2021: Highlights of the year BirdLife Europe and Central Asia



In addition, the magnitude of the threat to nature was illustrated by two reports this fall confirming that one in five European bird species was threatened with extinction when today there are 600 million people. fewer birds in the European Union and the United Kingdom than 40 years ago. There are.

Unfortunately, the political response is still insufficient. the Glasgow Climate Pact was probably the best politically feasible deal, but based on national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, projected warming by 2100 could still reach 2.4°C (above pre-industrial levels) which, of course, exceeds the target of 1.5 ° C beyond which catastrophic consequences are expected.

Negotiations to obtain a new global biodiversity framework have once again been delayed and political progress in translating these commitments into national policies and laws (e.g. see here and here) seem once again derailed by a failure to adequately address the main driver of the decline – agricultural policy (e.g. see here and here).

In this context, it is easy to despair. Yet despite everything, BirdLife’s partners in Europe and Central Asia have achieved incredible things this year (both together and as individual organizations). So, to bring joy, I am delighted to share some highlights from BirdLife Europe and Central Asia – the first of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration.

I suggest you have a hot drink and a cookie, put on some catchy music, and read the highlights below to remind yourself that together we are powerful and can make the natural world better for people and society. planet.


# 1Planet1Right: The UN Human Rights Council voted unanimously in favor of the introduction of a new human right: the right to a healthy environment. This fantastic success is the result of over a year of advocacy work by BirdLife’s # 1Planet1Right campaign.

#RestoreNature: The Partnership mobilized over 100,000 people in just 4 weeks to participate in a public consultation, explaining to the European Commission how our grasslands, wetlands, peatlands, forests, rivers and seas should be restored. We will continue to campaign to secure verbal commitments for legally binding targets for nature restoration in the European Union becomes a reality and realize the many benefits that we have documented through our The Rewards of Nature Restoration series.

New massive marine protected area: Thanks to an astonishing collaboration led by BirdLife International, a major hotspot for seabirds in the high seas of the North Atlantic, used by up to 5 million birds, has been discovered. This area is now a marine protected area called NACES – the North Atlantic Current and Evlanov Seamount and is roughly the same size as all of France. This is the first time that a high seas marine protected area has been designated on the monitoring database.


Belarus: BirdLife Belarus (APB) has funded work to increase the area of ​​Almany Mires Nature Reserve, IBA, by 10,000 hectares. The reserve is now 103,934.85 hectares. It is one of the largest peatland complexes in Europe and is home to 25 pairs of spotted eagles.

Belgium: Natuurpunt reported successful breeding of the Common Crane in the nature reserve ‘Vallei van de Zwarte Beek’. They are the first in Flanders for over 400 years thanks to a large-scale restoration of the peatlands in the nature reserve by Natuurpunt. The two youngsters were named ‘Gru’ and ‘Dru’ after the characters in the film ‘Despicable Me’.

Bulgaria: The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) reported that a new nesting colony of the endangered Dalmatian Pelican has been established in Bulgaria in the Kalimok complex. A wooden platform was built and three life-size pelican models were installed to attract the interest of real birds and encourage them to adopt the platform as their home. On April 23, 2021, a total of 14 birds were found there, including three occupying the nests.

Croatia: BIOM reported that thanks to rat control and eradication work on several islands, seabird breeding success has increased by 73-79% of Ylkouan’s Shearwater and 63-65% of Shearwater. Scopoli in the Special Protection Area (SPA) of the Lastovo Islands in 2021.

Czech Republic: Czech Ornithological Society (CSO) reported that thanks to the canine unit of the CSO, a poisonous bird was found guilty and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. The dog unit found 2 white-tailed eagles and 2 crows in the countryside as well as containers with carbofuran and endrin during a search.

Finland: BirdLife Finland has published its very first report on state of birds in finland. The report is available online in Finnish and English.

Germany: NABU played a key role in BirdLife’s campaign to reform the Common Agricultural Policy which, despite disappointment over the final CAP regulation, reached a milestone for nature-friendly agriculture when on October 19, 2021 , the European Parliament adopted the CultivateFork strategy with goals promoted by NABU such as 10% space for nature, 50% reduction in the use of pesticides and 25% organic farming.

Greece: For more than 2 years, the Hellenic Society of Ornithology (HOS) fought to prevent the overturning of protected islets in the southern Aegean Sea into platforms for the erection of hundreds of wind turbines, in the “heart” of one of the last biodiversity refuges in Europe. Despite the challenges and difficulties, HOS succeeded. These islands remain unharmed, and you may spot Eleonora’s Falcons nesting with Mediterranean Cormorants, Yelkouan Shearwaters, and other seabirds.

Iceland: Fuglavernd /BirdLife Iceland (ISPB) “Bird of the Year Competition” was a great success. Not only did this generate tons of media coverage, but it also helped increase their membership by 20%. The winning photo was of a magnificent golden plover.

Israel: The Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) organizes “Champions of the Flyway” and this year has been a great celebration of birds, conservation and human solidarity. SPNI’s “Year of the Dove” campaign aims to better protect the rapidly declining turtledove. In Israel, they have already made significant progress in stopping the hunting of doves. Champions of the Flyway brought together dozens of teams – men and women, adults and children, Jews, Muslims, Druze and Christians, all campaigning and racing for conservation.

Italy: Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli (LIPU) collected 180,000 signatures to amend a hunting law to allow harsher penalties for illegal killing of birds.

Latvia: Latvian Ornithological Society (LOB) published the book “Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Latvia 1980-2017”. This book is a compilation of four nationwide breeding bird atlases.

Lithuania: During the implementation of the LIFE projects, the Lithuanian Ornithological Society (LOD) helped designate a new SPA for the protection of the Little Tern and detected two important areas for the globally threatened Little Goose world, and thus qualified as SPAs.

Malta: LIFE PanPuffinus! Is BirdLife Malta’s fourth EU-funded seabird project and aims to protect two endemic and threatened Mediterranean seabirds, the Yelkouan Shearwater and the Balearic Shearwater, through a unique cross-border collaboration for joint efforts to large-scale conservation. In addition to the Maltese Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, several BirdLife partners are part of this 3.45 million euro project, including HOS (Greece), LPO (France), SPEA (Portugal) and SEO / BirdLife Spain.

Netherlands: with BirdLife Partners in West Africa, Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN) launched the project “Birds, Bees & BusinessesThis is an organic soap made by Werfzeep from shea nuts from the project area – a victory for the inhabitants of the participating countries, as well as for the migratory birds.

North Macedonia: after fifteen years of effort, The Ecological Society of Macedonia was delighted that the Osogovo mountains were declared a protected area – the largest in the east of the country.

Portugal: The Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) continues to fight against the proposal to build a new airport in the Tagus estuary, one of the most important wetlands in Europe for many species of migratory birds . Many BirdLife partners support the SPEA in this fight. They took the case to court and continue to fight back against government attempts to green the project.

Spain: the LIFE Olivares Vivos program, coordinated by SEO / BirdLife, demonstrated a wildlife friendly olive growing model that works for wildlife and for farmers. She now hopes to export this model to other regions and countries.

UK: the operational phase of Gough Island Restoration Program (run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – the RSPB) was completed in 2021 with 210 tonnes of bait dropped by helicopters on this isolated island in the Atlantic five days sailing southwest of Cape Town, in South Africa. The goal is to eliminate introduced house mice that predict seabirds and their chicks, resulting in two million fewer seabirds on the island each year and pushing endangered species like Tristan’s albatross to the shore. of extinction. The team must now wait two years to find out if any mice have survived, but should be happy they’ve done everything possible to maximize their chances of success.

Congratulations to all BirdLife partners and their supporters for what you have accomplished in 2021.

More successful in 2022.



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