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Site projects completed in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey

Great progress forcast

BirdLife International and its Partners in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey have completed their national Important Bird Area (IBA) projects. These identify each country's most important sites for birds and other wildlife and were funded by the Dutch government’s PIN-MATRA fund. The projects have contributed substantially to the expansion and strengthening of BirdLife's network of IBAs in Eastern Europe. In Russia, the Russian Bird Conservation Union (RBCU) has managed to fill a major gap in the global IBA network by identifying 127 new sites in West Siberia.

The RBCU has also managed to double its IBA caretaker network, which now covers 120 sites. This amounts to 28% of the 400 IBAs and key ornithological sites of national and regional importance in European Russia. The project has provided small grants to local caretaker groups to carry out dozens of site actions. This will contribute enormously to the long-term viability of the IBA programme in Russia by helping these groups gain experience of project development and implementation.In Ukraine, the Ukrainian Union for Bird Conservation (USPB) carried out a parallel project with Russia. However, the main priority here was to promote the suitable management of IBAs. As a result, USPB has published two booklets about the threats faced by sites; one focussing on farming and wildlife and the other a conservation guide for hunters.

In Turkey, a separate project has contributed to the identification and description of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), which is an expansion of the criteria-based IBA site selection approach to include other taxa. Doga Dernegi is producing the first ever national KBA book. Another important component of the project was organising training for local IBA caretakers.

All of these projects have significantly contributed to strengthening local involvement in the protection of key sites for biodiversity conservation. Vogelbescherming Netherlands (BirdLife in the Netherlands) played a major role, not only in securing funding, but also through sharing its expertise with BirdLife's Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish Partners.

The projects were formally completed on 31 May 2006.

4th July 2014