IAF March News 2016

A full year has passed since this working group was established and, among other things, our work within the IAF has resulted in:

 1.    IAF press release regarding the International Day for Biodiversity (German & English)

2.    An interview with MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz (German & Eng)

Our concern is not only about game species or the loss of biodiversity, we also have a need to protect water, soil and climate in general.

For the first time in the history of the EU farmers have had to provide areas dedicated to halting the loss of biodiversity on farmland, if they want to get the subsidies. This protection represents an extraordinary economic value, the CAP (including GREENING) must provide for those targets. GREENING offers a unbelievably good chance for biodiversity; unfortunately, in many parts of the EU, we are seeing poor implementation of these schemes.

IAF President Adrian Lombard addressed to the group saying there was a public consultation on the Habitats Directives. IAF is part of the Transparency Register of the EU and this is important for us, giving is special access to public consultations. The group therefore participated in that consultation, welcoming comments from the different European countries. The results of this Public Consultation may be seen here

There is a further project focused on an improvement of GAP: the North Sea Region Partridge Project was established by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. Partridge-areas without management will be compared to managed areas (predator control, habitat-improvement and additional feeding). Gary Timbrell & Dr. Michael Greshake joined their INTERREG-meeting in Brussels on January 12 & 13 on IAF's behalf, representing the Perdix group. IAF is preparing a letter of support.

The Perdix-Portal: this platform will be arranged together with the GWCT. The base might be an ANATRAC-system that offers multilingual information concerning partridges. A German biologist of the Göttingen University has been asked to manage the platform.

Except for the DFO and the BFC, no club has offered any financial support yet. A contribution of 2€ per member would secure this important platform. Therefore we are ddressing a letter to all European club presidents. In our opinion it makes sense to present the Working Group to all the clubs, just like the short presentation made to the DFO (here).

The photograph shows the flower strips (developed by the University of Goettingen, Germany) planned to be used in the INTERREG-project.

 Michael Greshake & Stephan Wunderlich

 

A major part of the recent work of this Working Group has been to formulate an official IAF Policy Statement on the use of the herbisite glyphosate. This is being addressed to MEPs, to the European Commission and to other NGOs, to highlight the danger to biodiversity of its uncontrolled indesriminate blanket use 

Statement by the International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey on the use of Glyphosate.

"In the discussion on re-registration of the effective herbicide, glyphosate, one significant effect has not, according to our opinion, been adequately considered: Glyphosate destroys all plant species, the basis of our insect world and all organisms that are dependent on the food chains of these organisms. We are on the way to a silent spring because the richness of species that have developed along-side agriculture for millennia risks being widely destroyed by increasing use of this herbicide. Until the 1950’s, there were hundreds of accompanying floral species in cereal fields, other crops, meadows and pastures. If one considers that each plant can serve, on average, at least five insect groups as a food source (living on roots, stems, leaf, flower, seed), and then multiply this by the hundreds of food crops which were previously grown, it can be concluded that an astronomically large number of insects are missing today from our open landscapes. Their biomass has demonstrably shrunk in recent decades, to less than 20%, and in maize fields to zero. In this way many bird species have almost disappeared due to lack of food.

 Falconers are affected directly by this development because the game that they have been hunting, for over a thousand years, is disappearing or has actually disappeared. As observers of nature, falconers have seen this loss of biodiversity which is associated with degraded soil and deteriorating water quality. This reduces resilience to changing climate and ultimately leads to a deterioration all the ecosystem services on which our human wellbeing depends. The unrestricted use of Glyphosate will compound this situation. Thus, we, the International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF), would like to recommend that the use of the product Glyphosate be limited in the cultivated open landscape to only when absolutely necessary, and replaced wherever possible by more selective approaches including biological controls.

The richness of biodiversity in the cultivated countryside of Europe is the result of previous sustainable agricultural practices; it is suffering now because of modern agricultural methods and improvement in the future will depend on agriculture rediscovering benefits of resilience as well as productivity. 

Dr. Michael Greshake, Chairman IAF Biodiversity Working Group.

47th IAF Council of Delegates Meeting - Ireland

Registration for the is proceeding smartly. This meeting will be held in the very south of Ireland from 13th to 20th November 2016 by invitation of theThe Irish Hawking Club. The IAF Meetings will be held in Sneem, Co. Kerry in the early part of the week, where hawking will take place everyday. The latter part of the week is optional and we will all move to the Irish Midlands for more hawking and an important conference on the sustainable use of wildlife. For more information contact info@iaf.org or Don Ryan.

To register to attend this meeting please go to ther designated website and complete the online form. This IHC website is very comprehensive and shoult provide you details of the locations, transport, booking accommodation and the programme of events. We would encourage you to book all travel and accommodation as soon as is convenient, especially European falconers planning to bring hunting hawks, who will need a falconry licence from the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service. This is also obtainable from the IHC website. 

 

The Artemis Working Group of the CIC has initiated the the third WASH conference  announced for July 2-3, 2016, in Wageningen, the Netherlands, in collaboration with the International Association of Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey. The shared conference mission is to convey hunting traditions to future generations through education, species protection, conservation and sustainability and the Conference Goal is to create awareness and public support for nature education through falconers and hunters.

Registrations are now open and the programme can be seen on the official website.

EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking

IAF Interpol Liaison Officer Willem Vrijenhoek, Public Relations Officer Véronique Blontrock and the Executive Officer attended an event run in the European Parliament by the "MEPs for Wildlife" group, chaired by UK MEP Catherine Bearder, seen left speaking with Gary Timbrell about her support for the campaign to protect European Vulture populations from diclofenac.

The event was launched by EU Commissioner Vella to promote the publication of the new EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking and IAF used the opportunity to promote our IAF Position Statement regarding the Illegal Wildlife Trade .

Message from the President

Ladies, Gentlemen,

I have very great pleasure in advising you that our Motion for a Recommendation at the forthcoming IUCN World Congress has been accepted without comment.  It is "Preventing electrocution and collision impacts of power infrastructure on birds" and is the 3rd Motion listed. This is a significant achievement for us and a clear demonstration that we are serious and committed conservation organization.

Dr Adrian Lombard

World Conservation Congress 2016 Accepted motions now available online

Dear IUCN Members,

 Following the closing of the motions submission process for the IUCN World Conservation Congress, all motions were reviewed for their scientific and technical characteristics.  The Motions Working Group assessed motions against the admissibility requirements set out in the IUCN Statutes and Rules of Procedure of the World Conservation Congress.

All accepted motions can now be consulted online and have been posted in the language in which they were originally submitted.  Translations into the other official IUCN languages are currently being undertaken and will be available online on 18 April. More information and guidance on the online discussion process will follow soon.

Kind regards,

Membership Unit

IAF Motion for a Recommendation at the forthcoming IUCN World Congress: "Preventing electrocution and collision impacts of power infrastructure on birds"

ALARMED by mounting evidence that a largely unaddressed silent epidemic of electrocution and collision of a wide diversity of birds is resulting from inappropriately designed and routed electricity distribution infrastructure, with significant negative impacts on some avian populations;

CONCERNED that effects may be especially severe for apex predators and important scavengers, including globally threatened, internationally protected raptors species such as the Saker Falcon, Steppe Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and White-backed Vulture ; 

AWARE that bird mortality through electrocution and collision is documented in every region of the world, with the ‘Review of the conflict between migratory birds and electricity power grids in the African-Eurasian region’ adopted by CMS COP10, AEWA MOP5 and CMS Raptors MOU MOS1 estimating that up to 10,000 electrocutions and 100,000s of collisions may occur per country in the African-Eurasian region each year;

FURTHER AWARE that for migratory bird species, the cumulative impacts of poorly located or designed power infrastructure may be particularly significant;

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that risks of electrocution and collision will increase with proliferation of new unsafe or poorly located infrastructure;
NOTING that bird electrocution and collision can also have financial and social impacts by damaging structures and disrupting power supplies;
APPLAUDING the scientific studies conducted to identify and address this problem in many countries including Hungary, Mongolia, USA and South Africa, and regional initiatives to address the issue, such as the UNDP/GEF 'Migratory Soaring Birds Project' of BirdLife International;
RECOGNIZING that guidance on good planning, as well as cost-effective, simple designs for bird-safe infrastructure and methods for mitigation of existing infrastructure are readily available and effective in preventing electrocution and collision of birds while contributing to the stability of energy supplies;

The World Conservation Congress, at its session in Hawai’i, United States of America, 1-10 September 2016:

CALLS upon governments and power companies to ensure that all new power infrastructure complies with measures to prevent bird electrocution and collision; 

RECOMMENDS adequate Environmental Assessments (SEA, EIA) for any planned electricity infrastructure to identify, and minimise through location, bird safe design and construction measures, potential electrocution and collision impacts on birds; 

FURTHER CALLS UPON responsible financial institutions to adopt appropriate policies to ensure that power companies are required to minimise impacts on birds through planning, to select appropriate location, to implement adequate EIAs, to utilise safe designs and employ effective monitoring as part of the terms of funding; 

URGES relevant governments, power companies, financial institutions and other stakeholders to liaise with each other, and with the Secretariat and Energy Task Force of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) to ensure that existing and planned infrastructure which is harmful to birds is identified and is subject to urgent remediation, with monitoring, including monitoring of vulnerable species at national level, to measure effectiveness; 

FURTHER RECOMMENDS the use of available multi-language guidance adopted by CMS COP10, AEWA MOP5,CMS Raptors MOU MOS1 and BirdLife International sensitivity mapping and guidance on this issue ; 

COMMENDS countries and organizations, including power utilities, which are funding research and implementing remediation measures.

You are submitting this motion on behalf of: 

International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (Belgium)

Co-sponsors: 

BirdLife International (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

BirdLife South Africa (South Africa)

BirdLife Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)

Cape Nature (South Africa)

Endangered Wildlife Trust (South Africa)

Environment Africa (Zimbabwe)

Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (The Netherlands)

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (South Africa)

Fédération des Associations de Chasse et Conservation de la Faune Sauvage de l`UE (Belgium)

Földmuvelésügyi Minisztérium (Hungary)

International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (Hungary)

International Council of Environmental Law (Germany)

Namibia Nature Foundation (Namibia)

Panstwowa Rada Ochrony Przyrody ( Poland )

Throughout the world birds are electrocuted or collide with inappropriately designed power infrastructure. The risks will increase unless the proliferation of new unsafe infrastructure is addressed. Electrocution occurs when a bird bridges the gap between two different phased energized components or an energized and an earthed (also called “grounded) component of the pole structure. Electrocution mainly involves larger species that perch or nest on wires or poles. Low to medium voltage lines pose the greatest risk. One impacted species is the globally Endangered Saker Falcon, listed on Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species in 2011 in response to evidence of declines in certain populations of this species. This species has been closely monitored owing to its cultural and economic significance. Data from Mongolia indicate that at least 5000 Saker falcons are electrocuted annually in that country. Similarly, data from Hungary shows that the number of Saker falcons electrocuted tends to be significantly under-estimated. The global population of the Saker Falcon is estimated at a median number of 10,900 breeding pairs. (BirdLife 2013). Electrocution is the principle threat recognised in the Saker Falcon Global Action Plan (CMS 2014). Saker GAP Objective 1 is to ensure the impact of electrocution on the Saker Falcon is reduced significantly.

This issue affects other species of large bird, particularly in open landscapes where perches are limited. Many affected species, including vultures and eagles, are of conservation concern, currently showing significant declines, and are of social or environmental significance.

There is urgent need for provision of electricity supply infrastructure in developing countries, such as through the US Agency for International Development’s “Power Africa Initiative”. Appropriate design creates a win-win situation for birds and for stability of power supplies. Significant efforts have been made in many places to address this issue through the formation of partnerships between conservationists and electricity supply utilities or through the development of MoUs with government agencies. CMS has addressed this issue in recent resolutions, provides comprehensive information and guidance on the means to address it and has established an Energy Task Force to reconcile energy development with migratory species conservation. Effective strategies exist which reduce bird mortality caused by power infrastructure, including avoidance of key areas important for birds and avoidance of key flyways. Simple design modifications can significantly reduce the risk of collision or electrocution. There are also simple effective and relatively inexpensive measure to mitigate existing dangerous infrastructure and such dangerous infrastructure must be identified.

Electrocution of large birds may damage infrastructure and mitigation measures for infrastructure represent additional expense. The Proponent of this Recommendation, with support of the Co-sponsors, intends to alert and inform governments, power suppliers and funders, providing tools to assist them in ensuring that future infrastructure is bird-safe and in mitigating dangerous existing infrastructure.

 

Here you could also download official copy of this letter.

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