NB_CE

Convention on the Conservation

of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats

Standing Committee

Recommendation No. 164 (2013) of the Standing Committee, adopted on 6 December 2013, on the implementation of the Tunis Action Plan 2013-2020 for the eradication of illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds

The Standing Committee to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, acting under the terms of Article 14 of the Convention;

Having regard to the aims of the Convention to conserve wild fauna and its natural habitats;

Recalling that Article 1, paragraph 2 of the Convention requires Parties to give particular emphasis to the conservation of endangered and vulnerable species, including endangered and vulnerable migratory species;

Recalling that Article 6 requires Parties to take the necessary and administrative measures to ensure the special protection of the wild fauna species specified in Appendix II, prohibiting in particular all forms of deliberate capture and keeping, and deliberate killing, as well as the possession and internal trade in these animals, alive or dead;

Recalling its Recommendation No. 5 (1986) on the prosecution of persons illegally catching, killing or trading in protected birds, which encouraged Parties to ensure the prosecution of persons illegally catching or killing birds or establishments commercialising live and/or protected birds;

Recalling its Recommendation No. 90 (2001) on the catching, killing or trading of protected birds in Cyprus, which encouraged Cyprus to properly implement the actions suggested in Recommendation No. 5 (1986);

Further recalling its Recommendation No. 155 (2011) on the illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds, which identified the main challenges related to the legal, biological and institutional aspects, and suggested a series of urgent measures for enhancing national and international cooperation, fostering adequate enforcement of existing legislation, and promoting dialogue between all relevant interest groups, noting traditions, cultures and values;

Reaffirming the Larnaca Declaration, adopted at the 1st European Conference on illegal killing, trapping and trade of birds (Larnaca, Cyprus, 6-8 July 2011), which called on responsible stakeholders, governments, local communities, law enforcement agencies, and nature conservation NGOs, including hunting associations, to unequivocally condemn all forms of illegal taking and trading in wild birds, to pledge a zero tolerance approach to illegal killing, trapping and trade of birds, and to adopt a full and proactive role in fighting against these illegal activities;

Bearing in mind the European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity (document T-PVS (2007) 7 revised), adopted by the Standing Committee on 29 November 2007, and particularly its Principles No. 2 – Ensure that regulations are understandable and respected; No. 3 – Ensure that harvest is ecologically sustainable; No. 8 – Empower local stakeholders and hold them accountable; and No. 11 - Encourage cooperation between all stakeholders in management of harvested species, associated species and their habitats;


Regretting that illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds still represent important factors against the achievement and maintenance of favourable status of bird populations, negatively affecting those conservation actions undertaken by the States and resulting in adverse impacts on the conservation, legal hunting, agriculture and tourism sectors;

Welcoming the synergies created more particularly between the Bern Convention, the EU, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors’ MoU) and encouraging the continuation of the on-going cooperation on the conservation of birds;

Having regard to the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity 2011-2020, and its Aichi targets, and welcoming the international partnership launched to support Parties to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 12[1];

Recalling the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (COM (2011) 244) and, in particular, its target 1 “Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives”;

Recalling that Contracting Parties to the AEWA shall ensure that any use of migratory waterbirds is sustainable for the species as well as for the ecological systems that support them, to develop and implement measures to reduce and, as far as possible, eliminate illegal taking, prohibit the use of all indiscriminate means of taking and the use of all means capable of causing mass destruction, as well as local disappearances of, or serious disturbance to, populations of a species , and to prohibit the possession or utilisation of, and trade in, birds and eggs and any readily recognisable parts or derivatives of birds and their eggs, which have been taken in contravention [of any laid down prohibition];

Taking note of the statement addressed by the UNEP/CMS Technical workshop on minimizing poisoning of migratory birds to the Standing Committee, which raises concern regarding the still widespread use of poisons to kill protected species, and calls for a strengthened cooperation to enhance national and international actions to eliminate this damaging practice;

Welcoming the organisation of the 2nd Conference on Illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds, which allowed to monitor progress of Parties in the implementation of the Standing Committee’s recommendations in this field, and to highlight many areas of success as well as remaining gaps;

Further welcoming the Tunis Action Plan 2013-2020, delivered by the participants to the 2nd Conference on Illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds, as amended and validated by the Group of Experts on the conservation of birds, under the Bern Convention;

Acknowledging the widespread adoption of the zero tolerance approach, as well as progress at Parties’ levels towards the monitoring of illegal activities and the adoption of a coordinated approach covering each stage of the chain of activities related to illegal killing, trapping or trade;

Still concerned by the gaps identified in the implementation of some of the targeted actions recommended in the legal biological, institutional and awareness fields;

Aware of the urgency of stepping up efforts towards the eradication of these illegal practices;

Recommends Contracting Parties to the Convention and invites Observer States to:

1.        Implement without delay the Tunis Action Plan 2013-2020 appended to this Recommendation;

2.        Inform the Standing Committee on the progress made in the implementation of this Recommendation.


Appendix 1

FINAL TUNIS ACTION PLAN 2013-2020

FOR THE ERADICATION OF

ILLEGAL KILLING, TRAPPING AND TRADE OF WILD BIRDS

Enforcement and Legal Aspects

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 1: National wildlife crime priorities are established

Identification of national priorities

Draft recommendation submitted to the Standing Committee on criteria* on how to set priorities

*The criteria will not be mandatory but to be used as guidelines, allowing the Parties sufficient flexibility to adapt their priorities to the specific national circumstances of each state

2014 → 34th Standing Committee meeting

- Possible criteria to be submitted by April 2014;

- Select Group on IKTTB to meet in June/July 2014 for preparation, examination and validation of a draft recommendation;

- Draft recommendation discussed for possible adoption at the 34th Standing Committee meeting (December 2014)

- Parties to report on possible criteria at the request of the Secretariat

- Group of Experts on Birds to prepare and agree on a draft recommendation on criteria for identification of priorities

The identification of national priorities could be linked to Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive concerning the general reporting obligations of the Member States and Commission

At national level the key bodies will be government and police as represented by appropriate agency.

The mechanisms will vary from country to country.

Civil society involvement through consultation processes and especially with science on ecosystem and conservation impact essential.

Recognising that wildlife is to be conserved for both its own intrinsic value and  its socio-economic benefits.

Recognising that the species comprising the ecosystem are the ‘beneficiary’ of wildlife conservation legislation, and thus that changes in human behaviour towards wildlife may have to occur. (cf. comments on ‘tradition’ below).

Coordination with the Ornis Committee (EU level) with aim to:

-       Consult with EU Member States

-       Obtain feedback

-       Report on EU problems and priorities

→ Consultation starts early October 2013

EU (European Commission) DG Env

Member States being requested to cooperate by providing information on the establishment of priorities


National lists of priorities identified submitted to the Standing Committee

2015 35th Standing Committee meeting

Parties to identify the responsible authority for policing and conservation and to submit a national list to the Secretariat (by July 2015)

INTERPOL may be able to assist Parties to identify the responsible authority for policing

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Report on progress submitted to the Standing Committee

2016 → 36th Standing Committee meeting

National focal points

Identification of the areas of offending in all concerned Parties

Creation of national mechanisms for recording reports of wildlife cases to provide statistical evidence of the areas of offending, e.g. through adding categories of wildlife crime to those crimes already recorded nationally

2015 - 2016

Establishment by the 35th Standing Committee meeting (December 2015)

Operational in 2016; 1st report on progress by the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

Ministries, police and investigative agencies

INTERPOL through the National Central bureaus in the Member States may be able to assist with the collation of statistical evidence on illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds and bring attention of the police and environmental enforcement agencies of this crime

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 2: Conservation Impact Statements (CIS) are generalised

Improve the evidence base by promoting CISs and defining their content to include: identify the species conservation status eg, IUCN listing, relevant conservation measures being taken, the ecological damage the type of offending does (This could also be linked to the blackspots report, which is proposed to overlay flyway data and illegal activity)

-       Appointment of National focal points to assist investigators and prosecutors in accessing/locating expert knowledge providers;

-       Identification of sources of knowledge and compilation of national contact lists

-       Setting-up of an internet web portal giving guidance on CIS preparation and access to specialist law firms, advocates, expert witnesses, and independent specialists

-       Promotion of the exchange of knowledge and experience amongst the parties and capacity building

2015

Implementation by the 34th Standing Committee meeting (December 2014)

→ operational by 2015

Bern Convention’s focal points, environment ministries, national conservation agencies, and police; bodies responsible for setting priorities

INTERPOL could assist for the implementation of these activities which include training and capacity building of wildlife enforcement crime officers; Possibly look to EEA and ETC as well as existing institutions at country level for commitment towards the objective’s achievement

Examples of topics to be addressed:

Investigators having access at an early stage to experts, NGOs and other e.g. university institutions.

Recognising experts’ overriding duty to the court.

Recognising role of expert to interpret significance of the crime and explain priorities and species’ relevance, as well as conservation work in the field that is compromised.

Recognising that lack of objective and independent science can undermine a prosecution.

Recognising the value of “Forensic Partnership Funding” to pay for costly forensic evidence.

Creation of a centrally operated DNA data base of wildlife crime, including Birds (with the assistance of INTERPOL)

Recognising the importance of rules of evidence and the correct handling (continuity) of evidence (complementary to INTERPOL forensic manual)

Recognising the importance of providing for the training and information for police, judiciary and experts etc.

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Investigators become familiar with the need to show the importance of the case in terms of its impact on conservation priorities and ecological damage

Ensure Investigators have available to them the legal rules governing the admissibility of expert evidence through early liaison with legal advisers/prosecutors

- Encourage, or place obligation on, prosecutors to regard completion of CISs as good practice and to make inquiries to identify suitable experts

2015

→ Implementation by the 34th Standing Committee meeting (December 2014)

→ Operational by 2015

Prosecutors

The body responsible for coordination should be the one in charge of prosecution. In some countries separate prosecutors for wildlife crimes do exists and could be taken as example. Since the prosecution of wildlife crime may vary greatly from one Party to another, the “one-size fits all” approach should be avoided

INTERPOL would like to be included in these activities which include training and capacity building of wildlife enforcement crime officers, prosecutors and police

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 3: Identification and standardisation of gravity factors

Gravity Factors that may influence prosecution and sentencing decisions are identified and standardised

Development and agreement on a list of Gravity Factors taking into account:

-       Conservation status of species

-       Impact risk for ecosystem

-       Legal obligation to protect under international legislation

-       Indiscriminate method used in committing offence Commercial motivation

-       Illegal gain/quantum

-       Prevalence of offence and need for deterrence

-       Professional duty on defendant to avoid committing offence

-       Scale of offending (number of specimens involved)

-       Intent and recklessness by defendant

-       History/recidivism

2015

→ Draft lists of gravity factors to be submitted by Parties by April 2014;

→ Select Group on IKTTB to meet in June/July 2014 for preparation, examination and validation of a draft recommendation;

→ Draft Recommendation discussed for possible adoption at the 34th Standing Committee meeting (December 2014)

→ Operational by 2015

Institutions responsible for environment/bird protection in collaboration with public prosecution service

(e.g., where appropriate:

-       Ministry of Justice

-       Supreme Court)

Cooperation from national science agency or authorities;

Key issues:

-       Recognising that ‘tradition’ creates difficulty. (cf. comment on ‘beneficiary’ above)

-       Recognising the principle of judicial independence.

-       Recognising that gravity factors will carry different weight at country level and will change with time. 

INTERPOL would like to be included in these activities which include training and capacity building of wildlife enforcement crime officers, prosecutors and police

Investigators and Judiciaries to be familiar with National wildlife crime priorities, the purpose of CISs and offence gravity factors, and Judiciaries be encouraged to use these to inform sentencing guidelines

Training of police and judiciary, both at national and international level

-       On-going at EU level

-       To be implemented for non EU Parties by 2015 (e.g. in cooperation with the Supranational Environmental Justice Foundation and/or INTERPOL)

-       The European Union through the European Commission for EU Member States;

-       The Parties to ensure cooperation in sending trainees regularly, and initiate similar activities at national level

INTERPOL would like to be included in these activities which include training and capacity building of wildlife enforcement crime officers, prosecutors and police

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 4: Sentencing Guidelines are elaborated[2]

Sentencing is more consistent and transparent through the establishment of  Sentencing Guidelines enabling that serious wildlife crimes receive substantial sanctions, using the full range of sentencing options, thereby implementing ‘zero tolerance’ of wildlife crime through adopting the approach of ‘proportionate intolerance’ which is EHCR compliant and based on National Priorities and gravity factors

Parties are invited to discuss sentencing with their judicial authorities e.g. :

-       Sentencing Council

-       Supreme Court 

Judiciaries are encouraged to use training provided nationally or by the EU (for EU Parties)

2015

→ Invitation to Parties at the 33rd Standing Committee meeting (December 2013)

Parties to report within 2 years (to the Group of Experts on Birds in June July 2015, and to the 35th Standing Committee meeting, December

2015)

Ongoing

Judiciary via Ministries of Justice;

Ministries of environment to ensure cooperation at national level with the Ministries of Justice

Recognising Judicial independence but duty to implement in full legislation passed by parliaments (including use of all sentencing options)

Recognising the importance of increasing awareness of wildlife species crime in the legal mind

Concentrating on the top level

[Priority+gravitysanction]

Mechanism for recording and reporting results of wildlife prosecutions is set up

Prosecutors or investigators undertake to provide short report of the facts and of offences proved and sentences imposed to a national focal point appointed for recording, the records of such to be made available to investigators and prosecutors

2015

→ Operational by the 35th Standing Committee meeting (2015)

Parties to identify a private body or NGO willing to undertake recording at national level, e.g. “TRAFFIC” at the EU level, INTERPOL

Prosecuting body, wherever such body exists under national judicial systems

 

INTERPOL Environmental crime programme has the experience needed to set up such an activity. The Wildlife teams are knowledgeable about the international and EU legislation and have the ability and skills required for this work.

The implementation of the Enforcement and Legal Aspects of the Action Plan is monitored and evaluated

Monitoring, evaluation, and follow-up to the actions set in the AP

2020

→ 2015 - 2020

Standing Committee to the Bern Convention

 

Biological and Institutional Aspects

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 1: Biological and Institutional Aspects are fully taken into account in all the levels of enforcement chain

Species and population specific flyways are analysed to be overlaid

Existing data on illegal activities affecting birds are analysed; black-spots based on standardised protocols for data collection and analytical methods are identified

Preparation and publication of Euro-African flyway atlas and description of blackspots

Preparation and publication of a dedicated report

2016 → 36th Standing Committee meeting

→ Standard protocols ready by the 34th Standing Committee meeting (December 2014)

→ Existing data collected by the 35th Standing Committee meeting (December 2015)

→ Analysis of Black-spots by the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

Bern Convention Secretariat, in cooperation with CMS Secretariat to look for available funds and tenders

Governmental agencies, scientific institutions and NGOs, coordinated by the Bern Convention’s focal points

The Secretariat of the Convention has not the technical expertise for such a work. This task should be therefore outsourced (and funded)

INTERPOL may be able to contribute to this activity

Knowledge on mortality within bird populations due to legal harvest (hunting) and illegal activities is established and allows for adaptive management  of game species

Preparation of bag statistic reports and, where practically possible, estimates of mortality due to illegal killing trapping and trade

2015

→ By the 35th Standing Committee meeting (December 2015)

Parties in cooperation with relevant Stakeholders

Coordination of activities aimed at eradicating illegal killing and unsustainable use of birds in the Pan-Mediterranean area as a particularly critical region is improved

Setting-up of a Pan-Mediterranean working group to eradicate illegal killing, trapping and unsustainable use of birds (Task Force)

2014

→ By the 34th  Standing Committee meeting (December 2014)

National focal points to the Bern Convention, Secretariat, AEWA, Raptors MoU, CMS, African – Eurasian Landbirds AP, FACE, BirdLife International, Wetlands International

Clarify who should take the initiative of convening the group

INTERPOL may be able to contribute to this activity

A Toolkit for prosecutors and judges is prepared with information on biological aspects of killing, trapping and illegal trade of birds and its international importance and its actual/potential impacts

Preparation of a dedicated toolkit or identification of an existing international toolkit to which a section on biological aspects would be added

2016

→ to be submitted to the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

Secretariat, Parties, NGOs

INTERPOL may be able to contribute to this activity

The implementation of the Biological and Institutional Aspects of the Action Plan is monitored and evaluated

Monitoring, evaluation, and follow-up to the actions set in the AP

2020

→ 2015 - 2020

Standing Committee to the Bern Convention, every two years since 2015


Awareness Aspects

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 1: Positive and effective alliances with stakeholders are developed by establishing a mechanism to create an opportunity for national dialogue on IKTTB issues

The challenges related to IKTTB issues are fully understood by all stakeholders

- Scientific evidence base is provided and knowledge gaps highlighted;

- Stakeholder analysis provided;

- Understanding of views, belief, values, attitudes, goals and positions carried out;

- Analysis of key drivers and benefits; identification of ecological, economic and social impacts

From now on

Focal point to liaise with appropriate government or Academic institution

(Lead Agency)

INTERPOL may be able to contribute to this activity

An operational platform dedicated to awareness and education is developed

- Review of previous examples, sharing of best practices;

- Consultation of experts in conflict resolution and other relevant groups as appropriate

2016

→ operational by the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

Focal point to liaise with appropriate government or Academic institution

(Lead Agency)


Outreach and stakeholders engagement is achieved

- Direct communications with stakeholders

- Public communications

- make process and findings widely available and transparent

2016

→ operational by the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

Focal point to liaise with appropriate government or Academic institution

(Lead Agency)

Modus Operandi, including establishing trust

- Independent facilitator;

- Shared goals are identified;

- Stakeholders’ views, interests and positions are recognised;

- Stakeholders are invited to share their viewpoints;

- Rules of Engagement are established

2016

→ operational by the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

All stakeholders

INTERPOL may be able to contribute to this activity

Walk the talk!

- Stakeholders seek decisions by consensus (no votes);

- Stakeholders issue shared communications and publicity

From now on

All stakeholders

Coordination committees at national level, gathering together NGOs and enforcement authorities could be established as platforms for the implementation of this objective

Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 2: Enforcement results are publicised

Publicity is given to the level of sentences and other sanctions imposed (fines, penalties), including potential sanctions for associated illegal activities

Statistics and reports are compiled and produced;

good practices, stories and examples (including on the positive impact of legislation’s enforcement) are collected and disseminated at national and international level

From now on

Focal points to liaise with

justice departments, NGOs, National authorities

This action should also tally with the ultimate objective of the Action Plan, i.e. to prevent bird crime: a proactive approach seeking the concerted effort of all stakeholders for the prevention (proactive) as opposed to the prosecution of crime (reactive). 

Media alliances are set up on different levels (national, local and specialist media

Create a network of press, radio, social media and TV with an interest in disseminated IKTTB information

From now on

All stakeholders

Social cross compliance is encouraged

An open access database with effective case studies is created

From now on

All stakeholders, including bird keepers, angler organisations, hunting organisations, etc.

Information on detecting and preventing illegal techniques is widespread

Development of a pan-European database, on the EU-TWIX example

From now on

Enforcement officers

The Secretariat of the Convention has not the technical expertise for such a work. This task should be therefore outsourced (and funded) or taken up by volunteers

INTERPOL may be able to take over this activity and work on collating all information form national sources


Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment

Expected Result 3: Tailored messages are developed and used by key actors

The main target groups are identified

Consultation round organised electronically

From now on

Relevant Stakeholdes, NGOs and officials, under the coordination of the Secretariat

Reasoning and motivation are established

Interviews by professionals using appropriate methods as advised by social scientists and psychologists    (selected according to gender balance criteria) are carried out

2015

→ finalised by the 35th Standing Committee meeting (December 2015)

Focal point to liaise with universities and education institutions

Appropriate and adapted messages are developed

2016

→ finalised by the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

NGOs will work with professional copywriters, in cooperation with wildlife experts

Tailored messages are disseminated to the wider public

Advertising companies disseminate the messages

2016

→ operational by the 36th Standing Committee meeting (December 2016)

NGOs

Progress in the implementation of the expected result 3 awareness aspects of the AP is assessed and adjusted

Opinion Polls

Long term

NGOs and focal points


Objective

Action(s)

Timeline(s)

Responsible body(ies)

Comment


Expected Result 4: Positive biodiversity education is put in place to show people how nature and ecosystems work and how vital nature is for human life, to make them realise that Conservation is a serious issue

Birds and Ecosystem knowledge, and importance of both to people and responsibility of people as ‘guardians of nature’, are integrated into school Curricula

The authorities responsible for education at national level receives information, training and knowledge on the issue

Medium term

NGOs, Focal points to the Bern Convention (for the coordination with the Ministries of education), Ministries of education, companies that produce educational materials, Council of Europe Education department

This could be implemented for instance through Life+ projects (where appropriate) or as a contribution to the implementation of the European Strategy for the promotion of Education for sustainable development, prepared by the UNECE and UNESCO in the frame of the UN Decade for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)

Positive effects of stopping IKTTB on ecosystem are put forward (e.g. ecotourism, pest control, habitat for game species

Publications and events for stakeholders and for the general public

From now on

NGOs in alliance with other stakeholders, government bodies, press and the media

Human beings are reconnected with nature

- Field trips and other educational activities are organised

- New techniques are used to show the uniqueness of migratory birds

From now on

NGOs, governments, local tourism organisations

The implementation of the Awareness aspects of the Action Plan is monitored and evaluated

Monitoring, evaluation, and follow-up to the actions set in the AP

2020

→ 2015 - 2020

Standing Committee to the Bern Convention, every two years since 2015



[1] Aichi Target 12: By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.

[2] Comments submitted by the delegation of Malta: The indicated objective is that of having a sentencing system that is more consistent and transparent through the establishment of sentencing guidelines. Whilst acknowledging that, it will be up to the Judiciary to bring about a just sentencing system whereby the sentence would be commensurate to the gravity of the crime, establishing sentencing guidelines so as to direct the Courts towards achieving this objective is not the function of the Judiciary but that of environmental agencies knowledgeable on the ecological impacts of bird crime working in close collaboration with the public prosecution service. The action indicated under this objective deals with discussing sentencing with the Parties' judicial authorities while the Responsible Body(ies) under the same objective are indicated as Judiciary via Ministries of Justice and Ministries of environment  to ensure cooperation at national level with the Ministries of Justice. The action should therefore be amended to read: "Parties are invited to discuss and develop sentencing guidelines correlated to the gravity factors". The Responsible body(ies) should be indicated as "Institution responsible for environment/bird protection in collaboration with public prosecution service".