Middle East
11 Sep 2019

Workshop Against Illegal Trade in Birds of Prey: The Declaration

©Yehya Khaled, RSCN
By Dima Obeidat

We, the Participants of the Workshop Against Illegal Trade in Birds of Prey That took place in Abu Dhabi on 27 August 2019: 


Acknowledging that the illegal killing, taking and trade in wild birds of prey (IKB) is a conservation problem in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and source countries;

Recognising that wild birds are used by local communities around the world, and are important for livelihoods, recreation and for cultural heritage;

Committing to the zero-tolerance approach to any deliberate IKB of migratory birds which contravenes national law and to the commitments to international conventions and MEAs as stated in the Cairo Declaration on IKB of the CMS Task Force on IKB for the Mediterranean Region (MIKT);

Appreciating that the combating of IKB, in particular the illegal trade of birds of prey  requires the imposition of legislation and enforcement in conjunction with other measures such as education, awareness and managed sustainable use;

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Welcoming the recent synergies on actions to combat IKB created between the Bern Convention, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU) and the Saker Falcon Task Force;

Further intending to build on the outcomes of the IAF’s Falconry Cooperation Strategy for the MENA Region developed in 2017 and the outcomes of the Global Flyways Summit of 2018 hosted by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation and convened by BirdLife International;

Recognising that the sustainable use of wild birds is envisaged in the IUCN Policy Statement on Sustainable Use of Wild Living Resources (2000), the IUCN Recommendation 2.74 on Conserving the Saker Falcon (2000), the Convention on Biological Diversity and associated Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for Sustainable Use (2004), and the Saker Falcon Global Action Plan, and taking into account CMS Resolution 11.16 (Rev. COP12), which acknowledges “the role of legal and sustainable hunting of birds in sustainable livelihoods and conservation of habitats and the role of the hunting community in promoting and encouraging compliance with the law and sustainable hunting practices”;

Understanding that sustainable use can provide incentives to conserve species and their habitats, particularly when supported by good conservation measures when adequately implemented;

Further understanding that those involved in illegal trade, directly and indirectly, can be persuaded to use birds sustainably if provided with the appropriate information, in their own languages, such as www.sakernet.org and the Bern Convention’s European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity;


The Participants of the Workshop Against  Illegal Trade in Birds of Prey


Endorse working in close cooperation with local communities in the MENA Region and source countries to eradicate the illegal killing, taking and trade in birds of prey including by ensuring the legal and sustainable use of birds of prey based on the latest scientific data;

Call for the implementation of IUCN Recommendation 2.74 of 2000 Conserving the Saker Falcon, utilizing the languages of affected communities; 

Further call for the implementation of CMS Resolution 11.16 (Rev. COP12) on the Prevention of Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds including establishing a Regional Task Force, with appropriate funding, to address the illegal killing, taking and trade in wild birds of prey  including promoting legal and sustainable use and trade and  building on the experience of the CMS Task Force on IKB for the Mediterranean region (MIKT); 

Further encourage governments  to implement the measures adopted by the MEAs , that will combat the illegal trade of birds of prey while promoting legal and sustainable use and trade;; 

Request that the convenors of this Workshop communicate this Statement to regional governments, authorities and other stakeholders to further encourage implementation;   

Acknowledge the leadership of bird of prey conservation provided by H.H the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan and the support for conservation by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan and thank the Government of the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates Falconry Club, the International Fund for Houbara Conservation and the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey for convening this Workshop