VI WORLD CONFERENCE ON BIRDS OF PREY AND OWLS
Budapest, Hungary, 18-23 May 2003
RECOGNISING the work undertaken by the local organising committee of MME/BirdLife Hungary in making the 6th World Conference on Birds of Prey and Owls such a success;
WARMLY THANKS MME for its generous
hospitality in hosting the event and for the high level of patient, dedicated assistance by members and their supporters during the conference.
RECOGNISING the immense achievements of the State of Hungary, particularly the role played by
MME/BirdLife Hungary, in restoring and maintaining the populations of the Saker Falcon, Imperial Eagle and most other birds of prey, through legislation, enforcement, habitat protection, awareness campaigns and
innovative management techniques;
CONGRATULATES Hungary on these achievements; and
URGES that other countries consider adopting similar measures in order to achieve similar results with their bird of prey
RECALLING that the
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1979 (CMS) encourages international cooperative action to conserve migratory species;
CONSIDERING that migratory raptors constitute an important part
of the global biological diversity which, in keeping with the spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 and Agenda 21, should be conserved for the benefit of present and future generations;
AWARE of the
environmental, ecological, genetic, scientific, aesthetic, recreational, cultural, educational, social and economic values of raptors in general;
CONSCIOUS that migratory raptors are particularly vulnerable because
they migrate over long distances, with many species being reliant upon land-bridges and/or networks of fragile habitats that are declining in extent and becoming degraded through unsustainable human activities;
RECOGNISING the need to take immediate action to halt the decline of migratory raptor populations and their habitats in the geographic area of the African-Eurasian raptor migration systems;
CONVINCED that a
multilateral agreement and its implementation through coordinated and concerted action would contribute significantly to the conservation of migratory raptors and their habitats in the most effective manner, and would
deliver ancillary benefits for many other species of animal and plant;
URGES the CMS Secretariat and other bodies of CMS, notably the Scientific Council, urgently to consider establishing a multilateral agreement on
the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory raptors;
ACKNOWLEDGES that effective implementation of such an agreement would require assistance to be provided to some range states for research, training and
monitoring of migratory raptor species and their habitats, for the management of those habitats as well as for the establishment or improvement of scientific and administrative institutions for the implementation of
such an agreement; and
FURTHER URGES all range states within the African-Eurasian geographic area actively to embrace this proposal and to work together to establish, ratify and implement such an agreement as a matter
WHEREAS windfarms can cause
considerable mortality of raptors such as vultures and eagles, and threaten endangered or highly vulnerable migratory and resident species of raptor and other birds;
RECOGNISING the importance of renewable energy sources;
URGES all governments to assess the positioning of windfarms for impacts on raptors and other aspects of the environment; and
governments to ban their use in areas which possess high densities of vulnerable bird species or are located on major bird migration routes; and
SPECIALLY URGES the Israeli Government to cancel the plan to build
windfarms along the Great Rift Valley, a bird migration route of global importance.
WHEREAS there is growing evidence that pesticides of high toxicity to birds such as Monocrotophos as
well as other organophosphorus and carbonate pesticides in particular are being used to poison birds and other vertebrates;
WHEREAS raptor populations, such as Vultures in southern Europe, the Balkans,
Middle East and Africa are placed at risk by this practice;
RECOGNISING that insecticides of high toxicity to birds are often not essential to farming practices;
URGES the competent authorities to restrice the
availability of such insecticides where these products are being abused and to carry out the necessary education and enforcement to ensure swift ceasation of these practices.
WHEREAS several insectides of high toxicity to birds such as Monocrotophos and some
other organophosphorous and carbonate pesticides are causing bird mortalities worldwide;
RECOGNIZING that birds of prey appear to be particularly sensitive to these pesticides and are being killed following labelled
use of several products;
URGES competent authorities to re evaluate and to conduct extensive impact assessments on products of high avian toxicity with the aim of quickly replacing them with safer products.
RECOGNISING that Buskett Gardens Nature Reserve on Malta
is a site of outstanding universal value for migrating birds of prey (e.g. 1,000 Marsh Harriers in one day);
NOTING that Maltese law protecting these birds is not being fully enforced in and around the reserve;
URGES the Maltese Government to enforce the law and to nominate the site to UNESCO for World Heritage Site status.
CONCERNED that the killing of migrating birds of prey on and surrounding Malta continues unabated on a massive scale, despite protection of these
birds under Maltese and European law;
NOTING that Malta is about to accede to the European Union, but that the Birds Directive has recently been derogated to encourage this move;
URGES representative bodies of the
European Union to act on their responsibilities and direct resources to ensure that the laws protecting birds, including birds of prey, on Malta be upheld and that a tourism industry be built around the migration
spectacle which can be expected to sustain conservation action into the long term.
CONCERNED about the strong decline of the Lesser Spotted Eagle at least in some countries at the western edge of its range (e.g. Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Greece);
RECOGNISING that the Lesser Spotted Eagle has the longest migration route of all European eagle species, ranging from breeding areas in Central and Eastern Europe to wintering grounds in southern Africa;
that hunting, particularly in the Middle East and Turkey, is thought to have been responsible to a large extent for the decline in numbers of Lesser Spotted Eagles;
CONSCIOUS that concerted, coordinated action must be
taken immediately to prevent any further decline of the remnant populations in the countries in question, and convinced that the conclusion of some form of multilateral agreement and its implementation would contribute
significantly to the conservation of this species;
NOTING that the Lesser Spotted Eagle is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS);
Secretariat and other relevant bodies of CMS to consider without delay the possibility of establishing a Memorandum of Understanding, or other appropriate CMS instrument, on the conservation of the Lesser Spotted Eagle.
NOTING that the Lesser Spotted Eagle is
listed as Species of European Conservation Concern (SPEC) only in Category 3, and considering that these categories normally list species which are not concentrated in Europe, whereas in reality far more than 50% of the
species’s population lives in Europe, and is declining;
CONCERNED that the world population of the species is 20,000 pairs or fewer;
URGES BirdLife International to re-assign the Lesser Spotted Eagle to SPEC
Category 2 in its current revision of SPEC categorisation.
WHEREAS carrion-eating raptors rely heavily on carcasses from domestic livestock for their survival;
ACKNOWLEDGING widespread concern over various human diseases (such as
bovine spongiform encephalitis) and the need to eradicate these diseases;
ALARMED that the currently existing carcass-disposal arrangements within the territory of the European Union (Regulation 2002/1774 and
subsequent decision 2003/322/CE) are impossible to put into practice (both technically and economically);
AWARE that carrion-eating raptors often perform a major service in eliminating otherwise undetected carcasses;
URGES all countries worldwide where both breeding and foraging areas of carrion-eating raptors occur to create a feasible legal framework to ensure the continuous feeding of these birds, the maintenance of extensive
livestock keeping, and the establishment of feeding stations as a management tool in areas where this management technique is necessary.
WHEREAS Steller's Sea-eagle is listed in the International (BirdLife and IUCN) Red List, the
Red Data Book of Russia, Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and agreements
for the protection of migrating birds between the USA, Russia, Japan and Korea;
WHEREAS Steller's Sea-eagle is one of the most vulnerable species of birds of prey in the Pacific region, and its population in the
southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk is in decline;
WHEREAS the main nesting grounds of Steller's Sea-eagles in Sakhalin and the Lower Amur region are located on the coast, and this population depends on the
preservation of coastal habitats;
WHEREAS these regions are areas of intensive exploration and development for oil and gas deposits, involving many large companies (such as Exxon, Shell, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, etc.), and
considering that this circumstance may continue for the next 50 years, exposing the species to risks of habitat alteration, disturbance, and pollution resulting from oil development;
WHEREAS a considerable proportion
of the global population of Steller's Sea-eagle winters in the South Kuril Islands and in northern Hokkaido, which are areas that could potentially be affected by oil-spill accidents;
WHEREAS mortality of Steller's Sea-eagles wintering in Hokkaido owing to lead poisoning remains a serious problem; and
WHEREAS the naturally low reproductive potential of Steller's Sea-eagle will make recovery
difficult if the population dramatically declines;
URGES that all oil companies and the Japanese and Russian Governments support research and monitoring efforts and take appropriate measures to maintain healthy
populations of Steller's Sea-eagle throughout its annual range in the areas potentially affected by oil-field development.
CONGRATULATING the Polish government on having created the Biebrza National Park and other important reserves in the north-east of
Poland as part of the Natura 2000 network of specially protected sites;
AWARE that the construction of a major highway from Warsaw to the Baltic states is a major necessity;
URGES the Polish Government
and the European Community (as the major donor body to the project) to plan the route so as to minimise the environmental impact of the highway; and
RECOMMENDS the highway to be routed on the shorter western option.
AWARE that the Saker Falcon has experienced
very severe population declines in most range states, owing largely to unsustainable levels of exploitation by trappers and traders for falconry, and that it is imperative to reduce the levels of offtake in the species;
URGES the range states to work with BirdLife International, IUCN, the CITES Secretariat, the International Association of Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, the World Working Group on Birds of Prey and Owls
and other stakeholders, to make a comprehensive evaluation of the global status of the Saker Falcon against IUCN criteria before the next Conference of the Parties to CITES in November 2004, and to take other actions
deemed necessary as a result of their joint collaboration, in order to assure the long-term survival of healthy populations of the Saker Falcon throughout its range.
WHEREAS populations of three species of vulture, numerous in the Indian Subcontinent as
recently as six years ago, are rapidly declining as a result of a high rate of mortalities and may even be approaching extinction;
THANKS The Peregrine Fund of the USA, the Royal Society for the Protection
of Birds in the United Kingdom and their partner organisations for their efforts to find the cause of these mortalities in programmes they have developed with colleagues in Pakistan, Nepal and India.
ENCOURAGES their ongoing cooperation towards the recovery of vulture populations.