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EU LIFE+ PROJECT “Safeguarding the Lesser White-fronted Goose along its European Flyway” - 2011-2016

A five-year EU LIFE+ project with the aim of safeguarding the Lesser White-fronted Goose along its European flyway was launched in September 2011. The project is being headed by the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) with a total of eight project partners from Greece, Bulgaria, Finland and Hungary as well as the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat.

Following the previous Lesser White-fronted Goose LIFE project which ended in 2009, the bulk of activities in the new project focus on the staging and wintering grounds of the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose sub-population in Europe. The total project budget amounts to roughly 2.280.000 €. The EU Commission is providing 73% of the funding with a substantial amount of co-funding (about 15% of the total budget) being provided by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management.

Main project goals are to reduce mortality rates related to hunting (by mapping critical habitats and launching campaigns against illegal hunting etc.), to provide suitable foraging and roosting sites (diet analysis, habitat management plans), to increase knowledge and awareness (National Action Plans, communication materials, educational programmes) and to maximize international co-operation and networking (for example organizing the next meeting of the AEWA LWfG International Working Group).

Project tasks of the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat will include facilitating the drafting of National Action Plans for the species in Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary. In addition the Secretariat will provide the link to international conservation activities being carried out elsewhere along the flyways of the Western Palearctic Lesser White-fronted Goose sub-populations, including the organization of the 2nd Meeting of the AEWA Lesser White-fronted Goose International Working Group which will take place in Greece in November 2012.

Strengthening overall capacity in identification and monitoring of Lesser White-fronted Geese

As part of the LIFE+ project, an expert identification and monitoring training is planned to take place in Hortobagy National Park in Hungary in late September/early October 2012, organized by WWF Finland. A main component of the training is to invite ornithologists and field workers from outside the European Union to participate. Funding via the project to attend this training will be available for selected experts from countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan, through which the Fennoscandian sub-population also migrates. Funding permitting, the scope of trainees will be broadened to include additional range states auch as Azerbaijan, Iran and Iraq. A second training is planned to take place at a later stage during the project.

For more information please visit the LIFE+ project website hosted by WWF Finland.