Bonn, 15 October 2019 – The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) joined the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and its associated Agreements to take part in the annual UN Day celebrations on Bonn's Market Square on 12 October.
Twenty-one UN Bonn-based organizations including AEWA, CMS, the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS) followed the invitation of the municipality to showcase their activities.
This year's UN Day in Bonn also coincided with the second peak-day of the World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) celebrations. AEWA and CMS launched this annual campaign to raise awareness of threats to migratory birds across the globe. Together with their U.S. partner Environment for the Americas (EFTA), they agreed to use the campaign to focus attention on the topic of plastic pollution and its negative effects on migratory birds, particularly seabirds under the theme: “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution”
AEWA Executive Secretary Jacques Trouvilliez said: “There are no easy solutions to the plastic problem. It will require the joint efforts of governments, industry, municipalities, manufacturers and consumers to tackle the problem. However, as this year’s World Migratory Bird Day has underlined – everybody on this planet can be part of the solution and take steps to reduce their use of single-use plastic. Tackling this problem globally will not only be beneficial for us, but will also benefit our planet’s wildlife, including millions of migratory birds,” said Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement.
Plastic pollution poses serious health risks to both humans and wildlife globally, affecting a wide range of migratory species including whales, turtles, fish, and birds. Plastic pollution presents a three-fold threat to birds:
- Ingestion of plastic waste is the most pervasive concern and can affect large proportions of some species. Birds mistake plastic as food causing them to starve to death as their stomachs fill up with undigestable plastic.
- Plastic is also being used as nest material. Many birds pick up plastic to line their nests mistaking it for leaves, twigs and other natural items, which can injure and trap fragile chicks.
- Entanglement in fishing gear and other plastic litter is affecting many seabirds.
At the opening of the UN Day celebrations in Bonn, Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan highlighted World Migratory Bird Day. Together with the current chair of the UN Agencies, Shyamal Majumdar, he invited the public to visit the information stand of AEWA and CMS to learn more about the threat of plastic pollution to migratory birds, and what everyone can do to address it.