By communicating the contributions falconers have made in conservation to the International Bodies, IAF has normalized falconry and played a key role in making it acceptable to those international organisations …. this is what IAF’s role is. Now when falconers are mentioned in CITES, Bern Convention, IUCN and all the others, these people think of the IAF people they have actually met, like Christian de Coune, and the falconers we have told them about, like Tom Cade and Christian Saar, not the nest-robbers and monsters they were told about by our opponents in the 1970s.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties.
Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
For many years CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest membership, 176 Parties. CITES has a huge influence on falconry and falconers.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international non government organization with headquarters in Switzerland. It was founded in 1948 and is dedicated to finding pragmatic solutions to pressing environment and development challenges. The organization publishes the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of species. Its philosophy can be summed up in the following quotation “Protected areas and threatened species could most effectively be safeguarded if local people considered it in their own interest to do so. Working with rather than against local people became a major working principle for IUCN.”
With the pre-eminence of the concept of sustainable development, IUCN has expanded into many of the nations, making available the services of a large pool of mainly voluntary specialists, providing local level advice and conservation services and expanding its networks of Committees and regional advisory bodies. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects globally and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy. It is world’s oldest and largest global environmental network—a democratic union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN’s stated vision is “a just world that values and conserves nature”. Its mission is to “influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable”.
IAF is proud to have taken part in IUCN activities since the early days and has been a member since 1996. IUCN’s influence on falconry through international wildlife legislation, through the Red Data List and through its member organizations cannot be underestimated.
The Bern Convention is a binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation, which covers most of the natural heritage of the European continent and extends to some States of Africa. Its aims are to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and to promote European co-operation in that field.
The Convention places a particular importance on the need to protect endangered natural habitats and endangered vulnerable species, including migratory species.
All countries that have signed the Bern Convention must take action to:
– promote national policies for the conservation of wild flora and fauna, and their natural habitats; – have regard to the conservation of wild flora and fauna in their planning and development policies, and in their measures against pollution; – promote education and disseminate general information on the need to conserve species of wild flora and fauna and their habitats; – encourage and co-ordinate research related to the purposes of this Convention.
and also co-operate to enhance the effectiveness of these measures through:
– co-ordination of efforts to protect migratory species; – and the exchange of information and the sharing of experience and expertise.
CONVENTION ON MIGRATORY SPECIES
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS or the Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. The Convention was signed in 1979 in Bonn. Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention.
CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II. CMS acts as a framework Convention. Several Agreements and several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have been concluded to date under the auspices of CMS.
IAF is a Co-operating Partner to the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU) which has almost 60 Signatories and 5 Co-operating Partners (December 2017). The overall aim of the Raptors MoU is to promote internationally coordinated actions to achieve and maintain the favourable conservation status of migratory birds of prey throughout their range in the African-Eurasian region, and to reverse their decline.
An Action Plan is included in the text of the Raptors MoU with the following key objectives:
- To halt and reverse the population declines of globally threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable) and Near Threatened birds of prey and ot alleviate threats to them such that they are no longer globally threatened or Near Threatened
- To halt and reverse the population declines of other birds of prey with an Unfavourable Conservation Status within Africa and Eurasia and alleviate threats in order to return their populations to Favourable Conservation Status
- To anticipate, reduce and avoid potential and new threats to all bird of prey species, especially to prevent the populations of any species undergoing long-term decline.
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty.
The Convention has three main goals:
- conservation of biological diversity;
- sustainable use of its components;
- Its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
It is the key document regarding sustainable development.
The convention recognized that the conservation of biological diversity is “a common concern of humankind” and is an integral part of the development process. The agreement covers all ecosystems, species, and genetic resources. It links traditional conservation efforts to the economic goal of using biological resources sustainably. It sets principles for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources, notably those destined for commercial use.
The convention reminds decision-makers that natural resources are not infinite and sets out a philosophy of sustainable use.
While past conservation efforts were aimed at protecting particular species and habitats, the Convention recognizes that ecosystems, species and genes must be used for the benefit of humans, in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity.