is an unequal distribution of countries, as far as bats were concerned, which led to CMS being over-represented in Europe. He said that this did not correspond to the importance of its fauna. America, and particularly South America, was far more important for bats. He proposed to submit a list of species to be added to the CMS Appendices.
99. The Chairman clarified that the action he was seeking from the Council was two-fold. For those species already listed in Appendix I or Appendix II, he would ask the Council to come up with proposals for their inclusion into 3.2-type resolutions at the next COP and thus be the subject of concerted action. For those species which were not listed in the CMS Appendices, he would ask Scientific Councillors to identify a Range State that would submit a proposal for their listing and, at the same time, he would suggest to the Scientific Council that they be included into 3.2-type resolutions and thus be the subject of concerted action. He reminded the Council that it would not meet again until just before the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties. As it was for the COP to decide on any additions to the listings of the Appendices, and proposals had to be submitted at least 150 days in advance, he recommended that they be submitted directly to the Secretariat well before the May 1999 deadline. The Scientific Council would then be able to study such proposals and submit its recommendations to the COP for approval in its sixth meeting.
100. The Deputy Executive Secretary drew the Councils attention to List 1 of WCMCs report, which analysed whether it would be appropriate to de-list some or any of 11 species whose status had improved. The Chairman, commenting further on this issue, suggested that the Convention should maintain its conservation-oriented approach. He therefore asked Councillors not to seek house-keeping but to act on the basis of the precautionary principle.
101. Ms. García Donayre (Peru) said that she did not agree to the Humboldt Penguin even being considered for potential de-listing and thus included in List 1 of the WCMC report. She said that very ecently the population had been decimated by the effects of El Niño on the Peruvian coast, and had been reduced there to some 70 birds. She recommended it should not be de-listed from Appendix I. The Chairman clarified that there was no proposal for de-listing, but simply a purely analytical exercise undertaken by WCMC, the conclusion of which had been that no species was suitable for de-listing from the CMS Appendices.
102. The Executive Secretary said that, if the Scientific Council considered listing the Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) in Appendix I, then perhaps a number of other Acipenser species should be listed. He informed that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was dealing with caviar trade and that consideration might be given to developing an Agreement under CMS for the Caspian Sea area.
103. On the question of species groups, the representative of WCMC wondered whether the Council might want to consider what to do in the case of species included in the Appendices collectively as a family or as a genus. He thought it might be appropriate to decide on which of those species were indeed migratory, as in the case of the family Muscicapidae, which included many migratory but also many non-migratory species. The Chairman acknowledged the importance of the question raised and asked Dr. Johnson to liaise with Dr. Wolff (Netherlands) and with the Technical Officer of the Secretariat in order to proceed further. Concluding the discussion, the Chairman thanked Dr. Johnson and WCMC for their useful report, which was precisely the kind of document that was needed and which had been contracted.
(e) Follow-up of Latin America group
104. The Technical Officer reported that a meeting of all concerned was envisaged in the last trimester of 1998. He expected that more information would be available after that meeting had taken place.
(f) Taxonomic nomenclature to follow in the CMS Appendices
105. The Chairman reminded that the Convention should be conservation-oriented and that the findings or discussions of taxonomists should not condition conservation work. The Technical Officer reviewed the taxonomy used in the past for all species groups. He described the problems encountered, in particular with the large bird family Muscicapidae. He made some final recommendations, as contained in document CMS/ScC8/Doc.7 prepared by the Secretariat. He suggested that the Secretariat prepare a draft resolution, to be presented to COP6, to clarify the taxonomy. He stressed, however, that this exercise would not imply changes in the content of the CMS Appendix listings.
106. The Council gave the Secretariat a mandate to produce a listing of the references to be used in taxonomy for all animal groups. The Secretariat should then, if it considered it appropriate, draft a resolution for consideration by the COP.
(g) Advice on the use of tracking devices with endangered migratory species
107. The Chairman reported on the discussion held by the ad hoc working group on this subject, in which he had participated. The working group considered it appropriate that CMS should play a more active role in the development of this activity. It considered CMS to be the only legitimate convention at a global level to organize and co-ordinate a review of projects for those species listed in the CMS Appendices. The group had agreed that the Council should propose that a specific mandate be sought from the Conference of the Parties that would enable CMS to take a more active role. A working group, co-ordinated by Dr. Limpus and consisting of Dr. Madsen (Denmark), Dr. Nowak (Germany), Dr. Moser, Dr. Spina (Italy) plus any other Scientific Councillor who might be interested, was formed. The Council noted the report and endorsed the conclusions of the working group.
(h) Other matters
108. Dr. Klaus Riede, an invited observer, presented a project on a Global Register of Migratory Species (GROMS), led by him and developed by the Zoological Research Institute and Museum Alexander Koenig of Bonn. The project is summarized in document CMS/ScC8/Inf.10. Dr. Riede said that GROMS was meant to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and conservation needs. The Chairman endorsed the choice of population as the operational unit and expressed his satisfaction at the fact that the definition of migration used in this project was precisely the one contained in the text of the Convention on Migratory Species. The Council looked forward to being apprised of further developments.
Agenda item 6. Potential proposals to amend the CMS Appendices
109. The Chairman asked the five rapporteurs to look into their corresponding groups of species to identify which species, of the ones included in the WCMC report, were candidates for inclusion in the CMS Appendix listings. He also asked them to identify who would be responsible in each case for seeking a sponsoring country. He reminded the Councillors that all formal proposals for listing in the CMS Appendices would have to be received by the Secretariat at least 150 days in advance of the meeting of the Conference of the Parties. This meant that, if the next meeting of the COP were held in October 1999 as scheduled, formal proposals would have to be received by May of that year. Councillors were advised to keep in contact with the relevant rapporteurs. The Deputy Executive Secretary recalled the COPs advice that any Party that submitting a proposal should investigate if it would be in a position to take the lead in developing an Agreement or corresponding co-operative action.
110. The Council examined Dr. Perrins draft proposals to list four small cetacean species in Appendix II, as described in document CMS/ScC8/Doc.11, Annexes a), b), c) and d). Mr. Custodio (Philippines) said that his country would take the proposals put forward by Dr. Perrin and would be submitting a formal proposal for the inclusion of these four species in Appendix II. The Scientific Council expressed its support for Dr. Perrins initiative.
111. On the question of Sturgeons, Dr. Perrin said he endorsed the suggestion contained in the report prepared by the WCMC that endangered Acipenser species be listed in Appendix I, whilst non-endangered Acipenser be listed in Appendix II. Dr. Nowak said that Germany, as the biggest importer of caviar in the world, would support that initiative. The Council unanimously expressed its endorsement. It was agreed that Dr. Perrin would liaise with the Secretariat to decide on further action to be taken in order to implement this decision.
112. Dr. Perrin considered that the Scientific Council should encourage the Range States also to list the Whale Shark in Appendix II. The Chairman strongly recommended that the Council endorse this proposal and so it was agreed. Mr. Custodio said that the Government of the Philippines might also be interested in submitting a formal proposal for this species. Mr. Rao also offered his Government to submit such proposal since Pakistan was also a Range State. The Council agreed to ask Dr. Perrin to prepare a draft proposal, which should be circulated among the Scientific Councillors of the Range States concerned.
Agenda item 7. Institutional arrangements
113. The Deputy Executive Secretary introduced document CMS/ScC8/Doc.12, which proposed a fine- tuning of the system for submission of projects to be funded by CMS. The aim was to provide more transparency, encourage the submission of sound proposals in a standard format , and allow for objective scrutiny, as the need arose, of proposals submitted interesessionally.
114. For proposals that were to be considered by COP6 for funding in the next triennium, ideally the Scientific Council would have the opportunity to screen fully developed project documents (based on the UNEP format) in its meeting immediately preceding the COP. In this way, the Conference of the Parties would know how much to budget for in advance, for projects which could then be initiated with a minimum of delay.
115. The Chairman considered that the availability of CMS funds should not be advertised too widely, but acknowledged that proposals should also be solicited from selected, external sources. New proposals could be submitted at any time, however Councillors would be reminded again 6-8 months in advance of the COP. The Chairman agreed to the proposal put forward by the Deputy Executive Secretary to create an internal screening panel, and suggested that it consist of the Councillors appointed by the present meeting. For those projects submitted between meetings of the Council, the five rapporteurs should remain in close contact through correspondence to review proposals requiring immediate attention.
116. Dr. Schlatter expressed appreciation for the Secretariats document and proposed to integrate all matters related to performance and development of the projects in a questionnaire so that they could be ranked and evaluated. He believed that all countries would feel more confident in this way. He mentioned that CMS was still in its first generation of projects, but eventually countries would probably submit several projects throughout the years. He thought it convenient to keep record of their past performance, so that it could be taken into account for future funding. He also expressed his concern for the geographical balance in the distribution of projects, which would have to be taken into account in the future. Mr. Rao (Pakistan) added that he regarded the Secretariats proposal contained in Annex 1 as being very reasonable in all its terms, and supported Dr. Schlatters remark on the geographical balance in project distribution.
117. To conclude the discussion, the Council requested the Secretariat to revise the document, in consultation with the Chairman and the five rapporteurs, taking into account the comments that had been made. The revised document should be submitted to the next Scientific Council meeting for endorsement and forwarding to the Conference of the Parties, as appropriate.
Agenda item 8. Date and venue of the ninth meeting of the Scientific Council
118. The Deputy Executive Secretary advised that the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties was scheduled to take place in South Africa, in the Cape Town area, in the first half of October 1999. The provisional dates were from 3 to 16 October 1999, including meetings of the Scientific Council and of the Standing Committee. It was tentatively planned to hold the Scientific Council meeting on 3 and 4, possibly also 5, October 1999.
119. Dr. Spina (Italy) announced that an important conference was being organized in Denmark from 30 September to 4 October 1999 to commemorate the first 100 years of bird-ringing. He thought that this would also be of interest to at least some Scientific Councillors, beside himself and Dr. Madsen (Denmark). He requested that the Scientific Council meeting be postponed a few days to allow for all those Councillors to be present. The Deputy Executive Secretary offered to take this intervention into account, to see whether any shifting of dates was possible to accommodate the concern that had been raised.
Agenda item 9. Activities for the 20th Anniversary of CMS
120. Dr. Botha (South Africa) reported that the Government of South Africa intended to organize some activities to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of CMS, which would also be in 1999. He requested that suggestions for activities be sent either to him or to the Secretariat by the end of July 1998. One action which had already been suggested was the design of a special logo for the 20th Anniversary. This was meant to be used not only for COP6 itself but also during the whole year (in all correspondence, publications, etc.) and it could be undertaken by his Government. A symposium on animal migration, to be held as a break in the middle of the COP had also been proposed. Councillors suggested four potential themes: (a) achievements and lessons learned during the 20 years of the Convention; (b) animal migration within Africa; (c) bats and the importance of religious buildings for their conservation, and (d) importance of migratory birds for local populations in Africa.
Closure of the meeting
121. There being no other business, the Chairman thanked all Scientific Councillors, in particular the rapporteurs, and the Secretariat for their co-operation, and closed the meeting at 1.30 pm on Friday, 5 June 1998.