Migratory birds of prey to be protected by UN-backed agreement

23 October 2008

A new United Nations-backed agreement that aims to protect migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia has been signed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates by 28 countries and will enter into force at the end of next week.

Working through the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the governments of the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates have led the negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), resulting in the signatories yesterday.

The new agreement area stretches across more than 130 countries from the African, Afrotropical, Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms and protects more than 70 species of migratory birds of prey including Falconiformes, ospreys, eagles and owls.

More than 50 per cent of migratory birds of prey have poor conservation status as a result of habitat loss due to agriculture, forestry, industry and fisheries, collisions with power lines, hunting and trapping for falconry, according to a UNEP press release issued today.

Signatories to the new agreement – which enters into force on 1 November – are committed to restoring positive conservation status of migratory birds of prey and protecting such bird species from illegal killing, including poisoning and shooting and unsustainable exploitation.

To promote and monitor the new agreement an extra CMS coordinating unit of six staff will be established in Abu Dhabi as a UNEP initiative.

“The establishment of this tri-continental agreement for birds of prey, with a coordinating unit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, marks a new era for the Convention,” stated the Chairman of the meeting Professor Colin Galbraith. “Here is the Gulf, at the crossroads of migration and culture, we have a chance to establish a new UN base for wildlife conservation.”

The action plan foresees collective efforts for more research on species ecology and migratory behaviour, patterns and routes as well as data analysis.


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