Opening Remarks of Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals at AEWA MOP8

Thank you Madame Chair

I am very happy to be able to join you today to share some opening remarks at this 8th Meeting of the Parties to AEWA. Let me start by giving special thanks to the government of Hungary for hosting this important international meeting in the extraordinary city of Budapest, and for its continued commitment despite the many challenges. I would also like to extend my thanks to all of the AEWA Parties, stakeholders, and partners that have contributed to this effort, and will engage over the coming days to make this meeting a success. 

AEWA is the largest specialized Agreement developed under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species, with 119 Range States and a vast geographic area that stretches from the Siberian tundra in the Arctic to the southern tip of the African continent. Its focused and unique mandate has allowed it to deliver in a highly effective way.   

Since it came into force in 1999, AEWA has been a forerunner in many areas, including its work on developing a critical sites network, adaptive management, and the successful development and coordination of Single and Multi-Species Action Plans for some of the most threatened waterbird species. 

Much of the policy and technical work on the conservation of AEWA species has directly contributed to the implementation of CMS and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

I am sure many of you in this room would agree that AEWA is a gem among the CMS group of Agreements, noting all that it has achieved in its nearly three decades of existence.      

The success of AEWA demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of the overall approach of CMS and its numerous specialized instruments, at a time when we continue to see unprecedented biodiversity loss globally.  The work of AEWA and CMS and the other parts of the CMS family has never been more needed.  As you know, later this year, governments will be meeting in Montreal to finalize a new Global Biodiversity Framework.  We have been working hard to ensure that the Framework includes key priorities that will help achieve CMS, AEWA, and other instruments on migratory species, including targets related to ecological connectivity and species conservation. Following the adoption of the GBF, there will be significant areas where we can collectively contribute to its implementation.

I am pleased to report that the Secretariats of AEWA and CMS have never been more mutually supportive, and there are many areas of cooperation both at the technical, policy, and administrative levels. These include work on important cross-cutting topics such as lead poisoning, in which AEWA has played a leading role, as well as collaboration on avian influenza, illegal killing, and mitigating the impacts of renewable energy and powerlines on migratory birds.

The AEWA and CMS Secretariats were founding partners of World Migratory Bird Day, a campaign that continues to grow in size and impact in raising awareness and stimulating action for the conservation of migratory birds.

The co-location of our secretariats in Bonn has also allowed many areas of programmatic and administrative synergies.  One clear example is the Joint Information Management, Communication and Awareness-Raising Unit, which has led to a much greater and more efficient delivery of knowledge management and outreach for both of our Secretariats.  But there are many other areas of synergy which provide cost savings and immeasurable benefits, including administrative services, collaboration on human resource management, tackling new challenges such as the pandemic, and addressing broader UN policies in a manner that takes into account the particular needs of each of our Secretariats.   

Given all of this, I would like to encourage you to provide strong support for the work of the AEWA Secretariat, especially as you consider options for increasing its budget.  This is a key moment for advancing work for the conservation of migratory waterbirds, as well as biodiversity more broadly. The AEWA Secretariat has managed to deliver on much of its mandates, but I know it is stretched to the limit, trying to cope with a very ambitious work programme. Thus I hope that you will take the necessary steps to strengthen flyway conservation across Africa and Eurasia and ensure that AEWA will remain the highly effective treaty it has been to date.

Again, my sincere thanks go to our host, to the AEWA Parties, non-Party governments, stakeholders, and partners.

I also want to thank and congratulate Jacques Trouvilliez for his excellent leadership and stewardship of AEWA, and the entire AEWA team, for their hard work and dedication to these important issues.

I wish you all a very productive and successful meeting.

Last updated on 27 September 2022