Experts' profiles - Bert Lenten
Bert Lenten
Bert Lenten is the Executive Secretary of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and since July 2009 also Acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the Convention on the conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). CMS was concluded in 1979 in Bonn, Germany and there also referred to as the Bonn Convention. Under the auspices of CMS The Government of The Netherlands has developed AEWA in the early nineties. Bert Lenten entered on duty as Executive Secretary of AEWA in January 1996 and has made a significant contribution to the successful development of the Agreement since then. Meanwhile he is now also strongly involved in CMS.

Although AEWA is one of the more recently established Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEA), it has rapidly grown and developed into a successful and internationally recognised instrument for trans-boundary, multilateral waterbird conservation in the African-Eurasian region. Under Bert Lenten’s leadership, nearly half of the 119 Range States covered by the Agreement area have now joined AEWA as Contracting Parties. Furthermore, AEWA is increasingly recognised as one of the most effective instruments for flyway-scale cooperation on the conservation of migratory waterbirds across Africa and Eurasia.

In 2006, Bert Lenten took the lead in organising the World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) initiative in close cooperation with CMS. WMBD is a global campaign devoted to celebrating the beauty of migrating birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide. The annual event is one of the most ambitious awareness raising campaigns ever conducted by the AEWA Secretariat and it managed to stimulate 70 unique WMBD activities in 46 countries in 2006 alone. This year World Migratory Bird Day is scheduled to take place on the weekend of 8 - 9 May 2010 and its central theme is Save migratory birds in crisis every species counts! The theme aims to raise awareness on globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those on the very edge of extinction the Critically Endangered migratory birds. In line with the International Year of Biodiversity, the 2010 WMBD theme also highlights how migratory birds are part of the biological diversity of our world and how the threat of extinction faced by individual bird species is a reflection of the larger extinction crisis threatening other species and the natural diversity that underpins all life on earth.

Bert is also one of the founding fathers of the CMS-led Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and the Environment. The Task Force was established to provide a more balanced picture of the role wild birds play in the spread of Avian Influenza. It cautions against the unjustified or exclusive blaming of migratory wild birds and tries to avoid overreaction by decision/policy makers that could be detrimental to the conservation of species and their habitats.

He has also played a leading role in the development of the African-Eurasian Flyways Project; currently also know as Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project. This US $ 12 million project is currently in the implementation phase.

As a Dutch civil servant specialised in forestry and nature conservation, Bert worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality from 1981-2000. During this period he was responsible for providing advice to private landowners on the management of forest/nature areas, for the establishment of a National Park, for the afforestation of several areas around Amsterdam, and for the development of nature and forest policies at regional level, etc.

Bert holds a Bachelor Degree in Forestry and Nature Management.
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