Festival; UNESCO ICH; Berne Convention; Almaty Conference
Keep Calm and Carrion

IAF eBulletin December 2017

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Festival Report

With a 30% increase in the number of visitors on the 2014 Festival, the 4th International Festival of Falconry concluded in Abu Dhabi on Sunday 10th December, after 6 days, with participation from over 700 falconers, researchers and experts representing the most important clubs, organisations and international falconry schools in more than 90 countries from all around the world. The festival,  under the patronage of  H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, May God Protect Him, shed light on the leading role of the United Arab Emirates in the conservation of the environment and taking care of its heritage as well as hunting and sustainability.

The first three days of the festival, involved a series of workshops in the Desert Camp at Telal Resort in Al Ain-Remah where falconers spent an enjoyable time filled with excitement in the heart of the desert. They took part in the art of falconry and participated in hunting trips in the presence of Emirati falconers on both camels and on foot.

They also visited live displays of falcons presented by Emirates Falconers Club in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Falconers Club. Workshops in Bedouin tents discussed issues such as: falconry heritage, international agreements and legislation, future strategies for falconry in the world, technologies and conservation,animal rights and nutrition and veterinary care of raptors.

There were technical workshops on how to create  hoods and other equipment , and instructional classes and presentations on the different methods used by Emirati falconers.  

For more complete reports on this highly successful Festival, please go to the  dedicated  website where you can find a series of short videos and don't forget the Facebook page and the other social media to read the comments of those who attended and enjoyed the hospitality of the United Arab Emirates.

Quotations from President Lombard's Strategy Speech

 "Falconry is the art of hunting with a bird of prey in its natural habitat. The hawk is never your servant, it works with you as a partner. If you're a falconer you're taking a life partner."

"There are three pillars that must support falconry: Conservation, Culture and Animal Welfare; through those three pillars , IAF makes sure falconry is undisturbed and valued."

"Every falconer becomes a conservationist."

"Falconry is a living and growing heritage and is recognized by UNESCO as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind. This shows that the world values falconry."

"We believe that animal welfare is an essential part of falconry."

"This festival is an investment in youth. We only achieve what we achieve today because we stand on the shoulders of giants (about the falconers who attended the first 1976 Sheikh Zayed Festival and Conference)."

"If you want support, advice or help on any of these,  IAF can provide it."

Congratulations to Denmark

From IAF President Adrian Lombard:

“The IAF would like to join the falconers of Denmark in celebrating the legislation which has re-established the legal right to practice falconry in Denmark after a heinous ban which has lasted for 50 years.  On 7th December, 2017, the Danish Parliament, in a landmark decision, voted to permit the practice of falconry in Denmark once again.  The IAF recognises the patience and steadfast efforts of Danish falconers to regain their heritage. 

These efforts have been supported by the IAF and we appreciate that the work is not over as the regulations governing falconry must be defined to allow legitimate practice of ethical and sustainable falconry once more in this nation.  As we see the end of an eventful year, this is one more reason to rejoice and we hope to see a day when falconry can be practiced legally all over the world as should be the case for such a widely practiced and valued human heritage.”

UNESCO Intangible Heritage

Dr. Bohumil Straka (Chairman IAF AC) writes:

Dear friends,

I am pleased to inform you about the main achievements of UNESCO ICH session in Korea:

  • FACE advisory accreditation status to UNESCO ICH has been just renewed 
  • CIC has been authorized for participation as an observer for next 2 sessions/years
  • The IAF proposal has been approved to extend the NGO steering committee (i.e. NGOs chairing those 150+ accredited NGOs) from the original 6 UNESCO geographic region seats with one extra seat dedicated for international NGOs. The reason was that during elections, international NGOs were only considered eligible where no local NGOs candidates existed in the region (and this actually never happens). The new international seat means that IAF will be eligible in the next election 2018, something that we deserve considering that IAF has a lot of experience and falconry is the largest multi-national element.
  • Taking in account things above, our 3 organisations together are able to make a powerful grouping in favour of the promotion of Falconry and Hunting as cultural heritage

The importance of this 12th UNESCO ICH conference was underlined by a  huge attendance, 730 participants from 110 countries.

Detailed materials including decisions and agenda is available here:


Press resource kit including social networks that can be used is here:


Please feel free to reuse any attached pictures in your PR and newsletters

Best Regards, Bohumil Straka 

Berne Convention

Julian Muehle, delegate for Chile at last year's Meeting in Ireland, represented the IAF at the 2017 Berne Convention in Strasbourg last week. Julian is studying political science. He is accomplished falconer and interned for IAF in the Brussels office last year. He was happy to see how the EU functions from inside the building.

The following are excerpts from his report:

Sergei Golovkin of Malta, the Chair of the Bern Convention SFPs Network Birds and the CMS MIKT spoke  on the progress made by the working group and, among other things, highlighted the positive impact that IAF was having through its anti-electrocution and Peregrine Falcon Project.

This is a significant moment for IAF for obvious reasons and his intervention on another point reinforced IAF's presence as an important NGO at the Berne Convention

"Thank  you Chair, The International  Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF) supports the point raised by FACE and Birdlife International as  the use  of the phrases "fully committed" and "periodic" represent vital wording  to ensure the implementation of the scoreboard measuring system in conjunction with periodic reporting by member states, which contributes to deterring the illegal killing of birds, including birds of prey."

That this intervention supported both the hunters and the non-hunters will help us when it is our turn to garner support.           

Finally, his intervention on the lack of protection for raptors in Norway is very interesting, because, last year, we received very negative feedback from BirdLife’s Norwegian partner when President Adrian Lombard offered them support on the golden eagle issue:

"Thank you Chair,  the International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF) would like to register its support for the request brought forward by Birdlife to include the vital phrasing "deemed necessary" in subsection 2, point 2, a phrasing which is already included in point 1 (on humans) and which was applied to birds of prey in the previous legislation. This phrasing would signify that individuals would have to recourse to killing raptors and other predators protected under the Bern convention ONLY as a last resort, after having attempted to scare the wildlife away. 

Such a phrasing would provide protection for birds of prey like the goshawk, as according to preliminary information from the "Norsk ringmerking atlas" 50-70% of the ringed raptor carcasses found have been killed due to shooting and this phrasing would thereby deter their persecution under the pretext of the self defense clause. 

As highlighted by Birdlife, Hungary and the Secretariat itself, IAF believes that the current phrasing does not fully reflect the status of birds of prey on Annex 2 of the Bern Convention and the protection affiliated with this and we welcome the statement made by Norway stating that it intends to modify this. We would like to encourage Norway to take decisive and speedy action on this in order to minimize the persecution of birds of prey in the interim period."

This intervention certainly shows that we are respected in the Berne Convention, that we will support good science and are not to be ignored. 

International Conference, Almaty, Kazakhstan

The republican association “Kansonar” on the base of the Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Kazakhstan, organized the International Scientific-Practical Conference on Falconry in past and at the present times.

Conference on 24 November went according to the  programme uploaded here

Raptor biologist and falconer Ralf Pfeffer, showed a documentary on the release of captive-bred saker falcons into the wild and commented on it, telling of the  problems and the different experiments conducted during the release of birds. Then discussion took place.
An abstracts book has been published.

In total 68 participants were registered, but the total number was somewhat higher owing to unregistered guests. Participants cam e from Germany, Russia, China and Mongolia. Registered participants from Kyrgyzstan did not come, but other guests from this Republic attended. IAF was represented by Bakhyt Karnakbayev. 

Report by Jevgeni Šergalin

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International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey