Malta to continue to steer international efforts against illegal killing of birds in the Mediterranean

June 23, 2017 2:43 pm

BirdLife Malta would like to congratulate the re-appointment of Sergei Golovkin as chairperson of the joint meeting of the United Nations Environment/Conservation of Migratory Species Convention Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean (MIKT) and the Bern Convention Network of Special Focal Points on Eradication of Illegal Killing, Trapping and Trade in Wild Birds which is presently being hosted by Malta and in which BirdLife Malta is participating as an observer as part of a delegation of eight from the BirdLife International Partnership. This delegation includes BirdLife Malta, BirdLife Cyprus, SEO, Nature Conservation Egypt, NABU, RSPB, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, and BirdLife International.

The meeting was opened by the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri who sent a clear message that the Government of Malta is committed to reducing further the illegal killing on our islands. Sergei Golovkin, who is the head of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) – the unit in charge of setting policy and enforcement on hunting and trapping in Malta, was re-appointed as Chairman of the CMS Task Force and Bern Convention Network at the start of these meetings.

The Malta meeting on illegal killing of wild birds. (Photo by Nicola Crockford, RSPB)

The meeting, which was held over the past two days in Sliema, was attended by over 80 delegates representing 28 countries and more than 30 participants from relevant organisations, and had the aim of discussing the implementation of the two Conventions in all European and Mediterranean states, including Malta, in relation to curtailing the illegal killing of birds in terms of implementing the CMS MIKT Programme of Work and Bern Convention Tunis Action Plan as well as the EU Roadmap. This includes the development of national actions with stakeholder involvement to tackle the problem of illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds – a threat to migratory birds especially in various Mediterranean states.

Discussions during the meeting held in Malta during the past two days. (Photo by Nicola Crockford, RSPB)

Reporting to the meeting about the implementation of the Tunis Action Plan and MIKT Programme of Work, WBRU officials mentioned that Malta would soon be presenting a National Enforcement Strategy in consultation with stakeholders, which would look into how legislation, enforcement and judicial processes can be stepped up to tackle further illegal killing. With this being said during the meeting, BirdLife Malta Conservation Manager Nicholas Barbara reacted: “We welcome and look forward to participating in this process, which should enable Malta to dedicate more resources to tackle illegalities, as well as improve legislation aimed at more conservation measures of wild birds. This is an encouraging strategy which should steer away from any ideas to reduce penalties and fines on the killing of protected species.” This was mentioned in reference to statements made in the run up to the 3rd of June general election referring to a possible reduction in penalties for the killing of protected wild birds.

An exciting development of the meeting were the discussions on the formulation of a scoreboard aimed at streamlining how various countries report their efforts and committments enabling assessment of progress towards ending illegal killing, taking and trade of wild birds throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Commenting on both meetings, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana, concluded: “By hosting this meeting, and actually chairing the task force set up in the Mediterranean and Network for Europe to tackle the problem of illegal killing, Malta is sending a positive message which should see us progressing from the past on this subject. We welcome Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri’s statement and the Head of WBRU’s commitment to this objective, and look forward to seeing this put into practice in the coming months.”

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.