Wildlife & Biodiversity

Mediterranean countries agree to curb killing of migratory birds

 A taskforce of over 20 countries agreed to strong political commitments to curb the slaughter of migratory birds with severe penalties

 
By Rajeshwari Ganesan
Last Updated: Tuesday 19 July 2016
Around 25 million birds are killed every year during their regular crossing of the Mediterranean Sea Credit: Virginia State Parks/ Flicker
Around 25 million birds are killed every year during their regular crossing of the Mediterranean Sea Credit: Virginia State Parks/ Flicker Around 25 million birds are killed every year during their regular crossing of the Mediterranean Sea Credit: Virginia State Parks/ Flicker

A taskforce of over 20 countries in the Middle East and Europe met for the first time in Egypt to discuss methods of curbing illegal practices that kill about 25 million migrating songbirds each year. The taskforce was set up by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in 2014 and the parties met from July 12 - 15 in Cairo.

The Intergovernmental Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean (MIKT) was convened by the CMS Secretariat in conjunction with the Secretariat of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), the Raptors MOU Coordinating Unit and the African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan (AEMLAP) Working Group, bringing together governmental representatives of CMS Parties around the Mediterranean, including the European Union. Representatives from non-CMS Parties as well as relevant international organisations and networks were also part of MIKT as observers.

The member-countries included Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, European Union, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and the United Kingdom.

According to a statement issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the meeting’s main objective was to adopt a Programme of Work for the Task Force until 2020, identifying the main activities and regional priorities, and discuss practical initiatives and projects targeting hotspots to be implemented in parallel.

“The taskforce has agreed to strong political commitments to curb the slaughter of migratory birds with severe penalties and increased surveillance, including the deployment of more rural police to deter poaching. According to a recent study published by BirdLife International, it is estimated that around 25 million birds are being killed every year during their regular crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. These are primarily songbirds that breed in continental Europe and migrate towards their wintering grounds south of the Sahara, and also birds of prey and some water birds,” the statement added.

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