Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures

Vultures are under extreme pressure from a range of human activities.  Drastic and widespread vulture population declines in recent years in Asia and Africa are reflected by IUCN Red List status: the majority of species of Old World Vultures are now considered ‘Critically Endangered’.

Vultures are threatened by a wide array of human activities, such as direct and indirect poisoning, habitat loss and degradation, decreased food availability, electrocution and collision with power grids and human disturbance.  This crisis is of particular concern because vultures provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and other organic waste in the environment, thus reducing the spread of dangerous diseases such as anthrax and rabies – resulting in highly significant economic and human health benefits.  Vultures utilize vast home ranges, frequently crossing geo-political boundaries and so international cooperation is essential to their conservation.

In November 2014, CMS Parties gathered at COP11 in Ecuador adopted CMS Resolution 11.14 Programme of Work on Migratory Birds and Flyways, which established the mandate to develop a Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP), under the auspices of the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU).  The mission is to bring together representatives of Range States, partners and interested parties, to develop a coordinated Action Plan for submission to CMS COP12, scheduled to be held in October 2017.

The overall aim is to develop a comprehensive strategic Action Plan covering the whole geographic ranges (128 countries) of 15 species of Old World vultures to promote concerted and collaborative international conservation actions. The objectives of the Vulture MsAP are to:

  • Rapidly halt current population declines in all species covered by the Vulture MsAP;
  • Reverse recent population trends to bring the conservation status of each species back to a favourable level; and,
  • Provide conservation management guidelines applicable to all Range States covered by the Vulture MsAP.

Four Regional Workshops were held in 2016-2017, to gather detailed information on species distribution, population sizes and trends, as well as a better understanding of the threats and associated drivers, and the conservation measures required to address them.  The African Regional Workshop was held in October 2016 in Senegal and co-organised by the BirdLife International; the European Regional Workshop was held in late October 2016 in Spain and co-organised by the Vulture Conservation Foundation; the Asian Regional Workshop was held in late November 2016 in Mumbai, India and co-organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; and the Middle East Regional Workshop was held in early February 2017 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and co-organised with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority of the Emirate of Sharjah.

The Overarching Workshop to develop the Vulture MsAP took place mid-February 2017 in Toledo, Spain, at the kind invitation of the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha. This concluding workshop reviewed the first consolidated draft of the Vulture MsAP, incorporating the four regional components; elaborated certain key strategic components of the MsAP which had not been collectively considered at the Regional Workshops; and engendered and developed multi-lateral support.

A month-long Public Consultation Exercise on the second draft of the Vulture MsAP was launched in March 2017, with the purpose to reach out even further to invite comments and improvements from anyone who recognizes the importance of vultures and the critical need to conserve them.  All comments received during the consultation period were reviewed and, where appropriate, integrated into a final draft of the Vulture MsAP, which was formally submitted to the CMS Secretariat on 24 May 2017. 

The Vulture MsAP was adopted by CMS Parties at COP12, held in Manila, Philippines on 23 - 28 October 2017.


To learn more about the Vulture MsAP and the African vulture crisis, please watch the video below
(also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese).

Produced by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2019


To learn more about the Vulture MsAP and vulture conservation across Europe, please watch the video below.

Produced by The Vulture Conservation Foundation, 2019


To learn more about the poisoning of vultures, please watch the video below (click image).

Produced by The Peregrine Fund, 2019



Vulture MsAP Steering Group
Region Country Name Role
Andre Botha Acting Overarching Coordinator
Asia Chris Bowden Acting Regional Coordinator for Asia
Europe Jovan Andevski Acting Regional Coordinator for Europe
José Tavares Partner, Vulture Conservation Foundation
Roger Safford Partner, BirdLife International
Nicola Crockford CMS-BirdLife Liaison Officer
Middle East Saudi Arabia Mohammed Shobrak Member
Europe Israel Ohad Hatzofe Member
Europe Bulgaria Stoyan Nicolov Member (Lead for Egyptian Vulture Flyway Action Plan)
Europe Spain Ruben Moreno-Opo Member
Africa Kenya Charles Musyoki Member
Africa Ghana Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah Member
Asia Pakistan Naeem Ashraf Raja Member
Asia India Soumitra Dasgupta Member
Fernando Spina Chair of CMS Scientific Council
Edward van Asch CITES Secretariat
Ivan Ramirez EuroSAP Project
(Head of Avian Team) CMS Secretariat (Head of CMS Avian Species Team)
(Programme Officer) CMS Secretariat (Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU)
Sofi Hinchliffe CMS Secretariat (Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU)
Africa Rebecca Garbett Acting Regional Coordinator for Africa
Last updated on 09 May 2020