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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 18 Number 60 | Sunday, 11 October 2015


Second Meeting of the Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia

5-8 October 2015 | Trondheim, Norway


Languages: EN (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from Trondheim, Norway at:
http://enb.iisd.org/cms/2nd-meeting-signatories-raptors-mou/

The Second Meeting of the Signatories (MoS2) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding concerning the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU) was held from 5-8 October 2015 in Trondheim, Norway. It was attended by approximately 70 participants, which included representatives from 24 signatories and the European Union (EU).

Signatories agreed to: amend Annex 1 of the Raptors MoU’s species list to include 12 additional African-Eurasian vulture species and six additional raptor species; amend the Rules of Procedure on Credentials (Rule 5) and Amendments to the MoU (Rule 16); amend Annex 2, the geographic scope of the Raptors MoU to include South Sudan in the range state list; set a deadline of 31 December 2016 for receipt of National or Regional Raptor Conservation Strategies; and add Comoros as the 53rd signatory.

As participants left Trondheim, they noted the progress that was made in Trondheim and reflected fondly on the opportunities to share raptor conservation strategies, including during a full-day excursion on Wednesday, travelling from Trondheim to Røros, witnessing raptor habitats along the way. However, they also recognized that much work remains, recognizing the urgency for action to address challenges facing migratory birds of prey.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CONSERVATION OF MIGRATORY BIRDS OF PREY IN AFRICA AND EURASIA UNDER CMS

Raptors are threatened by land use practices that reduce prey availability and suitable breeding habitat, as well as pollution, poisoning, hunting, persecution, illegal taking and trade (e.g. for falconry), collisions and electrocution from power lines. While hunting, trapping and persecution levels may be declining for most species, the trapping of the Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) for falconry is of concern. For other species, accidental poisoning, persecution, shooting for sport and trapping contribute to population declines or long-term reductions in range. Climate change exacerbates these problems. Migratory raptors face additional conservation challenges because they need adequate networks of suitable habitat along their flyways.

 In 2005, a year-long study commissioned by the United Kingdom (UK) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found that more than 50% of migratory birds of prey populations in the African-Eurasian region were in poor conservation status, and many species demonstrated rapid or long-term declines. The UK presented its results at the 8th CMS Conference of the Parties (COP8), held in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2005. CMS Resolution 8.12 was adopted by COP8, which urged parties to explore whether the development of a CMS instrument would assist in promoting the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory birds of prey. The Governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK jointly led an initiative to act on this resolution.

A meeting to identify and elaborate an option for international cooperation on African-Eurasian migratory raptors under CMS was held in Loch Lomond, Scotland, in October 2007. A second meeting of range states was held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in October 2008, to negotiate and conclude the Raptors MoU, which was signed by 28 range states on 22 October 2008. It came into effect on 1 November 2008.

The Raptors MoU covers 93 species of birds of prey and owls in 131 range states across Africa and Eurasia. As of 8 October 2015, the MoU has 53 signatories. The CMS Secretariat, BirdLife International, the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF) are cooperating partners.

SAKER FALCON: At CMS COP9, held from 1-5 December 2008, in Rome, Italy, the proposal to list the Saker Falcon on Appendix I was withdrawn, however a resolution was later adopted that set out the direction for future work on this species, and proposed listing it at COP10 unless its conservation status improved significantly. COP10 agreed to: list the Saker Falcon in CMS Appendix I, excluding the population in Mongolia; establish an immediate concerted action; and establish a task force. The first meeting of the Saker Falcon Task Force was held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 29 March 2012. The Task Force agreed on its WorkPlan for 2012-14, including adopting a Saker Falcon Global Action Plan (SakerGAP).

MOS1: MoS1 to the Raptors MoU was held from 9-11 December 2012 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was attended by over 90 participants, which included representatives from 22 Signatories and the EU. Signatories agreed on: a process on future work and national reporting; the creation of the Raptors MoU Coordinating Unit (CU) and the Interim Technical and Advisory Group (TAG); identification of priority areas to address the threats facing birds of prey; and the endorsement of CMS Resolution 10.11 on power lines and migratory birds. Somalia and Niger also signed the Raptors MoU.

CMS COP11: At CMS COP11, held from 4-9 November 2014, in Quito, Ecuador, parties adopted the “Guidelines to Prevent the Risk of Poisoning of Migratory Birds” (UNEP/CMS/COP11/Doc.23.1.2/Annex 2) which calls on parties to take measures to reduce poisoning to raptors, including within National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and/or other relevant legislation, and requested the CMS Secretariat to regularly consult with relevant stakeholders. Resolutions were also adopted on, inter alia: Programme of Work on Migratory Birds and Flyways (CMS Resolution 11.14); Prevention of Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds (IKB) (CMS Resolution 11.16), Action Plan for Migratory Landbirds in the African-Eurasian Region (CMS Resolution 11.17); and SakerGAP (CMS Resolution 11.18). Switzerland and the Czech Republic also signed the Raptors MoU.

REPORT OF THE MEETING

On Monday morning, 5 October, Gunn Paulsen, Norwegian Environment Agency, welcomed participants, highlighting increased awareness of birds of prey through conservation efforts, sharing the example of the White-tail Eagle in Norway. She called for collaboration across regions to solve challenges posed by illegal hunting, power lines, wind turbines and pollution. Paulsen also noted the remarkable leadership of CMS, calling for continued support from parties.

Lyle Glowka, CMS Office – Abu Dhabi, recalling the longstanding history in collaborative approaches to biodiversity, welcomed participants and thanked the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, acknowledging that the core funding support has enabled the CU to be productive.

On Tuesday morning, Borja Heredia, CMS Secretariat, delivered remarks on behalf of Bradnee Chambers, CMS Executive Secretary, underscoring the value of birds of prey and the ecological services they provide. He identified the urgent need for international concerted actions, highlighting the crosscutting resolutions adopted at CMS COP11 on flyways, poisoning, IKB, and renewable energy. Stating, “Together we really can make a difference,” he encouraged positive developments to adopt, inter alia: the proposal to add vulture species to Annex 1 of the Raptors MoU; support for implementation of the SakerGAP; and further cooperation among the TAG and the CMS Scientific Council.

On Tuesday morning, Glowka opened the MoU for signature, welcoming the 53rd signatory, Mohamed Said Youssouf, Comoros, to sign the Raptors MoU.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA: On Monday morning, delegates adopted the agenda (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/1/Rev.2 & UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/2/Rev.2).

ELECTION OF OFFICERS: On Monday morning, Glowka invited delegates to elect officers, proposing to keep the CMS tradition of inviting the host country to Chair. Delegates elected Øystein Størkersen, Norway, as Chair and Ndeye Sene Thiam, Senegal, as Vice Chair.

RULES OF PROCEDURE: On Monday morning, Glowka introduced the Rules of Procedure, as they currently stand, which were adopted (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/3/Rev.1).

Later in the morning, Glowka introduced proposed amendments and refined language pertaining to Annex 1 of the Rules of Procedure. He suggested to reference the TAG when considering and submitting proposals, and to enable the TAG to fully implement its mandate.

With regard to the time allowed for comments on proposals submitted prior to a meeting, and in consideration of a request by the Netherlands, on behalf of the EU and its Member States, hereafter “the EU,” Norway, proposed that the TAG adhere to the same submission timelines as signatories.

Chair Størkersen noted the proposed amendments to be revised in the Rules of Procedure for future meetings.

Delegates amended Rule 5 on Credentials and Rule 16 on Amendments to the MoU (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/3/Rev.1).

CREDENTIALS: On Monday, Chair Størkersen encouraged signatories to hand in their credentials. On Monday afternoon, Glowka, reported on credentials received from the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Hungary, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, the Netherlands, Niger, Pakistan, Portugal, Senegal and the UAE, adding Iran on Thursday morning.

ADMISSION OF OBSERVERS: On Monday morning, Chair Størkersen introduced, and delegates adopted, the Admission of Observers (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/4).

STATEMENTS FROM SIGNATORIES, PARTNERS AND OBSERVERS

On Monday morning, Chair Størkersen opened the floor, for statements from signatories, partners and observers, particularly inviting statements from range states that are not yet signatories.

Israel reported that his ambassador, unable to attend, would sign the Raptors MoU at the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6) to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) in November 2015. India shared its work on observation and conservation of raptors, indicating that they will sign the MoU at MoS3.

Lebanon noted progress with new hunting regulations, requesting that all future amendments be submitted in draft form to allow adequate opportunity in order to internally process.

The EU reiterated the opportunity of MoS2 to share efforts addressing raptors’ migratory routes and committed full support and cooperation to achieve positive progress. Syria pledged support, despite a difficult time at home.

Saudi Arabia, with Oman, expressed interest in joining in the near future. Saudi Arabia pledged continued financial and scientific resources to support the MoU Action Plan and the CMS Strategic Plan for Migratory Species (SMPS).

BirdLife International introduced efforts to support the implementation of the MoU’s Action Plan, such as contributing to research to help inform decision making from the field, for example by tracking birds of prey impacted by wind farms in Spain.

REPORTS

REPORT OF THE COORDINATING UNIT: On Monday morning, Glowka introduced the Report of the CU (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/5), highlighting progress since MoS1 with 10 additional signatories and pointed out that there were 16 range states not yet signatories to the Raptors MoU that were present as observers at MoS2. He highlighted the importance for each signatory to designate a National Contact Point and provide details, underscoring the available guidance of core functions and responsibilities. He added that, despite being well funded, further finances are required for human resource needs, as well as for the implementation of the MoU Action Plan.

Chair Størkersen, drawing attention to the proposed deadline of 31 December 2015 to collect details of the National Contact Points, opened the floor for comments on the prioritization of core activities.

Saudi Arabia, noting accomplishments and hope for further progress, proposed the inclusion of “scientific and technical support” in reference to range state contributions to implement the SakerGAP.

Hungary supported the CU’s work plan, proposing the addition of extensive fundraising work to mobilize implementation. Kenya proposed developing a mechanism to support collaboration and mobilization of resources.

Norway supported continued collaboration with the CMS family on communication efforts and the EU noted the value of webinars, where possible.

Lebanon proposed developing a shortlist of threatened species to attract countries’ financial contributions. Mali commented that security issues pose significant challenges for deploying and monitoring the MoU Action Plan. Chair Størkersen acknowledged comments and proposals.

Delegates took note of the actions requested in the report, and adopted the report (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/5).

REPORT OF THE INTERIM TECHNICAL ADVISORY GROUP: On Monday afternoon, Des Thompson, Interim TAG Chair, reported on the TAG’s activities (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/6), noting meetings in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2014 and in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 2015. He recapped the TAG’s activities on: efforts to improve raptor protection; threats; awareness raising efforts; guidance on monitoring and research; reporting; and future work. On vulture protection, Thompson highlighted using radio telemetry and satellite tracking, especially for African vultures, and called the Raptors MoU “a major framework for vulture recovery.” He listed several threats: the veterinary chemical diclofenac; power grid development; and poaching. He suggested the TAG link to the CMS Energy Task Force on grid development and common standards on monitoring and satellite tagging.

Participants discussed, inter alia: costs and benefits of additional face-to-face meetings; pros and cons of tagging raptors, including potential fears of espionage; regrets that a document was not prepared for MoS2 on the TAG’s work to date; and the size and workload of the Secretariat.

Delegates noted the report.

REPORT OF THE CMS SECRETARIAT: On Tuesday morning, Borja Heredia, CMS Secretariat, on behalf of Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers, presented the Secretariat’s Report (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/7). He highlighted resolutions and activities relevant to birds of prey mandated by CMS COP11, addressing how MoS2 could make contributions, inter alia: a multi-stakeholder task force on renewable energy (CMS Resolution 11.27) to address power line impacts and technology deployment; actions to develop, adopt and implement an action plan for all African-Eurasian vultures (except the Palm Nut Vulture) via the Raptors MoU; and guidelines adopted to prevent poisoning (CMS Resolution 11.15) that will, inter alia, prohibit the use of poison bait for livestock protection and create/improve legislation enforcement through “deterrent mechanisms and infringement penalties.” Heredia shared that the CMS Executive Secretary recently wrote a letter to the EU Commissioner on Health and Food Safety requesting the ban of diclofenac in the European market. He concluded that MoS2 should consider focusing on synergies and draft decisions for CMS to support.

Oliver Biber, Chair, African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Working Group, pointed to synergies and direct actions between the three MoUs on waterbirds, landbirds and raptors. He highlighted upcoming events, including a Landbirds Working Group meeting and AEWA MOP6.

Delegates took note of the report.

CONSERVATION INITIATIVES UNDER THE RAPTORS MOU

On Tuesday morning, Glowka introduced Conservation Initiatives under the Raptors MoU (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/8) together with Annex 1 on CMS Resolution 11.8 (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/8/Annex1) and Annex 2 on the SakerGAP, including its managing and monitoring system (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/8/Annex2). Referring to the Saker Falcon Task Force introduced in 2011, he called it a “productive partnership” bringing together knowledge, expertise and experience, supported by IAF as its coordinating partner. He noted that CMS COP11 decided that the Saker Falcon Task Force should continue with a revised remit, focused on, among other issues, adaptive management. On the Lesser-spotted Eagle, he referred to an EU project bringing together ornithologists from 16 European countries, noting interest to expand the project to include the entire flyway. Referencing other conservation initiatives that the CU assists with, he mentioned the Amur Falcon, sharing how the Nagaland Forest Department in India has worked with local village leaders to halt the taking of birds in stopover areas.

SPECIES: Stoyan Nikolav, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife Bulgaria), presented an EU project on the Egyptian Vulture Flyaway Action Plan (EAFAP) called “LifeNeophron” focused on protecting the Egyptian Vulture in Bulgaria and Greece. He referenced traditions of the “sacred animal,” considered a “symbol of the spring, responsible for disease prevention and sanitary services. Lamenting their threatened status caused by poisonings, electrocution, impacts from wind energy infrastructure, shootings, traditional medicine and range fragmentation, he revealed that populations have significantly declined over the last few decades: 50% in Europe; 80% in Africa; and 90% in India. He underscored the importance of stakeholder involvement, referring to a meeting in July 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria, with 70 participants from 33 countries that included training courses and the drafting of the EAFAP.

Robert Kenward, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), presented on trust-building projects in the SakerGAP. He commented that in the early 1960s falconers were blamed for falling population numbers, until studies revealed that major threats included chemical poisonings and electrocution. He lauded CMS’s efforts to engage relevant stakeholders and reported on collaboration with falconers, trappers and local communities to monitor and protect falcons. He emphasized the need to: translate studies and communication efforts into local languages; avoid the use of scientific jargon; and recognize cultural contexts.

THREATS: Glowka referenced ways in which the CU has engaged with the CMS, highlighting the actions requested for implementation of the Raptors MoU that correspond to CMS resolutions on the topic of threats.

Victoria Jones, BirdLife International, reviewed recent research on illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean, informed by 26 countries. She explained the value of setting a baseline, outlining aims to: assess the scale, scope and impact of illegal killing and taking; review national legislation; develop best practices and protocols for systematic monitoring; raise awareness; and support prioritization. She previewed confidential results, such as: bird population numbers, ranked by group and species; the “worst” locations for illegal killing and taking of raptors; and possible reasons why birds are illegally killed in certain regions. She alluded to future scientific reports and guidelines that will be informed by the research, supported joining with the CMS family of policy instruments, and addressed stimulating similar research in other regions.

OTHER INITIATIVES: On Tuesday afternoon, Glowka introduced other initiatives to support conservation. He underscored that Africa has 169 raptor species, requiring monitoring, and introduced related efforts.

Rob Davies, Habitat Info, introduced the African Raptor DataBank, a mobile phone app to facilitate citizen-supported science, noting how the app automatically tracks the location and timing of a sighting, after which birdwatchers can: fill in data on species; upload photos or sound recordings; and share notes, for example on nesting sites. Underscoring the role of crowdsourcing to build knowledge on birds of prey, he reiterated that while this technology is being tested in Africa, it could be applied beyond Africa.

Jones presented on recent developments of the BirdLife DataZone Project, designed to integrate public access online functionality relevant to Raptors MoU stakeholders on the BirdLife website. She cited advantages, including the ability to capitalize on the 200,000 monthly views and integration with existing search functionality. Jones outlined proposed work and welcomed feedback on progress, providing a virtual tour of the DataZone.

Delegates recognized the actions recommended in UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/8 and their linkages to CMS Resolutions on: poisoning (CMS Resolution 11.15); IKB (CMS Resolution 11.16); the SakerGAP (CMS Resolution 11.18); and renewable energy (CMS Resolution 11.27).

REVIEW OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MOU AND ACTION PLAN

NATIONAL OR REGIONAL RAPTOR CONSERVATION STRATEGIES: On Monday afternoon, Glowka provided an update on signatories’ national and regional raptor conservation strategies (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/9) and urged signatories to submit their national or regional raptor conservation strategies by 31 December 2016. He introduced the case studies, presented by the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

The EU noted the preparation of a European strategy and referred to ongoing work on the performance check of the EU Nature Directives. He stated more time was needed to finalize the EU strategy, and referred to activities, including protection of nationally-important sites; funding to coordinate efforts on species recovery; and 20 “species action plans” on raptors.

The Czech Republic underscored that although a new member to the MoU, raptor conservation and research has a long history in the Czech Republic. On implementing national raptor conservation strategies, she noted the need for capacity building, public awareness, and improved monitoring. She mentioned several goals, inter alia: protection measures, including legislation; action plans; prioritizing the SakerGAP; and international cooperation and experience sharing.

The Netherlands presented on raptor conservation strategies, including measures at different spatial levels. Acknowledging many raptors are in decline in the Netherlands, due to land use changes and agricultural intensification, he highlighted improvements to the Peregrine Falcon, White-tailed Eagle and Montagu’s Harrier populations, lauding volunteer protection efforts. On Montagu’s Harrier, he shared conservation strategies including: using devices for tracking birds to learn about breeding areas and wintering areas; and ensuring sufficient food resources, notably of field voles. 

Participants discussed, inter alia: poison management measures, for example volunteer programmes to encourage farmers to properly dispose of poisonous chemicals such as carbofuran; how to secure sufficient habitat protection on agricultural borders; outreach to non-conservationist communities; and the legal status of the Dutch Code of Conduct for protecting raptor nests.

Delegates agreed to a deadline on 31 December 2016 for receipt of National or Regional Raptor Conservation Strategies.

NATIONAL REPORTING: On Monday afternoon, Glowka presented a summary of responses received from 17 countries from an informal questionnaire designed to better understand elements barring progress for countries to move forward with the reporting of their National or Regional Raptor Conservation Strategies (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/10). He noted the compilation of responses in Annex 2.

Chair Størkersen opened discussion on reporting and requests for support mechanisms.

Glowka responded to sentiments expressed by Lebanon on confusion of where to start, reiterating the availability of guidelines to help support countries to develop their National or Regional Raptor Conservation Strategies, offering to elevate the location on the website to make these tools more accessible and provide additional phone support. South Africa, supported by the Czech Republic, raised challenges concerning report accessibility and the inadequate time period to respond to the informal questionnaire, explaining the process required approval before submission. Chair Størkersen noted that the Secretariat would look into these issues.

Thompson, on behalf of the TAG, agreed with Chair Størkersen’s recommendations for the TAG to build on the online CMS reporting system to facilitate improved usability for future reporting.

Delegates recognized the process identified to establish a National Report Form (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/10).

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RAPTORS MOU ACTION PLAN WITHIN THE DELIVERY OF THE CMS STRATEGIC PLAN FOR MIGRATORY SPECIES: On Monday afternoon, Glowka introduced mutually-beneficial linkages between the 34 sub-activities of the Raptors MoU Action Plan and the five goals and 16 targets in the CMS SMPS outlined in UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/11. Drawing attention to the Working Group that will convene intersessionally, he proposed that the TAG be tasked to develop a coordination mechanism, in addition to a full review of the MoU, to present at MoS3. He concluded that effective implementation of the MoU Action Plan will “significantly contribute” to the delivery of the SMPS.

Delegates recognized the synergies, supported implementation of the Raptors MoU Action Plan, and endorsed the CMS SMPS (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/11).

AFRICAN VULTURE CRISIS: On Thursday morning, André Botha, IUCN, presented on the African Vulture Crisis, underscoring “the critical need and potential value” of the African-Eurasian Vulture Multi-species Action Plan (MSAP) as a broad approach to support and focus conservation efforts across flyways. Addressing challenges, such as scope, existing information gaps, and general apathy and lack of buy-in from decision makers and organizations, he called for government support across departments. He noted emerging recommendations, inter alia: TAG’s terms of reference to outline and develop the MSAP for adoption at CMS COP12 and MoS3; a site-based approach to identify priority areas for conservation efforts; identification and appointment of three regional coordinators to take the MSAP forward; and establishment of a CMS Vulture Task Force.

Borja Heredia, CMS Secretariat, cautioned against creating complicated procedures that can occur when linking multiple strategies and suggested concentrating on the Raptors MoU Action Plan and implementation of its activities.

 Kenya expressed support, along with Senegal, South Africa, Niger, Israel, Mali and the Red Sea Association for Environment and Water Sports, underscoring the value of the MSAP as a method to optimize the use of limited resources, bringing together an action plan that addresses similar needs, threats and required actions for conservation across different species and range states.

Pakistan proposed adding a concrete target on “communication and awareness raising” within the veterinary industry. Kenya called for a fundraising tool to support resource mobilization. South Africa proposed further engagement with coordinating partners in countries that are not yet part of the MoU. BirdLife International identified the need to identify “hot spots” to prioritize actions.

Several delegates addressed Botha’s call for immediate action: Niger shared experiences with engaging local communities; Israel pledged to provide support, including finances for the MSAP’s advancement; BirdLife International requested that the CU draft a letter to urge governments to act; and the Netherlands pledged support. Iran announced that the exporting, importing, producing and any veterinary use of diclofenac is prohibited and not on the approved veterinary drug list in Iran.

France underscored how the MSAP will link partnerships among different range states in flyways.

Delegates recognized proposals to task the TAG to develop an African-Eurasian MSAP for adoption at CMS COP12 in 2017 and MoS3 in 2018, and requested the CMS Secretariat to send a letter to governments on the issue.

TAG WORKPLAN INCLUDING HORIZONTAL SCANNING: On Thursday morning, Des Thompson, Interim TAG Chair, introduced the TAG’s WorkPlan through MoS3 (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/18). Commenting that the beauty of the Northern Lights witnessed the previous evening is “a portend of great things to come,” he emphasized that the TAG WorkPlan aimed to reflect the Raptor MoU’s Action Plan, as well as capture the recommendations discussed at MoS2. He outlined six main activities based on, inter alia: improving legal protection; advising and making recommendations to overcome gaps on flyways; contributing and delivering advice on habitat conservation and management; raising awareness on poisoning; developing further mechanisms for data sharing and guidance; and supporting measures to advise MoS3 and the CU on the “perilous state” of vultures, providing insights to the MSAP.

In the ensuing discussion, Iran proposed including new conservation projects in relation to threats and opportunities, and Pakistan flagged the importance of capacity building. India proposed a communication strategy to effectively raise awareness and actions in other sectors. Thompson clarified, in response to a question from Saudi Arabia, that the TAG will provide advice and support to the CMS Task Forces in an effort to build an effective relationship, although it is not required to do so. Thompson acknowledged participants’ comments.

Delegates took note of the WorkPlan.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

PROPOSALS FOR AMENDMENTS TO THE RAPTORS MOU AND/OR ITS ANNEXES: On Tuesday afternoon, Glowka introduced Victoria Jones, BirdLife International, who led the Working Group to develop proposals for amendments to the Raptors MoU on: the list of species (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/13/Rev.1); range states (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/14); and important bird areas (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/15/Rev.1). On the amendments to the species listed in Annex 1 of the Raptors MoU, Jones summarized the TAG process to recommend an increase from 76 to 93 listed species, based on emerging evidence, adding 11 additional African-Eurasian vulture species and six additional raptor species. Under taxonomical and nomenclature changes, she explained the implication of how species were categorized, noting changes in the categorization of species due to, inter alia: splitting them into two categories; and removing them if no longer recognized. She noted that it would be worthwhile for the TAG to undertake a full and complete review of all species contained in Annex 1 of the Raptors MoU (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/Inf.1).

On the categorization of species, Jones provided insight on the recommendations’ background for updating Table 1 of Annex 3 (Annex Plan of the Raptors MoU. She illustrated the decision making flow that resulted in: Category 1 with 13 new species added and one species moved from Category 2; Category 2 with one new species added, 14 species moved from Category 3 and one species moved from Category 1; and Category 3 with six new species added and 13 moved from Category 2.

Chair Størkersen encouraged signatories to support the amendments on species, while recognizing that the TAG did not adhere to Raptors MoU’s Rules of Procedure in submitting its amendments within the allotted time period. Participants cautioned against some of the changes on, inter alia: moving species between categories, as some species are threatened along migratory pathways; and recognizing variations between populations.

On the list of proposed changes to the list of range states listed in Annex 2 of the Raptors MoU, Glowka explained that at MoS1, the TAG was delegated to conduct a review. He explained that South Sudan was admitted to the UN in 2011, clarifying its geographic area was previously included among the range states.

The EU, supported by Norway, pledged to “take note” of the proposed species list and range states, underscoring that this position may not be taken at a later meeting, pointing to the Rules of Procedure to ensure amendments are submitted in sufficient time.

Referring to the TAG’s mandate as tasked by MoS1, Chair Størkersen noted that the TAG reviewed and revised the provisional list of important bird areas (Table 3 of Raptors MoU Annex 3). Mentioning “Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas” and “European Special Protection Areas,” Jones acknowledged possible overlap between these categories, highlighting that additional raptor sites have been identified since launching the MoU.

Observing late submission and existing errors in Table 3, Chair Størkersen noted difficulties in adopting the revised provisional list of important bird areas at MoS2 and advised the TAG to continue its work and prepare a new draft for circulation. He advised delegates to “take note of the list” and suggested signatories use it as guidance when developing regional or national strategies.

The EU and Kenya supported this way of going forward, while emphasizing the Rules of Procedure mandate that amendments should be submitted on time, to provide “correct and timely information” for MoS3.

Final Outcome: Delegates adopted, as a one-off exception due to the infringement of the MoU’s Rules of Procedure deadline, the TAG recommended amendments to: the list of species contained in Annex 1 of the Raptors MoU; the categorization of species contained in Table 1 of Annex 3 of the Raptors MoU; and the proposed changes to the list of range states contained in Annex 2 of the MoU. Delegates took note of the proposed amendments to the list of sites contained in Table 3 of Annex 3 to the Raptors MoU, requesting the TAG to further review proposed amendments to the list of sites before adopting.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TECHNICAL ADVISORY GROUP: On Tuesday afternoon, Glowka summarized the terms of reference regarding the procedure to establish the TAG, including details on size, composition, and membership capacity (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/16). He described the approach and criteria to fulfill the TAG’s mandate, highlighting a focus on expertise and geopolitical representation. Noting nominations received from signatories, cooperating partners and BirdLife International, he announced the results: for Africa (excluding North Africa): André Botha, South Africa, Lily-Arison Rene de Roland, Madagascar, and Neil Crossland Deaon, Zimbabwe; for Asia: Umeed Khalid, Pakistan, and Nyambayar Batbayar, Mongolia; for Europe: Des Thompson, UK, Matyas Prommer, Hungary, and Jari Valkama, Finland; and for the Middle East and North Africa: Salim Javed, UAE and Sadegh Sadeghi Zadegan, Iran. He also identified the experts as: Jean-Marc Thiollay, France; Mohammed Shobrak, Saudi Arabia; Munir Virani, Kenya; Vibhu Prakash, India; Fernando Feas Costilla, Spain; and Victoria Jones, BirdLife International.

Delegates approved the new TAG membership with a round of applause.

FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

CURRENT FINANCIAL STATUS AND FUTURE FUNDING: On Thursday morning, Glowka introduced the document on financial strategies (UNEP/CMS/Raptors/MOS2/17/Rev.1). Providing an expenditure summary of the last triennium and an explanation of funding sources, he described expenses, such as for permanent staff, consultants and travel, while lauding the support from Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. He noted that the CU has been proactive in fundraising for additional resources, suggesting four mechanisms to mobilize additional resources: ad hoc voluntary contributions from signatories; voluntary contributions based on the UN indicative scale; a fundraising programme, including hiring an internal expert; and in-kind contributions. Highlighting several supported projects, such as an online portal to share information and thereby enhance understanding and trust on conservation of the Saker Falcon, he identified the need to recruit a SakerGAP coordinator. Together with participants, he applauded the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, for four additional years of core funding, calling it an “enormous vote of confidence” for their work on raptors and dugongs in the Gulf and wider African-Eurasian region.

Kenya suggested taking a more strategic approach to secure consistent funding, for example hiring a consultant on the issue. Niger, supported by Senegal and others, welcomed recruitment of voluntary contributions, while emphasizing that these should be new and additional.

Reading the “mood in the room,” Chair Størkersen reflected support for the funding strategy and hiring a consultant to be discussed at MoS3 and “make a note” on encouraging voluntary contributions based on the UN indicative scale.

Delegates thanked the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi for its contribution and accepted a scale of assessment for voluntary contributions.

CLOSING SESSION

On Thursday morning, Glowka provided an oral summary of the main meeting outcomes and corresponding actions as they pertain to the agenda. These actions included, inter alia, to:

  • urge signatories to nominate a National Contact Point and supply details to the CU by 31 December 2015;
  • encourage signatories, range states, partners and stakeholders to work collaboratively to mobilize resources, including voluntary financial and in-kind contributions;
  • urge signatories and other interested range states, partners and stakeholders to support the MoU Action Plan’s implementation, including by developing National or Regional Strategies or equivalent documents;
  • task the TAG with developing an African-Eurasian Vulture MSAP for adoption at CMS COP12 in 2017 and at MoS3 in 2018;
  • request the CMS Secretariat to draft a letter to governments on the African Vulture Crisis;
  • approve the new TAG membership; and
  • accept a scale of assessments for voluntary contributions.

Chair Størkersen invited an offer to host MoS3, but no offers were made. He advised signatories to inform the CU at least one and a half years prior to the meeting.

Kenya offered to host the TAG for their next meeting. South Africa and the EU reiterated that the CU ensure that documents for MoS3 are sent to signatories with sufficient review time, with the EU stating, “we could have done more if procedures were properly followed.” 

Reflecting on lessons learned from MoS2, Glowka stated that strength is gained by looking at actions on the ground. He underscored renewed efforts to create the context and conditions to support the Raptors MoU, stating, “when you bring together organizations and countries that share a passion and believe in a mission, good things happen.”

Chair Størkersen commended the efforts of the CU, and encouraged delegates to liaise with relevant sectors and networks to prevent IKB, domestically, regionally and globally. He closed the meeting at 12:28 pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

CMS Standing Committee: The 44th Meeting of the Standing Committee to the CMS will discuss, among other issues, the Programme of Work, budget and strategic and institutional matters.  dates: 14-15 October 2015  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: CMS Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2401  fax: +49-228-815-2449  email: secretariat@cms.int www: http://www.cms.int/en/meeting/44th-standing-committee-meeting

CBD 19th Meeting of SBSTTA and 9th Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention: The nineteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 19) and the ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held back-to-back. SBSTTA 19 will convene from 2-5 November. The Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the CBD will convene from 4-7 November. dates: 2-7 November 2015  location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax:  +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int www: https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=SBSTTA-19 and https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=WG8J-09

AEWA MOP6: The sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) will mark its 20th Anniversary. dates: 9-14 November 2015  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: AEWA Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2413  fax: +49-228-815-2450  email: aewa.secretariat@unep-aewa.org www: http://www.unep-aewa.org/

SHARKS MOS2: The Second Meeting of Signatories (MoS2) to the MoU on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks (Sharks MoU) will discuss proposals to amend the MoU, partnerships and reporting. dates: 15-19 February 2016  location: San José, Costa Rica  contact: CMS Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2401 fax: +49-228-815-2449  email: sharks@cms.int www: http://www.cms.int/sharks/en

Second Meeting of the UNEP Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives: The Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives will prepare for the next meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme.  dates: 15-19 February 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Jorge Laguna-Celis, Secretary of Governing Bodies  email: jorge.laguna-celis@unep.org www: http://www.unep.org/about/sgb

IPBES4: The fourth plenary session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will report on progress, including the Platform’s work programme 2014-2018, budget and financial arrangements, communication and stakeholder engagement and institutional arrangements. dates: 22-28 February 2016  location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  contact: IPBES Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-0570  email: secretariat@ipbes.net www: http://www.ipbes.net/index.php/plenary/ipbes-4

CBD SBSTTA: The twentieth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will meet in April. dates: 25-29 April 2016  location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1- 514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int www: https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=SBSTTA-20

CBD SBI: The first meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Implementation is tentatively scheduled for May. dates: 2-6 May 2016  location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int www: https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=SBI-01

Second Meeting of the UN Environment Assembly: The United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme will convene for the second time in 2016. The UNEA of the UNEP represents the highest level of governance of international environmental affairs in the UN system. dates: 23-27 May 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Jorge Laguna-Celis, Secretary of Governing Bodies  email: jorge.laguna-celis@unep.org www: http://www.unep.org/about/sgb/

CITES COP17: The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora will convene for its seventeenth session. dates: 24 September- 5 October 2016  location: Johannesburg, South Africa  contact: CITES Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-81-39/40  fax: +41-22-797-34-17  email: info@cites.org www: https://cites.org/cop17

CBD COP13, Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP8, and Nagoya Protocol COP/MOP2: The 13th meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties, the 8th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the 2nd Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing are expected to take place concurrently in 2016. dates: 4-17 December 2016  location: Cancun, Mexico  contact: CBD Secretariat  phone: +1-514-288-2220  fax: +1-514-288-6588  email: secretariat@cbd.int www: http://www.cbd.int/

CMS COP12: The twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals will be held in 2017. dates: TBC, 2017  location: the Philippines  contact: CMS Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-2401  fax: +49- 28-815-2449  email: secretariat@cms.int www: http://www.cms.int

For additional meetings, see http://nr.iisd.org/