BirdLife team helps Convention on Migratory Species take significant steps forward for the conservation of migratory birds

By nick.langley, Tue, 29/11/2011 - 20:15
The 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) made a number of decisions that should lead to significant improvements in the conservation status of the world’s migratory birds. As well as agreeing a new policy framework for streamlining of conservation work across the world’s flyways, resolutions were adopted that should see the development of a flyway action plan for African-Eurasian landbirds, the development of guidelines on minimizing poisoning of birds and the application of updated guidelines on minimizing the impacts of powerlines on birds. "The excellent spirit of collaboration among delegates from both the governmental and non-governmental sectors as well as other stakeholders at COP10 was a demonstration that the CMS is THE global intergovernmental framework for delivering on the ground species conservation" said Nicola Crockford, head of the BirdLife delegation. "The CMS's importance for delivering BirdLife’s conservation objectives continues to grow as its future shape evolves." Resolution 10.27 on Improving the Conservation Status of Migratory Landbirds in the African Eurasian Region was proposed by Ghana following a meeting with the High Commissioner for Ghana at the British Birdwatching Fair in August. The resolution seeks to improve the conservation status of these mostly passerine species, which are probably declining faster than any other suite of birds in the region. Most African-Eurasian migratory landbirds are not covered by current flyway initiatives and conservation activities. They tend to be widely dispersed, migrating over a broad front, and face a range of different threats on their breeding, passage and wintering grounds. To address these, thanks to the support of the Government of Switzerland, an international action plan will be developed during the course of the next three years coordinated through the forum of the CMS.

The Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) may well have been one of the most significant so far in advancing the conservation of migratory birds.

The meeting also adopted Resolution 10.26 on Minimising the Risk of Poisoning to Migratory Birds as proposed by Switzerland. Funding is being sought to develop the first ever global guidelines on how to combat the threat of poisoning. Resolution 10.11 on Power Lines and Migratory Species provided an important update on guidelines to minimize the impact of powerlines on migratory birds. BirdLife also proposed paragraphs adopted in resolutions on synergies and partnerships and on capacity building to promote the concept of national biodiversity working groups to ensure on the ground implementation of the biodiversity conventions. With the adoption of Resolution 10.10 on Guidance on Global Flyway Conservation and Options for Policy Arrangements, developed by the CMS Flyway Working Group of which BirdLife was a member, for the first time a proposed overarching framework was provided for all work under CMS on migratory birds. The globally Vulnerable Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis, Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis and Saker Falcon Falco cherrug were added to Appendix 1 (migratory species in danger of extinction), together with the Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus, and the Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus to Appendix II (migratory species that would benefit significantly from international co-operation). BirdLife and its Partners hosted and co-hosted a number of side events on topics including Global Waterbird Flyway Conservation best practice, with a focus on East Asian intertidal habitats and the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus; the Vulnerable Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola (APB, BirdLife in Belarus); Vulnerable Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus (NOF, BirdLife in Norway); the MOU on South American Grasslands (Guyra Paraguay); and the Saiga Antelope Saiga tatarica (ACBK, BirdLife in Kazakhstan). Dr Leon Bennun, BirdLife's Director of Science, was elected CMS Appointed Councillor for Birds.

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