In August 2005, concerns about the role of migratory birds as potential vectors of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H5N1 led the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), in close cooperation with the Agreement on the Conservation of African Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), to establish a Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds.
The Task Force aims to bring together the best scientific advice on the conservation impact of the spread of avian influenza, assessing the role of migratory birds as vectors of the virus. It is also intended to issue advice on the root causes of the epidemic as well as on technically sound measures to combat it and to develop early warning systems. The Task Force draws on the expertise of conservation scientists, hunters, veterinarians, epidemiologists, virologists, land managers and other experts comprised of 14 members and observers, including UN bodies, wildlife treaties and specialist intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations.
In March of 2007, FAO changed its status from an observer member to full member of the AI Task Force. In June 2007, FAO was asked to co-convene and co-coordinate the AI Task Force with UNEP/CMS.
More information is available in the related publications, press releases and documents.