SPNL participated in a regional workshop led by BirdLife International organized in Nicosia, Cyprus on 21 – 23 May 2014. The workshop was attended by 26 delegates from conservation NGOs from 20 countries to discuss a strategic action plan for combating illegal bird trapping in the Mediterranean. The workshop was a perfect opportunity for representatives of NGOs from various countries to share their own conservation challenges while showing a united front against bird slaughter.
“If it is not controlled, it will have very negative effects on the tourism industry and economy in general” as Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson CEO of BirdLife International said.
The NGO representatives added that future efforts will concentrate on establishing and strengthening a dynamic network of conservation organisations that work effectively with local people, national governments and the international community to better protect key species, sites and habitats on the Africa-Eurasia flyway.
SPNL presented the concept of the Responsible Hunting Areas-RHAs as a tool for bird conservation which would support proper implementation supported by local authorities, decrease the threat on birds, support conservation efforts for habitats & birds, and support local development. The identification of these RHAs is currently led by SPNL within the GEF funded Migratory Soaring Project in collaboration with UNDP & Ministry of Environment, based on scientific research and the compliance with objective agreed criteria.
At the workshop, BirdLife Cyprus presented for the first time its Strategic Action Plan (StAP), addressing the persistent and serious issue of illegal trapping in Cyprus. The Strategic Action Plan (StAP) is the result of two workshops held in 2013 by BirdLife Cyprus and supported by the MAVA Foundation, with the involvement and recommendations of over 30 representatives of various stakeholders, a crucial step forward in facing the problem of illegal bird trapping in a joint and coordinated effort.
In relation to the reduction of illegal killing and hunting threats to migratory birds, amongst others, the following were discussed:
•Political support for stopping illegal activities and for legal and responsible hunting
•Public support for stopping illegal activities and for legal and responsible hunting
•Effective law enforcement
•European Union and European Commission support for reduction of illegal killing and poaching threats.
The Cyprus Game and Fauna Service gave a welcoming speech on the first day of the workshop and a presentation about the threats faced by migratory birds in Cyprus. The GFS also presented their action in relation to the adoption of the Strategic Action Plan against Illegal Bird Trapping in Cyprus.
The Workshop gave the opportunity for many fruitful discussions among the participants about finding ways to address the major threats faced by migrating birds in the Mediterranean and everyone left with the best impressions.
BirdLife Cyprus organised a short field trip for participants on 23 May, in order for them to enjoy the endemic bird species and a few other Cyprus specialities.