Birdlife launches workshop to address illegal killing, trading of birds

BirdLife International, in collaboration with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, BirdLife’s partner in Jordan, launched the regional workshop ” A Road Map to tackle Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Birds (IKB) in the Middle East”.” last Sunday in the Dead Sea.

The regional workshop, which will run until next Friday, will include representatives from 11 Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Jordan, as well as representatives from the government sector and BirdLife partners.

The workshop will address a number of issues relating to birds, particularly illegal hunting, which is one of the Middle East’s most serious problems, and will bring together all partners and governments from various countries to find appropriate solutions by involving them in the development and implementation of plans and the implementation of relevant international agreements.

The workshop also seeks to shed light on the issues of illegal hunting, and smuggling of wild birds in the Middle East, as well as national experiences, and to promote essential solutions through the establishment of a regional road map and country action plans.

The workshop will also feature the release of the report “Illegal Hunting and Birds Smuggling in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and Iran,” as well as the release of the “Regional Guide” on how to prevent smuggling of protected bird species.

Engineer Bilal Quteishat, a delegate of the Minister of Environment and Director of the Directorate of Nature Protection in the Ministry, said during the workshop’s opening that Jordan concerned with protecting the unique biodiversity and preserving all forms of wildlife, notably birds, whether resident or migratory, and that the Ministry of Environment works with all local and international partners to implement all international standards for bird conservation.

Mr. Samir Bandak, a member of the RSCN Board of Directors, said that the RSCN, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Birdlife International, and all local partners, has developed a set of measures to ensure the protection of migratory birds, whether while crossing Jordan’s airspace or nesting, by reducing the spraying of toxic insecticides that harm birds or by imposing certain requirements, wind energy projects, insulating electrical lines, and improving control over illegal hunting, which is one of the region’s most significant concerns.

MR. Bandak stated that the RSCN, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and the Royal Department for Environmental Protection and Tourism, is actively monitoring illegal hunting. Also The RSCN has organized a national committee in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment to monitor the implementation of all bird-protection measures, and a national database has been established for bird-watching programs in energy projects, “This is the world’s first of its kind” he said.

“This occasion today reminds us of the importance of taking a unified and firm position at all levels, from governments, international organizations, and civil society, to stop all forms of violations against birds, the most serious of which are illegal hunting and smuggling,” Mrs. Randa Abul-Hassan, Director of the UNDP in Jordan, said “ Particularly those that migratory birds are exposed to”.

In turn, Ibrahim Khader, Regional Director of BirdLife International’s Middle East Office, emphasized the importance of Jordan and the Middle East region for the annual migration of millions of birds through the region, some of which are globally endangered, emphasizing the importance of BirdLife International and all partners in protecting this great diversity, working to identify and conserve critical bird habitats along the Rift Valley is extremely critical.

Khader highlighted the multiple issues that birds face in the region, particularly illegal hunting, stating that illegal hunting is one of the most serious threats to birds.

Dr. Umberto Gallo Orsi, Head of reports MoU coordinating unit at convention on migratory species (UNEP – CMS), responded by saying that the unit fully supports this initiative to develop a joint roadmap to eliminate all forms of illegal bird killing and hunting in the Middle East.

Dr. Orsi further said that this workshop is a vital step toward addressing illegal bird hunting, which affects many migratory species in the region, including raptors and other soaring birds, and that the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia has a longstanding experience of addressing the problem, including the establishment of an Intergovernmental Task Force on the illegal hunting, smuggling of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean Sea.

During the past days, the workshop addressed pressing issues such as the situation of illegal hunting in the Middle East, the region’s legislative framework and law enforcement, how to use communication to raise awareness and conduct awareness campaigns, national action plans to combat illegal hunting, and other Middle East-related topics.

The agenda included a field trip to learn about the RSCN efforts to eliminate illegal hunting in Jordan, as well as a meeting with inspectors in the Wadi Araba area.

The workshop is being held with the support of the host organization, the RSCN, and the New Life Project for Egyptian Vultures, which is funded by the European Union and the A.F. NS. AG Leventis Foundation, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia Migratory Soaring Birds project, which is implemented by BirdLife International and funded by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme – Safe Bird Migration Routes Project “Reducing illegal hunting” by MAFA Foundation, Association of Ornithologists of the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia.

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