PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND ANIMAL RIGHTS: Malta hosts and chairs important international meeting on conservation of wild birds

Reference Number: PR171503, Press Release Issue Date: Jun 22, 2017

The Maltese government is hosting a joint meeting of the influential UNEP CMS Convention Mediterranean Task Force and the Bern Convention Network on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd June.
The meeting is being attended by over 80 delegates representing 28 countries, including 17 EU member states, representatives of the European Commission, Convention Secretariats, as well as by the representatives of over 30 observer organisations including NGOs, international environmental institutions, and scientific organisations. 

The meeting was started by Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri, who welcomed the participants and recounted the major reforms undertaken by Malta over the past four years to strengthen the protection afforded to wild birds, and to combat wildlife crime. These measures have included, amongst others, a wholesale legal reform, modernisation of regulatory processes, and investment in enforcement, education, and conservation. 

However, also noting that challenges still lie ahead, both in Malta and internationally, to combat the phenomenon of wildlife crime, the Parliamentary Secretary said that “we must win not only through legal deterrents and strong enforcement, but also through changes in mindset and culture that made this phenomenon possible in the first place.” 

With regards to Malta’s initiative, the participants are expected to reach an agreement on an international scoreboard that will be used over the coming years to assess countries’ progress on the eradication of illegal killing, taking, and trade in wild birds. This tool will subsequently be recommended for formal adoption to the CMS Convention Conference of the Parties that will take place in October this year, and to Standing Committee of the Bern Convention in December.
Local NGOs Birdlife (Malta), FKNK, and St Hubert Hunters are also participating in the meeting.