ABU DHABI, 3rd November, 2018 (WAM) — The UAE Government and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, were thanked today for their support for the international Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey (raptors) in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU). The MoU celebrated its tenth anniversary last week. The Co-ordinating Unit of the MoU, which came into effect on 1st November, 2008, is part of the office in Abu Dhabi of the international Convention on Migratory Species, CMS, and is hosted by the EAD, on behalf of the UAE Government. EAD also hosts the office of the CMS-linked MoU on conservation of dugongs.
“We are grateful to the UAE Government and to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi for the enormous support they have given to the Raptor MoU over the last decade,” Nick Williams, head of the Co-ordinating Unit, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM.
The Raptor MoU aims to promote internationally coordinated actions to achieve and maintain the conservation status of migratory birds of prey throughout their ranges in the African-Eurasian region and to reverse their decline when and where appropriate.
Since it was established in 2008, the number of states that have signed the Raptors MoU has risen from 28 to 59, which means that 45% of the 131 Range States have now signed, including the European Union, on behalf of its 28 Member States.
Among notable projects achieved by the Raptors MoU have been the development and adoption of a Saker Falcon Global Action Plan (SakerGAP), to conserve the endangered Saker Falcon, widely used by Arab falconers, a Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP), and a Flyway Action Plan for the Conservation of the Balkan and Central Asian Populations of the Egyptian Vulture (EVFAP). A plan has also been developed for conservation of the Cinereous Vulture, while work is under way on the development of a similar plan for the vulnerable Sooty Falcon.
The Sooty Falcon, which breeds in small numbers on islands in the west of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is considered to be one of the most threatened birds of prey in the UAE.
“Over the last ten years, thanks to the immense support and engagement of signatories throughout the African-Eurasian Region, the Raptors MoU has played a critically important role in elevating the plight of migratory birds of prey on to the international political agenda,” Williams said. “Major progress has been achieved in tackling some of the many threats faced by this spectacular group of birds.”
“Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Raptors MoU is a substantial milestone. However, it’s only the beginning, and we need to do much more over the next decade if we are to succeed in our mission to secure favourable conservation status of all 93 migratory birds of prey that occur in Africa and Eurasia, ” he added.
“We must all work together to find effective ways to live alongside these amazingly uplifting creatures,so that future generations can enjoy the wonder that we are privileged to experience today,” Williams concluded.