UNEA Side Event Highlights Link Between Healthy Vultures and Healthy People

Bonn, 24 May 2016 - “Healthy vultures, healthy people” is the title of a Green Room Event on vultures convened by BirdLife International on 25 May at 15.00 hrs in the margins of the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) taking place from 23 to 27 May in Nairobi. The UNEP Regional Office Africa, CMS, IUCN and several NGOs will participate in the event tohighlight the importance of vulture conservation to the delivery of the three pillars of sustainable development.

Vultures face multiple threats from poisoning, habitat loss and degradation, decreasing food availability, fragmentation of remaining populations, human disturbance, collisions with wind turbines and overhead lines and electrocution on electricity power poles. Following drastic and widespread declines in vulture populations in recent years in Asia and Africa, the majority of species of Old World Vultures are now listed as ‘Critically Endangered’.

Vultures provide critically important ecosystem services by reducing the spread of dangerous diseases such as anthrax and rabies - resulting in highly significant economic and human health benefits. They are an essential part of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Coordinated action is required to stop their decline and restore healthy populations. CMS is playing a leading role in conserving vultures in Africa and Eurasia. Three key measures will help conserve vultures and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and their targets.

In 2014, CMS COP11 established the mandate to develop a Multi-species Action Plan to conserve 15 species of African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP) throughout their ranges. Under the coordination of the CMS Raptors MOU, 124 Range States, partners and interested parties will develop an Action Plan to promote international conservation actions for the 15 species.

The Preventing Poisoning Working Group under CMS is providing advice on how to address this threat. And a new intergovernmental Task Force to address the illegal killing, taking and trade in birds is poised to meet for the first time in Cairo, Egypt in mid-July.  Its initial focus will be the Mediterranean region but some key outputs are likely to be applicable more widely, including elsewhere within Africa.

The plight of African vultures and the risk for human health might raise awareness among high level decision makers and generate much needed support.

 

 

 

Last updated on 29 June 2016

Type: 
News item
Region: 
Africa
Asia
Threats: 
Poisoning
Prey depletion
Illegal trade
Diseases
Habitat loss and degradation
Human Disturbance
Species group: 
Birds