South Africa hosts 7th session of Meeting of Parties (MoP7) to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)

26 November 2018


South Africa, through the Department of Environmental Affairs in partnership with Kwa-Zulu Natal Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs and the eThekwini Municipality will host the 7th Conference to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) from 4 to 8 December 2018 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the conference as per the details below:

Dates: 4 – 8 December 2018
Venue: Olive Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Time: 09:00 – 17:00 daily

The conference will bring together approximately 350 delegates from member countries of Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and the wider international conservation community in an effort to strengthen coordinated conservation and management efforts for the protection of migratory waterbirds throughout their entire migratory range. The conference will be convened under the theme: “Beyond 2020: Shaping Flyway Conservation for the Future.”

While the conference will set an ambitious path for the next decade by adopting a new Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2027, it will also reflect on the continuation of the good practices established and lessons learnt throughout the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan for the period 2009 – 2018.

In addition, the meeting will also provide the opportunities for African states 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.

With 76 countries and the European Union (EU) as contracting parties, 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). It is dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats, stretching 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 covers 254 species of birds which are dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle, including many species of divers, grebes, pelicans, cormorants and others. All these 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. South Africa, therefore, has an obligation and an important role of protecting the habitats of these species as well as preventing the unsustainable use of these migrating waterbird species.

The modalities of this Intergovernmental Meeting will include:

  • Plenary sessions to discuss and adopt relevant resolutions to inform the future work of the parties and take decisions on substantive or administrative matters.
  • Strategic sessions will discuss matters relating to the strategic, scientific and technical aspects related to the conservation status and trends in the management of migratory waterbirds and their habitats. .
  • Moderated panel sessions and side events provide the opportunity to share experiences of participants and also identify future opportunities and collaborations to implement AEWA objectives
  • Exhibitions to raise awareness on what organisations are doing across the globe to contribute to the objectives of AEWA
  • Field trips to showcase South Africa’s avitourism sites especially the ones relevant to AEWA activities to demonstrate the country’s initiatives and capabilities towards implementing AEWA resolutions.

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 habitats. This is very important since it ensures the sustainability of South Africa’s avitourism industry, which is a bird watching segment of tourism. According to a study published in 2010 by the Department of Trade and Industry on Avitourism, South Africa has core birding asserts compared to competitor destinations. As a result, the total size of the Avitourism market is recognisable, and comprises of international and domestic avitourists ranging at the time between 21 000 and 40 000 visitors annually. Domestic Avitourists numbers then ranged, according to the DTI study, between 13 000 and 24 000 per annum. The DTI study estimated Avitourists’  total spend to be in the region of R 927 million to R 1.725 billion per year with domestic Avitourism spend accounting for between R 482 million and R 890 million.

Details of the 7th Session of the Meeting of Parties are available in the AEWA official website:

For media queries contact Albi Modise
Cell: +27 (0) 83 490 2871