On World Migratory Bird Day, we celebrate migratory birds and reaffirm our international commitment to protecting them.
This year’s theme, “Birds Connect Our World”, reminds us that migratory birds connect us to our planet, to wildlife and with each other, with beneficial results.
Migratory birds are integral to the fabric of life on Earth. They play essential roles in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and allow us all to benefit from nature’s contributions to people.
Migratory water birds help maintain and improve the quality of wetland ecosystems. Human communities benefit from the resulting ecosystem services, such as water and food, and disaster risk reduction.
Approximately five per cent of the plants that humans use for food or medicine are pollinated by birds. When they travel, birds take the seeds they’ve eaten and disperse them, helping bring plants back to ecosystems that have been destroyed. These birds also serve as a source of food, of economically and culturally important activities such as hunting, tourism and recreation.
Protecting migratory birds presents unique challenges. Their habitat knows no borders, making protection a globally shared responsibility. The relentless destruction, fragmentation and degradation of habitats have damaged critical stopover sites for many species. This loss of resilience not only affects migratory birds but facilitates the spread of infectious diseases including COVID-19.
As we recover and build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must seize this opportunity for strengthened international cooperation in support of our shared future. The protection of biodiversity is more important than ever, and we must take renewed, ambitious action to stop its continuing decline.
To enable this, the Convention on Biological Diversity offers guidelines to Parties on how to effectively incorporate and mainstream the conservation of migratory species into national policies for biodiversity, including into national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
Connectivity is essential for migratory birds. They, unlike we, cannot be locked down. Migratory birds need a network of intact habitats along their entire migration routes to survive. Therefore, we need to ensure that they have places, everywhere.
As confirmed by Heads of State and Government at the recent UN Summit on Biodiversity, biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges that we face. By addressing the needs of migratory birds – such as land restoration, healthy ecosystems and genetic diversity – we also help ourselves.
Nature has sent us a call to action with regards to the pandemic. We know that biodiversity remains the basis for a sustainable future. Let’s conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. We will not only be helping our feathered friends, on their breathtaking travels, we are also helping ourselves.
Learn more: https://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/