South Africa hosts African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)
South Africa will host the 7th Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP7) to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) set to take place from 4 to 8 December 2018 in eThekwini, Durban. The conference will bring together approximately 350 delegates from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty developed under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). AEWA is dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats. The Agreement area stretches from the northern reaches of Canada and the Russian Federation to the southernmost tip of Africa, covering 119 Range States from Europe, parts of Asia and Canada, the Middle East and Africa.
AEWA brings together countries and the wider international conservation community in an effort to establish coordinated conservation and management of migratory waterbirds throughout their entire migratory range. Currently 76 countries and the European Union (EU) are contracting parties to AEWA (as of 1 November 2017). Of the 76 contracting parties, 35 are from Africa. The Agreement provides for coordinated and concerted action to be taken by the Range States throughout the migration system of waterbirds to which it applies. It covers 254 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle, including many species of divers, grebes, pelicans, cormorants, herons, storks, rails, ibises, spoonbills, flamingos, ducks, swans, geese, cranes, waders, gulls, terns, tropic birds, auks, frigate birds and even the South African penguin.
All AEWA species cross international boundaries during their migrations and require good quality habitat for breeding as well as a network of suitable sites to support their annual journeys. International cooperation across their entire migratory range, as provided by AEWA, is therefore essential for the conservation and management of migratory waterbird populations and the habitats on which they depend.
By hosting the MoP7, South Africa would be inter alia showcasing its biodiversity and conservation successes to the delegates and the rest of the world. South Africa is a very important Range State of migratory waterbirds and plays an important role in global conservation efforts of these species and their habitat. Migratory birds cross many borders over thousands of kilometres, linking different countries as well as ecosystems. They contribute to the sustainability of ecosystems to provide essential ecosystem goods and services such as eco-tourism while contributing to poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods amongst others. The unsustainable use of such species will have a detrimental effect on the entire ecosystem and communities depending on these services.
MOP7 is a cornerstone meeting for AEWA and the last time the Parties will meet before 2020, where they will be taking stock of the results and outcomes from the 2009 - 2018 Strategic Plan. In addition, AEWA will be setting an ambitious path for the next decade by adopting a new Strategic Plan for 2019 - 2027. In addition, this meeting will also provide the opportunity to the African Region to exchange views and experiences on activities relating to the conservation and management of the migratory species and to strengthen their cooperation on issues that are best dealt with at regional level.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss issues relating to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats which are of strategic importance to South Africa. In addition, this meeting will also provide the opportunity to the African Region to exchange views and experiences on activities relating to the conservation and management of the migratory species and to strengthen their cooperation on issues that are best dealt with at regional level.
The slogan for MOP7 is “Beyond 2020: Shaping flyway conservation for the future”, which reflects the continuation of the good practices established and lessons learned throughout the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan 2009-2018, in connection with delivery against the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The meeting will be centered on issues relating to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats which are of strategic importance to South Africa.