International Conference Calls on Governments for Action to Combat Illegal Killing, Poisoning and Illicit Trade of Wild Birds in the Adriatic Flyway

Bonn, 27 March 2018 - From 19 to 23 March 2018, the 3rd Adriatic Flyway Conference took place in Fruška Gora National Park, Serbia, organized by EuroNatur and the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (BPSSS, BirdLife Serbia). At this meeting, officials of the Government of Serbia and more than 80 experts and affiliates of Bird Conservation NGOs from central and south-eastern European countries presented and discussed recent findings on the monitoring of migratory bird populations, their conservation status, ecological dynamics and their habitats in the Adriatic Flyway region.

As invited keynote speakers, representatives of the UNEP/CMS and UNEP/AEWA Secretariats presented the recent developments under the Intergovernmental Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean Region (CMS MIKT), and the mechanisms for the sustainable harvest and management of waterbirds under AEWA.

With its outstanding diversity of wild birds and their habitats, the Adriatic Flyway region is of crucial significance for the survival of African-Eurasian migratory bird populations. Considering the dramatic decline of many populations, threats such as habitat loss as well as illegal killing, poisoning and illicit trade require resolute actions of Governments and stakeholders in the frame of international cooperation. CMS will support the countries in their efforts to conserve wild birds along the Flyway, which play a vital role for the functioning of ecosystems and therefore a sustainable future for wildlife and people.

Dr Tilman Schneider, Associate Programme Officer, CMS Secretariat

Dedicated meeting and workshop sessions assessed the impacts of poisoning of migratory birds and other forms of illegal killing, and presented strategies of NGO work to collect the relevant data and address these issues in collaboration with national authorities. It was reported that deliberate and unintentional poisoning, in particular of birds of prey and vultures, and illegal trade are having devastating impacts on migratory birds in the region. There are strong indications that illegal killing activities have partially shifted from coastal Mediterranean countries to other parts of the Balkan region, and the related thriving illegal trade in wild birds across borders is posing a major challenge for national authorities responsible for tackling this type of wildlife crime. In addition, habitat loss, particularly the degradation and loss of wetlands due to agricultural, infrastructure and tourism-related activities are a major threat for the survival and reproduction of wild birds along the flyway. Violations to and insufficiency of regulations on hunting tourism pose another problem.

Based on the monitoring projects supported by EuroNatur in the region, at least one third of 100 bird populations are in serious continuing decline. In consequence, the meeting adopted the Fruška Gora Declaration which expresses strong concerns about the dramatic impacts of illegal killing and poisoning of wild birds. It calls on the Governments of Balkan countries to increase their efforts in tackling these illegal activities by appropriate law enforcement.  Accession States to the European Union should pay attention to future obligations under the EU Birds Directive. Delegates concluded that international cooperation of Governments and stakeholders facilitated by the relevant MEAs will be required for addressing these issues successfully.  

Side events during the conference included an advisory meeting by the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat for government and other delegates from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the accession to the Agreement and its implementation, a kick-off meeting for the new Balkan Anti-Poisoning Project (BAPP) coordinated by the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and funded by MAVA Foundation, as well as the launch for the 4th Adriatic Flyway Project 2018-2022. The next meeting will also review expected new studies on illegal killing of birds, conducted by BirdLife International. Through the recently launched Waterbird Monitoring Partnership Fund and other ongoing projects, EuroNatur and bird conservation NGOs aim to strengthen and extend their efforts in monitoring and conservation of wild bird populations and management of their habitats along the Adriatic Flyway.


Last updated on 19 April 2018

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