Migratory birds and actions on eradicating Illegal killing of birds – Outcomes from CMS COP14

The 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14) took place Samarkand, Uzbekistan from 12-17 February 2024. FACE participated at the conference to follow the outcomes for migratory birds, including the important efforts to eradicate Illegal killing of birds (IKB).

How did the CMS initiative on illegal killing birds start?
The early impetus for international action on IKB started under the Bern Convention with the Larnaca Declaration in 2011. Later this was picked up by CMS to expand the geographic coverage. A milestone being the resolution adopted at CMS COP11 in 2014 on Prevention of Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds. This resolution established Intergovernmental Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean, or MIKT for short. Since 2017 MIKT meets jointly with the Bern Convention Special Focal Points on Eradication of Illegal Killing, Trapping and Trade in Wild Birds, so there are close ties and joined up work between the two conventions. This has been facilitated by funding by the European Commission.

How have things developed?
To track progress in addressing illegal of birds, a scoreboard for countries to report their activities was started in 2017. This was followed by the Rome Strategic Plan in 2019 which has a vision of a reduction of at least 50% in the scale and scope of IKB by 2030. The mid-term assessment will take place in 2025.

What does this scoreboard reporting show?
By the cut-off date of September 2023, 22 countries (8 EU Member States) submitted replies for the 3rd national scoreboard. Overall, the score for quality of national legislation performed best with an average of 80%; second was prevention, which mainly involved awareness raising with hunters scoring between 60-65%; the two other indices were for enforcement and prosecution. A second opportunity to report has been opened until June 2024 for countries that had not reported. For more information see the dedicated IKB scoreboard page.

What changes were there to the CMS resolution on IKB at COP14 in Samarkand?
Decisions taken at COP14 are well summarised here. As are all the decisions stemming from the meeting. For MIKT the CMS Scientific Council is directed to work on a situation analysis of a number of issues including illegal use of mist nets for capture of birds, and is requested to undertake a scientific review on the scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds, as well as illegal trade of birds across sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia to enable Parties, policy instruments and NGOs to set priorities. The resolution asks Parties to CMS to step up a number of efforts, including encouraging them to work cross-border in tackling IKB and share best-practice. An example being guidance for hunting tourism companies.

Photo credit:  Sergey Dereliev

Any other updates on EU action on IKB?
European Commission has recently published this report – Combatting the illegal killing, taking of and trade in birds in the EU – Review of good practices on prevention (link). This is a good example of sharing good practice as mentioned above. It gives details of the work of the European Commission as regards environmental compliance assurance which covers ways in which public authorities can promote, monitor and enforce compliance with existing rules on protection of wildlife.

What’s next:
On the 10 April 2024, FACE joined the MIKT consultative group meeting, to share updates and plan actions following CMS COP14. The next main meeting of MIKT and the Bern Convention Special Focal Points on IKB, will be held in October 2024.

Other useful links:
CMS MIKT main page
FACE position

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