Foreword by Ms. Amy Fraenkel, CMS Executive Secretary
This year began on a high note for CMS, with the thirteenth meeting of the CMS Conference of the Parties (COP13) in February, hosted by the Government of India in splendid facilities in Gandhinagar. The CMS COP was set to kick off the “super year for nature”, a year which was to culminate in the adoption of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) in China.
There were many important outcomes of COP13 to further the work of CMS. COP13 also adopted the ‘Gandhinagar Declaration’, setting out CMS priorities for the Post-2020 GBF, including the importance of ecological connectivity. A report on all the events at COP13 can be found on the dedicated COP13 Newsroom.
Less than a month later, the world had changed dramatically, as countries went into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this unusual and challenging time, the CMS Secretariat has continued to carry out its mandate and find new and innovative means to do so. New communication technologies are making ‘virtual’ meetings more feasible and are helping to reduce our carbon footprint. The Secretariat successfully utilized such platforms to hold numerous important meetings, including the 9th Meeting of Parties to ASCOBANS in September. We also organized a virtual meeting to monitor the Action Plan of the South America Grassland Bird MOU and held the second meeting of the Signatories to the Bukhara Deer MOU. The CMS Energy Task Force held its fifth meeting, which reviewed performance over the period 2018-2020 and planned the next phase of work for 2021-2024.
The Secretariat also focused on securing financial resources, partnerships and other arrangements needed to begin implementation of its ambitious Programme of Work. We are deeply grateful to all of the donor countries and partners who have supported our work thus far. The Secretariat also become actively engaged on the links between zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 and the overexploitation of wild animals and habitat destruction and fragmentation. People turned increasingly to nature to find peace and connection, and in both May and October, CMS and AEWA jointly organized virtual World Migratory Bird Day celebrations, which involved CMS Parties and partners around the world.
We are looking forward to the coming year, which is certain to be a busy one. We will be organizing meetings of the Standing Committee and the Sessional Committee of the Scientific Council. We will participate actively in the shaping of the Post-2020 GBF. And we will deepen our efforts to implement the many different areas of work that have been entrusted to us.
On behalf of the CMS Secretariat, I wish you all a wonderful, restful and healthy holiday season, and look forward to continuing our work together in the coming year.