9 February 2012 - On 24 October 2011 Ms. Monika
Thiele entered on duty as new CMS Staff member based in
Washington, DC. Monika works 50 per cent of her time for
CMS and her main assignment is to raise awareness within
the USA about CMS and to establish good working relationships
with governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The other 50 per cent of her time she works for the UNEP
Regional Office for North America (RONA) on ecosystem management,
with a special focus on ocean and coastal issues.
From 31 January to 3 February Bert Lenten,
Deputy Executive Secretary of CMS, visited Washington, DC
to meet a variety of US government agencies and non-governmental
organizations about CMS and to introduce Ms. Thiele as the
new CMS Focal Point for North America. During the four-day
visit, Bert and Monika met representatives from the U.S.
State Department, NOAA and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
as well as senior staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, Environment and Public Works Committee and Senate
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In addition,
Bert and Monika met numerous NGOs to raise awareness of
CMS activities and particularly outcomes of the recent COP10
in Norway. In addition to 14 bilateral meetings, CMS, courtesy
of RONA, hosted a lunchtime presentation about CMS, drawing
an audience of nearly 30 guests (15 distinct organizations).
A stimulating discussion on opportunities for enhancing
CMS engagement in the U.S. followed the presentation.
Overall, while there was much interest
in learning about CMS, it was apparent that understanding
about CMS, its agreements and its role in migratory species
conservation is lacking in the U.S. As a result, there is
a great opportunity for CMS to expand its presence in the
U.S. and capitalize on the interest expressed during meetings.
In her capacity as Focal Point for CMS in North America,
Ms. Thiele will be following up with the many ideas put
forward last week and consider ways to generate concrete
support for CMS agreements and activities from these organizations