BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 45

largely unabated despite existing legislation: 28 of the countries recently assessed are parties to the legally binding Bern Convention (on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats), while 19 countries are also Member States of the European Union, obliged to implement the Birds and Habitats Directives – perhaps the most comprehensive pieces of nature protection legislation in the world. We must heed this warning call. As BirdLife International CEO Patricia Zurita recently expressed: “You, me, all of us, have to stop this massacre and realise there are rules and regulations in place for a reason. BirdLife’s data is showing how poorly we are doing and how much room for improvement there is.” “Hope is the thing with feathers”, wrote American poet Emily Dickinson. And, thankfully, we have slowly begun to see those words rise off the dusty page. The publication of The Killing two years ago made a real impact. Our first review helped catalyse government efforts to address this problem. The EU has taken a number of legal actions against Member States for failure to enforce bird protection. Even more promising is that the governments of certain Mediterranean countries are starting to tackle this issue more seriously, working with each other in international forums and sharing experiences and ideas. In some cases, notably in Cyprus, relevant stakeholders Jan-Mar 2018 • birdlife Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax Photo J. G. Gutierrez/ Shutterstock 4 7 Common Quail Coturnix coturnix Photo Petr Saj are drawn together by action plans designed to deal with the problem at the national level. One of the most significant developments is the CMS’ formation of an Intergovernmental Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean (MIKT). Governments have worked together to set up a ‘scoreboard’ tool, develo ped under MIKT and the Bern Convention, to track and assess progress of all European and Mediterranean countries towards ending the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory wild birds. We hope the findings outlined in The Killing 2.0 will further galvanise this progress. So far, the signs are good – press coverage in leading European papers indicate that Europe is starting to wake up to its responsibilities. Success, however, depends on action, not words: greater political commitment, greater investment in enforcement, stronger penalties, better government monitoring, zero tolerance of illegal killing, and a stronger voice from civil society. A cultural sea change is required if we want these birds to be seen as a view to be marvelled at and not ‘a view to a kill’ down the barrel of a gun. “birdlife’s data show how much room for improvement there is” Download the full ‘The Killing 2.0’ report at http://www.birdlife.org/campaign/ stop-illegal-bird-killing 45