IAF December News

The 3rd International Falconry Festival Abu Dhabi, Dec.2014

Dear IAF Delegate, dear friend of IAF,

I had the pleasure to address the assembly at the opening of the Festival Conference:

"Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow falconers, a vision born in the desert over forty years ago brings us all together today. Forty years ago was a time when falcon numbers around the world were declining; falconers were blamed and were distrusted by conservationists and environmentalists. His Highness, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan – may god protect his soul, in his wisdom, organized the first Falconry Festival and Conference in Abu Dhabi. This brought together, for the first time, falconers, biologists and environmentalists."

"Today, we truly enjoy the Golden Age of Falconry. Never before have so many falconers flown their birds so well in so many different countries around the world. Through the patronage of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, falconry is secured through recognition of our heritage by UNESCO."

"Falconers are now better represented globally, by the IAF, supported by the generosity of Abu Dhabi and the Emirates Falconry Club, which has provided “start up” funding for our professional office and which allows us to employ our Executive Officer. Because of this, we are able to:

  • Represent Falconry at all important international meetings and conventions. 
  • Monitor and influence regulation and legislation around the world which may influence falconry. 
  • Contribute meaningfully to the conservation effort in a range of ways. 
  • Work on measures to support the welfare of falconry raptors. 
  • Support and develop the culture of falconry.

"Today, we enjoy, at the 3rd Falconry Festival in Abu Dhabi, the greatest gathering of falconers in the history of the world. At this gathering we share the culture of falconry. This common experience gives us a common language which allows common understanding and is a real force for peace."

"I believe that I speak for all falconers when I thank our hosts for making this possible, for bringing us all together and for championing the cause of falconry. I would also like to thank all who have been involved in the organization of this event . It is an immense task which has been very well done. Your Excellencies - Shukran - You have given us memories which will last all our lives and which we will pass on to our grandchildren."            

With my best regards, 

Adrian Lombard, IAF President

Bern Convention 2nd to 5th December: report from the Executive Officer

“I attended the 34th Standing Committee meeting of the Bern Convention, taking the seat formerly occupied by our late former president Christian de Coune. I presented our IAF Code of Conduct on Invasive Alien Species with respect to falconry, part of a joint presentation with FACE. It was well received by the delegations and praised by the secretariat.

While there, I learned that Christian de Coune had been a well loved participant and had became a personal friend of many of the other NGOs, gently and subtly promoting falconry over the years and deflecting adverse comment in such a way that falconry changed from receiving open hostility, to grudging acceptance, to normality. IAF is seen as an important NGO, we are actually the only one specific to raptors and their conservation. Other issues discussed relevant to raptor conservation were electrocution on power lines and problems with wind farms. The decisions made may be accessed here..

The people representing actual Parties (countries that can vote) change annually, so contacts among the NGOs are much more important. In corridor meetings, coffee and lunch breaks, I introduced the IAF Electrocution of Raptors Recording System to the Chairman who was very impressed and I told him that falconers were attending a conference on the electrocution of Mongolian saker populations to be held in Abu Dhabi the following week.

Some Parties to the convention are in danger of getting sucked in by welfare issues and this could be of concern to us in the future. For example – a derogation under Article 9 allows France to trap badgers to control population (the species is NOT in danger), but the welfare orientated NGOs spoke eloquently, trying to prevent France from trapping on purely animal welfare issues. Luckily the French were strong enough to separate out the value to conservation of the species of culling out TB badger populations from the ethical issues of killing a pretty mammal. The chairman and the secretariat pointed out strongly that the Bern Convention was not a forum to ban something on welfare grounds, it is concerned only with species and habitat conservation issues. This bodes well for the future."

Gary Timbrell, EO to IAF

"The great value of the International Festival lies not only in educating youth and in presenting falconry to the wider community, but in showing our important intangible heritage to our government officials and, most of all, in enforcing the sense of global community in our priceless art of falconry."

Photos below: children from the city visit the IAF tent; IAF Delegates assemble for a formal photograph, having spent a week in desert camp meeting falconers from all over the world discussing falconry; the Pakistan delegation poses with their UNESCO representative.

Final photo: Prof. Tom Richter (Vice-president IAF) in spontaneous celebration on hearing the public announcement that falconry has been listed by Germany as Intangible Cultural Heritage. The officers, Advisory Committee and Delegates of IAF sincerely congratulate the community of all falconers in German for this achievement .

CIC Represents Hunters and Sustainable Use of Wildlife at a Crucial UN Conference

IAF has a Memorandum of Understanding with CIC (Conseil International de la Chasse) and is proud to report on their successes to our IAF members and friends:

"The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) held a panel discussion session entitled ‘Protected Areas and Sustainable Hunting and Fishing’ on Saturday, 15th November 2014 as part of Stream 4 – Supporting Human Life during the World Parks Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Sydney, Australia."

"In the past local people were often excluded from protected areas, making it difficult or impossible for them to accept protected areas that forced them to leave their lands and deprived them of the possibility to harvest appropriate renewable natural resources. Times are changing and the needs of local populations are beginning to receive the attention they deserve. Part of these concerns is the right to sustainably harvest wildlife in and around protected areas."

"The joint FAO – CIC session began with a keynote speech from the Advisor to the Minister of Environment of Estonia, Hanno Zingel (right). In his speech, Mr. Zingel spoke of the importance of addressing the needs and aspirations of local people in the planning of protected areas and gave an insight into the legislation governing hunting and fishing in protected areas in Estonia, where both activities are allowed in certain protected areas under specific conditions."

"Later, the session examined the role of hunting and fishing in the planning and management of protected areas, whether these activities could support local community-based development and how management can maintain the wildlife habitat and hence a valuable food source. Four panelists from around the world, each with a background in the sustainable use of fish and/or wildlife, discussed these issues and answered questions from the floor."

"Colgar Sikopo from Namibia looked at whether well managed hunting and fishing in some or all of the IUCN categories of protected areas can be permitted as a basic right for people living in and around these protected areas. Scott Dowd used a Brazilian example to address whether hunting and fishing in and around protected areas helps provide income for local people and finances for protected area management. This was followed by an example from the Philippines, presented by Merlijn Van Weerd and Marites Gatan-Balbason how the benefits perceived by protected area managers and decision makers match those of the local communities. Lastly, Dr. Madeleine Nyman of Finland looked at the main differences between the positive and negative biodiversity impacts of sustainable hunting and fishing in protected areas as compared with other recreational activities in these areas."

"Discussions  were interesting and lively and the session provided some further material to fuel discussions and helped to clarify certain questions. Whilst it was clear that there was no one size fits all solution, it was concluded that :

"Sustainable hunting and fishing, including falconry, as part of protected area management, have the ability to support livelihoods and cultures, increase food security, generate income, maintain wildlife numbers within the ecological and social carrying capacity of the environment, and build crucial local support for the conservation of biodiversity and habitats."

Here you could also download official copy of this letter.

International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey

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