Ground-breaking Flyways Summit Held in Abu Dhabi

01.07.2018
© CMS

From 23-26 April 2018, government, donor, private sector, research, NGO and international convention representatives, from more than 70 countries and 100 organisations, gathered in Abu Dhabi for the first Global Flyways Summit. This unprecedented meeting brought together actors and decision-makers from all eight flyways of the world to address the critical declines in many migratory bird populations.

The meeting was attended by the Manager of the LIFE project “Egyptian Vulture New LIFE”, as wll as most of the project partners (CMS Raptors MoU, BirdLife Africa, BirdLife Middle East, RSPB, HOS ect ) which brings together institutions and organizations from 14 countries spanning the Balkans, Middle East and Africa.

The outcomes of the Summit were informed by the release of the State of the World’s Birds 2018; of the world’s 11,000 bird species, one in five are migratory, of which nearly 40% are in decline, with one in eight being threatened with global extinction.

The main item under discussion was how migratory birds can be better protected at every point of their arduous journeys along the flyways.

A number of actions to address eight priority areas for flyway conservation were discussed and agreed:  (1) sustainable approaches to coastal ecosystem protection, management and restoration; (2) ensuring that onshore and offshore renewable energy and power transmission sectors take full account of the needs of migratory birds; (3) adopting a zero tolerance approach to the illegal killing, taking and trade of wild birds; (4) recognizing bustards as flagships for the grassland landscapes; for Houbara Bustards, ensuring that hunting is regulated and sustainable as part of an integrated in situ and ex situ approach; (5) highlighting the importance of implementing the CMS Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP) and the need to tackle the threat of poison baits; (6) scaling-up implementation of the Saker Falcon Global Action Plan (SakerGAP) especially as regards measures to address electrocution; (7) building the capacity of people and organizations involved in flyway conservation; and (8) more effective collaboration between donors through the establishment of an alliance to enhance efforts for bird conservation.

The LIFE project "Egyptian vulture New LIFE" was presented in a panel discussion on the Vultures session as a good example of conservation of the species along its migration flyway. The project was recognized as one of the flagships of the CMS Vulture MsAP. The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife Bulgaria) significantly contributed to the development of the Vulture MsAP through its active participation in the Regional and Overarching workshops, and together with the partners under the LIFE+ project “The Return of the Neophron” (LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152) by developing of the Flyway Action Plan for the Conservation of the Balkan and Central Asian Populations of the Egyptian Vulture (EVFAP) is an integral part and annexed in full to the Vulture MsAP.

The Global Flyways Summit was convened by BirdLife International in association with the MAVA Foundation, the Ornithological Society of the Middle East (OSME) and CMS among others.  It was hosted by the International Fund for Houbara Conservation in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.  At the end of the meeting, a Declaration was issued by BirdLife International.

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