Biodiversity and conservation in the Middle East – Richard Porter and Mudhafar Salim, Nature Iraq, are two of the four speakers.

01/01/2014. The speakers at the next event organised by the Zoological Society of London as part of their Wildlife Conservation series. Richard will be talking on Socotra and Mudhafar will be talking on the Iraq Marshes. The title of this event is Biodiversity and conservation in the Middle East and will be held on 14 January from 18.00 to 19.45. Entry is free and open to all. Further details can be obtained from Megan Orpwood-Russell at or at the following link:

Prominent hunters from Middle East and Africa sign declaration on responsible hunting

OSME is pleased to learn that progress is being made on developing an approach to sustainable hunting in the Middle East. A full report is available at . . .
Hunters from Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Yemen and Ethiopia have signed a Regional Declaration on Responsible Hunting [1], at a ceremony organised by the BirdLife International and UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds (MSB) project in coordination with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), BirdLife in Lebanon.

Satellite-tagged Sociable Lapwings begin their journey

The Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius is one of the most threatened species in the OSME region and we have supported a number of projects in many of our focal countries.

In June this year, three adults were fitted with 5g satellite tags by the RSPB and ACBK (BirdLife partners in the UK and Kazakhstan). After a very worrying few weeks, migration has finally got underway – about 2-3 weeks later than expected.

The birds should spend much of the next month travelling through the OSME region before reaching the wintering grounds of Sudan in the west, and India in the east.

Iraq Declares its First National Park

On 23rd July 2013, the Iraqi Council of Ministers approved the designation of the Central Marshes of Iraq as the country’s first National Park. The efforts to declare this unique landscape a park and protected area began in 2006 through a joint effort by Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Municipalities with support from Nature Iraq, an Iraqi environmental conservation organization, and other national and international institutions. Financial support for the effort came from the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea.
The Mesopotamian Marshlands of southern Iraq were once the 3rd largest wetlands in the world, originally extending between twelve and fifteen thousand square kilometers and partially covering the three southern governorates of Iraq (Missan, Thi Qar & Basrah).

Richard Porter becomes a Birdlife Member of Honour

At the recent Birdlife International World Congress held recently in Ottawa, Canada, Richard Porter was made a BirdLife Member of Honour for his work in Yemen and Iraq. The award was presented by HIH Princess Takamado, BirdLife’s Honorary President. It was noted that:

In various roles, including Head of BirdLife’s Middle East Division, Richard Porter, BirdLife’s Middle East Advisor, has worked tirelessly for conservation in the region, perhaps most notably on the island of Socotra, Yemen, and most recently in Iraq, where he has supported capacity development, and helped build the data resources from which the country’s potential protected areas have been identified.