The Migratory Soaring Birds project executed by BirdLife International supported by United Nations Development Programme UNDP and funded by the Global Environment Fund GEF, in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Environment organized the first event to celebrate the World Migratory Bird Day under the theme (Stop the illegal killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds) on April 9, 2016.
MSB project and Ministry of environment brought together New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE), UNDP, Environmental Police, Nature Conservation Department at the Ministry of Environment and representatives from local community to address threats to migratory birds, raise awareness, and introduce alternatives and methods of sustainable hunting.
Dr. Osama Elgebaly; MSB Project Manager in Egypt, mentioned that the celebration will be held this year at Lake Qarun area in Fayoum governorate, to raise the environmental awareness among the local communities and highlight the importance of maintaining and sustaining natural resources, including migratory birds, where their exposure to illegal-killing, taking and trade is threatening the ecosystems. Migratory birds are considered one of the most important indicators to monitor the health of ecosystems while bird watching has become an exciting tourist attraction in Egypt as the country is perfectly positioned on a migration corridor and occupies a unique geographical location as a bridge between the continents.
Elgebaly said that the Migratory Soaring Birds project aims to mainstream conservation management objectives & considerations into 5 targeted public and private sectors: Agriculture, Energy, Hunting, Tourism and Waste Management in 11 countries along the Rift Valley / Red Sea flyway. This is being achieved through partnerships with private businesses, NGOs, governments, international organizations while raising awareness.
The MSB project is working with these sectors in order to incorporate protection of the flyway at the heart of the development decisions and land use changes. In the case of hunting, the project is working with governments and sustainable hunting organizations to protect migratory soaring birds from illegal killing. Moreover, the project aims to strengthen Egypt's commitment to the international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on the conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals in collaboration with BirdLife International and the United Nations Development Programme.
It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Environment through the Nature Conservation Sector and the MSB project and in cooperation with relevant stakeholders applied a number of measures to protect MSBs. These included publishing the environmental impact assessment guidelines and signing a protocol on the “Executive Framework for Strategic Cumulative, Environmental & Social Assessment Program of Ornithological monitoring and Active Turbine Management for Wind Energy Developments in Gulf of Suez”. This would allow control over wind turbines in the Gulf of Suez along with setting special criteria for temporary shut down on demand during migration seasons along with establishing a birdwatching tower in Sharm El Shiekh.
Elgebaly added that a special project on sustainable hunting management at the Northern Coast is being currently executed to support bird conservation activities that includes hunting law enforcement, bird monitoring and carrying socio-economic studies to support local communities.