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Directorate B - Protecting the Natural Environment

ENV.B.2- Nature and Biodiversity

Co-ordination Group

for Biodiversity and Nature
3rd meeting - 21/10/08

Agenda item 3.C
Issues relating to the implementation of the Birds Directive

(Doc. 3.C-1)

The elaboration of management plans for huntable species, the updating of the ‘key-concepts’ document, the promotion of the Sustainable Hunting Guide, the harmonisation with the process for elaborating action plans for Annex I species and the overall technical support to the Birds Directive are all key issues for the implementation of the Directive.
The Commission has launched a debate with the Member States and stakeholders with a view to revisiting related procedures, increasing ownership of the outcomes and ensuring effective implementation on the ground. An ad-hoc meeting of interested Member States, FACE and Birdlife was held on 25-26 September 2008 in that regard aiming at identifying options for improving cooperation in the short and long terms with the Member States and stakeholders. Findings of the meeting are reflected below.
NB: the invitation list to the meeting was based on the indication of interest at the first co-ordination group meeting.
State of play / future work
Management plans

  • Current process for preparing management plans (and key-concept documents) and for consulting stakeholders and Member States can be improved. Approval procedure by the Ornis committee is very long and the absence of a formal voting process means that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the end of the consultation.. Deficiencies re. consultation, peer-review, priority setting, updating/monitoring.

The preparation of new plans in the future will still be needed in order to improve the conservation of species in unfavourable status, to promote sustainable hunting practices, involve stakeholders, share and disseminate expertise. A single term can be envisaged encompassing both plans for Annex II species in unfavourable conservation status and Annex I globally threatened species (eg. Recovery plans. Desirability of using model format developed by AEWA. Possibly group together species on the basis of their habitats or common threats. Member States or stakeholders could suggest priorities. Work can be done at regional basis too, according to the issues. The method for preparation of plans can involve the following steps:

- Step 1: Selection of the best scientists for each species (balanced group);

- Step 2: Meetings of scientists to establish the baseline (biology, data, trends…) under the supervision of an independent body which will manage the process. Potentially this role could be entrusted to the ETC;

- Step 3: Every two years, broad-based technical workshop gathering scientists and stakeholders (incl. national stakeholders) to agree on management measures. A workshop could deal with different species at the same time. Ideally unanimous adoption of the plan.

A public event/conference could be organised in 1st half of 2009 and could endorse the new working method.

Re. the completion of currently pending plans, in the short term, the Commission is finalising 7 management plans (common gull Larus canus, common snipe Gallinago gallinago, golden plover Pluvialis apricaria, scaup Aythya marila, lapwing Vanellus vanellus, quail Coturnix coturnix, redshank Tringa totanus) on the basis of comments received.. A draft plan for woodcock Scolopax rusticola is controversial (contradicting data) and its finalisation will require special attention (possibly use a specialist group within Wetlands International).

Key concepts - Art. 7(4) of Birds Dir

  • A compilation of the most recent and available data (provided by the Member States) on periods of reproduction and prenuptial migration of Annex II species in the 27 Member States has been carried out by a contractor. The document amends and updates the ‘key-concepts’ document produced in 2001.

While recognizing that the document will need to be overhauled, there is a need in the short-term to provide guidance re reproductive periods and migrations especially for the EU 10 + 2 countries. The Commission will invite targeted comments from MS in order to finalize the current draft of the document as soon as possible.

In the medium term, a procedure will be put in place for the periodic updating of the key concepts paper

Sustainable hunting guide

  • Initiatives to give to the guide a more formal legal status (either include it in Annex V of the directive or issue a Recommendation) have not proved successful. . However the guide should be given a higher profile to promote its use across Member States.

The guide has already been translated in all official languages and is available on DG ENV’s Web-page. It can also be published in paper form in several languages and distributed widely. The guide can be officially launched at a public event.

Action plans

Implementation of action plans seems to be giving better results. However, as for management plans, it is necessary to improve existing procedures and leadership for elaboration of plans (definition of priority species, consultation and drafting process, endorsement) to improve ownership and support of key players (Member States, stakeholders, Commission, EEA). Monitoring of implementation is crucial. Need to coordinate with relevant work under international conventions and agreements (AEWA, CMS, Bern convention), as well as at national level (e.g. by creating a hub for that purpose); link with other European policies. A systematic process for identifying priorities on an objective basis has to be established.

At present, work for preparing new or revised plans goes on. Commission’s contractor has now prepared drafts for 3 new plans (Roller Coracias garrulus, Dupont’s lark Chersophilus duponti, Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus) and 3 revised plans (Marbled duck Marmaronetta angustirostris, aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicola, Spanish imperial eagle Aquila adalberti); these plans are sent to the Member States for comments.

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