CMS celebrated its 20th anniversary
on 23 June 1999. A ceremony and diplomatic reception
took place in the guest house ALa Redoute@
of Bonn-Bad Godesberg on the invitation of the German Environment
Minister Jürgen Trittin.
ALa Redoute@ is a beautiful 200 year old building
situated right next to the Stadthalle (City Hall) where
the Convention was signed 20 years ago. Whereas, in 1979,
fifty-four countries signed the Final Act and twenty-two
the Convention itself, the number of Contracting Parties
has risen in the meantime to 60. The CMS Secretariat has
been informed that another six countries are at present
in the final phase of ratifying or acceding to the Convention.
About 250 representatives of Embassies of various countries,
Ministries, governmental as well as non-governmental organisations,
members of the CMS Standing Committee and the Scientific
Council, as well as representatives of the CMS Agreements=
bodies participated in the ceremony. Many speeches were
held in honour of the anniversary and all of them emphasized
the importance of the Convention.
The Chairman of the Standing Committee, Prof. Dr. Abdulaziz
H. Abuzinada, pointed out the importance of the conservation
of migratory species by stressing their role as "a
common natural heritage". He noted that "these
species are paramount symbols for natural resources shared
by States [...] as well as [...] excellent indicators of
the state of the environment".
UNEP Executive Director Prof. Dr. Töpfer, one of the keynote
speakers, emphasized once again our responsibility to protect
and to preserve nature as the basis for the survival and
well-being of mankind. He acknowledged the progress made
in the past years in implementing the Convention and confirmed
his willingness that UNEP will support CMS. Prof. Töpfer
compared the relation of UNEP and the six global biodiversity-related
Conventions to a family, in which UNEP assumes the responsibility
of the maternal role, while the different conventions are
the children, each developing their personality and prospects
in their own context. This administrative structure, he
said, has and will guarantee the efficiency of these organizations
also in the future.