UN Declaration on Great Apes signed

21 September 2005 Successes

The first Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM-1) on Great Apes and the first meeting of the Council of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP Council Meeting) convened in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), from 5-9 September 2005. Over 200 delegates attended, from great ape range state governments, donor and other states, international and intergovernmental organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector and academia and scientific communities. Given that this was the first opportunity for such a diverse group of actors to meet face-to-face in DRC to reach accord on a strategy for the survival of the great apes and their habitats, the first days of the meetings were characterized by a sense of the enormous task ahead. However, as the days and negotiations progressed a clear sense of optimism and collaborative spirit emerged throughout IGM-1 and GRASP Council Meeting, and participants used both the formal meetings and informal periods to significantly push forward on their common work. As the final High Level Segment was closed with ceremony on Friday and the Kinshasa Declaration was signed, there was a sense that this week in one of the great ape range states, a positive step forward had been taken towards a common goal.

IGM-1 met from 5-6 September 2005, was followed by a GRASP Council Meeting on 7-8 September and resumed its discussions with a High-Level Segment on 9 September.

IGM-1 discussed rules for organization and management of the GRASP Partnership (the GRASP Rules); a global strategy for the Survival of Great Apes (the Global Strategy); a work plan for 2003-2007; and, a meeting declaration on great apes which became known during the week as the “Kinshasa Declaration.” The GRASP Council Meeting considered reports on the intersessional period and elected the GRASP Executive Committee and the new GRASP Council Chair. It also adopted decisions on the 2003-2007 Work Plan, and on the GRASP Rules. The results of its deliberations on the Global Strategy were forwarded to the IGM-1 Final Plenary. On 9 September, IGM-1 reconvened on a High Level Segment, heard statements by ministers and heads of delegation, approved the Global Strategy, and adopted the Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes.

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