12 May 2018 Press release Ecosystems

On the move to a safer world for migratory birds

Bonn, 12 May 2018 – The Earth’s great travellers – birds that sometimes trek thousands of miles between their breeding places and their wintering grounds – will be centre stage this World Migratory Bird Day, as the international community recognize their significance and vulnerabilities.

 “Unifying Our Voices for Bird Conservation” is the theme of World Migratory Bird Day 2018, celebrated annually on 12 May. The UN-backed global awareness-raising and environmental education campaign focuses the need for international cooperation to conserve migratory birds.

Forty percent of all migratory birds are seeing their number in decline, with one in eight being threatened with global extinction. 

Major threats include habitat loss and degradation, collision with badly placed wind turbines and power lines, unsustainable harvesting and the illegal killing and taking of birds.

Migratory birds are also heavily affected by poisoning, for example through ingested lead, a highly toxic heavy metal that is used for both fishing weights and hunting. When fired from a shotgun, hundreds of lead pellets fall into the wider environment putting wildlife at risk.

“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,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

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, 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 campaign days in the year, coinciding with peak times of bird migration in May and October.

Notes for Editors

About World Migratory Bird Day

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 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. www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/

About the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. 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. 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 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. www.unep-aewa.org

Related links:

World Migratory Bird Day – Website

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, press@cms.int