On May 17, 2005, Interior Secretary Gale Norton commemorated the 12th International Migratory Bird Day by signing a declaration of intent with Canada and Mexico to strengthen cooperation on bird conservation. Alberto Cardenas-Jimenez, Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, United Mexican States, signed the Declaration on May 31st and Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Department of the Environment of Canada, signed the Declaration on June 22nd.

To see a copy of the DOI, click here. To download a Q&A about the DOI, click here. Norton signed the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Declaration of Intent “to conserve North American birds throughout their ranges and habitats, and ultimately to collaborate with all participant nations regarding bird cooperation.” This important document now serves as a public expression of support for trinational cooperation to deliver comprehensive bird conservation in North America. In May she also announced $3.9 million in Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grants to conserve birds throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. Many of the continent’s more than 1,100 bird species require immediate conservation attention as their populations continue to decline, some moderately, some precipitously, and their habitats continue to be degraded or lost.

Partnerships among state, provincial, federal, and private organizations and individuals are working at all levels to protect, restore, and enhance habitats and broad landscapes for birds, but they need the help of additional partners and financial resources to succeed. The DOI is a means of increasing the profile and recognition of these partnerships so that they can garner additional resources to turn the tide for the many species that are losing ground in North America.

The Declaration formalizes the process for undertaking NABCI, a coalition of bird conservation organizations and initiatives striving to increase resources for regionally based, biologically driven, landscape-oriented partnerships and make them more effective by fostering integrated bird conservation, which is based on sound science, effective management, and efficient use of resources.