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AI Scientific Task Force

In August 2005, concerns about the role of migratory birds as potential vectors of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H5N1, led the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), in close cooperation with the Agreement on the Conservation of African Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), to establish a Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds.

The Task Force aims to bring together the best scientific advice on the conservation impact of the spread of avian influenza, assessing the role of migratory birds as vectors of the virus, and issuing advice on the root causes of the epidemic as well as technically sound measures to combat it and develop early warning systems. The Task Force draws on expertise and collaboration between conservation scientists, hunters, veterinarians, epidemiologists, virologists, land managers and other experts comprising of 14 members and observers, including UN bodies, wildlife treaties and specialist intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations.

In March of 2007, FAO changed its status from an observer member to an active member of the AI Task Force. In June 2007, the AI Task Force acknowledged FAO for their commitment and dedication to understanding the role of wild birds in the H5N1 avian influenza story and FAO was honoured by being asked to co-convene and co-coordinate the AI Task Force with UNEP-CMS.

Resolution on avian influenza adopted at international wetlands conference in South Korea.

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