The transition to the use of non-toxic shot and fishing weights has been slow at the international level despite the Bern Convention and the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) having called for a ban on lead shot use by the year 2000. Adopting lead substitutes is also consistent with the habitat goals of the Ramsar Convention and the Biodiversity Convention. In countries where non-toxic shot and sinkers are required by law, published studies show a marked reduction in lead toxicosis and large savings of birds. A renewed commitment from the AEWA, the Bern Convention, and especially the Ramsar Convention is needed to encourage their parties to regulate the use of non-toxic materials. Eleven different non-toxic substitutes for shot now exist, and some of these can also serve as substitutes for lead sinkers. While previous regulatory emphasis has been placed on wetland habitats, any new initiatives could also propose a phasing out of lead shot in upland habitats to reduce the prevalence of secondary lead poisoning of migratory raptors. © BirdLife International 2005.