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World Migratory Bird Day 2019

Photo: Bernard Spragg, Royal Albatross

In 2019, World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated on May 11 and October 12.

The celebration sets in motion a number of participant-created events around the world that take place over the next few days. From talks to walks, there are a lot of events. Hashtags: #WMBD2019 #WorldMigratoryBirdDay

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2019 Announcement

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild AnimalsAgreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory WaterbirdsSecretariats provided by UNenvironmentUNEP/CMS and UNEP/AEWA SecretariatsUN Campus ● Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1 ● 53113 Bonn ● GermanyCMS:Tel.: (+49) 228 8152401 ● Fax: (+49) 228 8152449 ● cms.secretariat@cms.int ● www.cms.intAEWA:Tel.: (+49) 228 8152413 ● Fax: (+49) 228 8152450 ● aewa.secretariat@unep-aewa.org● www.unep-aewa.orgPRESS RELEASEWorld Migratory Bird Day: birds globally threatened by plastic wasteBonn, 9 May 2019–Plastic pollution poses serious health risks to wildlifeglobally, affecting a wide range of species including whales, turtles, fish and birds. On World Migratory Bird Day,celebrated on 11 May, two UN wildlife treaties and conservationists around the world arecallingfor urgent action to stop plastic pollutionby highlighting its negative effects on seabirds and other migratory birds.“Onethird of global plastic production is non-recyclable and at least eight million tonnes of plastic flows unabated into our oceans and water bodies each year,” JoyceMsuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment said. “It is ending up in the stomachs ofbirds, fish, whales, and in our soil and water. The world is choking on plastic and so too are ourbirds on which so much life on earth depends.”Plastic pollution presents a three-fold threatto birds: entanglementin fishing gear and other plastic litteris the most visible but affects fewer individuals. Ingestion of plastic waste is more pervasiveand can affectlarge proportions of some species. Birds mistake plastic as food causing them to starve to death as their stomachs fill up with undigestable plastic. Plastic is also being used as nest material. Many birds pick up plastic to line their nests mistaking it for leaves, twigs and other naturalitems, which can injure and trap fragile chicks.Discarded fishing gear is responsible for most entanglements among birds at sea, in rivers, lakes andevenon land. Seabirds are particularly threatened by fishing gear. Many entangled seabirds are not detected because they die far from landout of sight of humans. “Becoming entangled in fishing gear or plastic litter condemns birds to a slow, agonizing death” says Peter Ryan, Director of the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town.To capture additional data on remote entanglements, scientists such as Peter Ryan have turned to Google Images and other web-based sources to provide a more comprehensive picture of the threat, and the numbers of affected bird species have been adjusted upwards. Of 265 bird speciesrecorded entangled in plastic litter, at least 147 species were seabirds (36per centof all seabird species), 69 species freshwater birds (10per cent) and 49 landbird species (0.5per cent).These figures show that almost all marine and freshwater birds are at risk of entanglement in plastic waste and other synthetic materials. A wide diversity of landbirds from eagles to small finches are also affected, and these numbers are bound to increase.Research further showsthat about 40 per cent of seabirds contain ingested plastic. Marine ducks, divers, penguins, albatrosses, petrels,grebes, pelicans, gannets and boobies, gulls, terns, auks as well as tropicbirds are particularly at risk. Ingesting plastic can kill them or more likely cause severe injuries, and plastic accumulations can block or damage the digestive tract or give the animal a false sense of satiation, leading to malnutrition and starvation.
-2-Chemical additivesfrom plastic were found inbirds’ eggs in remote environments such as the Canadian Arctic.To address the issue of plastic pollution –and ensure that in the future fewer birds will die byingestion ofor getting entangled in plastic –UN Environment launched the Clean Seas campaign in February 2017. The campaign, which targets marine plastic pollution in particular, has an upstream focus and asks individuals, governments and business to take concrete steps to reduce their own plastic footprints. The Convention on Migratory Species and the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement work with countriesto prevent plastic items from entering the marine environment.Arecentresolution on seabird conservationadopted by AEWA countries in December 2018,includes a series of actions countries can taketo reduce the risk caused by plastic waste on migratory birds.At the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species in 2017, countries also agreed to address the issue of lost fishing gear, by following the strategies set out under the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.Efforts to phase out single use plasticsand to redesign plastic products to make them easier to recycle are underway in many countries.“There are no easy solutionsto the plastic problem. It will require the joint efforts of governments, industry, municipalities, manufacturers and consumersto tackle the problem.However, as this year’s World Migratory Bird Day underlines –everybody on this planet can be part of the solution and take steps to reduce their use of single-use plastic. Tackling this problem globally will not only be beneficial for us, but also benefit our planet’s wildlife, including millions of migratory birds,”said Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. Plastic pollution is a serious and growing threat to migratory birds, which will only further limit their ability to deal with the much larger threat faced by climate change. About World Migratory Bird DayWorld Migratory Bird Day is celebrated each year to highlight the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. More than 300registered eventsin more than 60 countriesto mark World Migratory Bird Day 2019will include bird festivals, education programmes, media events, bird watching trips, presentations, film screenings and a benefit concert to raise funds for international nature conservation.The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) —two intergovernmental wildlife treaties administered by UN Environment —organize the campaign in cooperation with Environment for the Americas(EFTA).www.worldmigratorybirdday.org
-3-About the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)TheConvention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animalsaims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of UNEnvironment, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1979, its membership has grown steadily to include 127Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.www.cms.int@bonnconvention

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 255species of bird 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. As of 1March 2019, 78countries and the European Union have become a Contracting Party to agreement.www.unep-aewa.org@UNEP_AEWARelated links:World Migratory Bird Day-@WMBDWorld Migratory Bird Day 2019Events around the worldCMS Resolution:Management of Marine DebrisAEWA Resolution: Priorities for the Conservation of Seabirds in the African-Eurasian FlywaysAEWA Report: Plastics and Waterbirds: Incidence and Impacts(by Peter Ryan)For more information and expert interviews, please contact:Florian Keil, Coordinator of the Joint Communications Team at the UNEP/CMS and UNEP/AEWA SecretariatsTel: +49 (0) 228 8152451 Veronika Lenarz, Public Information, UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Tel: +49 (0) 228 8152409, press@cms.int

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) started in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.

Every year people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programs, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD. All these activities can also be undertaken at any time on the year because that countries or regions observing the peak of migrations at different times, but the main day for the international celebrations is May 11.

If you are interested in organizing an event to mark WMBD, register your planned activity. In this way, individual events can be shared with others around the world and help inspire them to take action too. Find out how you can participate.

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