Our man arrives in Bergen, Norway for the Convention on Migratory Species

I just arrived in Bergen, a very nice, historic Hanseatic city in Norway. Unfortunately at this time of the year daylight hours are very short. Bergen is hosting the 10th meeting of the Convention for Migratory Species (CMS). The International Fund for Animal Welfare regards the CMS as one of the key global biodiversity conservation treaties. They excel in bringing range states and organizations like IFAW together to create agreements which actively protect wildlife and habitats.

We in IFAW have been cooperating for many years with the CMS secretariat on the conservation of many of our key species in particular in our work for elephants, tigers, cetaceans, sharks and seals around the world. My main interests at this meeting are the important discussions to improve the wellbeing of elephants - especially in West and Central Africa.

There will also be discussions on whales and dolphins around the world. With delegates from the 116 member states in Bergen this is a great opportunity to get the support of decision-makers for protecting elephants, whales and many other species around the globe.

Climate change will be discussed as it will have a tremendous affect on things like food supply for cetaceans, and elephants or breeding grounds for harp and hooded seals.

Many countries, including European Union (EU) member states, are planning to sign a new agreement for sharks around the world. This is a promising step which will hopefully result in more protection for the many endangered species of shark.

One of the best aspects of these conferences is the expertise that many of the delegates bring with them. I was checking in together with the Ethiopian delegate who told me about the largest mammal migration in Africa. The white eared cob, a big antelope which moves back and forth from Southern Sudan to Ethiopia; this migration is rivalled only by the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and Maasai Mara.

One small additional remark is that when I was walking to the conference centre on Monday morning it was obvious right away that Norway is not in the EU, because in many shops I could buy shoes and other products made of harp seal pelts. This is of course illegal in the EU due to our institutional success in pushing for an EU ban in the trade of seal products in that region.

Hopefully more success for animal welfare will come from the week ahead. I will keep you all posted!

-- RS

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
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Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
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Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
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Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
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Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
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