Bonn, 6th May 2009 - CMS Information &
Capacity Building, Francisco Rilla, representing UNEP /CMS
delivered a statement welcoming ACAP's engagement in combating
the threats facing albatrosses and petrels, particularly
by-catch, marine pollution, chemical poisoning, habitat
degradation and reduction in prey. He highlighted the parent
Convention's continuing commitment to address by-catch and
climate change, both important factors with a detrimental
effect on albatross and petrel populations. Mr. Rilla urged
the ACAP Parties to make common cause with CMS to maintain
the momentum towards achieving 2010 Biodiversity targets.
Mr Rilla also mentioned a number of CMS-related initiatives:
the Avian Influenza Scientific Task Force, the third annual
celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, the forthcoming
CMS publication: "A Bird’s Eye View on Flyways"
as well as the CMS Thesis Award 2008, sponsored by Lufthansa
and National Geographic Deutschland. All of these provided
evidence of the Convention's leading role in developing
scientific expertise as well as cross cutting issues affecting
The Meeting adopted a proposal to add a further three species
to the Agreement’s Annex:
Phoebastria albatros, Phoebastria immutabilis and
More information can be found under www.acap.aq
Information and Capacity Building Officer
of the Convention on Migratory Species of
Wild Animals (UNEP/CMS)
to the Third Session of the Meeting of the
Parties to the
Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels
27 April – 1 May 2009
- o O o -
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am glad to have the opportunity to address the 3rd Session
of the Meeting of the Parties to ACAP today and I would
like to thank the organizers for inviting me to this meeting
in the lovely town of Bergen. Both the Executive Secretary
of UNEP/CMS, who has asked me to represent him at this Meeting,
and I hope this MoP will be a milestone event for the recovery
of the populations of Albatrosses and Petrels all over the
world. I hope my presence and my message here will also
reinforce the relationship between ACAP and CMS and lead
to joint work in the future.
Elsewhere albatrosses generally remain subject to an array
of man-made threats, which reduce their reproductive success
and survival. By-catch, entanglement in marine debris, deprivation
of prey base by excessive or industrial fishing, chemical
contamination, oil spills and marine pollution – all
remain major or growing threats to these remarkable seabirds.
Above all, by-catch in long-line fisheries takes an unsustainable
toll on albatrosses and petrels. This meeting will mark
the next step in tackling these problems. CMS offers its
help to ACAP Parties to make your conservation efforts as
effective as possible.
Several resolutions adopted at the last Conference of CMS
Parties five months ago have special relevance to ACAP.
I would particularly cite the three resolutions which you
and other CMS Parties passed on Migratory Marine Species,
By-catch and Climate Change. Some copies of these are available
afterwards to refresh your memories!
Conference resolutions are of course, only a statement
of intent. Without follow-up and implementation they exist
only on paper. For that matter, resources are often the
Climate change, the subject of our second Conference Resolution,
is at last being acknowledged as the greatest global threat
to our planet and its species.
In my remaining time, I would like to mention three other
aspects of CMS’s current programme which I believe
have particular relevance for the Albatross agreement. We
pay great attention to birds!
Firstly, thanks to the initiative of another Agreement,
AEWA, the Convention will launch the third ever World Migratory
Bird Day (WMBD) in Bonn on 9 May 2009. More than 40 countries
have so far participated through specific bird conservation
activities, including Australia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador,
Uruguay, Peru and the Republic of South Africa who are all
ACAP Parties. In 2007 the “launch site” for
WMBD was the Wadden Sea. We would like to invite ACAP to
become a partner in World Migratory Bird Day in 2009 and
Our second initiative that is of interest to everyone concerned
with migratory birds, is the Avian Influenza Scientific
Task Force. We established this more than three years ago
and it now comprises 14 organisations including UNEP, Ramsar,
CBD, AEWA, FAO, BirdLife International and Wetlands International.
I would invite you to visit our newly launched website,
AIWeb (www.aiweb.info), designed to be a clearing-house
for information and science on wild birds, avian influenza
and the environment. Copies of the new Task Force information
booklet on Avian Influenza are available today.
The third and last example on my list is our Thesis Award
sponsored by National Geographic Deutschland and Deutsche
The winner of the UNEP/CMS Thesis Award of €10,000
in 2008 was Dr. Samantha Petersen, a biologist from South
Africa. The prize is awarded every three years in affiliation
with the Museum Koenig, a zoological research institute
in Bonn, and the Global Register of Migratory Species in
Bonn to promote scientific research and conservation of
migratory species, as defined by the Convention.
With her thesis on ‘Understanding and Mitigating
Vulnerable Bycatch in southern African Trawl and Long-line
Fisheries’, Samantha Petersen has made a significant
contribution towards improving the affected species’
conservation status under the Convention by providing new
data and insights into the biology of migratory species
and external factors disrupting their migration patterns.
Its relevance to the vision and goals of UNEP/CMS to improve
the conservation status of migratory animals meant that
this thesis ranked at the top. Over the past decade there
has been global concern about the bycatch of seabirds, turtles
and sharks in fishing operations, in particular long-line
and trawl fisheries, which have been widely held responsible
for their declining populations and threatened conservation
The FAO estimated that 75% of the global stocks are unsustainably
exploited, approximately 25% of marine resources landed
are dumped, ecosystems have been modified and catastrophic
declines of vulnerable marine life reported, including the
loss of up to 90% of the large predatory fish, in particular
An estimated 20,000 albatrosses and petrels die each year
on long-line fishing hooks in South Africa alone, and an
estimated 300,000 whales and dolphins fall victim to bycatch
globally. Ms. Petersen’s thesis takes into account
the ecosystem approach according to which marine species,
be they target or non-target for fisheries, do not exist
in isolation from each other and their environment.
Ladies and Gentlemen, CMS is on the move to meet the 2010
Biodiversity Targets, and beyond that. The common factor
in all our initiatives is partnership and teamwork. I hope
we can build further bridges to ACAP to form part of this
wider movement as a model agreement. The scope for joint
activities and synergies is substantial. I invite you as
Parties to both CMS and ACAP to encourage us to exploit
them to the full in the interests of albatross conservation.
This is the best way to ensure that these marvellous seabirds
also remain “on the move” after 2010 and eternally.
Thank you for listening to me, and a special word of appreciation
to our Norway hosts. It is a privilege to be here, at last.
Bergen, Norway, 27 April 2009