Bonn/Nairobi, 8 May 2015 - World Migratory Bird Day 2015 will be celebrated on 9-10 May in over 80 countries with the theme "Energy - make it bird-friendly!" It will highlight the importance of deploying energy technologies in a way that minimizes impacts on migratory birds and their habitats.
More than 100 events will be held to mark the occasion, including bird festivals, education programmes, birdwatching trips, presentations and an international video competition, and a benefit opera concert to raise awareness and funds for migratory bird conservation.
Migratory birds - such as cranes, storks, shorebirds and eagles - travel hundreds and thousands of kilometres to find the best ecological conditions and habitats for feeding, breeding and raising their young. Migration is a perilous journey and involves a wide range of threats, often caused by human activities. Growing human population, rapid urbanization, pollution, climate change and unsustainable use of landscapes are causing the loss, fragmentation and degradation of the natural habitats upon which migratory birds depend. Developments in the energy sector are adding to these pressures, as millions of migratory birds are affected by the expansion of various means of generating and distributing energy.
Turning off non-essential lights in cities to help birds navigate their annual migration routes; placing power lines underground, or retro-fitting them to prevent fatal bird collisions and electrocutions are all examples of measures being taken to make the world's expanding use of energy safer for migratory birds. These measures should be complemented by effective national legislation, planning guidance and policies that ensure the protection of birds from adverse effects of energy developments.
"The global challenge is to ensure that the development and deployment of energy infrastructure, crucial to support human development, and of renewable energy technologies, central to the fight against climate change, do not come at the cost of placing already threatened species of migratory birds at greater risk of extinction," said Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
"It is clear that renewable energy is needed to fight climate change which affects the survival of all species. But the development of this new technology should not be detrimental to migratory birds and the planet's biodiversity," said Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA).
"Solutions to address the challenge exist and CMS and AEWA have commissioned international guidelines which include practical measures to make both power lines and renewable energy safer for migratory animals, in particular for birds. Good planning to avoid placing wind farms on migration bottlenecks or making power cables more visible to prevent bird collisions are just a few examples" he added.
If not properly planned, the deployment of wind, bio-energy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean and solar energy technologies can have negative impacts on migratory birds, because such installations can form barriers to migration and exacerbate habitat loss and degradation.
Launched in Kenya in 2006, World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated each year, on the second weekend of May by a growing number of dedicated people and organizations around the world. The annual awareness raising campaign is organized by CMS and AEWA - two intergovernmental wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The 2015 campaign has been made possible thanks to a voluntary contribution of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) to AEWA. The global campaign is supported by a number of international partners, including: BirdLife International, Wetlands International, the Secretariat of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) and UNEP.
NOTES TO EDITORS
"The annual migration of birds is one of the great natural wonders and a source of inspiration for people all around the world. World Migratory Bird Day is not only a marvellous opportunity to celebrate these amazing creatures and their incredible journeys, but it is also an occasion to raise awareness about the many threats they face along the way," said Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA).
"There is little doubt that the development and deployment of renewable energies are vital if we are to end our dependency on traditional fuels. The BirdLife Partnership is committed to ensuring that appropriate planning, assessment and monitoring of renewable infrastructure take place in order to prevent adverse effects to birds and nature," said Patricia Zurita, Chief Executive of BirdLife International
"The message behind this year's World Migratory Bird Day is that a transition to a truly green and clean energy future will also need to include wildlife and particularly bird-sensitive methods of energy production and transmission as well as concerted actions by governments, nature conservation organizations, scientists and the energy sector to ensure that the advantages of sustainable energy can be realized for the benefit of people, birds and nature," said Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
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, its membership has grown steadily to include 120 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 global flyways policy, to ensure that all flyways in the world benefit from a coordination mechanism that promotes cooperation at ground level among the countries involved.
For more information, please visit the website: http://www.cms.int
About the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)
The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty developed under the auspices of CMS dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds that migrate along the African-Eurasian Flyway. The Agreement covers 255 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 74 countries and the European Union (EU) have become a Contracting Party to AEWA (as of 1 May 2015).
Please visit the AEWA website: http://www.unep-aewa.org