Under the theme “Making flyway conservation happen.”, the sixth Meeting of the Parties (MOP6) of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) met from 9 to 14 November 2015, in Bonn, Germany.
Approximately 250 representatives from 60 Contracting Parties, eight Observer Countries, five International NGOs and five Inter-Governmental Organisations, as well as scientists, discussed among others issues: the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa 2012-2017; implementation and revision of the AEWA International Tasks; and financial and administrative matters, including a budget for the next triennium 2016-2018.
MedWet and the Ramsar Secretariat were invited as Inter-Governmental Organisations acting in the upstream of the AEWA mission. In the second plenary session, Tobias Salathé, Ramsar Secretariat Senior Advisor for Europe, presented the main outcomes from the Ramsar Convention COP12 of relevance to AEWA. He outlined the main axes of the new Ramsar Strategy Plan2016-2024 and the important work of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel. He also stated that there is room for further cooperation with the Ramsar Regional Initiatives and flyways conservation.
In the corridors discussions and specific informal meeting, Nejib Benessaiah, MedWet Senior Advisor, discussed with Jacques Trouvilliez, AEWA Executive Secretary, about strengthening the relationships between MedWet and AEWA, specifically because the Mediterranean region is at the heart of the African Eurasian Flyway and because it is urgent to reinforce the wetland conservation and the wise use of their resources in order to play a safety net role for the migratory birds populations.
MOP6 adopted 22 resolutions presented and discussed in plenary and in two working groups: one on finance and administration and the second on scientific and technical issues. In the closing plenary, all resolutions were adopted after intensive and very animated discussions for some of them (specially those related to financial matters). At the end, delegates were satisfied with the meeting’s achievements, which included: the adoption of a budget allowing the Secretariat to maintain its current level of staff and activities; the extension and revision of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa; the agreement to continue and refine synergies within the CMS family; and a concrete outline of AEWA’s potential contribution to sustainable development.
The most significant achievement was probably the Plan of Action for Africa with valuable technical support provided on the ground, and concrete education, conservation and restoration projects started under the AEWA Small Grants Fund for Africa. On the other side, the Agreement’s Strategic Plan goal of maintaining or restoring migratory waterbirds at a favourable conservation status was considered very insufficient.
It is important to notice that AEWA gives a significant weight and significance to NGOs, partly to compensate the lack of funding and because NGOs play a crucial role in gathering and supplying data to the International Waterbird Census, monitoring waterbird population trends and also in supporting governments in drafting resolutions.
An equally significant outcome at MOP6 was the resolution on the potential contributions of AEWA to achieving the Aichi Targets of the CBD and the SDGs. By specifying the relevance of the Agreement to achieve biodiversity and development targets, this resolution is strongly suggesting that AEWA can play a serious role in protecting communities and promoting sustainable livelihoods, notably through protecting and restoring wetlands. And that is precisely where MedWet and Ramsar should base the reinforcement of their relationship with AEWA.
Consult the AEWA website for the 6th session of the MOP to AEWA here
Nejib Benessaiah, MedWet Senior Advisor
Photos credit: Nejib Benessaiah