IUCN organised a Regional Vulture Symposium from May 3-5, 2012 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The workshop brought together a number of organisations and experts from vulture range countries in South Asia (Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India) to develop and implement a regional response to save the critically threatened South Asian vulture species from extinction.
The workshop was jointly organised by the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA) a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India; Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Dehra Dun; Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai; and IUCN, International Union of Conservation of Nature.
Realising the fact that population of Asian vultures is on the steepest decline, there is an urgent need for all range countries to work together towards the common goal of vulture conservation. The four of eight gyps vulture species found in South Asia have been declared as critically endangered by IUCN. The population of some species have declined to the extent of more than 99%.
The objectives of workshop were to form a Regional Steering Committee on vulture conservation; adopt a Regional Declaration on mutual cooperation for vulture conservation; revise and update country specific vulture recovery and action plans; and develop a framework of regional GEF proposal for vulture conservation.
A four-member delegation represented Pakistan led by Mr. Mushtaq Ali Memon, Secretary, Forest & Wildlife Department, Government of Sindh. Other members included: Mr. Muhammad Naeem Bhatti, Director Wildlife Punjab, Mr. Shah Murad Aliani, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan and Mr. Ghulam Qadir Shah, NRM Coordinator, IUCN Pakistan.
Each country representative presented the actions being taken by the respective country for the conservation of vulture. Secretary, Forest & Wildlife Department, Government of Sindh presented the actions taken in Pakistan and the way forward.
At the end of the workshop, a Regional Declaration on Vulture Conservation was mutually adopted and endorsed by the representatives from regional countries including: India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
On this occasion a Regional Steering Committee was also constituted comprising members from respective countries. The Terms of Reference of the Committee were mutually endorsed. The chairpersonship of the Regional Steering Committee (RSC) would be on a two-year rotational basis, with India being the first Chair of the Committee. It was also agreed that each representative country will constitute a national committee on vulture conservation with representation from relevant stakeholders on the pattern of RSC.
All the participating countries agreed on a framework of actions on vulture conservation to be jointly implemented by the participating countries through possible GEF support.