Mr. President, Excellencies, dear Mr Hammah Arba Diallo,
Executive Secretary of the CCD, honourable delegates from
State authorities, IGOs & NGOs, ladies and gentlemen:
First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President,
on your election, and to thank you for giving me this opportunity
to address this Conference of the Parties.
Bonn is famous for being the birth-place of Ludwig van
Beethoven, the well known composer of classical music; -
it is also the birth-place and home of the Convention on
Migratory Species - also called CMS or the Bonn Convention.
This Convention was negotiated here, concluded here and
the Permanent Secretariat was established here in 1984.
It was the first Secretariat of a UN-sponsored global convention
to be established in Bonn.
This and the fact that the President of the Federal Republic
of Germany, Dr. Rau, in his key note address yesterday spoke
to you about Corncrakes ( Latin: crex crex) and the Northern
shovelers (Latin: Anas clypeata), both of which are migratory
species and listed in the Appendices of CMS, may justify
my speaking on behalf of the 5-10 thousand other migratory
which form an irreplaceable component of the globe’s
which require international cooperation and concerted action
for their successful conservation,
which are excellent indicators for the health of the environment
and which are - as shared biological resources and symbols
of the common natural heritage of the community of states
- marvellous indicators for the state of international cooperation
in the field of environment.
While I hope - of course - that our two secretariats will
continue to be good neighbours, I think we should try to
do a little more than exchange pleasantries over the garden
Hence, I am pleased to inform you that CMS has been in
the vanguard of efforts to find ways and means of inter-Convention
cooperation. CMS is in the process of setting out the complementarities
of CMS and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which
means that we are providing evidence that CMS helps implement
a number of important aspects of CBD as well as other biodiversity-related
conventions. CMS also actively seeks partnerships with other
organisations - both inter-governmental and non-governmental,
whose interests coincide with ours - IUCN, BirdLife and
Wetlands International being just three prime examples.
To focus on the UN Convention to Combat Desertification,
I understand that an area the size of 6 million ha
of productive land has been lost to desertification each
year since 1990 and that one quarter or, as others estimate,
40 % of the globe’s surface is desert or threatened
by desertification. In addition to the loss of vital agricultural
and forestry land and the resultant human displacement,
it has been rendered uninhabitable for a number of animal
species whose habitats have been lost. Compensation must
be found for human food by transforming more natural sites
into productive land - with unfortunate consequences for
biodiversity and migratory wild animals.
The challenge is to reverse the trend and to see whether
the old ecosystems can be restored and the species re-established
in as short a period as they were degraded. This is vital
to humankind as well as the biodiversity which is a fundamental
basis for our human species’ survival. And it should
be understood that we cannot fight against poverty with
species which have become extinct.
(1) Circum-Saharan Africa has lost more higher vertebrate
species - birds and mammals - than any other region in the
CMS, in cooperation with the national authorities of the
14 Range States concerned, and experts from around the world,
have developed and concluded an Action Plan for the re-establishment
of viable populations of six - almost completely eradicated
- antelope species in the Sahelo-Saharan region which is,
by the way, larger than the continent of Australia. With
the assistance of the French Government, a Belgian scientific
institute and a number of zoos in Europe and North America,
CMS has initiated the reintroduction of captive-bred specimens
of these ungulates. I would hope that the instruments of
the Convention to Combat Desertification may assist in reaching
the goal to bring back the animals to the region as they
are part of the people’s history and tradition and
the ground for future economic development.
(2) Another concern for CMS are the wild antelopes, gazelles,
other ungulates, camels, donkeys and steppe birds - such
as Houbara and Great bustards - of the dryland regions of
Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. Human pressures, heavy
demand on the water supplies for livestock and general degradation
of the desert have all contributed to the animals’
decline. But they are characteristic species of the region,
and could play an important role in economic development.
(3) A third example of a group of species in decline are
the hundreds of bird species migrating thousands of kilometres
every year because of weather conditions and for food supply.
Many of these animals are under growing pressure through
the expansion of the deserts and the transformation of natural
and semi-natural land into mono-cultural farmland.
All these animals represent the common natural heritage
which can only be handed over to our children and their
children if we protect them and use them on a sustainable
basis. CMS is prepared to synergise. I would hope that synergies
will be gained on all levels including national levels.
Early next year the Secretariats of CMS and CCD will meet
to work on a joint work programme, an exchange of information
and possible areas of cooperation. I would just take this
opportunity to call on all states authorities, international
governmental and specialised non-governmental organisations,
scientists and sponsors to enable the global conventions
to make progress for the benefits of both humankind and