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)
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.