focus on Migratory Birds at this year’s 53rd General
Assembly of the International Council for Game and Wildlife
Conservation (CIC) held in Limassol, Cyprus, 1 to 5 May, was
crucial to CMS. Representatives of UN Agencies, Governments,
hunting organizations as well as scientists from 42 countries
were present at the meeting.
CMS Executive Secretary Robert Hepworth who attended the
meeting not only on behalf of the Convention on Migratory
Species, but also of UNEP, stressed the importance of mutual
collaboration: “Since the official signing of a Partnership
Agreement at the COP in Nairobi last November, the dynamic
alliance has made substantial progress. Consultations on
a regular basis include a number of species of mutual interest
including antelopes as well as birds, and cross-cutting
themes such as the impacts of climate change on huntable
migratory bird species and the formation of a new CMS Agreement
for birds using the Central Asian Flyway.”
He also took the opportunity to emphasize CIC’s role
in providing support to an association to promote the work
of the Convention: the Friends of CMS. Dr. Klaus Töpfer,
former Executive Director of UNEP has been elected Chair
of the association and the President of CIC, Dieter Schramm,
is one of the members of the Board.
Another milestone in the collaboration between the two
conservation bodies was the publication of a CIC newsletter
that was entirely dedicated to Migratory Species and joint
conservation activities by CIC and the Convention. Priority
species such as the Houbara Bustard, Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes
and the Bukhara Deer were given high visibility.
“We highly appreciate CIC’s move to sign a
new Agreement to help conserve the endangered Saiga Antelope.
CIC’s support will be crucial to reverse the dramatic
decline in Saiga populations. Once the Agreement will come
into effect, immediate action is mandatory”, continued
The global spread of the lethal highly pathogenic avian
influenza virus was also on the agenda of the General Assembly’s
Meeting. The Convention on Migratory Species convened a
multi-agency Task Force in August 2005 to address the issues
connected with avian influenza, the environment and wild
birds. CIC that was represented from the outset by Niels
Kanstrup, made a valuable contribution. One of the major
conclusions of the Scientific Seminar on Avian Influenza
held last month in Nairobi was that culling wild bird or
destroying their wetland habitats was ineffective and counter-productive.
The presence of CIC expertise in the Task Force remains
vital as the hunting community plays a unique role as observer
and educational body.
Click here to download the statement by Robert Hepworth