The Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species (COP8)

This is expected to be the most productive COP in the convention’s history. The Conference agenda is underpinned by a common feeling of urgency to meet objectives to halt or reduce global biodiversity losses by 2010.

The Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species (COP8) takes place in Nairobi, Kenya from 16 to 25 November 2005 under the banner: On the move to 2010.

In keeping with the nature of the species it is designed to protect and conserve, the Migratory Species Convention is "on the move" across geographical and political borders, moving swiftly to mobilize the necessary political and other resources to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth.

"This is expected to be the most productive COP in the convention’s history", says CMS Executive Secretary Robert Hepworth. "The Conference theme On the move to 2010 provides a “golden thread” for our agenda. All our business – political, scientific and financial – will be underpinned by a common feeling of urgency to meet global and regional objectives to halt or reduce global biodiversity losses by 2010. We are addressing some highly topical issues – the effects of climate change on wildlife and ecosystem resources, the equally devastating threats posed by the spread of avian influenza and the crises faced by migratory
species such as Saharan antelopes which are on the edge of extinction. We are also in a position to take practical steps at this Conference to finalise or implement new agreements to save saiga antelope, forest elephants, bustards, turtles and whales”.

Despite the weighty official title of Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, a COP is an exciting event that not only constitutes a progress report of the activities of the Convention, but also plots the way ahead. The COP "establishes and keeps under review the financial regulations of the Convention, adopts the budget for each financial period and reviews the implementation of the Convention. In particular, it may review and assess the conservation status of migratory species and the progress made towards their conservation; it provides guidance, receives reports and makes eecommendations to the Parties."

A COP is and does much more than that, Mr. Hepworth points out. It is a coming together of the representatives of the 93 Parties to the Convention with delegates from international and national organizations and NGOs; special interest and advocacy groups, often including regions that constitute the range for one or more species, and all competing for attention and resolution of specific issues of concern to their respective constituencies. Because of the nature of migratory species that move without passports or permission across one or more national borders, issues are most often regional rather than national, and solutions often blend traditional knowledge with the newest technology. "The dialogue between these diverse interests is frequently passionate, always stimulating and highly productive", he adds.

The On the move theme is reflected in the formal agendaitems which include not only the usual procedural activities, addresses, reports from other Bodies, States and Partners, but also the dynamic CMS Strategic Plan, Outreach and Communications Strategy, and Measures to improve the conservation status of Appendix I species, notably the "concerted Action Projects" for the Sahelo-Saharan antelopes and the Siberian Crane Wetland, all plans of action to enhance the speed with which CMS and its partner organizations may reach their common goals.

Special Events

Lively special events complement the official Agenda.

Saturday, 19 November Two highly topical Roundtables


Focusing on the findings of the recently-released report Climate Change and migratory species (, commissioned by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), discussion will be introduced by Jim Knight MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity.
Findings of the report underline that migratory birds and animals are in the front lines of the victims of climate change as their separated and diverse habitats are being destroyed by changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and increases in extreme weather events like droughts and floods due to global warming.
Invited participants include Mr. Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); Colin Limpur, from the Queensland Environment Protection Agency in Australia; Mark Simmonds, International Director of Science of the Whale and Dolphins Conservation Society; Rainer Blanke, head of the main section of the German Agency for Nature Conservation on ecology and ecosystems; Humphrey Crick, Senior Ecologist of the British Trust for Ornithology; Max Finlayson, Principal researcher with the Wetlands Ecology international water Management Institute.


In the opening part of the roundtable, internationally recognized experts and scientists will discuss and help clarify the role of migratory birds both as vectors and victims of avian influenza.

The discussion will then extend the topic to include relationships between other diseases originating in animals, such as SARS, the Ebola virus, HIV/AIDS and rabies, and their impact on human health. Invited participants include the Executive Secretaries of EUROBATS and AEWA, the Agreement for the Conservation of European Bats and the Agreement on African-Eurasian Waterbirds, respectively. Also invited are Ward Hagemeijer, the Program Head of the Biodiversity and Ecological Networks Division of Wetlands International, Taej Munkur, Coordinator for South Asia, Wetlands International; Colin Galbraith, Chair of the CMS Scientific Council; David Morgan, Senior Scientific Officer at CITES; Roberto Schlatter, President of the Institute of Zoology at the Universidad Austral of
Chili; Dieudonné Ankara, GRASP focal point for Congo.

On Sunday, 20 November:

Presentation of the National Geographic Deutschland and Deutsche Lufthansa CMS Thesis Award

The formal Opening Ceremony of COP8 features the presentation by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer of the first Award for the Thesis on Migratory Species Conservation, which is sponsored by National Geographic Deutschland and Deutsche Lufthansa. The winner of the Award, Zeb Hogan, an American scientist will present his pioneering thesis on the critically endangered Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasiidae), which has made a significant contribution to improving knowledge on its conservation status.

On Monday, 21 November: "CMS Partnership Fair. On the move to 2010"

At this colourful evening event, the principal CMS Partners will gather with other NGOs, IGOs and Parties to discuss existing and potential new alliances. At least four Partnership Agreements will be signed between CMS and CIC (Conseil international de La Chasse); the Global Nature Fund (GNF); the International Fund for Animal Welfare(IFAW); the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)v and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society(WDCS).
There will be short presentations on relevant work undertaken and/or planned on the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species, including existing or planned collaborations with CMS. The meeting will discuss how partnerships may assist the achievement of the 2010 target of significantly reducing biodiversity loss, and provide an overview of different avenues for collaboration. Organizations will display and distribute their outreach material to all participants, exchanging information on respective and mutual areas of interest with other potential partners.

Sunday, 20 November – Friday, 25 November

Exhibition of posters by Parties, Partners and others on the Conference theme of On the Move to 2010.

Side events – More than 20 organizations will hold side events during COP8. These will take place at the COP venue at lunchtime and following the afternoon regular meeting sessions. For a complete listing see link to schedule.

Additional Highlights of COP8

• A special session of COP8 in English, Russian and Arabic will be held to finalise an Agreement on the Asian Houbara Bustard, which has been under development for more than 15 years, under the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;
• Proposals to give extra protection to several new species by amending the Convention to add them to Appendix I and II including the Gorilla, several African and Latin American bird and bat species and Mediterranean dolphins;
• An invitation to the Parties to endorse the “Guidelines on Sustainable Use” (“CBD Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biological
Diversity”), sending a verbal signal especially to non-Parties in the developing world, that CMS Parties have tangibly committed themselves to a balanced approach which fully recognizes the value of conservation in providing economic and social benefits to people, especially in poorer areas;
• Proposals to revitalise the “Global Register of Migratory Species” a pioneering database created through funding from the CMS host country, Germany, and
potentially a key element in the scientific and capacity building work of the Convention and its Parties;
• A Report on the development of CMS Agreements including the SE Asian dugong and South Pacific whales: the latter may be ready for signature at COP8;
• A resolution from Australia, New Zealand and the Seychelles seeking a new CMS Agreement and Action Plan on migratory sharks;
• Announcement of new steps to activate the CMS Agreement for West African (Atlantic) Turtles, and a resolution to negotiate a new agreement for Pacific turtles;
• The presentation and signature of new agreements to conserve the West African Forest Elephant and the Saiga antelope;
• Launch of the joint UNEP/CMS Regional Seas Small Cetacean Review in book form, which is expected to be a global reference tool for these migratory marine mammals.

Last, but certainly not least,

• CMS will announce the launch of its innovative fundraising strategy for CMS and its Family of Agreements focused on the private sector and led by the new not-for-profit German association Friends of CMSto be chaired by the the outgoing Executive Director of UNEP, Klaus Toepfer (a separate note will be prepared on this item).

For further information and/or requests for interviews, please contact:

Paola Deda
Inter-Agency Liaison Officer
UNEP/CMS Secretariat
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species
Martin-Luther-King Str., 8
D-53175 Bonn, Germany
Tel: +(49) 228-815-2462
Fax: +49-(0) 228-815-2449
E-mail: [email protected]

The international community established the 2010 target date in The Hague Ministerial Declaration on the occasion of the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, April 2002 (please see: and )

Need a reference to the Annotated Agenda on Website and/or copy included in press kit hand-out

For background, please see " National Geographic Deutschland and Deutsche Lufthansa nominate the winner of the UNEP/CMS Award"

International Fund for Animal Welfare see:

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme see:

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society see:

From 16 Nov 2005
Until 25 Nov 2005
Nairobi, Kenya
News topics: