Nairobi/Bonn, 20 November 2005. The UNEP/CMS Secretariat opened its 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) on Sunday afternoon at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. High-level attendance was ensured by the Kenyan Minister for Wildlife and Tourism HE Morris Nzoro and the UK Minister for Biodiversity Jim Knight.
The Conference of the Parties will address existing and emerging threats to migratory species, which face an increasing variety of threats such as poaching, habitat loss, pollution, climate change and animal diseases. Several species such as the Basking Shark, the Lowland Gorilla and the Common Dolphin as well as African bat species are being considered for inclusion in Appendix I of the Convention.
The meeting started with an informal opening and partnership fair, featuring presentations from main CMS partners, including the corporate sector.
The first ever UNEP/CMS Thesis Award of Euro 10,000 was given to the American scientist, Dr. Zeb Hogan, for his Doctoral thesis work on the critically endangered giant Mekong catfish – the world's largest freshwater fish. The prize on migratory species was donated by Deutsche Lufthansa and National Geographic Deutschland and will continue on a triennial basis. Both award sponsors and TUI, who was also represented at the event, are among the founding members of the new association Friends of CMS, a private-public partnership which will assist the Convention in its fundraising efforts.
Migratory Species and Climate Change, Avian Influenza and other diseases affecting migratory birds were discussed at two roundtables with prominent experts. The conference was preceeded by the 13th meeting of the CMS Scientific Council and the 29th meeting of the CMS Standing Committee.
DAILY COVERAGE OF THE CONFERENCE: