World Migratory Bird Day: Unified Campaign Triggers Events for Birds Around the World


World Migratory Bird Day: Unified Campaign Triggers Events for Birds Around the World


Bonn, 10 May 2018“Unifying Our Voices for Bird Conservation” is the theme of World Migratory Bird Day 2018, which will be celebrated in over 60 countries around the world on 12 May 2018.

World Migratory Bird Day is an annual, UN-backed global awareness-raising and environmental education campaign focused on migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.

“Migratory birds connect people, ecosystems and nations. They are symbols of peace and of an interconnected planet. Their epic journeys inspire people of all ages, across the globe. World Migratory Bird Day is an opportunity to celebrate the great natural wonder of bird migration – but also a reminder that those patterns, and ecosystems worldwide, are threatened by climate change.  I urge Governments and people everywhere to take concerted conservation action that will help to ensure the birds’ survival -- and our own”, said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres in a statement to mark World Migratory Bird Day.

Of the 11,000 bird species which exist on the planet, one in five is considered to be migratory. Forty per cent of these are in decline, with one in eight being threatened with global extinction.

Major threats to migratory birds include habitat loss and degradation, caused by agricultural and coastal development, collision with badly placed wind turbines and powerlines, unsustainable harvesting and the illegal killing and taking of birds.  Migratory birds are also heavily affected by poisoning, for example, through ingested toxic lead released into the environment as ammunition or fishing weights as well as by climate change.

Efforts to conserve migratory birds both globally and regionally are internationally coordinated by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). The two UN Environment-administered treaties have been spearheading World Migratory Bird Day since 2006.

“This year the campaign has a new global dimension as it is unifying efforts on both sides of the Atlantic to spark global awareness and action on migratory birds,” said Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS.

The new collaboration is between CMS, AEWA and the US-based Environment for the Americas, which has been the lead organization behind International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) in the Americas. The new joint World Migratory Bird Day campaign, is bringing together efforts along the world’s main migration corridors, also called flyways, for celebrations all across the world – and for the first time, with two peak campaign days in the year. 

“Due to the cyclical nature of global bird migration and the fact that a country’s physical location on the planet has a bearing on the presence of migratory birds, we have decided to follow the recommendation by many countries to promote World Migratory Bird Day celebrations on two central days spread out across the year,” said Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA.

Starting in 2018, World Migratory Bird Day will be annually observed on the second Saturdays of both May and October, making it possible to organize events in countries around the world at peak times of bird migration.

Notes for Editors

About the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated each year to highlight the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. More than 300 events in more than 60 countries to mark World Migratory Bird Day 2018 (registered on the website) will include bird festivals, education programmes, media events, bird watching trips, presentations, film screenings and a benefit concert to raise funds for international nature conservation.

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) — two intergovernmental wildlife treaties administered by UN Environment — organize the campaign in cooperation with Environment for the Americas (EFTA).

EFTA works with diverse partners to provide English and Spanish educational materials and information about birds and bird conservation throughout the Americas. Their programmes inspire children and adults to go outdoors, learn about birds, and participate in their conservation.


About the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or Bonn Convention after the city in which it was signed) aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Since the Convention's entry into force in 1979, its membership has grown steadily to include 126 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

CMS and its related Agreements on migratory birds bring together governments and other stakeholders to coordinate and further develop conservation policies, to ensure that all flyways in the world benefit from coordination mechanisms that promote cooperation at ground level among the countries involved. A special instrument for birds of prey (Raptors MOU) to addresses threats to these species. @bonnconvention

About the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)

The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds that migrate along the African-Eurasian Flyway. The Agreement covers 254 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle. The treaty covers 119 Range States from Europe, parts of Asia and Canada, the Middle East and Africa. Currently 76 countries and the European Union (EU) have become a Contracting Party to AEWA (as of 1 November 2017). @UNEP_AEWA

Related links:

World Migratory Bird Day – Website
Statements to mark World Migratory Bird Day
World Migratory Bird Day 2018 Events around the world
Social Media: @WMBD #WMBD2018  #worldmigratorybirdday #yearofthebird

For more information and expert interviews, please contact:

Florian Keil, Coordinator of the Joint Communications Team at the UNEP/CMS and UNEP/AEWA Secretariats Tel: +49 (0) 228 8152451

Veronika Lenarz, Public Information, UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Tel: +49 (0) 228 8152409,

Last updated on 10 May 2018