BirdLife International, a global partnership of conservation organisations, had a successful meeting in Nairobi in March. Specifically, it was the Council of Africa Partnership (CAP), the first in a series of regional meetings to plan BirdLife strategy for 2014 to 2017.
The CAP meeting, which is held every two years, is the main governance body for BirdLife International Africa Partnership. The members of BirdLife Africa, together with key stakeholders and supporters, come together to discuss and adopt a common framework and strategy with priorities for bird conservation in Africa. Nature Kenya, being the BirdLife Partner for Kenya, together with the Africa Secretariat of BirdLife International, also located in Nairobi, hosted over 80 delegates coming from over 30 countries in Africa and Europe. The CAP meeting received some high level attention. At the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister of Kenya was represented by Hon. Dr Noah Wekesa, Minister for Forestry and Wildlife.
The Chairman of the East Africa Natural History Society (Nature Kenya) and the Chief Executive Officer of BirdLife International gave speeches to set the scene for the meeting. Later in the week, an evening get-together was hosted by the Spanish Ambassador. There were good speeches given by the ambassador, the representative of the UNEP Director and the CEO of BirdLife International
The focused discussions during the week were fruitful. Partners agreed on a global framework and elements for a regional programme of work. The focus will emphasize saving species, protecting sites and habitats, promoting ecological sustainability and empowering people. To deliver this framework for the period 2014 to 2017, BirdLife will work on key priority programmes including: flyways for migratory birds, preventing extinctions of globally threatened species, saving forests through the “Forests of Hope” initiative, protecting Important Bird Areas, empowering people and building the capacity of the BirdLife Partnership and secretariat. The strategy will be adopted by the Global BirdLife Partnership World Conference that will take place in Canada in June 2013.
Hosting this BirdLife meeting was not without challenges. It took substantial time for key senior Nature Kenya and BirdLife Africa Secretariat staff. Although the meeting was in Nairobi, staff had to be resident at the venue so as to mingle and share lessons and experiences with the delegates and maximise their presence in Nairobi. There were also gains. Three members joined the Society, and sales of books, honey, T-shirts and other merchandise amounted to Ksh 88,000. Bilateral meetings in particular with RSPB (BirdLife UK), NABU (BirdLife Germany) and DOF (BirdLife Denmark) took place and helped to consolidate the relationship for project development. The delegates went back home a happy lot.