Middle East
21 Jun 2010

WOW partnership renews commitment to protect migratory waterbirds and their habitats

By Nick Askew

Key organisations from the Wings Over Wetlands project partnership, representing the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), Wetlands International and BirdLife International signed a historic collaborative agreement to redouble their efforts to conserve migratory waterbird species and their critical habitats in Africa and Eurasia. The agreement was signed on 14 June 2010 at an International Waterbird Conservation Symposium taking place in The Hague, The Netherlands, to mark the 15th Anniversary of AEWA. It aims to consolidate and progress a programmatic partnership for flyway-scale conservation of migratory waterbirds and the wise-use of wetlands. This marks an important milestone for all four organizations, while further developing the added value of cooperation between conservation organisations, international conventions and agreements. Specifically, the partnership agreement outlines shared collaborative goals in the following areas:

  1. Improving access to good flyway-scale information based on sound science;
  2. Strengthening capacity in understanding and applying flyway conservation concepts;
  3. Promoting effective communication and creating awareness;
  4. Stimulating and maintaining effective management of flyway networks of sites for migratory species;
  5. Promoting conservation and flyway-scale approaches across the critical network of sites.

With the WOW project scheduled to deliver its full set of achievements by December 2010 the project has given an unprecedented boost to flyway conservation efforts and to the implementation of both AEWA and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Notably it has specifically led to the development of such innovative products as the Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool and a Flyway Training Kit and has also led to closer cooperation between the institutions involved in flyway-level conservation work within the AEWA region. In spite of the tremendous achievements and progress thus far, this agreement builds on the initial strides made under WOW and consolidates the effective institutional partnerships which have already been forged in the context of the project. “This agreement enables us to continue to help migratory waterbird species in a comprehensive, integrated way,” said Gerard Boere who presided over the signing ceremony in his capacity as Chair of the WOW Steering Committee. “By working cooperatively toward the same goal, we can catalyse on the momentum achieved through the UNEP-GEF WOW project and use it as a stepping stone for further action in the years to come”

The project is a joint effort led by Wetlands International in partnership with BirdLife International, UNEP-GEF, the United Nations Office for Project Services, and will operate in close coordination with the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and a wide range of local partners along the African-Eurasian Flyways. The project is supported by the UNEP Global Environment Facility, the German government, UNEP/AEWA Secretariat and several other donors. Visit the Wings Over Wetland websiteWings Over Wetlands: Partners