Farewell to Rob Hepworth, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

Rob Hepworth, CMS Executive Secretary Bonn,
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
and development.

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
    Ruddy-headed Goose.




  • 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
    Bonn Convention.


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
new endeavours.

Last updated on 16 June 2014

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