The CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU) aims to promote internationally coordinated actions to achieve and maintain the favourable conservation status of migratory birds of prey throughout their range in the African-Eurasian region, and to reverse their decline when and where appropriate. The Raptors MOU is one of several instruments operating under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
Birds of prey face a variety of human-induced threats such as habitat loss and degradation, illegal shooting and poisoning, collisions with aerial structures and electrocution by power lines. Migratory birds of prey are particularly at risk to these threats due to the often long and arduous annual journeys from their breeding grounds to wintering areas and back. Moreover, some species either migrate in large groups or form major concentrations along their flyways, for example, at narrow land bridges or sea crossings, which enhance the potential impact of some threats.
In 2005, a year-long study commissioned by the United Kingdom (UK) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) found that more than 50 % of migratory birds of prey populations in the African-Eurasian region were in poor conservation status, and many species were showing rapid or long-term declines. The UK presented the results of the Defra study to CMS COP8 and Recommendation 8.12 on Improving the Conservation Status of Raptors and Owls in the African Eurasian Region was adopted, which urged CMS Parties to explore whether the development of a CMS instrument would assist in promoting the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory birds of prey. The Governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK jointly led an initiative to act on this Recommendation. After a first meeting to identify and elaborate an option for international cooperation on raptors held in October 2007 and a second meeting of Range States held in October 2008, the Raptors MOU was concluded and it came into effect on 1 November 2008.
More information about the establishment and the history of the MOU and its achievements to date can be found here.
The MOU text outlines the scope of the MOU as well as general conservation measures endeavoured by its Signatories. The following three annexes form part of the MOU text:
The Action Plan is included as Annex 3 to the Raptors MOU to ensure that all populations of African-Eurasian migratory birds of prey (including owls) are maintained in, or returned to, favourable conservation status with the following key objectives:
The Raptors MOU currently covers 93 species of birds of prey and owls, which occur in 131 Range States in Africa, Europe and Asia (see Annex 1 Species list to the MOU text):
The species are assigned within the following three categories (see Annex 3 Action Plan to the MOU text, Table 1: Categorisation of African-Eurasian birds of prey covered by the Action Plan):
Category 1: Globally threatened and Near Threatened species as defined according to the latest IUCN Red List and listed as such in the BirdLife International World Bird Database
Category 2: Species considered to have Unfavourable Conservation Status at a regional level within the Range States and territories listed in Annex 2 to the MOU
Category 3: All other migratory species
The Raptors MOU is administered by a Coordinating Unit based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Signatories to the Raptors MOU commit to adopting and implementing measures to conserve migratory birds of prey and their habitats, for example, by:
Together with our partners in Signatory and non-Signatory Range States as well as other key stakeholders, the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU is managing, facilitating or supporting several conservation activities to promote internationally coordinated actions to achieve and maintain the favourable conservation status of migratory birds of prey throughout their range in the African-Eurasian region.
Our main workstreams include the Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP), action planning and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Raptors MOU, among others. Read more about our work here.
The Coordinating Unit is hosted within the CMS Office in Abu Dhabi by Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi received a CMS Champion Plus Award for its commitment towards conservation of birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia for the period 2015 - 2019 and 2020 - 2023. Since 2009, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, has hosted CMS Office – Abu Dhabi including the Coordinating Unit of the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia.
|Title||Status||Status date||CMS Party number||Region|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||Range State||078||Africa|
|Saudi Arabia||MOU Signatory||2017||036||Asia|
|Sierra Leone||Range State||AM||Africa|
|South Africa||MOU Signatory||2008||038||Africa|
|South Sudan||Range State||Africa|
|Sri Lanka||Range State||033||Asia|
|Svalbard and Jan Mayen (Norway)||MOU Signatory||2008||018||Europe|
|Syrian Arab Republic||MOU Signatory||2015||082||Asia|