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Statement by Ms. Amy Fraenkel on World Migratory Bird Day 2019

Amy Fraenkel - CMS

Ms. Amy Fraenkel
Acting Executive Secretary, Convention on Migratory Species


Today is World Migratory Bird Day, providing us with the chance to raise awareness about migratory birds that travel, sometimes thousands of miles, to different parts of the world to breed, rest and feed.

World Migratory Bird Day is unusual, because we celebrate it twice a year – in May and October - to follow the seasonal patterns of bird migration, which peaks in those months in different parts of the world.

An indication of the campaign’s enduring popularity and success is the fact that over 700 events have been registered in 70 countries this year. Many of these events are held in the Western Hemisphere, where our partners since 2017, Environment for the Americas, are based.

This year’s theme is “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution”, chosen because migratory birds are among the species most affected by what some call “the plastic plague”.  Tons of discarded plastic makes its way into the environment, where it can poison birds that mistake it for food and cause injuries and even death through ingestion and entanglement.

As governments prepare to negotiate a new global biodiversity framework to protect the variety of life on Earth, I want to ensure that the concept of connectivity is taken fully into account.  Birds provide one of the most striking examples of connectivity, as their migration links countries on different continents, on the other side of oceans and across deserts and mountain ranges.  On World Migratory Bird Day, birds also connect people across the planet, as ornithologists, schools, clubs and concerned and interested individuals take part in the many, varied events that are organized.

There are so many ways to contribute to World Migratory Bird Day.  In the offices of the Convention Secretariat, we no longer line our waste paper baskets with plastics bags  - so there will be at least 7,000 fewer plastic items being thrown away each year. Many of you have organized an event – a bird-watching walk, a photography competition, talks and lectures or beach clean-up campaigns.  Many more of you will contribute by participating in such events.  I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you all.

Join us on 12 October – you too can be the solution to plastic pollution and learn about the fantastic phenomenon that is bird migration.


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