IAF in Kyrgyzstan: AGM, saker conference, Pakistan MoU, SUME; ADIHEX.
Keep Calm and Carrion

IAF eBulletin September 2017

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2017 Council of Delegates

The IAF held its annual Council of Delegates Meeting in the Ruh Ordo Cultural Centre in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan on 5 September.

Among other proceedings, the Council voted to accept a number of new Members and Associate Members, as well as Supporting and Corresponding Members and Observers, meaning that the IAF now represents falconers in 91 countries.

New member organisations will be notified by Executive Secretary Adrian Reuter, and will be welcomed and introduced in a future eBulletin.

President's Report

In his President's Report introducing the meeting, Adrian Lombard spoke about the successes and challenges of the past year in the IAF's different spheres of work: support for falconry, conservation, culture, and animal welfare.

He also outlined developments and priorities in administrative matters and, looking to the future, announced that a European Foundation for Falconry and Conservation has been formally registered, and that the purchase of a new office premises in Brussels is underway.

Read the President's Report (.doc download)
View slide presentation for the President's Report (PDF)

Falconers Lead the Way with Strategic Saker Conference

On Thursday 7 September, in Cholpon-Ata, expert authorities on saker falcon conservation from all over the world gathered to exchange knowledge, share experience, but crucially also to formulate actions. 

In his welcoming presentation, Adrian Lombard said:

"At this conference, we have the foremost researchers on the conservation of this species, we have representatives of the falconers who would utilize this species and we have representatives of communities where the species is harvested. We also have representatives of... cooperating partners of the Raptors MoU.

"This provides us with a unique opportunity to discuss and plan the future implementation of the SakerGAP."

The keynote presentation was given by Dr Piet Wit (pictured above, right), until recently Chair of the IUCN Commission for Ecosystem Management.

Dr Andrew Dixon (pictured), Research Biologist for the Emirates Falconers’ Club, provided an overview of the threats and challenges facing the saker, and also spoke about saker projects on the Tibetan Plateau.

H.E. Majid al Mansouri, IAF Vice-president for MENA, presented a strategy for conservation and combatting illegal trafficking in the region.

Prof. Robert Kenward (pictured above with Piet Wit), Chair of IUCN thematic group on Sustainable Use & Management of Ecosystems, then spoke about the next steps for Sakernet in measuring populations and managing harvests.

Further presentations were given by Janusz Sielicki, IAF Vice-president for Europe, on tools and management for sustainable use; Mátyás Prommer, of Hungary's Hermann Ottó Institute, on the results of satellite tracking in Russia and Mongolia; Kamran Khan Yousafzai, IAF Officer for South Asia, on community involvement in raptor harvests in Pakistan; Baoyong Zhang, Secretary-general of China Tian Dao Falconry Association; and Nyambayar Batbayar of the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia.

Participants agreed to convene a follow-up strategic meeting in 2018 to agree concrete actions. The conference proceedings will be published in due course and announced in this eBulletin.

Memorandum Signed with Pakistan Ministry of Climate Change

After the conference, IAF President Adrian Lombard and the IAF conservation team met with a delegation from the Pakistan Ministry of Climate Change and the Pakistan Falconry Association to sign a landmark Memorandum of Understanding on the conservation of birds of prey in Pakistan, with special emphasis on vultures. This is the first formal association developed with any government by the IAF. President Lombard said it "may become a model for other high-level partnerships across the region."

IUCN-SUME Side-meeting

The IUCN Thematic Group on Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems (SUME) held a side-meeting in Cholpon-Ata. It will hold its next meeting, including a software training session, in Lima, Peru, 26 & 27 October 2017. Those in South America are encouraged to attend. More information and registration.

The Cholpon-Ata Experience

Our hosts in Kyrgyzstan were the Salburun Federation, organisers of the World Nomad Games. Their tireless army of volunteers (some pictured here – photo: Nancy Solleveld), along with Salburun's President Almaz Akunov and Public Relations Officer Elena Soklakova, managed everything from airport greetings to wake-up calls to simultaneous translation – a huge thank-you to all of them.

Perhaps the most memorable experience for many was the Salburun Games held in a yurt camp on the south shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, supported by the USAID Business Growth Initiative. You can see some fantastic photos and videos, and post your own, on the meeting's Facebook group.

This video, made by Dae-in Hwang of the Korea Falconers Club, is a great celebration of our time in Kyrgyzstan.

More photos and videos in the Kyrgyzstan 2017 Facebook group


IAF representatives and staff attended the 2017 Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) 12-16 September, at the kind invitation of the Emirates Falconers' Club, to help promote the International Festival of Falconry in December, and to raise awareness of the IAF's work.

The IAF School Links Programme had a stand of its own, and project manager Nicola Dixon was kept busy with the many kids coming to make falcon masks.

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International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey