Two International Treaties Join Forces to Address the Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Wild Birds

Bonn, 30 June 2017 - The illegal killing, taking and trade of birds (IKB) is still of great concern globally, as some bird populations continue declining rapidly. Political commitment is key to making progress in addressing this problem and international cooperation can help. This is the reason why CMS joined forces with the Bern Convention to convene a joint meeting in Sliema, Malta on 22 and 23 June.

The meeting brought together themembers of the CMS Intergovernmental Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean (MIKT) and the Bern Convention Network of Special Focal Points on Eradication of Illegal Killing, Trapping and Trade in Wild Birds (Bern SFPs Network). The newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, Clint Camilleri opened the meeting, and recounting the reforms undertaken by Malta over the past four years to strengthen the protection afforded to wild birds, and to combat wildlife crime.

The objective of this meeting was the exchange of best practices and facilitation of concerted actions of both networks to support each other in their fight against IKB. Country representatives reported on the advances made since the last meeting of MIKT and the Bern SFPs Network last year. Several countries showed progress including Italy, where a national action plan has been adopted to strengthen the fight against the illegal killing of birds. Strengthening police corps, improving coordination on the ground, enhancing law enforcement and combatting the drivers of bird crime through improved controls on trade, captive-breeding centres and restaurants in areas where birds are served as traditional food are some of the measures agreed. Lebanon reported on progress made since the new Government took office, where a licensing system for hunting has been established and the enforcement of the law will be strengthened. An official open season for hunting will be established this year under a strict regulatory framework, after many years of illegal and indiscriminate shooting.

One of the main achievements of this meeting has been the agreement on setting up a common benchmarking tool to monitor the countries’ progress in eradicating IKB. This tool is a “Scoreboard” that will compile the relevant information provided by the countries in order to evaluate and rank the progress made at national and regional level. The first step will be a self-assessment carried out by the national authorities in cooperation with relevant stakeholders. By enabling comparison and the exchange of best practice, this “Scoreboard” aims also to provide countries with a tool to identify the national deficiencies and eventually promote concerted action to address them. These assessments will take place periodically in 2018, 2020 and every three years thereafter within the geographical scope of the contracting parties of the Bern Convention and the MIKT.

The meeting, hosted by the Government of Malta, was attended by 24 countries and 29 stakeholders including international organizations such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL, UN agencies such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Carpathian Convention, the IUCN, and several non-governmental organizations such as BirdLife International, FACE and Euronatur as well as local hunters’ federations.

This meeting that brought together 24 countries conveys a very powerful message from two international organizations that are combining their efforts to address wildlife crime in the Mediterranean Region. The members of the Intergovernmental Task Force are committed to applying a zero-tolerance policy with regard to the illegal killing of birds and to eradicating these practices. The agreement on a "Scoreboard" is a milestone that will monitor this process in line with wider initiatives to combat wildlife crime and will help countries identify the areas where they need to do better.” 

Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

For more information please consult Laura Aguado or Borja Heredia at the CMS Secretariat.


The European Commission were recognized as Champion Plus for their generous support and commitment towards addressing Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean for the period 2015-2018. This activity has been funded with the contribution granted by the European Commission under the Migratory Species Champion Programme and through the Global Public Goods and Challenges (GPGC Programme) Cooperation Agreements with UNEP.

Last updated on 20 July 2018