6 June 2013 - Tunis, capital of Tunisia, was the
venue for a technical workshop that addressed the impact
of poisoning on migratory birds at the global level. In
order to gather the best available knowledge on the subject,
the workshop brought together experts from Africa, Asia,
Europe and the Americas. All these people are members of
the Minimizing Poisoning Working Group, which was established
under the CMS Scientific Council to undertake a detailed
assessment of the impact of all forms of poisoning globally
and of the effectiveness of efforts to combat them.
The use of poisons to kill protected species
has been forbidden by international treaties for many decades,
yet regrettably it is still a widespread, practice indicating
a degree of urgency to significantly enhance national and
international actions to eliminate this damaging activity.
CMS is dealing with bird poisoning through
Resolution 10.26, adopted at the 10th Conference of the
Parties (COP10). The establishment of the Working Group
and the Tunis Workshop are the first steps towards assessing
the impact of poisoning and producing guidelines which will
be submitted to COP11 in 2014 for adoption.
Specifically, the Workshop’s goal
was to set the ground for the development of the guidelines,
which will assist countries in their efforts to protect
migratory species from poisoning. Several poison types and
their linkages with migration were analysed during the workshop,
in particular: lead, rodenticides, veterinary drugs, insecticides
and poison baits. The impact of these poisons and knowledge
gaps were assessed in the three major global flyways crossing
the Americas, east Asia-Australasia and Africa-Eurasia.
The specific outputs produced at the Workshop
will be a detailed review on bird poisoning and draft guidelines,
which once adopted by the COP11, will become a powerful
tool at the service of CMS Parties, providing countries
with solutions to deal with this severe cause of species
Several organizations joined forces to
allow this important event to take place through generous
financial and in-kind support. These include the Government
of Tunisia, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)
of Switzerland, the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs (Defra) of the United Kingdom, the Secretariat
of the UNEP/CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation
of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors
MOU), the European Science Foundation and BirdLife International.
The Workshop took place under the framework
of the Week on the Conservation of Birds which brought together
a number of meetings and expert groups between 27 and 31
May in Tunis. This included the Bern Convention Conference
on Illegal Killing, Trapping and Trade of Wild Birds, thus
ensuring positive synergies with this parallel process which
is focussing in mitigating bird mortality in the Mediterranean
region. CMS and the Bern Convention share the common goal
to take action for the conservation of migratory species,
in particular those that have an unfavourable conservation
status and can benefit from this cooperation between MEAs.
The results of this process will be presented
at the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention in December
2013 and at the CMS COP in 2014.