Migratory Species Champions Honoured at AEWA MOP6

Bonn, 10 November 2015 - After its launch at the CMS Conference of the Parties in November 2014, the second chapter of the Migratory Species Champion Programme was opened yesterday in Bonn in the margins of the first day of the 6th Meeting of the Parties to African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA).

In front of over 200 government officials and representatives of the international conservation community from over 70 countries, Mr Fernando Spina, Chair of the CMS Scientific Council and Master of Ceremonies opened the event reminding all participants of the very reason for them being there: migratory species are a precious resource and require our support.

Mr Spina presented the Champion Programme which was developed to raise commitments to provide medium - and long-term resources for conservation actions under the CMS Family so as to guarantee timely planning and implementation of projects and other such initiatives.

He  said “Becoming a Champion is more than being a donor. It is being part of the solution to big problems that concern migratory species by delivering support for their conservation beyond funding. ”

While the Champion Programme promotes initiatives targeting all migratory species, the event focused on birds, especially those covered by AEWA.

Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety received the certificate on behalf of the German Government, which was recognized as Champion Plus for its commitment towards “Reconciling Energy Sector Developments with Migratory Species Conservation” for the current triennium. This award testifies Germany’s long-term mission to support global and multi-stakeholder efforts to promote energy technologies that are friendly both to the climate and to species.

Mr Øystein Størkersen, Principal Adviser, Directorate for Nature Management also received a certificate on behalf of the Norwegian Government, as Champion Plus towards the conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose for the period 2015-2017. It is a key flagship species for migratory waterbirds that face severe hunting pressure. Globally threatened, Lesser White-fronted Geese are amongst the rarest goose species on Earth.

The European Commission’s leading role in the next four years in tackling the “Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean” was also rewarded with ChampionPlusstatus; Anne-Theo Seinen and Marita Arvela, Policy Officers of the Directorate of Environment of the European Commission, received the certificate. The European Commission is specifically championing the establishment of an intergovernmental task force to tackle the problem at a regional scale as a first step and contribution to the wider efforts to prevent global wildlife crime.

The awards ceremony was followed by a presentation by Sergey Dereliev, AEWA Technical Officer, of a number of key AEWA initiatives under the Programme making a plea to all to become Champions.

The Migratory Species Champion Programme has a dedicated page on the CMS Family common portal, accessible here. More information can be obtained from Laura Cerasi at the UNEP/CMS Secretariat.

Last updated on 12 November 2015

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