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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > October
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 22, 2003


Western Hemisphere Migratory Bird Conference

2003/1076

Opening remarks by Assistant Secretary John F. Turner

For the first time in more than 40 years, wildlife officials from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere met in Chile recently and agreed to develop a hemispheric strategy for the conservation of migratory birds one of our most important and threatened shared wildlife resources. Sponsored by the United States, the Western Hemisphere Migratory Bird Conference took place on Oct. 6-8, in Termas de Puyehue, Chile.

John F. Turner, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, led the U.S. delegation, which also included officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service. Representatives of approximately 40 environmental NGOs and international conventions also attended.

As a first step, participants identified five priority needs: (1) identification and designation of critical habitats for conservation, (2) capacity building to monitor wildlife, (3) development of training programs, (4) enhanced information sharing, and (5) dealing with threats posed by invasive alien species. Participants also identified tools already available to help address these priorities through national, international, and non-government organizations.

To move from commitment to action, the conference established an Interim Steering Committee comprised of governments, international organizations and non-government entities. This public-private partnership will produce and disseminate information on the status of migratory bird species and habitat throughout the Americas. It will help coordinate the activities of the many organizations involved in this area and facilitate implementation of concrete measures to safeguard migratory birds from the Arctic to Antarctica. A second hemispheric conference is being considered for early 2005 to assess progress and identify further actions needed.

Released on October 22, 2003

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