Bradnee Chambers 1966-2019

Bonn, 24 January 2019 - The AEWA Secretariat was sad to learn that the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Dr. Bradnee Chambers, passed away on 23 January 2019 in his native Canada after a short illness.

This is a tragic loss for the CMS Family and the United Nations. Bradnee became Executive Secretary of CMS in 2013 and led the Convention through the Conferences of the Parties in Quito in 2014 (COP11) and Manila in 2017 (COP12).  Under his leadership, CMS progressed to becoming a stronger Convention with a significantly higher number of Parties.

“Bradnee was committed to the conservation of biodiversity and as Executive Secretary of the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, I was happy to work under his leadership. As he said at the MOP7 opening ceremony recently held in Durban on 4 December 2018: AEWA plays a key role as a member of the CMS Family in achieving flyway conservation goals and adds an important component to the conservation of global biodiversity. We have had many fruitful discussions on how to increase our collaboration within the CMS Family to make the theme of “Connectivity” the root of our actions and a key issue in the post 2020 global biodiversity framework”, said Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA.

Bradnee was instrumental in the instigation of a review mechanism to facilitate better implementation of the Convention and a stronger cooperation of CMS with other biodiversity Conventions. He was aiming to ensure that the CMS Family was supportive of and recognized within the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework and envisaged CMS COP13 as a milestone in achieving this target.

Bradnee dedicated his entire academic and professional life to advancing environmental issues. He was convinced that global environmental problems must be addressed through stronger international environmental law and governance – a conviction that guided his work throughout his career.

“Under the leadership of Bradnee, we have launched a joint Communications team, sharing our resources to increase our efficiency and visibility. Bradnee and I were convinced that our common mission of safeguarding wild animals needs not only the involvement of governments but also of the general public as well. In that respect, Bradnee and I signed in the margins of the CMS COP12 in Manilla an agreement with Environment for the Americas (EFTA) to make World Migratory Bird Day a global event spanning over all the continents. I have lost not only a great colleague but also a friend”, said Trouvilliez.

Before joining CMS as Executive Secretary, Bradnee worked at the Transnational Cooperation Division of UNCTAD in Geneva from 1994-1995.

Bradnee served in several capacities at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, including Acting Deputy from 1996 to 2008. He started the Institute’s programme on Sustainable Development Governance and on Environmental Diplomacy and initiated negotiation training courses on climate change and the World Trade Organisation ministerials. He also launched the Junior Professional Fellowship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship programme.

From 2008 to 2013 he headed the Law and Governance Branch of the Division for Environmental Law and Conventions at UN Environment’s Nairobi headquarters. From 2010 to 2013 Bradnee led the UNEP Secretariat in the Nairobi-Helsinki Ministerial Process that resulted in the significant strengthening and upgrading of UNEP at the Rio+20 Conference (The Future We Want). This included transforming UNEP's Governing Council into a universal body called the United Nations Environmental Assembly.

Bradnee wrote numerous books and articles on reforming international environmental governance, including his book Interlinkages and the Effectiveness of Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Bradnee contributed to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Global Environment Outlook 4. He was a part of the academic community, and a senior lecturer and visiting professor at various universities in Japan.

Bradnee will be remembered dearly by all of his colleagues here in Bonn. He was a strong leader with a clear vision; a kind and cheerful manager who always kept his door open to all staff; and a generous and warm-hearted colleague.

Bradnee is survived by his daughter Ena.  His wife Elisa died in 2017 shortly before COP12.  The fortitude Bradnee showed in Manila shortly after this tragic loss was exemplary.

Our thoughts and condolences go to his family and friends. The CMS Secretariat has set up an email through which one can  transmit  messages of sympathy to Bradnee’s family at:

Last updated on 24 January 2019

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