The Great Bustard Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was concluded under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and became effective on 1 June 2001. It covers the Middle-European breeding and wintering populations of the Great Bustard and manages modern agriculture and landscape planning throughout its range in Central Europe in order to save the remaining individuals.
The European population of the Great Bustard is estimated to be between 42,113 and 51,815 individuals but there has been a rapid decline in much of Central and Eastern Europe. Without active protection measures, the species is doomed to disappear.
The remaining population is dispersed in several small populations. Its habitat is intensively used agricultural land and mixed extensive agricultural and pasture/fallow land. Conservation measures need to focus on active habitat management and on maintaining large, un-fragmented areas of non-intensive farming systems.
The original MOU area included Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Ukraine. The Third Meeting of the Signatories (Szarvas, April 2013) amended the MOU by extending the geographical range of the MOU to cover four additional Range States: Italy, Montenegro, the Russian Federation and Serbia.
The MOU includes an Action Plan which was amended at the Third Meeting of the Signatories in Szarvas. It calls for cooperation among national authorities to promote the conservation of the species. It demands the strict protection of the species and the maintenance and restoration of its habitat. The Action Plan was updated during the Third MOU Signatory Meeting in 2013.
The MOU provides an intergovernmental framework for governments, scientists and other groups to monitor and coordinate ongoing conservation efforts. Activities under the MOU are described in the Secretariat's Overview Report typically provided at MOU Signatory meetings. Country level information is found in each country's national work programme and in the individual national reports submitted to the meeting.
Several grants from the European Union LIFE programme have helped fund Great Bustard protection efforts. Programmes are in place to protect breeding areas, provide feeding areas for wintering birds and minimize collisions between the birds and power lines. In several EU Member States, agro-environmental measures financed by the European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund play an important role in encouraging farmers to maintain or adopt appropriate farming techniques.
|Title||Status||Status date||Party number||Region|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Range state||Europe|
|Czech Republic||MOU Signatory||2008||44|
|Republic of Moldova||MOU Signatory||2000||73||Europe|
|Russian Federation||Range state||AM||Europe|
|the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia||MOU Signatory||2000||64||Europe|