- 17 August 2006 At today’s meeting of the UN-affiliated
International Maritime Organization (IMO), UNEP Executive
Director Achim Steiner, together with representatives of
other UN Agencies and countries in the affected region,
focused on how to contain the oil spill and the related
environmental disaster caused by armed conflicts in Lebanon.
The CMS Family has offered to help countries in the region
to cope with the environmental damage as it relates to
migratory species. The Convention and two of its Agreements
asked Mr. Steiner to convey their offers of technical assistance
to the international high-level meeting that was working
towards a coordinated UN response to the oil spill.
The actual impacts of the oil spill on migratory species
have yet to confirmed. However, in collaboration with
the Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation
of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), and
in consultation with the Agreement on the Conservation
of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and
contiguous Atlantic area (ACCOBAMS), the CMS Partners
and members of the CMS Scientific Council, the CMS
Secretariat has undertaken a preliminary assessment
of the potential impact of the Lebanese oil spill.
The results of the assessment have been compiled and
are available in summary form.
Impacts to cetacean species are expected to be indirect.
ACCOBAMS has offered to provide an expert to advise
the Lebanese authorities on possible cetacean-related
impacts from the spill.
For waterbirds the situation
could deteriorate in the very near future when the
autumn migration starts
and over-wintering marine and coastal birds (cormorants
and gulls) start arriving in the affected region and
other migrants utilize the coast for foraging. AEWA
has offered access to its network of experts and would
be ready to undertake
a study to help identify potential risks posed by the
oil spill on populations of breeding, migrating and
wintering waterbird species in the region, if funds
were made available.
The preliminary CMS assessment identifies green and
loggerhead turtles and their nesting beaches in Lebanon
and Syria as potentially at risk. Consequently, CMS
has offered the affected countries access to its network
of experts on marine turtles and has offered to contribute
its global expertise to future coordination efforts
on the spill and to any post-conflict environmental
Click here to download preliminary assessment