April 2009 - More than 50 experts and
government representatives of 8 European and 8 Asian countries
came together at a workshop in Abu Dhabi to agree on first
steps towards conserving the Saker Falcon. The meeting took
place 5-7 April and was hosted by the Environment Agency
- Abu Dhabi.
At the meeting, delegates discussed the principles of sustainable
use and management of the species, its population status,
threats and conservation measures through captive breeding,
artificial nests, reintroduction and satellite tracking.
H.E. Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Secretary General of the
Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, reported on current efforts
of the United Arab Emirates to protect and conserve the
Saker falcon as an emblematic species strongly linked to
the culture and traditions in the Arab region.
The workshop was convened as a result of CMS Resolution
9.20 and with the objective of considering the status and
conservation needs of the Saker Falcon. In order to cover
gaps in knowledge, people in the range states need to be
educated and informed about the urgent need to use wild
Saker Falcons sustainably. In order to get a better picture
of how many falconers are using the bird in this region,
their numbers need to be quantified along with the population
of the species. Delegates recommended that this information
should be submitted to relevant institutions to better assess
the conservation status of the Saker Falcon. The establishment
of falconry associations in Arab nations would serve this
Participants agreed that decision makers, conservation bodies,
scientists and local communities should implement conservation
activities under the umbrella of the existing CMS agreement
on birds of prey. They also supported the initiative by
Saudi Arabia to develop a regional Action Plan together
with BirdLife Middle East involving different actors in
the region of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Deputy Executive Secretary Moulay Lahcen El Kabiri said:
"We are aware of the urgent need to conserve the Saker
Falcon including sustainable use and trade to take into
account social, cultural and economic conditions as well
CITES and CMS obligations by the Range States."
The CMS agreement on the conservation of migratory birds
of prey seeks to reconcile conservation measures including
sustainable use and trade with the social, cultural and
economic needs of the people in the region. It also aims
at improving the conservation status of this emblematic
species throughout its range, as well as the status of all
endangered migratory birds of prey.