Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild
Animals (CMS or Bonn Convention) celebrated its 25th Anniversary
on 23 June in Berlin. Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer,
Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
and CMS Executive Secretary Mr. Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht
hosted the event.
In his speech Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer
highlighted the importance of the Convention for the transboundary
protection of migratory species and stated that in the last
25 years much has been achieved with little means. Meanwhile
the protection of migratory species is inconceivable without
the Bonn Convention. In addition, the number of Parties
increased to a remarkable number of 86 whereby another 25
have signed up for regional agreements. In his speech Prof.
Dr. Klaus Töpfer also thanked CMS Executive Secretary
Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht for his commitment in managing
the convention for the last twelve years. “For me”,
Töpfer said, “he is Mr. CMS.”
Mr. Johannes Rau, the Federal President
of Germany noted in a welcoming address inter-alia that
“migratory animals need a strong lobby in order to
avoid that they become victims of our modern world by becoming
In a second key note speech Mr. Jürgen Trittin,
German Federal Environment Minister, also complimented the
successful and future role of CMS. In his welcoming address
he focussed especially on the role of CMS in achieving the
goal of the Johannesburg Summit of 2002 on Environment and
Sustainable Development (WSSD) to reverse by 2010 the loss
of biological diversity. He took the example of the Albatrosses,
which are extremely endangered by illegal and excessive
longline fishery, and for whose better protection CMS has
established a special Agreement (ACAP). He described the
Albatrosses as miraculous biological “machines”.
They can spend up to several months in the air and on water,
they swallow extreme quantities of fish which they bring
to their offspring on islands hundred of miles away.
Sir Peter Tory, the British Ambassador
in Germany and the representing authority of the Parties
to CMS reported the many regional agreements for various
species which CMS has created and which have proven to be
successful tools for a tailored co-ordinated and concerted
protection of the respective animals. Whales and dolphins,
European bats, 235 Migratory waterbirds species in Africa/Eurasia
and Marine turtles are in addition to Albatrosses and Petrels
amongst the species protected under CMS.
Mr. Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels, President
of WWF Germany and speaking on behalf of the many international
and national Non-Governmental Organisations in the field
of Environment Nature Protection, looked retrospectively
at the past 25 years. These were good years for CMS and
the WWF. A long tradition of co-operation links both organizations.
This tradition should be continued in future. While collaborating
more closely, both CMS and these organisations, could better
reach their goals.
Ms. Bärbel Dieckmann, Lord Mayor
of the City of Bonn, emphasised in her welcoming address
the conclusion of the Convention in Bonn 25 years ago, thus
giving it Bonn´s name. She also noted with pleasure
that with the CMS Secretariat Bonn is hosting the oldest
UN-Agency with a global field of activity in all of Germany.
Last orator was Mr. Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht, who
highlighted the special nature of the Bonn Convention. It
organizes the commitments of all countries which are “common
owners” of migratory animals as a “shared natural
resource”. CMS brings scientists, field workers and
national/international NGOs together. Only this kind of
co-operation ensures successful work for migratory species.
Another important aspect of conservation is research on
migratory movements. Tracing migration routes of migratory
species facilitates conservation efforts. Therefore the
CMS Secretariat announced a new PhD Award, sponsored by
Lufthansa and National Geographics. The award of Euro 10.000
will be given in a three-year interval at the Conference
of the CMS Parties for a scientific PhD thesis on migratory
species. Mr. Müller-Helmbrecht concluded with more
good news. The accession of new Parties is ensured. On short
notice Austria and Rwanda and a dozen other countries are
in the process of ratifying. Furthermore a Memorandum of
Understanding for the extremely endangered Saiga Antelope
will be signed this year.
A demonstration of more than 300 school children and students
on 22 June sent a delegation of youngsters to hand over
a resolution and indicative list of conservation requests
to UNEP Executive Director Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer.
One of their messages read: “No storks - no children,
no children - no pension.”
click here for more background information on the CMS 25th