From “Migratory Waterbird Days” to “World Migratory Bird Days”!

In 2006 the "Migratory Waterbird Days" (MWD) will be expanded to "World Migratory Bird Days" (WMBD) to be celebrated the world over and covering all species of migratory birds.

The idea of broadening the scope of the MWD, created early this year on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of AEWA and celebrated in 22 countries, was born when the AEWA Executive Secretary and his Information Officer met Kuki Gallmann, who showed great interest in cooperating to launch such an event. Ms Gallmann is well known for her novels such as "I Dreamed of Africa" and "African Nights" and is the founder of the Gallmann Memorial Foundation and Africa Conservancy which engages in cultural, educational and environmental research.


UNEP Press Release: The environmental dimension behind the avian flu pandemic

The emergence of avian flu as a challenge to human health is clearly a reflection of major changes taking place in the environment, underlined by Shafqat Kakakhel, Deputy-Executive-Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the occasion of the International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Influenza in Beijing (17-18.1.2006). The conference will assess the financing needs of countries and regions, and explore how these needs can be met.

Avian flu is not the only one disease with an environmental health background - a startling number of similar vector-born diseases have emerged in recent years - Lassa, SARS, Ebola, Marburg and recently the threat of an avian flu pandemic. A common factor is that such diseases evolve when humans intensively interact with the natural environment.


Migratory birds: from messengers of life to ambassadors of death?

While some media are still portraying birds as the main vectors of the spread of avian flu, the United Nations Environment Programme with its associated Convention on Migratory Species and the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement are launching a campaign to remind the world that migrations are essential to natural processes for the effective functioning of our ecosystems. We must not make the mistake of blaming migratory birds for the creation and spread of deadly new viruses when human destruction of the natural world is the real culprit.
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