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World Migratory Bird Day 2019 was a Great Success

Under the theme “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution”, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) Secretariats, with their partner Environment for the Americas (EFTA) celebrated this year’s World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD).

A total of 558 events in 70 countries were registered – greatly surpassing the number of events and countries engaged in previous years.  The majority of events included clean-up activities, public lectures, exhibitions and art displays raising awareness of plastic pollution.

The campaign prompted an impressive amount of social media activity with the hashtag #WorldMigratoryBirdDay being mentioned in 11,500 social media posts within two weeks and having a potential reach of around 128 million people. An Instagram post from WWF in support of World Migratory Bird Day has received more than 3 million impressions.

As BirdLife International reported, an outstanding event took place in Lebanon, where President Michel Aoun launched three bird-themed postage stamps in honor of World Migratory Bird Day. In his speech, the president drew attention to the conservation of migratory birds in his country, for which illegal killing of birds has been a significant issue over the past years.

Another highlight was the annual WMBD benefit concert held in Rome’s Palazzo Rospigliosi. Chosen in part to reflect the significance of celestial bodies in bird migration, the theme of the concert was the Moon, the Sun and other Stars. The money raised at the event will be donated to bird conservation projects.

A press release, issued by the CMS and AEWA Secretariats, drew on scientific findings of Peter Ryan, an expert based in South Africa, concerning the effects on birds being entangled, their ingestion and nest building using plastic items. News wires, major international and national newspapers, other online media as well as partner organizations and NGOs picked up the press release.  Over 560 articles mentioned World Migratory Bird Day in the span of just two weeks, a few examples being the UN News Center, UN Environment and the Washington Post. 

Furthermore, leading experts and conservationists expressed their support to World Migratory Bird Day, including the Acting Executive Director of UN Environment, Ms. Joyce Msuya, UN Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall and the Director General of WWF International, Mr. Marco Lambertini. The messages of support can be viewed on WMBD website, which is the main hub for the campaign.

The UN Secretariat published a special “UN in Action” film entitled “Protecting Birds Is Protecting Our Future” on 11 May. The film included an interview with AEWA Executive Secretary, Jacques Trouvilliez.

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