From the fall of last year until now, one of Nature Iraq's most important partners, BirdLife International, is celebrating a major anniversary! BirdLife was founded as the International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP) on June 20th, 1922, which makes it the oldest conservation organization in the world at 90 years old. The unique BirdLife Partnership of dedicated national membership organizations was formed 20 years ago. All in all, this is a big time for a great organization.
BirdLife is the world's largest partnership global partnership of conservation organizations. They strive to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife Global Partners operate in over 100 countries and territories, have more than 4,000 staff working for conservation, have over 2,500,000 members and 10,000,000 supporters world wide, work with over 2 million children annually and own or manage over 1,000,000 hectares of land. You can learn much more about them by visiting their website.
Nature Iraq's partnership with BirdLife is almost as old as Nature Iraq itself. In 2005, while preparing to launch the Key Biodiversity Areas project, BirdLife provided training in Jordan and Syria for NI staff. As Nature Iraq's work has expanded from the Mesopotamian Marshlands north into the Kurdistan Regional Government and the central and western governorates, BirdLife's technical support and aid in fundraising have been invaluable. Their contributions to our work have ranged from further training on bird census techniques to helping us obtain donated binoculars from Swarovski Optics and from bolstering our application to the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for our work on the Sociable Lapwing Project to providing advice on and helping us print a field guide to the birds of Iraq. In 2008, Nature Iraq became an official affiliate of BirdLife, and in 2010, we were nominated as a partner designate. In 2012, we had the chance to host the Regional Conference, during which it was decided NI would coordinate the work on updating the list of Important Bird Areas of the Middle East, written in 1994. BirdLife are also crucial partners in the Darwin Conservation Project.