BirdLife protects migratory birds of prey
BirdLife have become the first non-governmental organisation to sign a new treaty protecting migratory raptors. The 'African-Eurasian Memorandum of Understanding on Birds of Prey' will help to protect migratory birds of prey and owls from threats such as habitat destruction, persecution, accidental killing and the effects of climate change. BirdLife Partners are already preparing to launch a new project which will address key areas of the agreement.
"Birds of prey face many threats as they travel through countries on migration", said Dr Marco Lambertini - BirdLife's Director of Network and Programme. "For example, European species of conservation concern such as Osprey Pandion haliaetus are killed by powerlines in Europe each year".
"Conserving any migratory bird is an international challenge requiring joined-up effort and local action", remarked Dr Lambertini. "For example, years of international campaigning and local pressure co-ordinated by LIPU (BirdLife in Italy) has reduced previously widespread shooting of migratory raptors passing between Sicily and Calabria to negligible levels. However, effective conservation of migratory species means that the threats they face elsewhere on their migration are also countered, and this is where global partnerships such as BirdLife play a vital role".
“Conserving any migratory bird is an international challenge...” —Dr Marco Lambertini, BirdLife’s Director of Network and Programme
Dr Lambertini attended a signing ceremony today at the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Convention on Migratory Species. "I'm delighted BirdLife is the first NGO to sign this crucial agreement".
BirdLife are preparing to launch a project which will address key areas of the new agreement in early 2009. "The 'Migratory Soaring Birds project will work with key economic sectors to better understand the underlying causes of the threats to soaring birds such as the large birds of prey, and develop best practice guidelines to avoid or mitigate these threats", commented Dr Jonathan Barnard - BirdLife's Programme and Projects Manager.
Many birds of prey use the technique of gliding on thermals as part of their migration between breeding and wintering grounds. Some geographical features act as corridors through which thousands of migrating soaring birds pass each year. This concentration of large numbers of birds in a small area exposes them to many threats. "The Migratory Soaring Birds project will provide a safe passage for these species", stated Dr Barnard.
"The Migratory Soaring Birds project will provide a safe passage for these species” —Dr Jonathan Barnard, BirdLife’s Programme and Projects Manager
BirdLife's wealth of technical information on migratory birds of prey helped inform the new resolution. BirdLife is the IUCN Red List Authority for birds, and has complied detailed information on Important Bird Areas throughout the world. "BirdLife's extensive knowledge of bird species and sites will prove extremely valuable for enacting the African-Eurasian MoU on Birds of Prey", said Alison Stattersfield - BirdLife's head of Science. "We look forward to working with the MoU Secretariat through the Migratory Soaring Birds project to provide technical expertise".
BirdLife were also in Rome this week to showcase the results of an international conservation project which is protecting migratory waterbirds. "The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project is aiding international collaboration along the African-Eurasian flyways", said Dr Barnard. "WOW is improving information on waterbirds and the critical sites they use on migration, building capacity and demonstrating best practice in the conservation and wise-use of wetlands".
The MoU was recently concluded following a joint initiative by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. To read the BirdLife news story on the formation of the MoU - click here.
The Migratory Soaring Birds project will be launched in spring 2009 and executed by BirdLife International in collaboration with Partners and government agencies in Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The project is funded through the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme.
WOW is a joint effort between Wetlands International, BirdLife International, the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Environment Programme, the Secretariat of the AEWA, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, the United Nations Office for Project Services and a range of donors and local partners along the African-Eurasian Flyways.
Credits: BirdLife Flyways Campaign