Opening Speech by Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA

Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Zsolt Semjén

And the State Secretaries,

Madam the President of MOP7, Flora Mokgohloa

Madam the Executive Secretary of CMS, dear Amy,

Distinguished delegates and participants at this 8th session of the Meeting of the Parties

Dear friends


On behalf of the AEWA Secretariat I would like to thank the Government of Hungary for hosting us in this beautiful city of Budapest under the sign of the Eurasian Spoonbill.

The COVID pandemic has forced us to postpone this 8th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to AEWA by one year.

We have learned over two years to work together in unusual formats. The pre-MOP for the African region was held in a completely virtual format, as were most of the meetings of the Standing Committee, and I would like to thank the committee members because the decisions to be taken were not the easiest.

We also learned, as the Executive Director of UNEP pointed out, that for the sake of humanity we need to tackle the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution together.  This is for our own health and well-being. The numerous cases of avian flu and its economic impact on the poultry industry in several flyway countries illustrate these links.

I have been a birdwatcher for 50 years and have seen, as many of us have, common bird populations gradually decline, ranges change, habitats degrade, raising fears that Rachel Carson's prophecy of a silent spring just 60 years ago could become true.

The time for dithering is over and the time for action is now. MOP8 opens a succession of international meetings: Conferences of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention and CITES, and in December the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The implementation of AEWA contributes to the objectives and implementation of these conventions in a concrete way on the ground.

Like the UN, the multilateral organisation under which you have placed our Agreement, AEWA can only function at its full potential if states cooperate and if civil society understands the issues and supports our actions.

Like emergency doctors, we keep seeing new species or populations in need of our expertise and intervention. Like emergency doctors, we are fighting to avoid extinction. Like emergency doctors, we need the resources to do more because when we all work together at the bedside of an endangered species, we achieve success. The Bald Ibis, White-winged Flufftail and Lesser White-fronted Goose action plans are good examples.

To achieve this, we must all mobilise and, despite the crises we are experiencing or because of them, give ourselves the means to do better. We have a clear strategic framework for the years to come, a framework that has been adapted for the African continent through a dedicated action plan.

I would like to thank the whole team of the AEWA Secretariat as well as the people from the ministries, the CIC, One With Nature and the hotel, who since last night and very early this morning organised our meeting rooms so that we could work in good conditions. Their nights were short.

I would like to ask you to respect the sanitary instructions: to be tested in the morning before coming to this beautiful hotel and to wear the mask during the whole day. This is to ensure not only your own health but also that of all participants.

Yesterday, at the welcome party organised by the CIC with the support of the Dallas Safari Club and the Leica optical company, which I would like to thank, I could measure the enthusiasm that drives us.

Let's turn this enthusiasm and willingness to act into the resolutions that will be adopted on Friday at the end of what will be a busy few days. The new four-day format of the MOP, of which one day, Thursday, is devoted to the side events in which I ask you to participate, imposes discipline and concision. I have no doubt that we will achieve good results. There are many topics to be discussed. I cannot enumerate here all the subjects to be dealt with in the time I have left, but in the times we are living through and in the face of the current crises, collaboration and partnerships must be strengthened, the need for knowledge must be met and new means must be mobilised.

Thank you!

Last updated on 28 September 2022

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