Pan-African Ornithological Congress - Promoting the Conservation of Birds in Africa

Bonn/Dakar, 14 October 2016 - The 14th Pan-African Ornithological Congress (PAOC14) will take place in Dakar, Senegal from 16 to 21 October. The theme for this year’s Congress is "Global challenges: threats and opportunities for birds in Africa". Meeting every four years, the PAOC aims to advance research, promote the conservation of African birds and highlight the importance of birds and their relation to people.

Three aspects will be of particular interest to the CMS Family - or indeed anyone involved in conserving migratory birds: a meeting regarding African-Eurasian landbirds, a symposium on waterbirds and a whole day of sessions dedicated to the African Vulture Crisis.

Landbird Conservation in Africa

The Migratory Landbirds Study Group is convening a session on how scientific research can be enhanced in order to better direct international policy. The African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan (AEMLAP), which was adopted by CMS Parties at COP11 will be presented as an instrument promoting conservation and cooperation. A particular focus will be placed on the role of science in implementing this plan. The aim of the session will be to present examples of existing linkages between science and policy in order to promote and enhance them.

Improving Waterbird Monitoring in Africa – Key for Decision-Making

Sergey Dereliev, Technical Officer at the Secretariat for the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), will be a keynote speaker at the symposium entitled "Producing policy-relevant information from waterbird and IBA monitoring" where participants will be discussing the importance of monitoring waterbird populations in order to estimate their status and identify conservation needs and priorities. Estimates of population sizes and trends are crucial to identify species in need of conservation action under multilateral agreements such as AEWA and CMS as well as for monitoring the impact of such action.

Pan-African Vulture Summit

Another key focus for PAOC14 will be the recent catastrophic declines in vulture populations and the gathering will host the 2nd Pan-African Vulture Summit. Vultures form one of the most endangered groups of birds on Earth. These spectacular creatures provide essential ecosystem services as scavengers by feeding on carcasses that might otherwise pose a serious threat to both people and livestock through spreading diseases. The main threats to vultures include direct and indirect poisoning, trade and habitat degradation.

Given the alarming declines in vulture populations, a mandate was established in November 2014 by CMS Parties via Resolution 11.14 to develop a Multi-Species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian vultures (Vulture MsAP) under the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Bird of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU). The aim is to bring together representatives of Range States, partners and interested parties, to develop a coordinated Action Plan, the objectives of which include:

  • Halting current population declines in all fifteen species covered by the Vulture MsAP;
  • Reversing recent population trends to bring the conservation status of each species back to a favourable level; and,
  • Providing conservation management guidelines applicable to all the 124 Range States covered by the Vulture MsAP.

Regional Action Planning Workshops are being planned covering Africa, Asia and Europe to promote the development of a comprehensive Vulture MsAP. The first of these is scheduled to take place in Dakar from 18 to 21 October, in parallel with PAOC14. The Workshops for the European and Asian regions are planned for later in October in Spain and in India in November. The dates and venue for an Overarching Workshop are yet to be fixed but the aim is to hold this meeting early in 2017 to allow time for the Vulture MsAP to be finalized and submitted to the CMS Secretariat for consideration by CMS Parties at COP12.

Waterbird Data Management Workshop

In relation to waterbird monitoring in the AEWA region, a waterbird data management workshop for Anglophone AEWA Parties from Africa will take place after the PAOC, from 22-24 October 2016. This workshop, jointly organized by the AEWA Secretariat, the Technical Support Unit for the implementation of AEWA African Initiative and Wetlands International, aims to build capacity for the management of waterbird monitoring data collected through the International Waterbird Census (IWC). It will contribute to improving the quality and quantity of waterbird data available from the Africa region, as defined in the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa 2012-2018, which was adopted by the 5th Session of the AEWA Meeting of the Parties. The IWC, coordinated by Wetlands International, has provided an international framework for the acquisition and management of waterbird data since 1967.


Last updated on 16 November 2016