14 May 2018
The first ever global summit for migratory birds brought together key players from all over the world in Abu Dhabi, UAE this April. In addition to global strategies, great progress was made in tackling threats to birds in the Middle East. Here are the main outcomes.
By Dima Obeidat
“A Summit for the Flyways” united 100 different organisations from 70 different countries to address one problem: how to protect migratory birds on their incredible journey. And with millions of migratory birds passing through the Middle East, it was the perfect opportunity to tackle regional issues, too.
BirdLife took advantage of the fact that conservation giants of the Middle East would be under one roof by holding a Middle East Partnership Meeting prior to the launch of the Summit. H.E. Majid Al Mansouri, Board Member, Rapporteur of IFHC Governing Board and Managing Director, opened the meeting with a speech on the value of collaborative work, praising Birdlife’s partners for their hard work across the region, despite the challenging political climate.
The meeting’s keynote speaker, Dr Mike Clarke, CEO of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), took the opportunity to highlight the crucial role that local organisations play in spreading awareness of bird conservation among younger generations. Mike went on to share valuable insights on preserving bird habitats in the region. The meeting concluded with participants recommending strategies to further the work being done, with the support of BirdLife Chair Council, Mr. Khaled Irani.
Fruitful discussions continued throughout the Summit, with participants from the Middle East holding sessions on issues important to the region. For instance, illegal hunting and killing is still a major threat to birds. Assad Serhal, the Director General of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), urged the need to take action, and showcased success stories where collaborative work had made a big impact in the country.