Dear Delegates and Friends,
The 2014 meeting in Qatar was the biggest ever in the history of IAF; National Delegates and representatives from 52 countries attended. Generous funding from Algannas Falconry and Hunting Society (IAF member for Qatar) and from Katara Cultural Village Foundation, ensured the attendance of many Asian and North African countries previously unable to send representation to an international falconry meeting.
A considerable amount of work was achieved, including changes to the IAF Constitution which will be the subject of a subsequent eNewsletter. Three new member countries were voted to Council: Korea, Vietnam and Uruguay. Club Fredericus Rex of Malta and the Pakistan Falconers' Club upgraded to full membership. After the meeting Indonesia and Thailand also upgraded. Some new applicant countries did not qualify on the rule that a member organization has to have been in existence for at least two years; so in order to encourage these clubs, Council granted Observer Status to Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Taiwan and Armenia. Correspondence and co-operation with all of these countries is therefore assured.
Conservation and Culture are two important areas in the work of the IAF. Reviewing the work our organization has been doing in with respect to these took up a large part of the meeting. Our engagement in the cultural aspects of falconry and the conservation effortsmade by falconers creates partnerships with people and organizations which may otherwise have little interest in falconry or who may have previously been antagonistic towards it.
Discussions and presentations were held on relationships with other hunting organizations, the EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) legislationand its Union Strategic Report on Raptor Conservation, the Raptors MoU of Conference on Migratory Species, Saker Global Action Plan of the Saker Task Force, illegal trade, conservation projects being run by falconers, the impact of commercial wind turbines on wild raptors, World Falconry Day and education, UNESCO Submissions, the European Conference for implementation of the UNESCO joint programme on cultural and biological diversity.
Special consideration was given to aspects of the Welfare of Falconry Raptors at this meeting. The IAF believes that Falconers, and the IAF as their representative organization, should be seen to be the experts in the welfare of Falconry raptors and steps were taken to establish this position. We are aware that criticism is often directed at our art in this respect, often by people who are completely ignorant regarding falconry or who support animal rightist agendas. IAF's organization of the first conference on veterinary medicine for falconry birds and its Animal Welfare Guidelines for Falconry (agreed at the meeting, to be published shortly) and discussions on the new EU Positive lists for Companion Animals addresses this issue with some force.