27 July 2009 – Mr. Robert Hepworth, Executive
Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Secretariat
left the CMS Secretariat on 27 July 2009. In addition, Mr.
Lahcen El-Kabiri has recently left the position of Deputy
Executive Secretary of CMS to take up new functions as the
head the new CMS managed office to oversee the implementation
of the Agreements on birds of prey and dugongs in Abu Dhabi,
the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Hepworth, who joined the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) in 2000 as the Deputy Director at the then
Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC) in Nairobi,
was appointed as Executive Secretary of the Convention on
Migratory Species by the former Executive Director of UNEP,
Dr. Klaus Töpfer in August 2004. Mr El Kabiri joined
the CMS Secretariat as Deputy Executive Secretary one month
later. Since then, the two successfully led the CMS Secretariat
through two Conferences of the Parties (COP8 in Nairobi,
November 2005 and COP9 in Rome, December 2008).
Under their guidance and leadership, the Convention and
its Secretariat have lived through a period of intense growth
Main achievements of the Convention and its Secretariat
during the past five years include;
- Nine new CMS Agreements and Memoranda of Understandings
(MoU) for the conservation of species were concluded,
including a legally-binding Agreement on Gorillas, and
MoUs for West African Elephants, Indian Ocean and Pacific
Dugongs, African-Eurasian birds of prey, Small Cetaceans
and Manatees in Western Africa, Monk Seals in the Atlantic,
South American Grassland Birds, Andean Flamingos and the
- An International Scientific Task Force on Avian
Influenza and Wild Birds was set up in 2006,
which included AEWA, BirdLife International, CBD, CIC,
CMS, FAO, ISDR, OiE, WHO, Ramsar, Wildlife Conservation
Society, Wetlands International and ZSL as partners. The
Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza increased its
influence over the years through the organisation of over
a dozen teleconferences, symposiums, workshops and press
conferences and the translation of its advisory brochure
in 7 languages.
- Launch and management of three successful “Year
of” campaigns (Year of the Turtles, Year
of the Dolphin and Year of the Gorilla) which helped to
raise the international profile of CMS and were also used
to foster partnerships with the private sector, for example
with the TUI Travel Company for the Year of the Dolphin.
- Establishment of the “Friends of CMS”
in October 2005, a charity registered in Germany, which
provides active support to CMS initiatives as well as
functioning as a bridge between politics and industry.
- Increase of the membership of the Convention by
26 Parties to a total of 112 Parties (as of August
2009) with the majority of new CMS Parties coming from
Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
- A number of new partnerships and other agreements
have been signed with other international wildlife conservation
organisations, such as with BirdLife International, Wetlands
International, CIC, WDCS, IFAW, AMMPA, WCS and WAZA and
a Joint Work Programme with CITES.
- Recent establishment of a new CMS outposted
office in Abu Dhabi supported by the UAE to manage
the implementation of specific CMS instruments of key
importance to that region.
- Establishment of strong ties with the host
City of Bonn, with a number of public events
recently conducted to mark the 30th Anniversary of the
The CMS Secretariat staff would like to thank Mr. Robert Hepworth
and Mr. Lahcen El Kabiri for their leadership over the past
five years and for their efforts to move the Convention forward.
We wish them the very best and continued success in their