25 Jan 2019

Conservation world mourns loss of environmentalist Dr Bradnee Chambers

The conservation world is mourning the passing of Dr Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the CMS. His leadership and vision have been instrumental in uniting the global conservation community to work together for the benefit of the world’s migratory birds and other species.

Dr Bradnee Chambers, speaking at last year's Summit for the Flyways © IFHC
Dr Bradnee Chambers, speaking at last year's Summit for the Flyways © IFHC
By Alex Dale

BirdLife International is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), following a short illness.

Bradnee was a key figure in helping the conservation world shape environmental laws and policies for the benefit of nature. The CMS is a United Nations multilateral conservation treaty which entered into force in 1983, with the ambition of conserving migratory species throughout the range. Bradnee was appointed its Executive Secretary in 2013, leading the convention through the Conferences of the Parties in Quito in 2014 (COP11) and Manila in 2017 (COP12). Under his leadership, the CMS grew in stature and influence, facilitating increased co-operation between itself and other Conventions as well as NGOs, including BirdLife.

In 2018, Bradnee and the CMS played a key role in working with BirdLife to drive the organisation of the first ever Flyways Summit in Abu Dhabi, which brought actors and decision-makers from more than 70 countries together under one roof to address the critical declines facing the world’s migratory birds. Part of his legacy is the actioning of its recommendations, which were largely orientated towards furthering implementation of CMS COP12 Resolutions and Decisions regarding African-Eurasian Vultures (his particular favourites), Energy Infrastructure and Illegal Killing of Birds as well as coastal waterbirds, Saker Falcons and Bustards.

In recent years, CMS has taken a lead in developing intergovernmental task forces and working groups to precipitate real action on the ground on many issues important to migratory species.

The BirdLife family was quick to extend its condolences when news of Bradnee’s passing broke.



“Bradnee’s passing is a terrible and tragic loss for the global conservation community” says Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Chairman, BirdLife International. “Bradnee was a great leader and promoted significant progress on migratory species conservation policies and programmes”.

A champion of the natural world and an expert on international environmental governance, law and politics, Bradnee devoted his entire professional career to advancing environmental issues. Prior to his appointment at CMS, he held the position of Senior Legal Officer and Chief of the Law and Governance Branch at UN Environment Programme, where he worked to develop capacity building and to provide technical guidance to developing countries.

Recently, Bradnee had been playing a key role in encouraging synergies between the biodiversity-related conventions in support of a transformational New Deal for Nature, to be agreed by the world’s governments in Beijing next year.

A true leader, Bradnee’s untimely passing leaves a huge void in the conservation community. He was a great champion of building collaboration between countries, governments, civil society, local communities, organisations, businesses and donors recognizing that this cross-border and cross-sector collaboration can not only support but scale up the achievement of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

His passion, energy and vision were invaluable in uniting and advancing global conservation efforts. It is now up to the rest of us to take inspiration from his invaluable contributions and continue his work to fight for our planet’s nature.