The BirdLife International UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds Project

The Red Sea/Rift valley hosts the migration of over 2 million birds through the region, with Soaring Birds in huge flocks numbering tens of thousands migrating from wintering grounds in Africa to breeding grounds in Europe and Central Asia and vice versa along the second biggest Flyway in the world.

Yet this area is also subject to huge development pressures, as increased demands for energy, food supply, and tourism lead to significant changes in land use and generate the need for increased waste management. Indiscriminate hunting and illegal killing of birds is widespread. Thus, these five sectors of Agriculture, Energy, Hunting, Tourism and Waste Management can create an increasingly inhospitable environment for Migrating Soaring Birds and have the potential to affect populations of soaring birds across three continents

Red kite

Red Kite © Tony Hisgett. Flickr


The Migratory Soaring Birds (MSB) project aims to integrate conservation of visiting birds into these key sectors of our societies.

This is being achieved through partnerships and strategic alliances with private businesses, NGOs, governments, international organizations. We are working with these sectors in order to incorporate protection of the flyway at the heart of the development decisions and land use changes within the region, and in the case of hunting, working with governments and sustainable hunting organizations to protect MSBs from illegal killing. 

We also call on the concept of hospitality towards visiting guests, a concept deeply rooted in the culture of our region. Finally, we ask for an understanding of the importance of birds in preserving our environment. Vultures are fundamental to a healthy African and Middle Eastern environment, as crucial scavengers.  Birds also eat and control agricultural pests, their migration spectacle attracts eco-tourists from around the globe and their presence acts as indicators of how well we succeed in achieving sustainable development in our region.

The Migratory Soaring Birds project is working in 11 countries within the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway: Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.


The MSB project aims to integrate conservation of visiting birds into relevant sectors of our societies


The MSB project is supported by the following organizations:



The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector — to address global environmental issues. GEF is the donor agency for the MSB project.

The United Nations Development Program UNDP is the United Nations’ global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP is the executing agency for the MSB project.

BirdLife International is a global Partnership of conservation organizations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife is the implementing agency for the MSB project.



Click here to download the project's presentation in pdf. 

"We build partnerships and alliances with major stakeholders of targeted sectors to integrate soaring birds' conservation in their activities"

MSB News

Major achievements

Lebanon New Hunting Law

MSB Lebanon and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), BirdLife in Lebanon, have been delegated by the government the responsibility of setting the scene for the implementation of the new hunting law in Lebanon. For that purpose, MSB Lebanon and SPNL have developed the hunter manual guide as well as the hunting permit exam and have conducted several training workshops across the country to build the capacity of law enforcers and hunting clubs on bird identification and on the new hunting law.

Memorandum of Understanding with Jaz Hotels

MSB Egypt and Jaz Hotels have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This MoU ensures a working collaboration between both parties. MSB Egypt, with the support of BirdLife International through the Regional Flyway Facility (RFF), will be responsible for providing the necessary technical support and building the capacity of Jaz Hotels, allowing them to successfully integrate bird conservation in the planning  and management of their hotels.

World Migratory Bird Day 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015

The Migratory Soaring Birds project gathered hundreds of people in various countries of the Rift Valley / Red Sea flyway to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. Celebratory events, organized in each country by the national MSB project partner, emphasized the importance of efficient collaboration between specific target sectors and the conservation of migratory soaring birds. Major national stakeholders from the targeted sectors actively participated in these events, showing an interest and a desire to better understand how to integrate the conservation of birds in their day to day activities and business.

Memorandum of Understanding with New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA)

MSB Egypt and NREA have signed a MoU. This MoU ensures a working collaboration between both parties. MSB Egypt, with the support of BirdLife International through the Regional Flyway Facility (RFF), will be responsible for providing the necessary technical support and building the capacity of NREA, allowing them to successfully integrate bird conservation in future energy developments.

Egypt & Lebanon Signing of Raptor MoU

Capitalizing on its positive working relationships with the Egyptian and Lebanese Ministries of Environment and with the CMS secretariat, the MSB project was able to catalyze and facilitate Egypt & Lebanon's signing of the Raptor MoU. The overall aim of the Raptor 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 when and where appropriate”.

Disconnection of Port Sudan Killer Line

The infamous Port Sudan power line, which is estimated to have electrocuted hundreds and perhaps thousands of Endangered Egyptian Vultures since its construction in the 1950s, was switched off. This decisive action follows years of work by BirdLife Partner BSPB (BirdLife in Bulgaria), and BirdLife’s UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds project and its local NGO Partner, the Sudanese Wildlife Society.