14th meeting of the CMS Scientific Council was held at
the Secretariat’s premises in Bonn, 15th-17th March
2007. More than 70 participants attended the meeting including
45 Council members as well as representatives of countries
and partner IGOs and NGOs.
The meeting provided the first opportunity
for the Council to review progress in the accomplishment
of its Strategy Implementation Plan for 2006-2011. The
Plan, agreed by the Council at its 13th meeting, was designed
to define the contribution of the Council to the attainment
of the targets and objectives of the Convention’s
Strategic Plan 2006-2011 adopted by the 8th Meeting of
the Conference of the Parties. The meeting agreed that,
while significant progress had already been made in some
activities, overall, the challenges posed by the Strategic
Plan required a renewed effort. In this regard, the meeting
took important decisions concerning the Council’s
working practices, notably by agreeing to expand significantly
its activities between the meetings, by establishing several
intersessional working groups. Participants at the meeting
formed thematic working groups on climate change and migratory
species, on by-catch, on sustainable use and on animal
diseases, with defined work programmes and timetables
for delivering results. The meeting also expressed a definite
preference for maintaining the practice of two full regular
meetings in a triennium, with the second one to be held
preferably back-to-back to the COP meeting in order to
facilitate the participation of members of the Council
In terms of resources in support of
the work of the Council, the meeting considered in detail
the status and future prospects of the CMS Small Grants
Programme to support conservation and research activities.
Participants expressed concern that many projects that
had already been approved by the Council could not commence
due to lack of funds. The programme’s reliance almost
exclusively on voluntary contributions rather than on
the Parties’ regular subscriptions was recognised
as the main cause of the present financial difficulties.
The meeting, while refraining from suggesting new project
proposals, made a strong plea for securing adequate funding
to the programme
.“The CMS Small Grants Programme
has had a significant role in developing CMS initiatives
for a number of taxa mainly in developing countries. Project-oriented
work is a key operational tool of the Convention. I call
upon the Parties to raise their contribution to enable
the Convention to implement its work”, explained
CMS Executive Secretary Robert Hepworth.
Since 1997 the Programme has supported
over 50 projects, distributing nearly US$1.5 million.
The intermediate beneficiaries as implementing agencies
for CMS grants have typically been NGOs, foundations,
research institutions and universities. Resources have
been divided between four main groups of migratory species:
terrestrial mammals, birds, aquatic mammals and turtles.
The Programme has been in particular the main tool supporting
Concerted Actions for Appendix I species.
“The Small Grants Programme is
the flagship of CMS and every effort must be made by the
Parties to provide adequate sustainable means to fund
conservation projects”, said Mr. John H. Mshelbwala,
chairman of the Scientific Council.
The Scientific Council meeting also dealt
with a number of other issues:·
Progress of work on several crosscutting
issues: a study to identify migratory species as indicators
for climate change has been funded and is about to commence.
The meeting agreed to the terms of reference of reviews
of the impact of bycatch of migratory species in fisheries
and of the impact of artificial barriers to migration.
Another study on the impact of invasive alien species
on migratory animals has also commenced.
The meeting suggested several species
suitable for listing on the CMS Appendices across various
taxonomic groups, including several species and populations
of cetaceans from the Atlantic Coast of Africa, the Pacific
and South-East Asia and several species of Asiatic mammals.
The meeting also identified a list of bird species whose
suitability for inclusion on the CMS Appendices should
be evaluated. An offer by Kenya to prepare a proposal
for the listing of the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)
was also welcomed.
Dr. Sarah Fowler presented a comprehensive
study on migratory sharks prepared by the IUCN SSC Sharks
Specialist Group. The study, which constitutes a major
step forward in the consideration of these species within
CMS, was well received by the Council. Dr. Fowler offered
to move the process further by preparing draft-listing
proposals for potentially eligible species for consideration
by the Council.
The meeting also issued a statement in
support of the implementation of the conclusions and other
technical outputs of the Conference “Waterbirds
around the World”.