Bonn, 4 December 2009
– The 36th Standing Committee started with opening
statements given by the Chair, Mr. Mohammed Saud Sulayem
of Saudi Arabia, the Host Government and depositary (Germany),
Bakary Kante the Director of UNEP’s Environmental
Law and Conventions and the newly appointed Executive Secretary
of CMS. Mr. Kante (DELC) stated that the International Year
of Biodiversity would have a great impact on the CMS Family.
He assured the CMS Secretariat of UNEP’s support and
promised US$ 50,000 for the forthcoming meeting on the conservation
of sharks in February 2010. Mr. Kante explained how the
recruitment of the new Executive Secretary had been conducted
resulting in the appointment of Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.
The selection of Ms. Maruma Mrema by UNEP Executive Director
Achim Steiner, was officially announced to the delegates.
She entered on duty 1st December. In her opening statement,
Ms. Mrema emphasized climate change as the first priority
of the Convention’s future work. Promoting cooperation
among biodiversity related international treaties to ensure
that they were implemented better was also one of the key
challenges, she said..
In the report of the Depositary, Dr. Elsa Nickel detailed
efforts to recruit new Parties undertaken by the German
Foreign Office. Highlights of the report include the 30th
Anniversary of the Convention, a new publication on flyways,
Russia’s signature to the Saiga MoU, the first and
second meetings of signatories of the Western African Elephants
and the Pacific Cetaceans MoU respectively.
In its presentation of the Year of the Gorilla, the Secretariat
informed the delegates about the objectives of the campaign
and how they were being achieved. Education and awareness-raising
by means of official YoG publications, films and the YoG
website as the key information platform spread the message
of the need to conserve gorillas international level. Major
highlights were the Frankfurt Symposium and the State of
the Gorilla Journey across the gorilla range states. This
journey had been undertaken by YoG Ambassador, Ian Redmond,
during which he met various stakeholders in gorilla conservation
ranging from high-ranking politicians to former poachers.
The Standing Committee endorsed the Secretariat’s
concept of appointing Ambassadors both for the Convention
in general and for specific campaigns. The Secretariat reported
on the various achievements of the current Ambassadors and
highlighted the commitment and efficiency of YoG Ambassador
Ian Redmond. Delegates were assured that ambassadorial duties
did not entail a drain on the Convention’s financial
Olivier Biber, the Chair of the Inter-sessional Working
Group of the Future Shape, delivered a first report and
called for feedback by the Standing Committee members by
mid-January. A presentation on the institutional structure
of CMS with its Agreements and related projects on taxonomic
groups was given to the delegates.
The meeting discussed how to proceed with the roll-forward
of the Convention’s Strategic Plan in view of the
uncertainties before the conclusions of the Future Shape
process. AEWA, ASCOBANS, ACCOBAMS, EUROBATS and the Gorilla
Agreements then had an opportunity to report on their activities
including recruitment of new Parties, Meeting of the Parties,
adoption of action plans, measures to remove obstacles to
migration, and resources for implementation. Martin Lok
of the Netherlands , representing the ASCOBANS Parties,
reported on the merger of the CMS Secretariat and ASCOBANS,
which had been accepted by the delegates.
According to the status for the CMS Trust Funds 2009-2011,
the Secretariat was not facing any cash-flow problems and
its financial situation was stable. In addition, it had
been able raise almost € 500,000 in 2009 in voluntary
The new CMS office in Abu Dhabi, which opened in October
this year, will focus on implementing the Memoranda of Understanding
on birds of prey, dugongs and marine turtles. On the occasion
of her visit to the Secretariat, the Executive Secretary
of the Convention signed a donor agreement on US$ 3.6 million
for the establishment of the office. All staff has been
recruited and the Host Government Agreement will be signed
For the first time the Secretariat presented a code of
conduct for partnerships with the private sector. Following
cooperation with the corporate sector, in particular TUI
and Lufthansa, with regard to the Year of the Dolphin and
the Thesis Award, the Secretariat had elaborated on the
framework of such a partnership. It was recommended that
only corporate companies that contribute to solutions to
conserving biodiversity should be eligible.
As far as the venue of COP 10 is concerned, the Secretariat
has received offers from Georgia, Mongolia and Norway. Taking
into consideration the experience of COP9, the Secretariat
will look into the best date and format for the meeting.
The Executive Secretary suggested late 2010 as time frame
for the next Standing Committee and was confident of having
another progress report on Future Shape to review.
Mr. Kante expressed his hope that CMS will become soon
a universal convention by recruiting 15 new Parties next
year. This could be achieved with the support of UNEP’s
regional offices. It was especially important for CMS to
convince the United States of America, the Russian Federation
and Japan to adhere to the Convention.
The 36th CMS Standing Committee Report will be available
soon on the CMS website.
Link to article on the recently established Abu Dhabi office: