BirdLife Europe e-news, Vol III, Issue 7, July 2016
In this issue
 

Summer: the time for relaxation and reflection

Christopher Sands
Head of Communications, BirdLife Europe


After the drama of the past several weeks, is there a European out there that isn’t ready to breathe a big sigh of relief that summer is finally upon us? The weeks ahead, where we hope most of you may get a break from your workaday world, also offer a needed pause to ponder the challenges the continent faces, both in its political arena and in how it protects nature. An article by our Senior Head of Policy gives much food for thought that we hope will stimulate beach and barbeque discussions. Additionally, we look to Slovakia’s plans as it takes up the EU Presidency from the Dutch. We are hopeful they will seize this opportunity to work to restore confidence in the EU, using the popularity of nature protection and environmental policy as a great place to start.

This special summer marine issue takes us on a continent-wide jaunt exploring some of the wonderful
seaside destinations where bird-watching and nature make for a perfect holiday recipe. From the Arctic Circle, Iceland’s 85 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas offer visitors the chance to see amazing wildlife.

At the other end of the island vacation spectrum, Malta’s sandy beaches and Mediterranean waters are home to important breeding colonies and a critical part of the Central Mediterranean Flyway. The Azores, Lithuania, and France’s mid-Atlantic coast are also featured spots where summer leisure and the richness of nature are highlighted for this summer or for your future vacation planning. 

Finally, because one can never let down one’s guard, even on summer break, our BirdLife Partner in France, LPO, remind us they are closely watching the European Commission and the French government who must finally address the criminal slaughter of almost 30,000 Ortolan Buntings annually. The French government must show the European Commission within the coming months that it is finally taking measures to stop this outrage.
Have a happy and safe holiday.

Getting nature protection back on track

Ariel Brunner
Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe


It’s been just two weeks since the earthquake that was the UK referendum. Two weeks to learn that nobody, neither in the UK nor in the EU, had a plan or a coherent approach to addressing the underlying causes of this shocking outcome.
 
A few immediate lessons that are relevant also for our nature conservation work:
There is an obvious need to renew the social compact between citizens and our political institutions. Relentless propaganda framing legitimate laws as red tape, our state as simply a bureaucracy, civil servants as bureaucrats, citizens’ rights as privilege and profits as wealth creation has taken a heavy toll.

We need to re-establish the importance of facts as the basis of our civil debates and decisions. Many people choose a camp and simply distrust any “expert” who presents evidence that doesn’t match their preferred narrative.

Most modern problems play out at a very large scale, far removed from people’s daily lives. But the trend of retreating toward smaller local and more homogenous jurisdictions paradoxically means an ever shrinking ability to actually deal with global problems.

There is an urgent need to put values and ethics at the center of politics and policies. For several decades politics has focused on completely flawed notions such as GDP growth being the universal measure of social
progress. This has made politics seem irrelevant to peoples’ lives. It has dangerously opened the door to populists who exploit this alienation. Responsible decision makers must reclaim values such as freedom, safety, equality and justice, translating them into actual policies.

Does this seem removed from conservation of birds and biodiversity? We think not. We have reached the limits of what our biosphere can handle. Pulling back from the abyss can only happen through significant policy interventions requiring robust governance structures cooperating at a global scale. Our ecological crisis cannot be addressed without addressing our democratic crisis.
 
Pursuing one’s own short term agenda, commercial or otherwise, may make sense in isolation, but when everyone does the same, the system collapses. Politicians must similarly rediscover long term thinking. They must offer solutions to the fundamental problems citizens care about. And there are also lessons for us in civil society. Environmental and social goals cannot be pursued in isolation. Too often NGOs have been pursuing their own narrow objectives without connecting them to the bigger project of a just and viable society. Somehow we have been talking less and less about fundamental values and ever more about economics and technocratic solutions.
 
We believe that all democratic forces across this continent need to engage in this fundamental conversation. Over the next few months, we’ll offer our own thoughts. And while we engage in that critical discussion, we won’t lose sight of the urgent and exciting conservation work we do with our partners on the ground in Europe and Central Asia. 
Seaside dispatches and other news
Slovakia: a small country with big ambitions for its EU Presidency. Can it deliver?
By Tatiana Nemcova
Malta's commitment to protect marine life. By Edward Jenkins, Janina Laurent, Bruna Campos
The Atlantic coast of France is known for wine, beaches... and marine litter? By Bruna Campos
The Azores is a beautiful drop in the ocean at risk from invasive rats. By Bruna Campos, Tania Pipa
Iceland: Volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, seabirds. By Marguerite 
Tarzia and Holmfridur Arnardottir
Lithuania: A Baltic Sea holiday with a difference. By Marguerite Tarzia and Julius Morkunas
Will the European Commission save the Ortolan Bunting? By Sanya
Khetani-Shah, Alison Duncan
Events
22-26 August, 2016: Freising-Germany Society for Ecological Restoration's 10th European Conference on Ecological Restoration, Technische Universität München, Campus Freising-Weihenstephan.

5-10 September, 2016: 20th International Conference of the European Bird Census Council 'Birds in a changing world', University of Halle (Saale), Germany. The deadline for submitting an abstract for talks, speed talks and posters is 30 March, 2016.

1-10 September, 2016: IUCN World Conservation Congress, Hawaii, USA. The Congress is now accepting applications for booths.

19-23 September, 2016: 6th International Albatross and Petrel Conference, Barcelona, Spain. Registrations open.
Jobs

West Africa IBA Monitoring Officer: We are looking for someone to assist in coordinating the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Programme at sub-regional level, administering the small grants and supporting the implementation of site and species projects in West Africa region within the framework of Coastal Migratory Birds project (CMB2) funded by MAVA Foundation. 
Closing date: 28 July 2016.

West Africa Communications Officer: BirdLife is seeking to recruit an experienced individual for the position of Communication Officer for West Africa region to assist develop and implement the communication, education and public awareness strategy and action plan for the Coastal Migratory Birds Project (CMB Phase 2) and strengthen communication and advocacy capacity of partners in West Africa within the framework of Coastal Migratory Birds project (CMB2) funded by MAVA Foundation.
Closing date: 28 July 2016.

Communications Officer: We are looking for someone to engage BirdLife Europe’s various internal and external audiences online, through creative creation and editing of English language content for both digital and print media. 
Closing date: 17 July 2016.


Senior Marine Policy Officer: We are looking for someone to lead strategic advocacy in regional and international policy processes to secure improved conservation outcomes for marine Important Bird Areas (IBA) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA), including designation of marine protected areas.
Closing date: 14 July 2016.

Invasive Alien Species Programme Coordinator: The role is an opportunity for an experienced person to develop and coordinate BirdLife’s global Invasive Alien Species Programme.   
Closing date: 19 July 2016.

Conservation Scientist (Shea Pollinators) - RSPB: The RSPB, in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin and BirdLife International, is seeking a post-doctoral ecologist to examine pollination services in the agroforestry landscapes of Burkina Faso. This role will contribute to a Darwin Initative project which aims to build resilient landscapes and livelihoods in Burkina Faso's shea parklands. 
Closing date: 21 July 2016.
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Responsible editor: Angelo Caserta
   This publication receives its support from the European Commission and the RSPB
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