CMS Bulletin Bulletin of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) 21 July 1993 No. 4 The fact that nine months have passed since the Agreement update ....................................................6 publication of the last issue of the CMS Bulletin does not mean there has been little news to report. Recent meetings attended .......................................8 On the contrary, the period has been marked by progress on several fronts. For its part, the Depositary matters ................................................10 Secretariat has been busy developing Agreements, organizing meetings and promoting the Convention ─ Forthcoming meetings of interest ........................11 leaving little time to inform readers of the latest developments. We hope this issue of the Bulletin will make up for the unexpectedly long silence. Special supplement: In this issue: The Siberian crane: a status report by Dr. George Archibald, Director of the International Crane Foundation Secretariat news........................................................ 1 New Parties ............................................................... 2 CMS booklet ............................................................. 2 Standing Committee activities ............................... 2 Scientific Council activities ..................................... 3 New agreement on Siberian cranes ....................... 5 Produced by the Secretariat of the Convention. as possible. Further details are given elsewhere in the For more information, please contact: Bulletin. UNEP/CMS Secretariat Work on Agreements Mallwitzstrasse 1-3 D-53177 BONN Another major preoccupation of the Secretariat has Germany been the development and promotion of new Agreements under the Convention's auspices. Telephone: (+49 228) 954 3501 / 2 / 3 / 4 Attention has been focused in particular on two broad Telefax: (+49 228) 954 3500 Telex: 885 556 bfn d Agreements for migratory waterbirds ─ one covering the region of Africa-Eurasia and the other for the Aussi disponible en français. Asia-Pacific region. In addition, a period of Disponible también en español. concentrated work in the month of May led to the successful conclusion of a memorandum of understanding intended to promote urgent conservation measures for the western and central populations of the Siberian crane. These and other initiatives are described in the sections that follow. Conference proceedings Secretariat News The proceedings of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 1991) are now with the printers, and should be available for distribution very soon. New staff New postal code At the beginning of June of this year, the Secretariat Finally, the Secretariat would like to draw attention added a third professional staff member. Dr. to the fact that the postal code for the area in Bonn Eugeniusz Nowak, whom many readers will know as where it is located has changed. With effect from 1 a member of the Scientific Council, has been July 1993, the postal code is D-53177 BONN; the old seconded to the Secretariat by the German code, D-5300 BONN 2, should no longer be used. Government for a period of two years. He will (Please refer to the box on the first page for the full continue to serve on the Scientific Council and will address of the UNEP/CMS Secretariat.) O devote a portion of his time to the Council's activities. In April, Ms. Beth Rule began her functions as secretary (full-time), replacing Ms. Marilyn Wagner who left the Secretariat at the end of February after New Parties completing nearly two years of service as a part-time secretary. Meetings The Secretariat is pleased to announce the addition of This year the Secretariat devoted a considerable two new Parties to CMS, bringing the current amount of time and effort in organizing two membership to 41 States. The Convention entered important CMS meetings. The Standing Committee into force for Monaco on 1 June 1993 ─ a timely met in Bonn in February, and this was followed by a development in the light of the proposed Agreement meeting of the Scientific Council in May. Both on the conservation of small cetaceans in the meetings were well-attended and have given renewed Mediterranean and Black Seas. impetus to many initiatives under the Convention. As far as time has allowed, staff members have also The Republic of Guinea has deposited its instrument participated in a number of regional and international of accession, and the Convention will enter into force meetings to try to promote the Convention as widely for that country on 1 August 1993. As Guinea shares 2 a common border with two other CMS Parties (Mali and Senegal) and one signatory (Côte d'Ivoire), the prospects for regional co-operation on conservation matters can only be enhanced by this latest accession. Representatives from all geographic regions participated in the meeting of the CMS Standing The Secretariat has been informed that the Senate of Committee held in Bonn from 24-25 February. (The the Philippines adopted a resolution on 30 March alternate for Africa, Burkina Faso, attended in place 1993 concurring with that country's ratification of the of the regular member, Niger.) Other CMS Parties Bonn Convention, and that the procedures for from Africa, Europe and Latin America were present ratification by Morocco are in their final phase. A as observers, as was the Chairman of the Scientific number of other non-Party States in Europe and Latin Council. America are also thought to be close to joining the Convention. Apart from the normal business of the Committee ─ including a review of Convention finances and The Secretariat has written to all non-Parties to progress on Agreements ─ the Committee's encourage them to join the Convention. A special discussions focused on the first draft of a strategy approach has been made to the Government of paper on the future development of the Convention, Kenya, with a view to encouraging that country to arrangements for the next meeting of the Conference become a full member of the Convention before the of the Parties and other activities to be completed in next meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which time for that meeting. will be held in the Kenyan capital in June 1994. Although far from complete, the draft strategy paper Some central and eastern European countries, was well-received by the Committee. The next draft responding to an invitation made last November to will incorporate inter alia an executive summary, an join CMS, have noted that the obligation to pay action plan outlining implementation of the strategy contributions will impede accession in the near future over the next triennium, an elaboration of the due to the currently difficult economic situation of possible relationship between CMS and the their countries. O Convention on Biological Diversity, and an examination of the potential for alternative sources of funding for migratory species conservation. CMS Booklet Conference of the Parties The Committee concluded that the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties would be held at UNEP The Secretariat has produced a new booklet in headquarters in Nairobi in 1994. While a preference English, French and Spanish to explain the aims and was expressed that the meeting be held in the second operation of the Convention to people interested in quarter, the Committee gave the Secretariat flexibility the conservation of migratory species. Production of to investigate the various options available and to the booklet was made possible through financial decide on the final programme in consultation with assistance provided by the U.K. Department of the the Chairman. Environment. The German Government has expressed interest in producing a German language Following recent consultations, it now appears likely version in the coming months. that a five-day meeting of the Parties will be held in the first two weeks of June 1994, to be preceded by a Parties and others who wish to have extra copies of one-day scientific symposium and a 1 1/2 day the booklet for their use are requested to advise the meeting of the Scientific Council. The possibility of Secretariat of their needs. O organizing a short meeting, in conjunction with the conference, to discuss and/or conclude an Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds has been left open as an option. Standing Committee Next meeting 3 The Committee unanimously supported a proposal to hold its next meeting in Buenos Aires in January As of 16 July 1993, only seven CMS Parties were not 1994, in association with the meeting of the General represented on the Council: Argentina, Benin, Assembly of IUCN ─ the World Conservation Union. Panama, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Zaire. The Director-General of IUCN, Dr. Martin Holdgate, has responded favourably to the idea, and the Secretariat has forwarded the Committee's request to the authorities in Argentina. Meeting in Bonn For planning purposes, members of the Committee A full meeting of the Council was held in Bonn from (Australia, Germany, India, Niger, Panama, and the 17-19 May. In addition to the 24 Councillors present, United Kingdom) and representatives of Parties that observers from four CMS Parties participated, may wish to attend as observers should block the making it the best-attended of any Scientific Council dates of 16 and 17 January in their calendars. Further meeting held to date. information, including precise dates, will be provided in the next issue of the Bulletin. O A wide range of issues was discussed. Priorities for development of Agreements were drawn up and a provisional list of species or groups that might be candidates for Agreements in all regions was Scientific Council elaborated. The groundwork was laid to begin a thorough review of the Appendices to ensure that they provide a sound basis for the Convention's activities. To this end, several taxonomic groups were identified as requiring investigation to determine whether or not the species they contain are New members migratory or non-migratory and to assess the extent to which they are threatened. There have been numerous changes in the membership of the Scientific Council since the last issue of the Bulletin. The following new members have been appointed by Parties to the Convention, Action for Appendix I species bringing to 37 the number of experts serving on the Councillors presented information gathered so far on Council. species identified at the last conference as requiring urgent attention, and drew up plans for finalizing the Australia:Ms. Karen Weaver (replacing Dr. Bill review reports for the next meeting. The Council Phillips) emphasized the need to promote and assist concerted action for Appendix I species. To that end, Belgium:Dr. Roseline Beudels consideration was given to four species on which to focus attention during the next triennium: the Monk Denmark:Dr. Jesper Madsen seal (Monachus monachus), Dama gazelle (Gazella dama), Ruddy-headed goose (Chloephaga Guinea:Mr. Abdel Kader Bangoura (pending entry rubidiceps) and Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus). into force of the Convention on 1 Four other species were also identified, subject to August 1993) their inclusion in Appendix I: the Great bustard (Otis tarda), Scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), the India:Mr. Shri S.C. Dey (replacing Mr. Shri S. Deb entire species of Houbara bustard (Chamydotis Roy) undulata) and White-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala). Monaco:Dr. Marie-Christine Grillo Norway:Ms. Gunn Paulsen (replacing Mr. Steinar Eldøy) Amendment of the Appendices South Africa:Dr. Michael Cohen The Council considered a draft proposal prepared by the International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau and The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust to list 4 Oxyura leucocephala in Appendix I. The total population now numbers about 19,000 birds and is highly fragmented. The species is threatened by New Agreement hybridization with an introduced species ─ the Ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) ─ whose range has been expanding. It is hoped that the European Economic Community will formally sponsor the proposal for listing Oxyura leucocephala at the next meeting of the Parties. Memorandum of understanding on the Siberian crane In this context, Parties to the Convention are reminded that proposals for amending the CMS The Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus) has the Appendices must be submitted to the Secretariat longest migration route of all crane species, ranging at least 150 days before the start of the meeting. thousands of kilometers from its breeding areas in the As the conference is provisionally scheduled to take Asian Arctic to wintering grounds in south and west place in June 1994, proposals should be ready by Asia. It depends on natural wetlands and favourable January 1994 at the latest. conditions in the breeding areas and in the wintering grounds, as well as in key stop-over sites during migration. Working groups These western and central populations of the species The Council established three small working groups are on the brink of extinction, having been reduced to in order to carry out specific tasks prior to its next fewer than an estimated twenty birds. Little is known meeting. One is charged with elaborating an Action about the cranes' migration routes or of the factors Plan for sahelo-saharan mammals, investigating the which have led to the present critical situation. potential for developing a CMS Agreement in the However it is thought that hunting and destruction of region, and preparing proposals for listing sahelo- wetlands have been responsible for the drastic decline saharan mammals in the Appendices. in their numbers. A second working group is to prepare national status During the recent meeting of the Contracting Parties reports on the Houbara bustard and to take further to the Ramsar Convention (9-16 June), the CMS measures as may be necessary concerning the listing Secretariat convened a series of meetings which led of the species in the Appendices. It is hoped this to the conclusion of a Memorandum of work will lead to the development of an Agreement Understanding concerning conservation measures for for the long-term conservation of the species, which the western and central populations of the species. has been hunted intensively for many years. Pakistan represents an important wintering area for the The most recent attempt to develop an agreement population that breeds in Asia. among the Range States concerned for co-operative conservation actions arose during a wetland A third working group will prepare for the Council's symposium held in Karachi, Pakistan, in December consideration at its next meeting a document on the 1991. After that meeting, the International Crane contentious issue of the revision of the IUCN Foundation (ICF) prepared a first draft of a formal "Categories of threat" and the implications of this Agreement under the Bonn Convention. However, it work for CMS. was considered that a less formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among the Range States (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Islamic Republic of * * * * * * * * * * Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) would be a more practical way of promoting short-term actions. The next meeting of the Council will be held in June 1994, in Nairobi, before the meeting of the A draft MoU was developed by a small working Conference of the Parties. O group and the Secretariat during the Scientific Council meeting held in Bonn from 17-19 May 1993. The document was further refined in Kushiro during a series of meetings attended by government 5 representatives and interested non-governmental organizations. It was signed on 16 June 1993 by European Bats Agreement representatives of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Wild Bird Society of Japan and the UNEP/CMS Entry into force of the AGREEMENT on the Secretariat. The International Crane Foundation conservation of bats in Europe is now just a few made arrangements to sign at a later date as a months away. The AGREEMENT has been signed representative could not be present on that day. by nine Range States, of which six (Ireland, Unfortunately, due to shortness of time, it was not Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the possible for the Indian delegation to secure United Kingdom) have taken the necessary legislative authorization to sign, however the Government of steps to be formally bound by its provisions. India has indicated to the Secretariat that it will accord the MoU the highest attention. None of the The ratifications of Ireland and Luxembourg are so other six Range States was present in Kushiro. recent that the legal instruments have yet to be presented to the Government of the United Kingdom, The MoU provides for actions to be taken which serves as depositary. The deposit of either collectively by all of the Range States concerned, as instrument will cause the AGREEMENT to enter into well as specific measures to be implemented in each force 90 days from that date, since the necessary five country. A more comprehensive Species ratifications will have been attained. Thus, the Conservation Plan is to be developed within one year AGREEMENT will likely come into effect some by the Russian Federation, in close collaboration with time in October or November of this year. The the other Range States. Secretariat has been informed that the German parliament has also ratified the AGREEMENT but The conclusion of the memorandum in such a short that the deposit of the instrument of ratification is time emphasizes the urgency of the actions to be awaiting publication of the text in the official gazette. taken. It is the first instrument of its kind to be considered an agreement under Article IV(4) of the The interim secretariat for the AGREEMENT, the Bonn Convention and the first Agreement to be U.K. Department of the Environment, publishes an signed by a State that is not yet a Party to the parent informative newsletter ─ "Eurobat Chat" ─ to keep Convention (i.e., the Russian Federation). The bat fanciers abreast of news of interest. It has also memorandum will take effect on 1 July 1993 and will produced a poster to help promote the remain in force for three years, after which time it AGREEMENT, which is now available free of may be renewed automatically. charge in English, French and German. For copies, please write to Mrs. Melanie Johns, Department of The immediate priority is to obtain the signatures of the Environment, Wildlife Division, Room 902, the other Range States concerned. The Secretariat Tollgate House, Houlton Street, BRISTOL BS2 9DJ, will also be seeking the approval of the Government United Kingdom (FAX: +44 272 218182). O of India to convene a meeting of technical experts in India in late 1993 or January 1994 to discuss details of implementation of the memorandum. In the Baltic-North Sea small cetaceans meantime, efforts will be made to begin taking action agreement on some of the measures agreed upon in the Action Plan. The Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas For readers who are interested in more information (ASCOBANS) has now obtained four of the six on the Siberian crane, this issue of the CMS ratifications needed for entry into force. Belgium and Bulletin contains a special report prepared by Dr. the United Kingdom ratified the agreement on 14 George Archibald, Director of the International Crane May 1993 and 13 July 1993, respectively, joining the Foundation (United States). O Netherlands and Sweden which signed in 1992. The German ratification will be finalized in July after publication of the text of the agreement in the official gazette. The Secretariat has been informed that the Agreement Update Danish parliament will consider ratification of the agreement later this year. All of the above bodes well for the agreement entering into force early next year. 6 There have been several other positive developments be revised. At the request of the Chairman of the to report in relation to ASCOBANS. The Standing Committee, the EEC Commissioner for the Government of Ireland has expressed interest in Environment suggested in February 1993 that the having the agreement extended to cover at least the UNEP/CMS Secretariat take the lead to develop the Irish Sea, and the United Kingdom has indicated that Agreement and promised EEC financial support. it will apply the spirit of the agreement in all of its coastal waters, including northern and western waters In January 1993, the Secretariat contracted the which do not form part of the agreement area. International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB) to update the draft Agreement, in A comprehensive survey of small cetaceans in the order to include migratory African waterbirds, to North Sea and southern Baltic Sea ─ the first of its ensure complementarity and harmonization with the kind in the region to be co-ordinated on an draft Asia-Pacific Waterbird Agreement and to allude international scale ─ is being planned for 1994. to the principal conclusions of the Earth Summit (Rio Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the de Janeiro, 1992) with regard to sustainable United Kingdom and the European Community have development. At the same time, the Management already committed funding to the ECU 1.4 million Plan and Action Plan were updated and a new Action (US$ 1.7 million) project, which the conclusion of Plan for African storks, ibises and spoonbills was ASCOBANS helped to initiate. elaborated. This work ─ sponsored by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) ─ was The interim secretariat, provided by the Sea Mammal completed at the end of April 1993. Research Unit (Cambridge, U.K.), represented ASCOBANS at the meeting of the Scientific The Secretariat now intends to finalize the draft by Committee of the International Whaling Commission, the end of July and to circulate it in August 1993 to held in Kyoto earlier this year. It has also been the governments of the Range States and several investigating the possibility of holding a session later international organizations for comment. Provided this year, in conjunction with another meeting, to financial and material support is forthcoming, a discuss matters concerning the agreement before it meeting of the Range States will be held next year. enters into force. O The Netherland's Ministry for Agriculture, Nature African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement Management and Fisheries has reiterated to the (formerly Western Palearctic Waterfowl Secretariat the offer of the Netherlands to act as depositary for the Agreement, to finance the Agreement) Agreement secretariat for an initial period of three years, and to organize the first meeting of the Parties. The Secretariat is in the final phase of updating the It has also expressed its readiness to support further draft Agreement on the Conservation of African- development of the draft text. O Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) ─ the new name for the Agreement being developed under Article IV(3) of the Bonn Convention. The proposed Agreement aims to conserve Western Palearctic Asia-Pacific Waterbird Agreement Anatidae, in particular, over their entire range from western Siberia and the arctic regions of Scandinavia, The initiative to develop an Agreement on the Greenland, Iceland and northeast Canada, through the Conservation of Migratory Waterbirds of the Asia- whole of Europe and Africa. Pacific Region (APWA) will soon be put to the relevant governments for comment. Formerly the The draft Agreement was elaborated by the "Asian/Australasian Waterfowl Agreement", the Government of the Netherlands between 1988 and proposed Agreement was first considered by a June 1991, and it was intended to be negotiated and working group of the Scientific Council in Karachi, adopted shortly thereafter under the sponsorship of Pakistan, in December 1991. A second series of the European Economic Community (EEC). meetings, held in Otsu and Kushiro, Japan, in However, no further progress was made. After October 1992 reviewed a Management Plan prepared consultations in the autumn of 1992 with a number of by the International Waterfowl and Wetlands Scientific Councillors, other experts and the Research Bureau (IWRB) under contract to the Chairman of the CMS Standing Committee, the UNEP/CMS Secretariat. The meetings were attended Secretariat concluded that the Agreement needed to by members of the working group participating in a related Asian Wetland Symposium, and observers 7 from 12 governments and from various inter- governmental and non-governmental organizations. A third draft of the Agreement, including an Action Recent meetings Plan for waterbirds, was circulated and discussed in June 1993, at the time of the Ramsar conference held in Kushiro, Japan. The present title is thought to reflect better the geographic and taxonomic scope of the Agreement. Seminar on African-European Co- The Secretariat is now revising the Agreement text operation in Nature Conservation with a view to ensuring that its provisions are compatible with those of the draft African-Eurasian The Department of National Parks and the Ministry Waterbird Agreement being developed concurrently. of the Environment of Senegal hosted a seminar in The revised Agreement text, Action Plan and Dakar, from 21-24 June 1993, on co-operation Management Plan will be circulated in the coming between countries of Europe and north and north- months to all Range States and to other organizations eastern Africa. The seminar was organized by the concerned. O secretariat of the Bern Convention and was attended by representatives of several French-speaking African countries (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Senegal Draft Agreement on the Conservation of and Tunisia) and by representatives of Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland. Of interest to CMS Small Cetaceans in the Mediterranean and were the reports provided by African representatives Black Seas on the state of nature conservation in their countries. An intergovernmental meeting was held in Athens in Regional and global nature conservation conventions October 1992 to discuss the text of this draft ─ including CMS ─ were presented and discussed. In Agreement. Many useful comments and suggestions this context, it was noted that the Bern Convention for improvement were received during and after the has a limited mandate and does not have the means to meeting, which was attended by the national focal co-operate on matters related to conservation points for Specially Protected Areas of the Barcelona throughout Africa. The Bonn Convention was Convention, and representatives of other recommended as the most appropriate framework for governments and non-governmental organizations. coordination of matters concerning conservation of Unfortunately, due to other commitments, the CMS migratory species. Secretariat has not been in a position to produce a revised draft as soon as it would have liked. The Co-ordinator informed the participants about the However, it expects to be able to prepare a second activities of CMS, in particular the draft African- draft of the Agreement for circulation to all Range Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. This project States and other interested organizations in the third generated considerable interest among the delegates, quarter of this year. O some of whom promised to give the greatest possible support to its further development. O Ramsar conference The fifth meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention was held in Kushiro, Japan, from 8-16 June 1993. Attendance was excellent, with over 70 Parties and 23 observer States participating. There was, of course, a very large contingent from Japan including representation from several levels of government, non-governmental organizations and the press. In all, there were over 1,200 registered delegates. The meeting adopted a number of resolutions aimed 8 at furthering the objectives of the Ramsar concerning migratory species. O Convention. They dealt with such matters as further guidance on the implementation of the "wise use" concept, formalization of a review process for sites International Whaling Commission subject to change in ecological character, guidelines on management planning for Ramsar sites and other The annual meeting of the International Whaling wetlands, and the establishment of a "Scientific and Commission (IWC) was held in Kyoto, Japan, from Technical Review Panel". The meeting also adopted 10-14 May 1993. The meeting passed a number of a recommendation of interest to CMS concerning the resolutions of interest to CMS. One resolution, relationship between the Ramsar Convention, the which acknowledged the relevance of ASCOBANS Global Environment Facility and the Convention on for the protection of harbour porpoises, requested Biological Diversity. Range States to carry out further research and recommended a reduction of by-catches. A second Australia formally offered to host the sixth meeting resolution called for the IWC's small cetacean of the Parties to Ramsar in 1996. The budget for the working group to continue to investigate the question 1994-1996 triennium was adopted virtually as of how to address small cetacean issues within the presented, but not without extensive discussions IWC, including an examination of the role of other behind the scenes after reservations were voiced the international and regional organizations. A third during plenary session. resolution invited Governments to carry out a study of whalewatching activities, requested the IWC The CMS Secretariat took advantage of the presence Secretariat to prepare a consolidated report on the of the large number of governmental and non- subject, and established a working group to make governmental representatives in Kushiro to promote recommendations to the next meeting of the IWC. the Bonn Convention and to convene several meetings of direct relevance to CMS. Over 250 The Chairman of the Standing Committee, Robert copies of the new CMS booklet were distributed. Hepworth, who represented CMS at the meeting, adds the following comment: As reported elsewhere in the Bulletin, a memorandum of understanding on conservation "Whilst in Kyoto, the Vice-Chairman of the Standing measures for the western and central populations of Committee (Dr. Peter Bridgewater of Australia) and I the Siberian crane was concluded, and a meeting was took the opportunity to convene a meeting of non- held to discuss the latest draft of the proposed Asia- government bodies to hear their views on the future Pacific Waterbird Agreement. of CMS. The Secretariat also convened an informal meeting "There was a lively debate, and we have noted a with a number of international and national NGOs, number of points for consideration in the next draft of assisted by the Vice-Chairman of the Standing the strategic review to be presented by the Standing Committee, Dr. Peter Bridgewater. It was organized Committee to the next meeting of CMS parties in as a follow-up to a similar meeting arranged by the 1994. A central message was that CMS needs to Chairman of the Standing Committee during the present a clearer image of its objectives in order to recent meeting of the International Whaling attract more support and additional Parties. NGOs Commission. The purpose of the session was to give also recognised that they could play an important role some information about recent Bonn Convention in trying to get support for CMS in individual states. activities ─ in particular, the strategy paper on the future development of the Convention ─ and to obtain "The idea of a special project fund aimed at feedback from NGOs on the initiatives that are being developing countries was also welcomed, although considered by the Standing Committee. NGOs are aware of possible financial and political obstacles. They also thought that Article IV Finally, the Secretariat and Dr. Roberto Schlatter (the Agreements should be produced more speedily. Conference-appointed Scientific Councillor from Chile) hosted an informal session with government "We were able to distribute the new CMS booklet at officials from several Latin American countries and a Kyoto ─ this was well received. I hope the few key non-governmental organizations from the Secretariat will be able to organise a similar meeting region. Many were eager to learn more about CMS at the forthcoming meeting of parties to the Ramsar as a potential framework for regional initiatives Convention in Kushiro. 9 habitats. Additionally IWRB laid the foundation for "Once again much of the real work took place outside a global scientific network by concluding a the formal meeting sessions. I was able to speak memorandum of agreement with the Asian Wetland bilaterally to several delegations concerned with Bureau (AWB) and Wetlands for the Americas ASCOBANS, and I hope that further signatures will (WA). O soon be forthcoming, allowing the agreement to come into force by the end of this year. I was also able to help secure a reference to the role of ASCOBANS in Strengthening of International Legal a resolution passed by IWC to promote the Instruments on Environment conservation of the harbour porpoise." O Strengthening international legal instruments in the field of the environment, in particular enhancing the IWRB Executive Board Meeting participation of more countries in multilateral treaties and improving their implementation, was one of the The Co-ordinator attended the 25th meeting of the issues discussed at the pan-European Ministerial Executive Board of the International Waterfowl and Conference "Environment for Europe", held in Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB) in St. Petersburg, Lucerne, Switzerland, 28-30 April 1993, and the 17th Florida (12-14 November 1992). session of the UNEP Governing Council, held in Nairobi in May 1993. He informed participants from about 50 countries of the progress that CMS has made during the past three years and the plans for the next two years, "Environment for Europe" particularly with respect to the conservation of migratory waterbirds. During a workshop, Dr. Ministers of the Environment of 50 countries met in Gerard Boere (Netherlands) gave a talk on the draft Lucerne to look for ways and means to improve the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. catastrophic ecological situation in the Central and Eastern European countries. In this regard they On several occasions, national delegates and speakers considered it useful for CEE countries to join and from international NGOs emphasized the importance implement multilateral environmental treaties on an of concluding the drafts of the African-Eurasian and international and regional basis. the Asian-Pacific waterbird Agreements; some organizations, particularly IWRB, expressed their The analysis of answers given to a questionnaire wish to assist the UNEP/CMS Secretariat in further showed that there are many difficulties and obstacles development of proposals. The Co-ordinator met that impede CEE countries from acceding or with scientists and government representatives of implementing international and regional conventions, several CMS Parties and non-Party States, explaining inter alia, lack of the necessary administrative the importance of joining CMS and of playing an infrastructure, support for environmental policies in active role in the Convention in order to co-ordinate general, information on the conventions and educated conservation measures for migratory species. and trained personnel, as well as difficulties in internal legislation. The Board elected Dr. Chris Kalden as the new President of IWRB. Dr. Kalden is well-informed As part of the follow-up to the meeting, the UNEP about CMS, having chaired the Scientific Committee Regional Office for Europe plans to carry out a more during the last meeting of the Conference of the in-depth analysis of the issues raised, the results of Parties. Moreover, in his former capacity as head of which may be relevant to CMS as it seeks to attract a the Directorate for Nature Management in the larger membership. Ministry for Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, he was involved in the development of the draft Western Palearctic Waterfowl Agreement. UNEP Governing Council The Executive Board decided on a forward plan for The Governing Council discussed at length the IWRB for the next three years as well as a new insufficient engagement of many countries worldwide structure for its research groups, both of which in environmental conventions and other international emphasize more research, monitoring and legal instruments. In its Decision No. 17/12 the conservation efforts for waterbirds and their wetland 10 Governing Council "calls on Governments that have States entitled to become parties to the Convention. not yet done so to sign, ratify or accede to those international conventions in the field of the Although verification of the Spanish text has yet to be environment to which they are eligible to become finalized, it is hoped that a similar procedure can be parties". In his official speech, Germany's Deputy carried out this year. The Depositary confirmed in Minister for the Environment specifically urged the February that the Convention texts in Arabic, Chinese countries concerned to join and to implement the and Russian were being revised, however there are no Bonn Convention. further developments to report in this regard. Work to correct the German text has not yet begun. O For its part, UNEP's Environmental Law and Institutions Unit has proposed co-ordination of existing secretariats of environmental conventions with a view to achieving wider participation of countries. O Depositary The Standing Committee discussed the continuing problem of the unavailability of official, correct texts of the Convention in the working languages of the Convention (English, French and Spanish). The Committee recognized the importance of finalizing the correction procedures as soon as possible in order to avoid having the United Nations publish outdated texts and for acceding countries to have access to current texts in the official languages. The Depositary agreed that work on the Convention texts should be completed in time for the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties and that, in the meantime, it would request the United Nations Secretariat to suspend publication of the versions supplied in 1991 until the Depositary is in a position to provide the corrected texts. The Depositary has now proposed to circulate to all Parties and Signataries for comment the French text of the Convention incorporating the changes agreed by the Conference of the Parties in Geneva in 1991, together with a small number of additional corrections proposed by the Government of France as a consequence of its thorough examination of the French text. If, after expiry of the comment period, there are no further corrections to be made, the Depositary will circulate the corrected text to all Parties and 11 Forthcoming meetings of interest to CMS 8-15 August Maun, Botswana African Crane and Wetlands Workshop. Contact: International Crane Foundation, E 11376 Shady Lane Road, BARABOO, WI 53913-9778, USA. FAX: (+1 608) 356 94 65. 22-27 August Évora, Portugal Sixth European Bat Research Symposium. Contact: Jorge Palmeirim and Luísa Rodrigues, Dept. de Zoologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, P-1700 LISBOA, Portugal FAX: (+ 351 1) 759 77 16. 10 - 12 September Reading, U.K. 1993 National Bat Conference. Contact: The Bat Conservation Trust, c/o The Conservation Foundation, 1 Kensington Gore, LONDON SW7 2AR, U.K. FAX: (+44 71) 823 96 90. 12-16 September Langebaan, Migration, Dispersal and Nomadism. Eighth Thematic South Africa Symposium of the Southern African Ornithological Society. Contact: Prof. Les Underhill, Avian Demography Unit, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town, RONDEBOSCH, 7700, South Africa. FAX: (+27 21) 650 39 18. 14-15 September Stralsund, Germany Ostseeküste international - Natur ohne Grenzen. Contact: Jochen Lamp, WWF-Projekt Ostseeschutz, Dänholmhaus 8, 18439 STRALSUND. FAX: (+49 0 38 31) 29 70 18. 19-25 September San José, Costa Rica International Wildlife Management Congress. Contact: The Wildlife Society, IWMC Secretariat, 5410 Grosvenor Lane, BETHESDA, MD 20814-2197, USA. FAX: (+1 301) 530 24 71. 20-25 September Palanga, Lithuania Baltic Birds - 7th Conference on the Study and Conservation of Birds in the Baltic Region. Contact: Dr. Me…islovas ðalakevi…ius, Laboratory of Ornithology, Institute of Ecology, Akademijos St. 2, 2600 VILNIUS, Lithuania. FAX: (+7 01 22) 35 92 57. "L'année européenne de la conservation de la nature". Contact: 21-22 September Strasbourg, France Mlle. M-F Glatz, Conseil de l'Europe, Direction de l'Environnement et des Pouvoirs Locaux, Centre Naturopa, F-67075 STRASBOURG CEDEX. FAX: (+33 88) 41 27 15. Eighth International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium on 29 September - Esbjerg, Denmark Birds and their Ecology in the Wadden Sea. Contact: Karsten 2 October Dahl, The National Forest and Nature Agency, Slotsmarken 13, DK-2970 HØRSHOLM. FAX: (+45 45) 76 54 77. Intergovernmental conference on the Convention on Biological 11-15 October Geneva, Switzerland Diversity. Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Dickson, Interim Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity, 15, Chemin des Anémones, CH-1219 CHATELAINE GENEVA, Switzerland. FAX: (+41 22) 727 25 12. Eighth Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the 12-15 October Antalya, Turkey Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against 12 Pollution (Barcelona Convention). Contact: UNEP/Co-ordinating Unit for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), P.O. Box 18019, 48, Vassileos Konstantinou Avenue, GR-116 10 ATHENS, Greece. FAX: (+30 1) 729 11 60. 18-24 October Odessa, Ukraine Black Sea Basin Wetlands Workshop. Contact: IWRB, SLIMBRIDGE, Gloucester GL2 7BX, U.K. FAX: (+44 453) 89 06 97. 9-12 November Maastricht, Conserving Europe's Natural Heritage. Towards a European The Netherlands Ecological Network. Contact: Dr. Graham Bennett, Institute for European Environmental Policy, Jansbuitensingel 14, NL-6811 AB ARNHEM, The Netherlands. FAX: (+31 85) 45 32 10. 29 November - Strasbourg, France Bern Convention: 13th Annual Standing Committee meeting. 3 December Contact: Bern Convention Secretariat, Council of Europe, B.P. 431 R6, F-67000 STRASBOURG CEDEX. Fax: (+33 88) 41 27 81/2/3/4. 13 SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO CMS Bulletin No. 4 (21 July 1993) The Siberian Crane: a status report by Dr. George Archibald, Director, International Crane Foundation Among the 13 crane species of the sub-family Gruinae, the Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) has the distinction of being the most genetically distinct as evidenced by the structure of its DNA, its physical features and unusual behavior. The bone structure of the Siberian Crane is highly distinct, and its enormous beak outdistances all other cranes to give it a more stork-like visage. Whereas most other cranes have a trumpet-like voice that carries for great distances, the voice of the Siberian Crane is soft and flute-like, a character which when combined with gleaming white plumage, bright red face and salmon legs, endears the species to many as the "Lily of Birds." Unfortunately, although outranked in rarity by the Whooping Crane and the Red-crowned Crane, the Siberian is perhaps the most endangered of cranes as a consequence of its inflexible dependence on wetlands along three migration corridors that span the Asian continent. Western and central flocks: on the brink of extinction The Siberian Crane uses its enormous beak to dig in wet mud, where it predominantly forages on the tubers of sedges and the fleshy roots of other aquatic plants. If the mud is dry, it is difficult for the Siberians to penetrate the substrate. Consequently, these cranes require wide expanses of shallow water where tubers and roots are plentiful. With the explosion of the human population in southern Asia and the associated conversion of wetlands to croplands, the Siberian Cranes have declined from what once may have been many thousands of birds wintering on the Caspian lowlands, the Gangetic Plains of northern India and the lowlands of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. In December 1992, there were a minimum of 10 cranes left on the Caspian lowlands, perhaps as few as 5 on the Gangetic Plains of India and perhaps as many as 3000 on the lower Yangtze floodplain. The western and central flocks are on the brink of extinction. The eastern population is now threatened by the proposed Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River that many fear will greatly alter the fragile hydrology of the crane's winter habitats downstream. In contrast to the disturbed habitats cranes encounter on their wintering areas, their breeding grounds are pristine wilderness wetlands of the northern taiga and open tundra of the Russian Federation. Two breeding areas are known: the tundra and taiga region between the Indigirka and Kolyma Rivers in eastern Siberia, and the taiga wetlands just east of the Ob River in western Siberia. The eastern group migrates to China. We suspect that the Ob River group is the flock that winters in India because there have been parallel declines at both ends of the range. In addition, in 1992 the migration of a juvenile Siberian Crane was monitored by satellite from the Ob River breeding grounds on a southeast route across Kazakhstan to the Amu Darya River lowlands along the border between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, a route seemingly headed towards India. Some consider that the breeding grounds of the flock that winters in Iran have yet to be discovered. Obstacles to conservation Politics and wars have encumbered co-operative international efforts to help these cranes. The remote nesting areas are difficult to reach. Helicopters must be used to survey nests, and costs are exorbitant. The wintering grounds of the western flock in Iran were discovered in 1978, but conservation programs in that country have had to accommodate social change and the damaging effects of a lengthy war with Iraq. The war in Afghanistan has rendered conservation an impossibility at Lake Ab-i-Estada where the central flock rests in both autumn and spring migration. Not until the end of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970's were Chinese ornithologists able to search for the cranes wintering in China. In 1981, they found the now famous wintering area for cranes at Poyang Lake. Efforts to save the species As a safeguard against extinction of the species, Russian, American and German colleagues have collaborated in creating three captive flocks of Siberian Cranes. Today there are 28 birds at the Oka Nature Reserve in the Russian Federation, 29 at the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in the United States and 9 at Vogelpark Walsrode in Germany. Using artificial lights to simulate the continual light to which wild cranes are exposed on their breeding grounds, the captive cranes eventually were induced to breed. Unfortunately, because the age of first breeding for females occurs between 4 and 9 years, productivity in captivity has been slow. A researcher at ICF, Dr. Robert Horwich, devised an unusual rearing technique whereby caged chicks are reared in visual and vocal isolation from humans. They are taught to feed with the use of hand puppets that resemble the head and neck of an adult crane. A crane-costumed human leads the juveniles into wetlands where they exercise and learn to forage on natural items. Sandhill Cranes, experimentally reared in this manner, have joined the wild cranes, have migrated and when mature have paired and reproduced with wild cranes. Efforts are now underway to use this technique to bolster numbers of the central flock of Siberian Cranes. In recent years satellites have been used to monitor the migration of cranes. Tiny yet powerful radio transmitters harnessed to the cranes communicate with an orbiting satellite. The radios can reveal movements of the cranes that would be almost impossible to evaluate through ground studies, given the political and physical barriers to human travel across west Asian latitudes. In 1992, a joint Finnish- Russian-Iranian team unsuccessfully attempted to capture an adult Siberian Crane from the western flock. They hoped to attach a transmitter and monitor its migration to the breeding grounds. Perhaps efforts will resume during the winter of 1993-94. The Iranian Department of the Environment strictly protects the cranes that winter on flooded rice paddies near the village of Fereydoon Kenar. Although thousands of wild ducks are trapped in that area, the hunters have traditionally protected the white cranes. When rediscovered 15 years ago there were a minimum of 15 birds, and since then their number has fluctuated between 10 and 11. By way of comparison, the North American Whooping Crane flock was reduced to 15 birds in 1941, and by careful protection throughout a range that stretches from breeding grounds in sub-arctic Canada to their winter area along the Gulf of Mexico, the population has slowly increased to 136 in the winter of 1992-93. Likewise, if protected throughout its range, the western flock of Siberian Cranes should increase. Perhaps by using satellite radios to determine the migration route, ground studies can be done and conservation measures enacted to reduce mortality. The central flock wintering at the famous Keola Deo bird sanctuary near Bharatpur, India, is the most studied and the most threatened of the three populations. Comprehensive studies of the ecology and behaviour of this flock have been underway since 1974. Since counts were initiated in the 1960s, the numbers of cranes at Bharatpur progressively declined from 125 to 5 birds during the winter of 1992-93. In 1982 buffalo grazing and grass cutting were banned in the sanctuary, and subsequently the quality of crane habitat has been degraded by the invasion of aggressive grasses, raising the suspicion that some of the birds may have shifted their wintering area to some unknown location. However, ground searches to locate Siberian Cranes at other wetlands in northern India have thus far proved unfruitful. In January 1990 and in February 1991, limited aerial surveys were conducted. During the winter of those years, one and two Siberian cranes, respectively, were located outside the known wintering grounds at Keola Deo National Park - giving hope that an expanded survey might locate more birds. In 1991, and again in 1992, a Russian-Indian team isolation-reared and released a total of four Siberian Crane juveniles on the breeding grounds of the central population. Three birds reared in 1991 failed to join the wild cranes because of inadequate time for the development of social bonds between meeting the wild birds and the migration of the latter. The single bird reared in 1992 is believed to have joined and migrated with Common Cranes. In addition, during the winter of 1992-93, two Siberian Cranes captive-reared in Russia were released with the wild cranes on their wintering grounds in India. The captive-reared birds thrived in the wild, but once again there was inadequate time for the development of social bonds between the captive-reared and wild cranes. Efforts to release birds on the breeding grounds are being repeated in 1993, and during the winter of 1993-94, efforts will be made to release more captive-reared cranes on the wintering grounds in India. In March 1993, three Eurasian Common Cranes were fitted with satellite transmitters at Keola Deo National Park. Two of these cranes provided very valuable information on migration and revealed for the first time the exact migration route of at least some of the cranes that winter in India. Some important stopover areas were also made evident that had not been documented previously. These two Eurasian Cranes are currently at their breeding area in southern Siberia, near the headwaters of the Ob River. As the population of Siberian Cranes wintering in India is on the verge of extinction, it might become necessary to use the more abundant Eurasian Cranes as guide birds for the juvenile Siberian Cranes released in Siberia, since migration in cranes is a learned behaviour. Eurasian Cranes in and around Keola Deo National Park are expected to be fitted with satellite transmitters for the next three years at least, thus leading to a more comprehensive recovery program for Siberian Cranes. It is believed that in the passes of the Hindu Kush mountains which span Afghanistan and Pakistan, crane hunters are probably most responsible for the demise of the central flock. Afghans shoot migrating birds and sell them for meat in the bazaars. In the early 1960s, three Siberian Cranes were seen dead and hanging by their necks in a market in Kabul. The war in Afghanistan and subsequent instability have negated any conservation initiative. More than 900 crane hunters in Pakistan use live decoy Common Cranes and Demoiselle Cranes to lure migration cranes to their traps and guns. However, wildlife researchers and conservationists in Pakistan have waged a vigorous effort to better manage crane hunting, to reduce the use of guns and to teach hunters not to harm white cranes. Efforts continue in Pakistan, and we hope the Pakistani conservationists can soon spread this good work to Afghanistan. The eastern population In the far east, enormous flocks of Siberian Cranes probe the winter shallows of Poyang Lake. In summer when the Yangtze swells, Poyang Lake likewise fills partly from the flooding of five small rivers that enter the lake and partly from Yangtze floodwaters. In autumn, when flow in the rivers is reduced, the waters of Poyang Lake drop. At first, grass-covered areas emerge, and then vast areas of mud are exposed. Shallow depressions in the mud flats create "winter lakes" whose boundaries often change as the strong winds move the lakes in various directions over the mud. Beneath the mud is an abundance of tubers of wild celery. At the borders of these winter lakes, great flocks of Siberian Cranes probe for tubers in the mud. They are joined by thousands of Swan Geese and White-naped Cranes. By late winter, the winter lakes are almost gone, and the cranes migrate north to several staging areas in northern China, and from there to their breeding grounds in the Russian arctic. There are plans in China to construct the world's largest hydropower dam upstream from Poyang Lake at Three Gorges. This dam threatens to block flood waters that are partially responsible for the seasonal filling of Poyang Lake. Altering the fragile hydrology of Poyang Lake may threaten the quality of the habitat for wintering Siberian Cranes. A tenuous existence: the need for urgent action The Siberian Crane's conspicuous appearance, long migrations, inflexible foraging habits and wintering in populous areas all explain why the bird is endangered. While the eastern populations appear stable for the time being, saving the western populations requires immediate and forceful action. Given the critical status of the population wintering in India, steps have to be taken now, despite the lack of detailed information on the migration route. Strategies and materials for public education have to be developed. Mechanisms for action have to be developed, and personnel have to be hired or trained. Afghanistan's Lake Ab-i-Estada is a key area, but people over a wider area have to be notified of the critical importance of saving this species. If we can succeed in determining the migration route in the near future, then these mechanisms for preservation can focus their energies. If we cannot determine the route, then at least there will be some action on a broader scale that may help tip the balance in favor of survival. We must do our utmost to save the western flocks because if this magnificent species is extirpated from western Asia, the knowledge of their long migration route will be lost, and it will be extremely difficult to reintroduce Siberian Cranes in the future. The conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between the countries frequented by these magnificent birds offers real hope that action will be taken to reverse the drastic decline in their numbers in recent years.