CMS Executive Secretary Speaks at the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development

Bonn, 23 March 2018 – Dr. Bradnee Chambers, CMS Executive Secretary, participated in a live stage interview yesterday at the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development. The three-day Festival brings together the global community taking action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of policies to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030

In celebration of World Water Day, Dr. Chambers spoke about the link between migratory species and water, and some of the most urgent challenges facing migratory species today. Species such as  eels, salmon and sturgeon that migrate over long distances between the rivers and oceans are particularly vulnerable, with their migration being restricted by barriers such as dams and water pollution. Plastics are also a major problem.

“Rivers are kind of a conveyor belt for the plastics getting into the oceans. Ninety-five percent of the plastics that are getting into the ocean are coming from rivers. It’s affecting our manatees, our dugongs, our river otters—many, many species are being affected.”

Bradnee Chambers. Executive Secretary, CMS

But why are migratory species so important? Why should we care if they go extinct or not? In addition to being magnificent creatures with intrinsic value, migratory species also significantly benefit human societies, explained Chambers. Ecotourism is a billion-dollar industry. Migratory  birds and bats are important for controlling diseases such as  malaria and zika. They also play an important role in pollination, directly benefiting the agricultural industry—one of the world’s largest industries. And many migratory species are national symbols that form a part of our culture: “We identify with these animals, so they are important and we need to be able to ensure that we have these species for the generations to come.”  

Dr. Chambers highlighted some of the work that CMS has done to address the threats facing migratory species. For example, CMS works with governments to ensure win-win solutions: if a dam is being constructed, a bypass or fish passage also needs to be built. CMS has also passed resolutions calling for plastics to be reduced at the source, to reduce plastics in rivers and oceans.

Dr. Chambers concluded with a few suggestions for what individuals can do to help: “When you’re going out shopping, take a bag that you’ve used before, or a recyclable bag. Don’t buy water in plastic bottles. There are things we can do, here and now and every day, to reduce plastics, and it’s not that hard.”

It takes place every year in Bonn and is organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Federal Foreign Office. 

Watch the video on the dialogue with Dr Chambers on United Nations Web TV.


Last updated on 19 April 2018