Experts join forces for profitable and bird friendly agriculture development

Posted on Thu, 17/04/2014

Agriculture is one of the most productive sectors in the Rift Valley / Red Sea flyway region, serving as the economic backbone of many countries who are still struggling to catapult themselves from poverty and achieve food security for their rising populations.

However, agriculture also poses serious threats to migratory soaring birds, notably agrochemical poisoning due to improper usage of pesticides, poison and veterinary drugs. Reaching an adequate balance between a profitable and a safe agriculture is key to answering the economic needs of countries while safeguarding their rich biodiversity.

Several experts from Africa and the Middle East recently attended a workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss this crucial issue. The “Agro-chemical Poisoning and Conservation of Migratory Soaring Birds along the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway” workshop was organised by the BirdLife UNDP-GEF Migratory Soaring Birds (MSB) project, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS – BirdLife Partner).

Experts - Agrochemical Workshop

Representatives of Ministries of Agriculture, private agriculture companies, international organisations and BirdLife Partners from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Yemen as well as international experts debated for three days the best approaches on agriculture in the context of environmental sustainability and the international duties agreed to be performed by every nation with regard to biodiversity protection.   

One of the major outputs of the workshop was an enhanced regional guidance to minimise biodiversity loss from agriculture chemicals with a special focus on migratory soaring birds. The guidance includes both non-legislative and legislative recommendations involving communities, industry, non-governmental organisations, and governments to limit impacts of agricultural chemicals on migratory soaring birds. The guidance will soon be available on the MSB project website. The workshop also provided opportunities to share information and experiences on minimising the use of agrochemicals to achieve sustainable food production.

The Migratory Soaring Birds project aims to integrate the conservation of migratory soaring birds in the strategies and activities of the threatening sectors namely the agriculture, energy, hunting, tourism and waste management sectors. The project is implemented by BirdLife with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

For more information please contact the BirdLife’s Regional Flyway Facility at



Participating organizations were:

·         Ministries of Agriculture in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Palestine, Sudan and Yemen

·         The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

·         CropLife International

·         Pesticide Action Nexus Association (PAN-Ethiopia)

·         The Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA)

·         The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), BIOPAMA

·         The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

·         BirdLife International

·         DAL Group

·         Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS), BirdLife Ethiopia

·         The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), BirdLife Lebanon

·         The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), BirdLife Jordan

·         Palestine Wildlife Society (PWLS), BirdLife Palestine

·         The Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (SSCW), BirdLife Syria

·         Association Nature Djibouti (AND), BirdLife Djibouti

·         The Sudanese Wildlife Society (SWS)

·         Foundation for Endangered Wildlife in Yemen (FEW)

·         The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, BirdLife UK

·         Institute of Sustainable Development

·         Wildlife Poisoning Prevention & Conflict Resolution