41st Council of Delegates Meeting 2010 - Slovakia

List of Nations attending: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Japan, Morocco, Portugal, Qatar, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, United Kingdom of Great Britain, United States of America.


Apologies: Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Poland, Scotland, Spain, Turkmenistan, Hilary White. AC Members: Alex Prinz, JM Rodriguez Villa, Matt Gage, Patrick Morel.

The Meeting Was opened by the President, Frank Bond, who thanked the Slovak Falconers’ Club for their hospitality and for the arrangements that. The President of The Slovak falconers’ Club, Anton Moravcik, welcomed the delegates and thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for making the Hunting Castle available. The 2009 Minutes were approved. A minute of silence was observed for falconers who passed away during the year, those named by the delegates present. Report of the President: This year IAF focused on two principal objectives: the first was to have the IAF recognized as an international advisory non-governmental organization (NGO) by the UNESCO Committee on intangible cultural heritage. We had to demonstrate that the IAF truly represents falconry worldwide, across continents, cultures and languages. We were assisted in this when Bohumil Straka and Gary Timbrell created the booklet, “Falconry is Everywhere” showing the global importance of falconry. When the full UNESCO Committee met in Paris in June 2009, the IAF was accepted unanimously as an advisory NGO. Very few other organizations achieved this recognition and the IAF is the only organization to represent falconry and conservation interests of birds of prey.

IAF’s second objective in 2009/10 was to develop a business model, having presenting the major points of the strategy to Council at the 2009 AGM in England. Having received plans from various consultants a working group met with Euro Praxis in Madrid to discuss the plan which was presented to the Council of Delegates at this AGM. Its objectives are to formulate the IAF’s portfolio of services, fundraising and a modified governance structure. It describes an executive office, budgets and financial projections; it defines a plan for different actions and measures needed to set an Executive Office in motion. The objective in presenting this Business Plan to Council is to determine if Delegates believe this is a correct approach for the future and to seek approval to move forward.

President Bond attended the FACE AGM in March in Brussels and made well-received presentations on the UNESCO recognition and also on the implication of the use of lead ammunition by hunters on the environment.

Christian De Coune represented the IAF at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in October 2008 and continues to monitor all IUCN events and activities for the IAF. The IAF is the only falconry organization recognized by IUCN

Convention on Biodiversity. The 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biodiversity was held in Nagoya, Japan during the same week as our AGM in Slovakia.  Bill Heinrich, species restoration director of The Peregrine Fund, made a presentation on the role of falconers in the recovery of the peregrine in North America on behalf of IAF. The IAF was joined by the CIC, FACE and our Japanese Member Organizations.  The president thanked all of our Japanese Member Organizations for their participation and support.

CITES Conference of the Parties met in Doha, Qatar in Feb 2010.  We had anticipated efforts to move the saker falcon from Appendix II to App I.  However with the presentation of a conservation plan by Saudi Arabia, a change in the listing will now be reviewed at a later date.  The IAF was represented by Marshall Meyers of Washington, DC.

Invasive Species. The implications to falconry of proposals to control invasive alien species, continues to be difficult.  Falconers do not condone permanent invasion into the environment of alien species and the use of falconry birds which are not native to the environment where they are flown does not pose an invasive species threat.  Falconers never intend to lose their birds and they take every step to recover them. This year the IAF has intervened in three different alien species proposals which might have had implications for falconers.  First, in the United States, the IAF joined with its largest Member Organization, the North American Falconers’’ Association, in a coalition with other user groups, to resist adoption of HR 669 by the U.S. House of Representatives.  It had the potential to prohibit the use of any non-native raptors.  The IAF presented testimony in opposition, as did NAFA and HR 669 was defeated. Second, the IAF through our Executive Secretary, Adrian Lombard, intervened repeatedly in similar proposals in South Africa.  Third, the EU has proposed a European Strategy on Invasive Alien Species (ESIAS).  The ESIAS proposal would have species listed on either “white” or “black” lists which had far reaching implications because some listings could be achieved without even development of background scientific data to justify it. IAF prepared a comprehensive response, including amendments to the proposed law changes to effectively exclude falconry birds.  The response, prepared by Dr. Matthew Gage, Patrick Morel, Alex Prinz, Bohumil Straka and Frank Bond focused on the very comprehensive data we have to demonstrate that falconry birds do not represent an invasive species threat because of their relatively small numbers and because all falconers make every effort to recover lost birds.

IAF was joined by the UK Hawk Board which prepared its own response for the UK.  Other UK Member Organizations based their responses on the IAF response as did our Member Organizations in France, Germany, Portugal, Holland, and Belgium.  Spain, Austria and the Czech Rep. prepared important independent responses. We are hopeful that the responses from falconry associations and other groups will cause the EU to reconsider Database The IAF is undertaking a comprehensive database development to track our Member Organizations, their respective leaders, and ultimately, individual members throughout the world.  This development can assist the internal working of the IAF and can be used as a means to respond to threats to falconry regionally. With development of the database eNewsletters can become far more sophisticated, targeted and effective with the selective use of an international database.  We can target our audiences with special eNewsletters.

IAF Journal 2010.  He praised the 2010 IAF Journal prepared by Tony Crosswell.  It includes for the first time a peer reviewed, scientific article. Tony was assisted by his daughter, Tanya Betts. Finally, he thanked AC member, Janusz Silicki, for the printing and distribution of the Journal from Poland.

Conclusion. “It is my pleasure to serve you as President.  My work is made easier with the able assistance of the officers and the Advisory Committee.  The IAF embodies the best of world falconry leadership, and to all I express my gratitude and admiration.”

Report of the Vice President for Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania: Dr. Bohumil Straka, Vice President for Europe-Africa-Asia-Oceania – October 2010. Dr. Straka stated that his first priority of 2009/2010 was the UNESCO project with active participation in the UNESCO workshop in Abu Dhabi in August as well as constant work in 2010 towards completion of the nomination file. He also arranged the purchase of the valuable iaf.org domain in Nov. 2010 and participated in UNESCO workshops in Abu Dhabi in December 2010 to meet the additional requirements of UNESCO. He participated in the IAF AC meeting in Madrid in March 2010 and successfully represented IAF a the annual CIC meeting in Dubrovnik in May 2010 as well as at the 5th UNESCO ICH committee session in Nairobi in November 2010 – ensuring the inscription of falconry.
Early ideas about cultural recognition for falconry came in 2000. The idea to preserve falconry was supported by IAF, CIC, FACE, national falconry clubs and individuals, but there was no legal frame for the recognition at the time. In 2003 the new UNESCO ICH convention adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and gave the legal framework currently recognized by more than 130 State Parties. The next highlight was the 2005 Symposium in Abu Dhabi "Falconry: A World Heritage“, which brought falconry nations together. In 2007 and 2009 Falconry Festivals took place in England. In 2009 the Nomination of 12 countries was completed and sent to UNESCO.
The largest nomination in UNESCO history presented the global phenomenon of Falconry to the world. The significance of recognition UNESCO’s of Falconry for the future is that Falconry as a hunting method will never become illegal, Falconry receives financial support from governments, UNESCO recognition will further improve dialog between communities and it makes excellent PR. When Falconry is inscribed, the nomination becomes public at http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich , the UNESCO website receives millions of visits annually and serves as a reference for educational, scientific and cultural institutions. Participation of IAF in this historical project improves our global prestige, visibility and credibility.

Report of the Vice President for the Americas: Ralph Rogers, V-P Americas - Falconry is practiced widely across the Americas.  Within specific countries, the current legal status of falconry varies from the security exemplified by legal recognition, laws, and regulations in countries like USA and Canada through no recognition at all in many Central or South American (CSA) countries.    
In the USA all continental states have falconry regulations that operate within guidelines administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.   In Canada most provinces have adopted the same regulations provided in the USA.  In Mexico, there are no national falconry regulations.  While falconry is not illegal, it does not enjoy the legal protections found in USA and Canada.  Within the last several months, proposed national legislation controlling the possession of raptors in Mexico would have made falconry essentially illegal.  At the request of IAF delegate Juan Carlos Rojo, the IAF and NAFA provided support for falconry to Mexican legislators informing them of the long history of falconry in Mexico.  The Mexican crisis was averted and falconers are forming a national organization and will seek national legislation enabling falconry. The IAF is responding directly to requests for help from groups in Chile and Cuba. The opportunities for securing falconry in Central and South Americas may be some of the most important work for the IAF in the future. 

Financial reports were presented by Gary Timbrell as António Carapuco, Treasurer,  was called away from the Meeting due to a family tragedy.

Election of Vice President for the Americas.  Ralph Rogers had been nominated by NAFA.  There were no other nominees.  He was duly elected.

Document Database:  there is a need to provide models of legal falconry and to respond to requests for assistance by falconers around the world.  Documents from all countries are requested to make a Data Bank: copies of any official or biological document dealing with Falconry and specifically the legalization of Falconry for example copies of Laws relating to Falconry, Documents submitted to support legislation, Documents looking at the effects of Falconry on Raptor populations. These canuld be digital or hard copies.  An e-Newsletter will explain this to delegates.

Business Plan: Frank Bond now presented the Proposed IAF Business Plan.  He provided all delegates with a “hard copy” of the plan and then presented it by Power-point.  He explained this plan represented the transition from a volunteer organization to an organization with professional support. Angus Middleton (FACE) explained FACE uses the services of a body of scientists to provide biological support for conservation issues when lobbying over legislation.  Frank Bond acknowledged this. He explained the Business Plan is a guideline for this process.

Presentation by Angus Middleton, Executive Director of FACE: he spoke on the Convention on Biological Diversity and a Manifesto which is relevant to Falconry. On CITES he stressed the importance of European Union “voting bloc” of 27 countries and the need for a presence at this Convention. He congratulated IAF on its timely response to the EU Invasive Alien Species and thanked IAF for its part in the UNESCO recognition process.

Candidature of Serbia: The Candidature for The Serbian Falconry Association, applying for Full Membership of the IAF, was presented by Acim Milanco Acimovic.  The Candidature was recommended by the Advisory Committee.  The candidature was accepted unanimously.               

Candidatures: presented by Hon. Sec. Adrian Lombard:  “Over the past year we have seen a large number of requests for membership of the IAF by Clubs, National organizations and by a Falconry Museum.  Similarly, during this time, we have seen an increasing number of requests for support and assistance from a diverse group of nations.  I believe that these requests, more than anything else, demonstrate the relevance of the IAF to Falconers around the world.  With growth in the stature of the IAF and its recognition as a significant Hunting, Conservation and Cultural NGO, there comes an increased significance and prestige to being a member of the organization.  We have, therefore, had to become more cautious in accepting candidatures and we have had to develop a more formalized process of vetting applications based on the IAF Constitution.  All applications that have been submitted to us over the past year have been subjected to this process.  Some have been successful and are recommended to the Assembly by the Advisory Committee, whilst some require further investigation.  I must admit that, as Executive Secretary, this is the most enjoyable part of my job as I make friends and have the opportunity to correspond with Falconers from all over the world.  Candidatures as follows:

Serbia.  This candidature was presented and accepted on the first day of the AGM.
A new club, The Society for the Protection of Birds of Prey and Falconry, full membership requested and recommended by the AC.  Accepted unanimously.
De Orde van Nederlandse Valkeniers.  This is the 3rd Dutch Club to seek membership. It has the support of existing Dutch members. ONV seeks Full membership.  Accepted unanimously.
Algannas Falconry Club - Qatar.  This candidature was presented by Zayed Al Maadeed.  Qatar is one of the countries contributing to the bid for recognition by UNESCO.  Full Membership is requested but further information regarding the implications and conditions is required by the authorities and the falconers of Qatar. The recommendation of the AC is that Provisional Acceptance be given subject to completion of admission formalities by both sides.
The Falconry Museum of Valkensward.  Supporting Organization Membership was requested.  An informative presentation was made. It has the support of the other Dutch members and was recommended by the Advisory Committee.  Unanimously accepted
UNCF.  This organization presented to the Assembly 2009 AGM.  They were asked to seek support of the existing Italian Members of the IAF.  Further information is sought.
Russian Falconry Union.  This organization has applied for Full Membership. The recommendation of the AC is that this remains pending until the 2011 AGM to allow further information to be gathered. This was accepted by the Assembly.
The Pak Falconry Club – Pakistan.
 Corresponding Membership.  It is the recommendation of the Advisory Committee that this request remain pending until the 2011 AGM to allow further information to be gathered.  This recommendation was accepted by the Assembly.
The Raptor Club of Indonesia – Indonesia.
  Corresponding Membership.  It was the recommendation of the AC that this request remain pending until 2011 to allow further information to be gathered.  This recommendation was accepted by the Assembly.
Other requests:
Other requests for Membership have been received but have failed to complete the application process.  These include approaches from Greece, the Great Lakes, the International Heritage Conservancy, Cuba, Peru and Chile.

2011 AGM.  The President advised the Meeting that there is an understanding, at present, that the AGM may take place in Abu Dhabi in December 2011.  2012 AGM.  The understanding is that this AGM will take place in Argentina.  There are some issues that exist and that need to be sorted out. Application to host the 2013 Annual General Meeting:  made by the Adriaan Mollen Club of the Netherlands. The President, Frank Bond, offered tentative acceptance of this proposal. 

Reports were received from the delegates and appear in the 2011 Journal.

Other Matters: Bakyt Karnakbeyev (Kazakhstan) wishes to organize a symposium in Kazakhstan, looking into the management of eagles in captivity, specifically breeding and veterinary care.  He requested IAF patronage.
There was some discussion on the IAF website and the difficulties of keeping it new and informative.
The being no further matters, the Meeting was closed by the President who thanked delegates.