Daily report for 21 September 2002

7th Meeting of the CMS Conference of the Parties (COP-7) and 2nd Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA MOP-2)

The Plenary met in the morning to hear the Credentials Committee’s Report. The Committee of Whole (COW) discussed draft resolutions on the Strategic Plan and institutional arrangements. Working Groups met in afternoon sessions to discuss the budget, the Strategic Plan, the Implementation Management Plan, and draft resolutions on, inter alia, impact assessment, offshore wind turbines, offshore oil polllution, and electrocution of migratory bird species.


Credentials Committee Chair Tatwany reported to the Plenary that the Committee has so far accepted the credentials of 42 Parties and indicated that he would make a final report to the Plenary by Tuesday morning, once all outstanding credentials documents have been examined. COP-7 Chair Altmann introduced the draft report of the meeting (UNEP/CMS/Conf.7/L.1). CHILE, on behalf of ARGENTINA, and NEW ZEALAND proposed minor amendments. Chair Altmann said the matter would be revisited.


STRATEGIC PLAN DRAFT RESOLUTIONS: Impact Assessment and Migratory Species: The COW considered a draft resolution on impact assessment and migratory species submitted by Kenya and Hungary in collaboration with Birdlife International (UNEP/CMS/Res.7.10 and Conf.7.16). Commenting on the resolution, BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL called for increasing the focus on migratory species within biodiversity-related aspects of environmental impact and strategic environmental assessments. The EU indicated that it has yet to conclude its deliberations on the proposal.

Offshore Oil Pollution and Migratory Species: GERMANY introduced a draft resolution on offshore oil pollution and migratory species (UNEP/CMS/Res.7.11) The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO and NIGERIA noted efforts made by African countries regarding offshore oil pollution in Central and Western Africa. MONACO suggested reference to chronic oil pollution.

Migratory Bird Species Electrocution: GERMANY introduced the draft resolution on electrocution of migratory bird species (UNEP/CMS/Res.7.12). SWITZERLAND and ZIMBABWE proposed adding reference to collision with medium and high voltage power lines.

Offshore Wind Turbines and Migratory Species: GERMANY introduced its draft resolution on offshore wind turbines (UNEP/CMS/Res.7.13). SWITZERLAND, the CZECH REPUBLIC and HUNGARY suggested expanding the scope of the resolution to include land-based turbines. MONACO added that the growing use of wind power in regions other than the North and Baltic seas should be addressed.

Scientific Council Chair Galbraith expressed the Council’s support for these proposals, recommending a holistic approach, including cooperation with industry.

The COW established a drafting group, chaired by Steve Lee-Bapty (UK), to further consider the drafts.

By-catch: Highlighting by-catch as one of the most serious global threats to marine migratory species, Galbraith introduced the Scientific Council’s recommendations on by-catch (UNEP/ CMS/Conf.7.17, Annex VIII). He expressed concern over the targeted hunting of species formerly considered as by-catch, and suggested cooperation with the ASCOBANS and ACOBAMS Secretariats. Underscoring the lack of appropriate action since COP-6, Scientific Council By-catch Working Group Chair Barry Baker (Australia) highlighted recommendations on, inter alia: the types of measures required, including describing threats and their impacts and implementing mitigating measures; establishing by-catch observers in territorial waters and exclusive economic zones; and encouraging research proposals on areas not covered by the CMS. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY recommended involving industry and seeking support from regional fisheries organizations. SIERRA LEONE called for capacity building for monitoring activities and raised concern over the discarding of wanted catch due to lack of storage capacity. AUSTRALIA urged development of domestic by-catch action plans. GERMANY and the WHALE AND DOLPHIN CONSERVATION SOCIETY stressed the need to consider other threats to marine species, including collision with, and noise from ships. Galbraith said that these comments would be incorporated in the recommendations.

American Pacific and Central Asian-Indian Flyways: COW Chair Ignacio introduced draft recommendations on the American Pacific Flyway Program (UNEP/CMS/Rec.7.4), submitted by Chile, Argentina and Peru, and on a Central Asian-Indian Waterbird Flyway initiative (UNEP/CMS/Rec.7.5), submitted by India.

On the American Pacific Flyway Program, URUGUAY and ARGENTINA highlighted the need for action at the regional level. Regarding the Central Asian-Indian Waterbird Flyway initiative, India underscored the importance of the flyway for critically endangered migratory birds, and called for international support for the initiative.

Other Recommendations: SWITZERLAND recommended that the COP take note of the WSSD biodiversity-related outcomes. The UK highlighted that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment will present options for the integrated management of ecosystems and recommended that the CMS consider ways to use information provided by the Assessment. The UK will submit a draft recommendation to the Strategic Plan Working Group. SENEGAL said that a draft recommendation for regional coordination on West African cetaceans and manatees will be submitted to the COW. AUSTRALIA drew attention to draft resolutions on the dugong and on addressing data deficiencies on the Antarctic Minke Whale, Bryde’s Whale and Pygmy Right Whale. CMS Scientific Councillor for marine turtles Limpus called on Range States of the Leatherback Turtle to participate in the drafting of a resolution for this species.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: Headquarters Agreement and Juridical Personality of the CMS Secretariat: CMS Executive Director Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht reminded delegates of the recently signed Headquarters Agreement between Germany and the CMS (UNEP/CMS/Conf.7.14.1). He noted that the scope of the Agreement could be extended to co-located Agreements’ Secretariats by their decision-making bodies, and proposed that the COP endorse the Agreement. Noting that little progress was made since COP-6 on the CMS’ international juridical personality, he also requested that discussion of the matter be postponed.

Co-location of Agreement Secretariats: Müller-Helmbrecht introduced a document on the co-location of Agreement Secretariats (UNEP/CMS/Conf.7.14.2), noting that the Secretariats of the Agreements relating to Europe (ASCOBANS, AWEA and EUROBATS) have successfully co-located with the CMS Secretariat. DENMARK, on behalf of the EC, expressed disappointment with UNEP-UNON’s administrative and financial functioning vis-a-vis CMS. UNEP expressed hope that the new Headquarters Agreement would enhance collaboration between the two bodies by COP-8. MONACO asked the CMS Secretariat to exchange experiences with non-co-located Secretariats. COW Chair Ignacio said that these comments would be forwarded to the Budget Working Group.

Standing Committee: CMS Deputy Executive Secretary Hykle introduced the document on the need to elect new regional members of the Standing Committee (UNEP/CMS/Conf.7.14.3) and requested that the regional groups present their nominations to the Plenary.


BUDGET: The Budget Working Group, chaired by Robert Vagg (UK), met in the afternoon to discuss revised budget proposals. Delegates sought further clarification on the budget increase and on specific line items, with many expressing preference for having conservation projects funded by the Trust Fund, rather than from the core budget. The Secretariat presented the Group with a revised budget, taking into account Parties’ concerns. The Secretariat stressed the need for additional staff as a result of a heavier workload generated by new joint initiatives with the CBD, CITES, UNESCO, the Ramsar Convention and Wetlands International Secretariats. He also underlined the need to prioritize projects. Delegates requested the Secretariat to revise the budget for further consideration.

STRATEGIC PLAN: The Strategic Plan Working Group, chaired by Olivier Biber (Switzerland), met in the afternoon to discuss the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment resolution and questions forwarded by the Budget Working Group on, inter alia, prioritization of activities and criteria for the allocation of funds for regional agreements. Chair Biber will report to the COW on issues addressed by the Group and on general recommendations for the next Strategic Plan.

RESOLUTION DRAFTING GROUP: The drafting group, chaired by Steve Gibson, met in the afternoon to define the scope and agree on wording of several resolutions related to migratory species. On impact assessment (UNEP/CMS/Res.7.10), the group agreed to emphasize the needs of migratory species and to include a paragraph on cooperation with other forums to evaluate impacts of their decisions on the conservation of migratory species. Delegates agreed not to include the impact of railway-infrastructures in the resolution on electrocution of migratory bird species (UNEP/CMS/ Res.7.12). The Group also agreed to broaden the scope of the resolutions on oil pollution (UNEP/CMS/Res.7.11) and wind turbines (UNEP/CMS/Res.7.13) to include both offshore and onshore activites.

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT PLAN: Participants continued the discussion on the future of the information system and the GROMS, and on the appropriate means to institutionalize future activities.


As delegates left for the weekend, there was a growing sense that the cooperative spirit between Parties during the first week would lead to positive results on proposed species listings and new conservation projects. Despite the sense of serenity, one delegate indicated that not all was rosy as some species proposals may require a vote, an exceptional occurrence within a CMS COP. Other delegates expressed concern that some of their work could be undermined by what appears to be a limited budget increase, which would, in effect, restrict the outcomes of many initiatives and the expanding CMS agenda.


PLENARY: The Plenary will meet at 9:30 am to hear the final report of the Credentials Committee and other outstanding matters.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The COW will continue discussion on proposals to amend Appendices I and II, financial matters, review of implementation of the Strategic Plan, and consideration of outstanding draft resolutions.

WORKING GROUPS: The Budget Working Group will meet Monday morning.

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