Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia
In May 2003, the 6th World Working Group on Birds of Prey and Owls (WWGBP) adopted a resolution that urged the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) to consider establishing a multi-lateral agreement on the conservation of migratory raptors in the African-Eurasian region.
The UK and United Arab Emirates (UAE) then jointly led an initiative to develop a new international treaty to help conserve migratory birds of prey and owls in the Africa-Eurasian region. This initiative was underpinned by a study commissioned by Defra in 2005 which found that more than half of migratory birds of prey in the African-Eurasian region have a poor conservation status and many are showing rapid or long-term population declines. A variety of human-induced threats are causing problems such as habitat loss and degradation, illegal shooting and poisoning, collisions with aerial structures and electrocution by power lines. Climate change will add to these problems.
A meeting on African-Eurasian migratory raptors under CMS was held in Loch Lomond, Scotland, from 22–25 October 2007. The meeting negotiated text for a Memorandum of Understanding under the CMS and an associated Action Plan.
The Agreement area stretches across more than 130 countries from the African, Afrotropical, Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms. A second meeting to conclude the MoU on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia was held in Abu Dhabi, UAE from 20–22 October 2008. A total of 42 potential Signatories were represented. The MOU and Action Plan were adopted by consensus on 21 October having first been revised to take account of the generous offer of UAE to host an interim Co-ordination Unit for the MoU (as part of a package of UAE support for CMS).
On 22 October 2008, 28 Range States signed the MOU, which entered into effect on 1 November 2008. South Africa and Birdlife International signed the MoU at CMS CoP 9 in December 2008 bringing the total number of signatories to 29 Range States and one Supporting Organisation.
The Agreement area stretches across more than 130 countries from the African, Afrotropical, Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms. More than 70 species (see Annex 1) of migratory birds of prey – Falconiformes, ospreys, eagles and owls – are included within the scope of the MoU.
The Action Plan agreed foresees more research on species ecology and migratory behaviour, patterns and routes as well as data analysis. Collective efforts towards monitoring and establishing reliable population trends will be important to reveal the impacts of threats and necessary mitigation actions. Capacity building and training in institutions and local communities by developing knowledge of birds of prey will be important to create acceptance for necessary conservation actions.