On the 24th of October, BirdLife International held a workshop called “A Road Map to tackle Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Birds (IKB) in the Middle East” with the support of UNDP/GEF, MAVA Foundation and LIFE & CMS Raptors MoU.
The high-level workshop that took place in the Dead Sea, Jordan gathered representatives from Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, UAE, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Over the four days, the fruitful discussion between the participants resulted in the development of a draft roadmap, which consists of guidelines and objectives to tackle the illegal killing of birds in the region, putting up the key actions for each participant country.
“Illegal bird hunting has been increasing dramatically in recent years. Every year, over 25 million birds are poached around the Mediterranean”, highlighted Ibrahim Khader, the Regional Director of BirdLife International Middle East, during his opening speech.
Khader also added that illegal bird hunting has negative economic and social impacts. To tackle this phenomenon, he pointed out, “we need to understand the motives of the hunters and address the problem, raise public awareness, educate people and employ the technology needed to track illegal hunters.”
“Data shows low numbers of illegal bird hunting in Jordan, and this is due to the harsh penalties that have been imposed since the 1960s,” Khader noted.
Sameer Bandak, from BirdLife’s Jordan Partner RSCN, emphasised that “reducing insecticide spraying, insulating power lines, in addition to raising awareness on the dangers of illegal bird hunting, are among the top challenges that RSCN faces.”
The Ministry of Environment delegate, Eng. Bilal Qtaishat, added that currently, “there are 12 natural reserves in Jordan, including a new marine nature reserve located in Aqaba.”
Qtishat explained that migratory birds fly through the Middle East and Northern Africa region twice a year on their journey between their breeding grounds and winter site, and that there are 27 different locations for migratory birds across Jordan. He added that the Ministry is aiming to provide a safe flight route for migratory birds that pass through the country.
“On this special occasion we have to remind ourselves of the importance of being united and firm towards the illegal hunting and killing of birds”, said Dr. Nedal Al Ouran, the Jordan office representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), stressing what a vital role the government, civil society organizations and NGOs play in preserving all types of natural life in the region.
“Conserving our bird populations ensures that our environment remains beautiful and rich with natural diversity, and our ecosystem remains balanced”, he concluded.