The sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) met from 9 to 14 November 2015, in Bonn, Germany. The meeting marked the 20th anniversary of AEWA, and convened under the theme “Making flyway conservation happen.”
Approximately 250 representatives from governments and inter- and non-governmental organizations, as well as scientists, discussed, among other things: implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan 2009-2017 and the Plan of Action for Africa 2012-2017; implementation and revision of the AEWA International Implementation Tasks 2012-2015; and financial and administrative matters, including a budget for 2016-2018. They also addressed: synergies within the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Family; International Single Species and Multi-species Action Plans and Management Plans; conservation guidelines; issues affecting the conservation status of migratory waterbirds in the AEWA region; and amendments to the Agreement’s annexes. Delegates witnessed two award ceremonies during the meeting, the 2015 Waterbird Conservation Awards and Migratory Species Champion Awards, as well as a 20th Anniversary Celebration Ceremony. Two excursions were offered to delegates, a tour around the old city of Bonn and a trip to two nature reserves in the Lower Rhine area.
MOP6, which adopted 22 resolutions, was conducted in plenary and in two working groups: one on finance and administrative matters, and one on scientific and technical matters. The latter conducted its work well within the allotted time, while the former finished its deliberations late at night on its final day. In the final plenary, however, everything fell into place, and all resolutions were swiftly adopted, leaving delegates in good spirits and satisfied with the meeting’s achievements, which included: the adoption of a budget that will allow the Secretariat to maintain its current level of staff and activities; extension and revision of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa; agreement to continue and refine synergies within the CMS Family; and a concrete outline of AEWA’s potential contribution to sustainable development.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF AEWA
Migratory species are especially vulnerable to a wide range of threats, including habitat loss in breeding areas, excessive hunting along migration routes and degradation of feeding grounds. In the early 1960s, international conservation organizations began to draw attention to these problems and called for a convention on migratory species.
In response, CMS was adopted in 1979 and entered into force in 1983. Also known as the Bonn Convention, CMS: recognizes that states must be the protectors of migratory species that live within or pass through their national jurisdictions; aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their ranges; and currently has 121 parties.
The Convention was designed to allow for the expansion and revision of commitments, and to provide a framework through which parties may act to conserve migratory species and their habitats. One of the mechanisms established by CMS is the development of specialized regional agreements for the conservation and management of migratory species that have an unfavorable conservation status or that would benefit significantly from international cooperation. At present, seven agreements and 19 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) have been concluded in this regard. The largest of the agreements is the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, also known as the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA).
At the first Conference of the Parties (COP1) to CMS, held in Bonn, Germany, in 1985, delegates decided to prepare an Agreement for the Western Palearctic Anatidae. Consequently, in 1988 the Government of the Netherlands began work on a draft Western Palearctic Waterfowl Agreement as part of its Western Palearctic Flyway conservation programme. During the drafting and consultation process, the name of the Agreement was changed to the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement or AEWA, emphasizing the importance of Africa for migratory birds.
The first consultative meeting of AEWA range states was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1994. In 1995, the final negotiation meeting was held in The Hague, the Netherlands. The meeting adopted the Agreement by consensus and accepted the offer of the Dutch Government to provide an Interim Secretariat. Opened for signature in 1996, the Agreement entered into force on 1 November 1999. Only a few days later, the first MOP took place in Cape Town, South Africa. This meeting, among other achievements, established a Technical Committee (TC) and adopted Conservation Guidelines. In 2000, a permanent Secretariat was created, administered by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and co-located with the CMS Secretariat in Bonn. The number of contracting parties currently stands at 75. Mauritania is the most recent country to accede, having joined the Agreement on 1 May 2015.
AEWA provides for coordinated and concerted action to be taken by range states throughout the migration system of the waterbirds to which it applies. The Agreement has three annexes. Annex I outlines the Agreement’s geographical area, which covers countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia and Canada. Annex II lists the species of waterbirds to which the Agreement applies. The list includes 255 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 and terns, and the South African penguin. Annex III contains a comprehensive Action Plan, which describes actions to be undertaken in the areas of: species and habitat conservation; management of human activities; research and monitoring; education and information; and implementation. The Action Plan also contains a table on the conservation status of populations of migratory waterbirds.
AEWA MOP2: This meeting took place from 25-27 September 2002, in Bonn, Germany. MOP2 established a Standing Committee (SC) and added 65 species to Annex II of the Agreement. It also adopted resolutions on, inter alia: phasing out lead shot for hunting in wetlands; draft conservation guidelines on national legislation and on introduced non-native waterbirds; International Implementation Priorities 2003-2007; International Single Species Action Plans; and the budget for 2003-2005.
AEWA MOP3: This meeting was held from 23-27 October 2005, in Dakar, Senegal. Delegates adopted resolutions on, inter alia: avian influenza; climate change in relation to migratory waterbirds; guidelines for criteria used in Table 1 of the Action Plan; online reporting; an international partnership for support of waterbird population assessments; amendments to the annexes to the Agreement; a Strategic Plan; a Communication Strategy; International Implementation Priorities 2006-2008; International Single Species Action Plans; and the budget for 2006-2008.
AEWA MOP4: This meeting convened from 15-19 September 2008, in Antananarivo, Madagascar. This meeting adopted 20 resolutions including: a budget allowing the Secretariat to maintain its level of staff and activities, with additional costs for interpretation and meeting travel support covered by funds from increased minimum annual contributions; and a resolution establishing an African Initiative for the Conservation of Migratory Waterbirds and their Habitats in Africa, funded partially out of the core budget.
AEWA MOP5: This meeting took place from 14-18 May 2012, in La Rochelle, France. Delegates adopted 27 resolutions. Among the meeting’s main achievements was the adoption of a budget that allowed the Secretariat to maintain its level of staff and activities. In addition, the African Initiative was granted additional technical assistance through the provision of a France-based and funded technical coordinator, working directly with African subregional coordinators. Delegates also adopted, among other things: several new International Single Species Action Plans and Species Management Plans; amendments to the Agreement’s Action Plan; and resolutions on conservation guidelines andissues affecting the conservation status of migratory waterbirds in the AEWA region.
AEWA MOP6 REPORT
On Monday, François Lamarque (France), former AEWA MOP Chair, opened the meeting.
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, via video, linked AEWA to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), noting that biodiversity conservation is a prerequisite for sustainable development.
Jacques Trouvilliez, AEWA Executive Secretary, stated that AEWA has much to be proud of but that “the path ahead remains long.” He noted that without solid scientific knowledge, public policies and commitment by all, “wetlands will dry up little by little, and the skies will no longer be filled with the calls of migratory birds.”
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates then adopted the Rules of Procedure (AEWA/MOP 6.2). They elected Fernando Spina (Italy) as MOP6 Chair and James Lutalo (Uganda) as Vice-Chair, and adopted the Provisional Agenda and Meeting Schedule (AEWA/MOP 6.3 Rev.2 and AEWA/MOP 6.4 Rev.2).
Delegates elected Ghana, Libya, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the Credentials Committee and admitted numerous observers to MOP6. They also elected Chandanee Jhowry (Mauritius) as Chair of the Finance and Administrative Working Group and David Stroud (UK) as Chair of the Scientific and Technical Working Group. Delegates decided, after considerable discussion, to close the Finance and Administrative Working Group to observers, but to invite UNEP and the AEWA Secretariat to contribute as necessary.
During Wednesday’s plenary, Mamadou Kane, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Steiner, read a statement expressing concern over UNEP’s potential exclusion from any aspect of the Finance and Administrative Working Group discussions (AEWA/MOP Inf. 6.15).
In opening statements, the EU and its Member States called for, inter alia, progress on facilitating synergies between CMS instruments and other biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
A number of parties also submitted opening statements in writing.
AEWA WATERBIRD CONSERVATION AWARDS
On Monday morning, François Lamarque (France) introduced the AEWA Waterbird Conservation Awards, which recognize individuals and institutions for their contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of waterbirds. SC Chair Øystein Størkersen (Norway) presented the 2015 Award in the Individual Category to Abdoulaye Ndiaye, for his work on wetland management and bird conservation across Western, Central and Eastern Africa. The 2015 Award in the Institutional Category was given to the Association Inter-Villageoise du Ndiaël (the Inter-village Association of the Ndiaël), for floodplain restoration efforts by villagers near the special wildlife reserve of the Ndiaël, a Ramsar site in Senegal. Accepting the award on behalf of the Association, Amadou Sow highlighted the importance of collaboration between international organizations and local communities in wetlands restoration.
The following reports were presented to plenary on Monday.
STANDING COMMITTEE: SC Chair Størkersen presented the SC’s report (AEWA/MOP 6.6).
TECHNICAL COMMITTEE: TC Chair David Stroud reported on the TC’s activities (AEWA/MOP 6.7), presenting the TC’s costed and prioritized work programme for the next three years. He said that due to lack of adequate funding, the TC has been unable to complete many tasks assigned to it by parties before MOP6, and asked that the new core budget include funding for TC work.
DEPOSITARY: The Netherlands provided the status report from the Depositary (AEWA/MOP 6.8), noting that ten parties had acceded to AEWA since MOP5, bringing the total number of contracting parties to 75.
SECRETARIAT: AEWA Executive Secretary Trouvilliez presented the report of the Secretariat 2012-2015 (AEWA/MOP 6.9), highlighting the Secretariat’s main activities and the importance of sufficient funding to enable the Secretariat to better serve parties.
UNEP: Jiří Hlaváček, UNEP, reported on UNEP’s activities relevant to AEWA and CMS aimed at, among other things, clarifying the relations and strengthening programmatic cooperation between UNEP and the multilateral environmental agreement secretariats, including areas for potential synergies. He said he would provide his report in writing to the Secretariat.
JOINT CMS/AEWA INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, COMMUNICATION AND AWARENESS-RAISING UNIT
On Monday, AEWA Executive Secretary Trouvilliez reported on the pilot phase of the common CMS/AEWA Information, Communication and Awareness-raising Unit (AEWA/MOP 6.10 Rev.1 and AEWA/MOP Inf. 6.8). He highlighted that MOP6 must decide whether to continue with this joint communications unit or return to two separate units. Discussions centered on, inter alia, why cost calculation was not a part of the study and the benefits of the joint unit already witnessed.
OUTCOMES OF OTHER CONVENTIONS OF RELEVANCE TO AEWA
CMS: On Monday, CMS Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers presented CMS COP11 outcomes relevant to AEWA, including resolutions on: a strategic plan for migratory species; renewable energy; marine debris; enhancing synergies; preventing the poisoning and illegal killing of migratory birds; and taxonomy and nomenclature of birds in the CMS Appendices. Noting that the pilot phase of the joint communications unit “wasn’t always an easy ride,” he supported its continuation.
CMS SC Chair Størkersen, who also serves as AEWA SC Chair, reported on the CMS 44th SC Decision on Enhancing Synergies and Common Services among the CMS Family Instruments (AEWA/MOP Inf.6.12). Noting that capacity building, cross-cutting implementation issues, conference services and fundraising benefit from joint approaches between AEWA and CMS, he encouraged parties to support continuation of the pilot phase.
Størkersen then introduced a draft resolution on synergies within the CMS Family (AEWA/MOP6 DR22). Since the CMS SC submitted the draft resolution too late for inclusion in the AEWA MOP6 agenda, Størkersen submitted it on behalf of Norway and asked the MOP6 Bureau to allow its deliberation at this MOP. The Bureau agreed. The draft resolution was discussed in the closed Finance and Administrative Working Group on Thursday, late into the night, and was adopted in Saturday’s plenary without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on synergies between the AEWA and CMS Secretariats (AEWA/MOP6 DR22 Rev.1), the MOP:
- agrees to continue and refine the pilot Common Information Management, Communication and Awareness-raising Team;
- requests the AEWA and CMS Secretariats to develop a proposal within three months after MOP6 detailing implementation arrangements for the joint unit, including staff time and budget-sharing rations, management structure, monitoring and evaluation indicators, among others, to be approved by the SC;
- further requests the SC to review progress implementing the joint unit, report in writing to MOP7 on the results and experiences of the arrangement and make recommendations on the way forward;
- decides to take a stepwise approach in strengthening synergies in common service areas with the CMS Family and notes that potential common service areas, which are mentioned in the analysis, include capacity building, cross-cutting implementation support, conference services and fundraising;
- further decides that implementing common services between the AEWA and CMS instruments shall be done through the Executive Secretaries;
- requests the Secretariats, when making proposals to the SCs, to include reliable scenarios and concrete underpinning of the expected effectiveness and efficiency gains, and to set out the measures to ensure transparency on the implementation process and on the use of resources for CMS and AEWA, respectively;
- agrees that any proposed common services should not have any additional financial requirements on the Secretariats and should preserve the Secretariats’ independence, respect the competencies of the Convention and its Agreements, and improve effectiveness and efficiency; and
- confirms that a joint Executive Secretary between AEWA and CMS is not a desired option.
RAMSAR: On Tuesday, Tobias Salathé, Ramsar Secretariat, presented outcomes from COP12 to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of relevance to AEWA, with emphasis on the New Global Strategy for Wetlands 2016-2024. He underscored room for further cooperation on Ramsar regional initiatives, flyway conservation and wetland restoration.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AEWA PLAN OF ACTION FOR AFRICA 2012–2017
On Tuesday, Evelyn Moloko, AEWA Secretariat, introduced the report on the implementation of the African Initiative and the Plan of Action for Africa 2012-2017 (AEWA/MOP 6.11). She outlined that despite a lack of sustainable funding, the initiative had been successful in, inter alia: providing technical support at the sub-regional level through the Technical Support Unit; creating species action plans covering five priority species; recruiting new parties; and supporting projects through the AEWA Small Grants Fund.
An MoU was signed by AEWA and three African educational institutes on increasing awareness of waterbird conservation.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AEWA STRATEGIC PLAN 2009-2017
On Tuesday, Sergey Dereliev, AEWA Secretariat, introduced the report on progress of implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan 2009-2017 (AEWA/MOP 6.12), noting that progress toward the Strategic Plan Goal (“to maintain or to restore migratory waterbird species and their populations at a favorable conservation status throughout their flyways”) was described at MOP5 as “very insufficient” and that progress has declined since. He said two targets were reached, on national capacity building (Target 4.3) and awareness raising (Target 5.6), and called for closer attention to targets with tangible conservation results, particularly those that were not assessed for MOP6 due to insufficient data. Noting that only 55% of parties submitted national reports, he urged parties to “be more meticulous.”
Dereliev introduced the draft resolution on the extension and revision of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa (AEWA/MOP6 DR14), and AEWA TC Chair Stroud introduced the draft resolution providing an update on AEWA’s contribution to delivering the Aichi 2020 Biodiversity Targets and AEWA implementation in the context of the SDGs (AEWA/MOP DR15). These resolutions were forwarded directly to Saturday’s plenary, where they were adopted.
Final Resolutions: In its resolution on the extension and revision of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa (AEWA/MOP6 DR14), the MOP, inter alia:
- extends the AEWA Strategic Plan and the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa until MOP7;
- urges all parties and other stakeholders to step up the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa and invites non-party range states to consider implementing both policy processes;
- calls upon donor countries and organizations to further support the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa through financial and in-kind contributions;
- further urges all parties to provide complete and thorough national reports to MOP7 to allow a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa;
- decides that the deadline for submission of national reports by parties to MOP7 shall be 180 days before the opening date of MOP7;
- instructs the SC, working with the TC and supported by the Secretariat, to revise the AEWA Strategic Plan taking into account the Strategic Plan for Migratory Species 2015-2023, and to present a draft plan for the period 2019-2027 for consideration and adoption by MOP7; and
- further instructs the SC, working with the TC and supported by the Secretariat, to revise the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa alongside the revision of the AEWA Strategic Plan and present a draft plan for the period 2019-2027 for consideration and adoption by MOP7.
- In its resolution on an update on AEWA’s contribution to delivering the Aichi 2020 Biodiversity Targets and relevance of the SDGs (AEWA/MOP6 DR15), the MOP, inter alia:
- notes the assessment of the TC in Annex 1 to the resolution regarding priority needs with respect to AEWA’s contribution to the global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 in relation to migratory waterbirds and their habitats;
- adopts the actions within Annex 2 to this resolution as an updated assessment of AEWA’s contribution to the global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020;
- urges again that parties ensure that those national authorities responsible for AEWA implementation are fully involved in the process to update National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans to further promote synergies between biodiversity-related treaties;
- urges parties to highlight to their development agencies, as appropriate, the relevance of AEWA implementation in the context of SDG delivery, and to stress the need to better integrate actions for waterbird and wetland conservation within relevant development projects to achieve benefits, not just for waterbirds but also for human communities; and
- requests the Biodiversity Liaison Group, through the CMS Secretariat, to consider the extent to which existing data and information reported to relevant MEAs that relate to AEWA may contribute to the development of appropriate high-level sustainable development indicators.
On Tuesday, Kelly Malsch, UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, shared conclusions from the analysis of national reports for 2012-2014 (AEWA/MOP 6.13). She noted that four targets as specified in the AEWA Strategic Plan require further work: development and implementation of national Single Species Action Plans (Target 1.4); phasing out the use of lead shot (Target 2.1); and securing support for (Target 4.1), and implementation of (Target 4.2), the AEWA Communication Strategy. Among priority recommendations, she highlighted the need for parties to focus on targets that will help achieve the Strategic Plan Goal, and improve reporting rates through capacity building.
These reviews were presented to plenary on Tuesday.
CONSERVATION STATUS: Szabolcs Nagy, Wetlands International, presented the AEWA conservation status report (AEWA/MOP 6.14), noting the crucial role of national monitoring schemes and expert networks. He said: reliable trend estimates only exist for 36% of waterbird populations; data quality is poorest in the Central Asian flyway and the West Asian-East African flyway; overall, 30% of populations are declining and 25% are increasing; and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Index shows further deterioration. Moving on to “good news,” Nagy said the proportion of waterbird populations in decline has not increased over the past 20 years, noting that AEWA has “managed to hold the tide.” He said “action plans indeed work” and their implementation should be intensified.
NON-NATIVE WATERBIRDS: Malsch presented the report on the status of introduced non-native waterbird species and hybrids (AEWA/MOP 6.15), noting that data availability and reliability remain an issue. She said some non-native waterbird populations have increased substantially, warranting coordinated action. Among recommendations, Malsh highlighted: initiating coordinated actions for priority species; developing risk assessment standards; increasing cooperation between AEWA and the EU on regulations; and aligning AEWA and other reporting obligations.
INTERNATIONAL SINGLE SPECIES AND MULTI-SPECIES ACTION PLANS AND MANAGEMENT PLANS: Nina Mikander, AEWA Secretariat, presented the report on the status of preparation and implementation of these action and management plans (AEWA/MOP 6.16), noting that lack of funding has resulted in a limited review. She outlined that the implementation rate was 38% and that the report recommends: stepping up implementation; sourcing more funding, and human and technical capacity; and stepping up work and coordinating existing international species working and expert groups; and increasing efforts to include more range states.
IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW PROCESS
On Tuesday, Dereliev presented the SC report on the AEWA Implementation Review Process (IRP) for the period 2012-2015 (AEWA/MOP 6.17), which summarizes four IRP cases and one “watching brief” featuring adverse or potential adverse effects on migratory waterbirds as a result of human activities in the Syrian Arab Republic, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Iceland and France. He underscored that the IRP process is “hugely restrained” by a lack of funding.
AEWA INTERNATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION TASKS 2012-2015
On Tuesday, Dereliev introduced the report on progress made in implementing the AEWA International Implementation Tasks (IITs) 2012-2015 (AEWA/MOP 6.18), noting that of 30 IITs listed, 10 were partly or fully implemented and another two will be implemented in the near future. He explained that funding for implementation was limited due to austerity measures in donor countries. He also introduced a draft resolution containing the proposed list of IITs for 2016-2018 (AEWA/MOP6 DR13) and called for the closer alignment of IITs with the Strategic Plan.
The draft resolution was briefly addressed in the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday, and further amended by this group on Thursday, when UNEP suggested preambular text recalling UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 on “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” which includes the 17 SDGs.
The draft resolution was adopted on Saturday in plenary.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on AEWA IITs 2016-2018 (AEWA/MOP6 DR13 Rev.1), the MOP, inter alia,
- adopts the IITs for 2016-2018 appended to the resolution, which are updated and amended on the basis of the IITs for 2012-2015;
- urges parties and specialized international organizations to: support ongoing projects and, where appropriate, develop new international cooperation projects for the implementation of the Agreement, according to the priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan and the Plan of Action for Africa; keep the Secretariat fully informed of progress; and report conclusions at future MOP sessions;
- urges parties, instructs the Secretariat and invites specialized international organizations to seek innovative mechanisms and partnerships, including with the business sector, to enable implementation of the IITs;
- requests bilateral and multilateral donors to provide financial assistance to developing countries for implementation of the Agreement by supporting IIT implementation;
- instructs the Secretariat to disseminate the IITs for 2016-2018, coordinate closely with related conventions and international organizations for their implementation, and seek appropriate donors; and
- agrees that future IIT lists be more closely aligned to the strategic priorities of the Agreement, more limited in extent and presented as projects that are more feasible to fund, and requests that the Tasks for the period 2019-2021 be developed accordingly as part of the process to draft AEWA’s next Strategic Plan.
FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
REPORT: On Wednesday, AEWA Executive Secretary Jacques Trouvilliez presented the report on finance and administrative issues over the period 2013-2015 (AEWA/MOP 6.19) to plenary. He summarized, inter alia: how the core budget for this period was implemented; income and expenditures; and unpaid contributions.
DRAFT BUDGET PROPOSAL FOR 2016-2018: Trouvilliez presented the draft budget proposal for 2016-2018 and the related resolution during Wednesday’s plenary (AEWA/MOP 6.20 Rev.1 and DR18 Rev.1).
On Wednesday and Thursday, the draft budget and draft resolution were discussed in the Finance and Administrative Working Group, which was closed to observers. On Thursday, delegates debated, among other things, whether all parties should be encouraged to establish national Migratory Waterbird Funds, deciding in the end to refer to innovative financial mechanisms in general.
There was considerable debate about whether parties should contribute to the AEWA budget according to the UN Scale of Assessments, with some delegates preferring that AEWA continue to use its own adjusted scale, given the fact that AEWA is not a global agreement. The working group agreed to maintain the adjusted scale, asking the Secretariat to prepare before MOP7 a document that specifies the differences between these two scales for each party.
Delegates agreed to a zero percent budget increase, maintaining parties’ contributions at the 2012-2015 level, and allocating the contributions of parties that will accede to AEWA in the period 2016-2018 to the Trust Fund, which will enable the current Secretariat staffing level to be maintained.
The draft budget and draft resolution were adopted in Saturday’s plenary without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on financial and administrative matters (AEWA/MOP6 DR18 Rev.2), the MOP, inter alia:
- adopts the budget for 2016-2018 to the total amount of €3,078,778, which includes a withdrawal from the Trust Fund Reserves for an amount of €310,000;
- adopts the staffing table as per Appendix II to the resolution;
- adopts the scale of contributions for parties to the Agreement as listed in Appendix III to the resolution;
- decides that the minimum contribution shall not be less than €2,000 per annum and that for the period 2016-2018, the maximum contribution shall be restricted to 20% of the total budget;
- requests the Secretariat to develop a series of budget scenarios for MOP7 and describe any differences between the UN Scale of Assessments and the scale used to determine contributions to AEWA;
- urges all parties to make voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund to support requests from least developed countries (LDCs), developing countries, countries with economies in transition and small island developing states (SIDS) to participate in and implement the Agreement throughout the triennium;
- further urges parties and other partners to increase efforts to provide additional contributions to secure urgent implementation of the Agreement, in particular implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan 2009-2017 and the Plan of Action for Africa 2012-2017, both extended until MOP7, and the AEWA IITs for the period 2016-2018;
- approves the incorporation of a part time (50%) post of Programme Assistant for the African Initiative into the core budget;
- instructs the Secretariat to seek additional funding in the form of voluntary contributions to extend the post of Associate Programme Officer/African Coordinator beyond 50% and to extend the post of Programme Assistant for the African Initiative beyond 50%;
- invites the UNEP Executive Director to extend the duration of the Trust Fund to 31 December 2019; and
- approves the terms of reference for the administration of the Agreement budget for the period 2016-2018.
The resolution has four annexes: Core Budget for the Triennium 2016-2018 (I); Approved Staffing Table for 2016-2018 (II); Scale of Contributions by Parties for 2016-2018 (III); and Terms of Reference for the Administration of the Trust Fund (IV).
RESOURCE MOBILIZATION FOR AEWA IMPLEMENTATION: Trouvilliez introduced, and South Africa presented, the draft resolution on resource mobilization for AEWA implementation (AEWA/MOP6 DR21), which was discussed and amended in the closed Finance and Administrative Working Group on Thursday, and adopted in plenary on Saturday.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on resource mobilization for AEWA implementation (AEWA/MOP6 DR21 Rev.1), the MOP, inter alia:
- urges all parties to provide, in accordance with their capabilities, financial and/or in-kind resources to support national activities intended to achieve the Agreement’s objectives, particularly those in line with the AEWA Strategic Plan, including the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa;
- requests parties and other donors to consider providing voluntary contributions towards implementation of the Communication Strategy and invites all parties, range states and other stakeholders to support its implementation with the expertise, networks, skills and resources they have at their disposal;
- invites developed country parties in a position to do so, other governments, financial institutions and other partners to provide new and additional financial resources to enable developing countries, in particular LDCs and SIDS, as well as countries with economies in transition, to meet the agreed full incremental costs of implementing measures that fulfill AEWA obligations;
- encourages all parties to use innovative financing mechanisms for implementing the AEWA Strategic Plan, such as a Migratory Waterbirds Fund;
- urges parties to incorporate measures to implement AEWA at the national or subnational level into their national plans and strategies, such as the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans;
- urges parties to enhance synergies in their respective countries between biodiversity-related conventions to facilitate information sharing on potential funding opportunities and the sharing of financial resources; and
- urges parties to report on the progress of implementing the resolution through their national reports to each MOP.
On Tuesday, Florian Keil, AEWA Secretariat, reported on the implementation of the AEWA Communication Strategy and presented the new draft Communication Strategy (AEWA/MOP 6.21), which features a more global perspective and confirms AEWA’s relevance to the SDGs and Aichi Biodiversity Targets. He also introduced a draft resolution (AEWA/MOP6 DR10 Rev.1), which was addressed in the Finance and Administrative Working Group on Thursday, and subsequently adopted in Saturday’s plenary.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on the AEWA Communication Strategy (AEWA/MOP6 DR10 Rev.2), MOP6 adopts the new AEWA Communication Strategy and also, inter alia:
- instructs the AEWA Secretariat to implement the Strategy to the extent possible, taking into account available financial and human resources, regularly monitor and review its effectiveness, and report on its implementation at each MOP;
- urges all parties to develop “programmes to raise awareness and understanding of migratory waterbird conservation issues,” and to report on activities conducted in support of implementing the Strategy as part of their national report to each MOP;
- requests the AEWA Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) Focal Points, AEWA TC and its CEPA Expert to provide active support to the communication work of AEWA, especially regarding support for the Secretariat in identifying priority issues for communication, development of key messages, communication plans and products, as well as communication partners and target audiences; and
- requests parties and other donors to consider providing voluntary contributions towards implementing the Communication Strategy and invites all parties, range states and other stakeholders to support its implementation with the expertise, networks, skills and resources they have at their disposal.
AMENDMENTS TO THE AEWA ANNEXES
On Tuesday, Dereliev presented the relevant document and draft resolution (AEWA/MOP 6.22 and DR1), noting that changes mainly pertained to taxonomy and nomenclature.
In the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday, Birdlife International proposed an additional operative paragraph to acknowledge the uplisting of eleven AEWA species onto the IUCN Red List. On Thursday, the working group agreed to add a preambular paragraph “acknowledging the recent global Red Listing of the common eider, common pochard, horned grebe, Eurasian oystercatcher, northern lapwing, bar-tailed godwit, red knot, curlew sandpiper, Armenian gull, Atlantic puffin and razorbill, and noting the importance of considering the implications of these changes in AEWA listings for MOP7.” Delegates also agreed to maintain the name “African penguin” rather than “jackass penguin.” The draft resolution was adopted in Saturday’s plenary without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on amendments to the AEWA Annexes (AEWA MOP6 DR1 Rev.1), the MOP, inter alia:
- adopts the reference recommended by the 12th AEWA TC meeting as the AEWA standard reference for waterbird species taxonomy and nomenclature: the “Handbook of the Birds of the World/BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, Volume 1: Non-passerines,” by Josep del Hoyo et al. (2014);
- decides to amend the list of waterbird species to which the Agreement applies as presented in Appendix I to this resolution;
- decides to amend Annex 3 to the Agreement by replacing the current Table 1 of the Action Plan (status of populations of migratory waterbirds) and the associated explanatory text with the Table and explanatory text set out in Appendix II to this resolution; and
- requests the TC to monitor the changes in the waterbird species taxonomy and nomenclature to be reflected in the adopted AEWA standard taxonomic and nomenclature reference and advise on the updates of Annex 2 to the Agreement, when appropriate.
NEW ARABIC TRANSLATION OF THE AGREEMENT TEXT
On Wednesday, AEWA Executive Secretary Trouvilliez noted that the new draft official Arabic version of the Agreement text had not yet been finalized. He thanked the Depositary, the Netherlands, for its work on the translation, and said it would be available in a few months. He introduced a draft resolution (AEWA/MOP6 DR2), which was amended in the closed Finance and Administrative Working Group on Thursday and adopted in plenary on Saturday.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on the adoption of the new Arabic translation of the Agreement Text (AEWA/MOP6 DR2 Rev.1), the MOP:
- welcomes the offer of the Depositary to provide a new Arabic translation of the Agreement text and its annexes, requests it to finalize the translation and to incorporate all approved amendments to Annexes 2 and 3 to the Agreement into the Arabic version, according to resources available and in close consultation with the Secretariat and the Arabic speaking countries;
- requests the Secretariat to circulate the final draft to Arabic speaking parties for clearance before its submission to the SC;
- mandates the SC to approve the finalized translation as the new Arabic text;
- invites the Depositary to transmit certified copies of the new text to all range states following SC approval; and
- urges all parties to replace the former official version with the new version with respect to AEWA-related matters, invites non-party range states to take note of the new text and to use it as official text for the purpose of acceding to AEWA, and instructs the Secretariat to publish and disseminate the new version in a timely manner, as soon as it becomes available.
On Tuesday, Szabolcs Nagy, Wetlands International, introduced the relevant document (AEWA/MOP 6.24). Among the achievements of the International Waterbird Census, he underscored increasing data availability and monitoring capacity across the flyways, and said: the number of populations with status assessments based on monitoring data has increased by 50%, but still amounts to only 36% of AEWA populations; in many countries, there is still insufficient capacity and funding for waterbird monitoring; and funding for international coordination of waterbird monitoring is neither predictable nor sufficient.
Dereliev introduced the draft resolution on strengthening monitoring of waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR3), which, among other things, involves the creation of a Waterbird Monitoring Fund.
In the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday, the EU and its Member States questioned the need to create a distinct AEWA Waterbird Monitoring Fund to support monitoring work, suggesting the AEWA Trust Fund was sufficient. Dereliev clarified that both the new fund and the AEWA Trust Fund would finance the same monitoring work, but would cater to different types of donors; the former could accommodate funding available to NGOs, while the latter could receive funding restricted to supporting MEAs. In the working group on Thursday, delegates agreed on text inviting the African-Eurasian Waterbird Monitoring Partnership to create and manage a monitoring fund and urging parties to contribute financially to this fund. The draft resolution was adopted with these changes in plenary on Saturday.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on strengthening monitoring of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR3 Rev.1), the MOP, among other things:
- urges parties to ensure that the AEWA objectives are incorporated into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and other strategic planning processes;
- invites the organizations participating in the African-Eurasian Waterbird Monitoring Partnership to jointly establish a fund to resource waterbird monitoring activities and urges parties to regularly contribute to it;
- invites the Strategic Working Group of the Waterbird Monitoring Partnership to decide priorities for using the resources of the fund in consultation with the AEWA TC;
- invites the Waterbird Monitoring Partnership to inform the MOP at each of its sessions on amounts raised, resources used and remaining gaps;
- invites parties, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other organizations to use World Migratory Bird Day events as fundraising opportunities and to contribute to the Partnership Fund;
- urges parties and organizations to provide financial support for: developing advice to MOP7 on the monitoring of seabirds and colonial breeding waterbirds; the revision of the AEWA Conservation Guidelines on waterbird monitoring; and identifying priorities for the systematic development of waterbird monitoring;
- urges parties, the SC, the TC and the Secretariat to provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the SC report on progress in implementing the AEWA Strategic Plan 2009-2017 (AEWA/MOP 6.12), as necessary; and
- invites the TC and the Secretariat to work with the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat to identify possible synergies with respect to waterbird monitoring.
INTERNATIONAL SINGLE SPECIES AND MULTI-SPECIES ACTION PLANS AND MANAGEMENT PLANS
On Tuesday, delegates presented draft International Single Species Action Plans (ISSAPs) for the grey-crowned crane, taiga bean goose, long-tailed duck, Eurasian curlew and shoebill (AEWA/MOP 6.25-29), as well as a draft revised ISSAP for the northern bald ibis (AEWA/MOP 6.32) and a draft International Multi-Species Action Plan (IMSAP) for the Conservation of Benguela Upwelling System Coastal Seabirds (AEWA/MOP 6.30). They outlined the main threats to the species and the proposed framework of action.
Mikander, AEWA Secretariat, presented the criteria for prioritizing AEWA populations for action and management planning and for retiring ISSAPs, as well as guidance on the definition of principal range states in action plans (AEWA/MOP 6.33). She also presented a draft resolution on the adoption and implementation of action and management plans (AEWA/MOP6 DR8).
Delegates discussed this draft resolution in the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday and Thursday, making minor amendments. In plenary on Saturday, the EU and its Member States noted that Croatia had requested to be mentioned as a range state for the Eurasian curlew, although the species’ numbers in Croatia do not meet the threshold. The Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU (FACE) stated, for the record, that it is “unjustified” for the ISSAP for the Eurasian curlew to recommend the reinstatement of a complete moratorium on hunting in France until an adaptive harvest management process is put in place. Delegates adopted the revised draft resolution without amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on ISSAPs and IMSAPs (AEWA/MOP6 DR8 Rev.1), the MOP, inter alia:
- adopts the ISSAPs for the following species/populations: grey-crowned crane, taiga bean goose, long-tailed duck, Eurasian curlew, shoebill and northern bald ibis (revision of the 2005 ISSAP);
- adopts the IMSAP for Benguela Upwelling System Coastal Seabirds;
- calls on parties to implement these and previously adopted action and management plans;
- encourages range states that are not yet parties to the Agreement to also implement these and previously adopted action and management plans;
- instructs the Secretariat to convene, as a priority, AEWA International Species Working Groups to coordinate the implementation of: ISSAPs for globally threatened and near-threatened species as well as for the taiga bean goose; an ISSAP with elements of adaptive harvest management; and the IMSAP for Benguela Upwelling System Coastal Seabirds;
- calls upon all range states, relevant governmental organizations, NGOs, and bilateral and multilateral donors to provide assistance for coordinating and implementing the ISSAPs and the IMSAP that have been adopted, in particular through active participation in, and funding of, AEWA International Species Working and Expert Groups;
- adopts the decision-making process for the revision and retirement of ISSAPs and instructs the TC to continue monitoring the implementation of ISSAPs and to present proposals for the revision or retirement of specific ISSAPs to each MOP as appropriate;
- encourages the TC to revise the AEWA conservation guidelines on the preparation of National Single Species Action Plans for Migratory Waterbirds, as well as to revise the format for ISSAPs and to consider the need for such a format for ISSMPs and IMSAPs; and
- requests parties, as well as the AEWA International Species Working and Expert Groups, to follow, as appropriate, the adopted AEWA conservation guidelines when implementing action and management plans.
CONSERVATION GUIDELINES, GUIDANCE AND DEFINITIONS
On Tuesday, delegates and the Secretariat presented four documents: guidance on measures in national legislation for different populations of the same species, particularly with respect to hunting and trade (AEWA/MOP 6.34); draft guidelines on national legislation for the protection of species of migratory waterbirds and their habitats (AEWA/MOP 6.35); draft revised guidelines on the sustainable harvest of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP 6.36); and guidelines for the sustainable deployment for renewable energy technologies (AEWA/MOP 6.37).
The Secretariat also introduced draft resolutions on the revision and adoption of conservation guidelines (AEWA/MOP6 DR5) and on the adoption of guidance and definitions in the context of implementing the AEWA Action Plan (AEWA/MOP6 DR7). In the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday, delegates added text to the conservation guidelines draft resolution, stressing the non-legally binding nature of the guidelines, and made minor amendments to the draft resolution on guidance and definitions. In plenary on Saturday, delegates adopted both revised draft resolutions without amendment, highlighting a minor change in the title of the latter resolution, which now reads “Adoption of Guidance in the Context of Implementation of the AEWA Action Plan.”
Final Resolutions: In its resolution on the revision of conservation guidelines (AEWA/MOP6 DR5 Rev.1), the MOP, inter alia:
- adopts the guidelines on: national legislation for the protection of species of migratory waterbirds and their habitats; sustainable harvest of migratory waterbirds; and renewable energy technologies and migratory species (guidelines for sustainable deployment);
- calls upon parties to utilize these guidelines in a practical way that leads to minimal additional bureaucracy and recognizes the different social, economic and environmental conditions within the geographical area to which the Agreement applies; and
- requests the TC, as a matter of priority, to: complete its review of the style and format of the AEWA Conservation Guidelines; make intersessional recommendations regarding proposed changes to the SC; and following the SC’s approval and resources permitting, put in place a rolling programme to revise and update existing guidelines, as necessary, and develop any new guidelines according to new formats as agreed.
In its resolution on guidance in the context of implementation of the AEWA Action Plan (AEWA/MOP6 DR7 Rev.1), the MOP, inter alia:
- adopts the “Guidance on Measures in National Legislation for Different Populations of the Same Species, Particularly with Respect to Hunting and Trade”;
- urges parties to implement the guidance as a matter of priority and to review the need for potential adjustments of their national legislation, and other relevant actions to reduce the risk of accidental shooting of protected waterbirds, after each MOP;
- adopts the guidance on the meaning of “disturbance,” “deliberate” disturbance, “significant” disturbance and “serious” disturbance in the context of the implementation of the AEWA Action Plan; and
- requests the TC to further work on the guidance on dealing with accidental shooting of look-alike species in Western Palearctic and present a revised and extended version for consideration by MOP7.
ISSUES AFFECTING THE CONSERVATION STATUS OF MIGRATORY WATERBIRDS IN THE AEWA REGION
RENEWABLE ENERGY: On Wednesday, Dereliev presented the review of the occurrence and magnitude of the conflict between migratory animals and renewable energy technologies deployment (AEWA/MOP 6.38) and the related draft resolution (AEWA/MOP6 DR11).
Delegates discussed the draft resolution in the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday and Thursday, making minor amendments. It was adopted in Saturday’s plenary without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on addressing impacts of renewable energy deployment on migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR11 Rev.1), the MOP:urges parties and encourages non-party range states to, among other things, apply Strategic Environment Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment procedures when planning the use of renewable energy technologies; and urges parties, to implement, as appropriate, the following priorities in their development of renewable energy technologies, inter alia:
- wind energy: careful physical planning with special attention to mortality resulting from collisions with wind turbines, and considering means of reducing disturbance and displacement effects on relevant species, including deploying measures, such as ‘shutdown on demand’;
- solar energy: avoid deployment in, or near, protected areas and other sensitive areas where this would be of significance for migratory waterbirds in order to further limit the impacts of solar power plants;
- ocean energy: consider possible impacts on migratory waterbird species, particularly loss of coastal inter-tidal habitats;
- hydropower: undertake measures to reduce or mitigate known serious impacts, such as habitat loss and degradation;
- geoenergy: avoid habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation and disturbance in order to maintain the overall environmental impacts at their current low level; and
- bioenergy: plan bioenergy production in order to prevent large-scale impact of habitat loss.
The MOP also:
- instructs the Secretariat to stay involved in the multi-stakeholder Task Force on Reconciling Selected Energy Sector Developments with Migratory Species Conservation (the Energy Task Force) to be convened by the CMS Secretariat; and
- requests the Secretariat to participate in the review and production of the second version of the document “Renewable Energy Technologies and Migratory Species: Guidelines for Sustainable Deployment” in consultation with the CMS Secretariat, the International Renewable Energy Agency and BirdLife International.
MARINE FISHERIES: On Wednesday, Christina Hagen, BirdLife South Africa, presented the review of potential impacts of marine fisheries on migratory seabirds within the Afrotropical region (AEWA/MOP 6.39). She highlighted that bycatch in gillnet, longline and trawl fisheries are direct effects of marine fisheries while competition and changed behavior are indirect effects. Among recommendations, she highlighted: improving collaboration within the region; researching the impact of gillnet fishing; and focusing on overfishing by improving management of foreign fleets and paying closer attention to forage fisheries. Senegal called for AEWA, CMS and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to find synergies and create protected marine sites beyond the 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
STATUS, THREATS AND CONSERVATION PRIORITIES FOR AEWA SEABIRD POPULATIONS: On Wednesday, Hagen presented the report (AEWA/MOP 6.40) and the related draft resolution on improving the conservation status of African-Eurasian seabirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR9 Rev.1). Among main threats to seabirds throughout the region, she identified: combined impacts of climate change and human impacts on fish; bycatch; human harvesting; predation by invasive species, such as rats and cats; oil spills; and disturbance and mortality from at-sea developments.
Delegates discussed the draft resolution in the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday, they added reference to: the review “Best practices to mitigate seabird bycatch in longline, trawl and gillnet fisheries – efficiency and practical applicability”; the first UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution on marine plastic debris and microplastics; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catches of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (IPOA-Seabirds); and current binding and recommendatory measures aimed at protecting seabirds, as adopted by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs).
The draft resolution was adopted in Saturday’s plenary without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on improving the conservation status of African-Eurasian seabirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR9 Rev.2), the MOP, inter alia:
- calls upon parties and encourages non-party range states and other relevant international fora to endeavor to identify important sites for AEWA-listed seabirds, including areas at sea, which are managed to protect such seabirds across all life cycle stages;
- encourages parties to implement the recommendations of the “Review of the Status, Threats and Conservation Action Priorities for the Seabird Populations Covered by the Agreement”;
- calls upon parties, as appropriate, to implement IPOA-Seabirds and comply with all current binding and recommendatory measures aimed at protecting seabirds, adopted by RFMOs;
- determines that in addressing seabird conservation issues, AEWA’s priority should be those species, regions or threats not already the subject of pre-existing international or conservation frameworks;
- requests the Secretariat, subject to the availability of financial resources, and in consultation with the TC, to facilitate the development of an implementation process for this resolution;
- requests the TC, subject to the availability of financial resources, in consultation with CMS, the CMS Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and other relevant bodies (in particular relevant RFMOs) and expertise, to facilitate parties’ implementation of paragraph 4.3.7 of the Action Plan (on taking appropriate actions to minimize the impact of fisheries on migratory waterbirds) by compiling, complementing or developing user-friendly conservation guidelines and recommendations and to bring these to the next session of the MOP; and
- requests the TC, subject to the availability of financial and in-kind resources, in consultation with CMS, to assess threats posed to migratory seabirds listed by AEWA from the ingestion of plastics, microplastics and other forms of marine litter (marine debris), and to provide advice on appropriate responses to the MOP.
CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF MIGRATORY BIRDS: On Wednesday in plenary, TC Chair Stroud presented a draft resolution on this issue (AEWA/MOP6 DR4 Rev.1).
In the Scientific and Technical Working Group, delegates suggested minor textual amendments. BirdLife International proposed including the bar-headed goose, Egyptian goose and black swan as invasive alien species in certain paragraphs. Following an objection from Hungary, delegates agreed to include only the Egyptian goose and black swan in this context. Other minor amendments were made in the working group on Thursday, and the draft resolution was adopted in plenary on Saturday without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on the conservation and sustainable use of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR4 Rev.2), the MOP, among other things:
- urges parties as a matter of high priority and urgency to ensure that their legislative lists of protected species are fully in conformity with the AEWA’s Action Plan;
- requests the TC and Secretariat, resources permitting, to develop national lists of Column A populations (waterbird populations of particular conservation concern) for all parties in the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia and assist the respective countries with national legislative revision for the species concerned;
- calls on parties to ensure that the revised AEWA Guidelines on Sustainable Harvest of Migratory Waterbirds are fully employed in the implementation of the Agreement, and that further sustainable use and adaptive harvest management initiatives are developed to support AEWA’s goal that all use of migratory waterbirds is sustainable and based on relevant, available data;
- recognizes that for undertaking adaptive management of harvest, the minimum data required are population size and trends and amount of harvest, and urges parties and other range states to strengthen their waterbird monitoring schemes, establish or step up harvest data collection, and reduce to a minimum the time lag between data recording and reporting;
- requests the Secretariat to facilitate, subject to the availability of financial resources, the establishment of a European multispecies goose management platform and process to address the sustainable use of goose populations and to provide for the resolution of human-goose conflicts; and
- urges range states of the high and very high risk non-native waterbird species populations to increase and coordinate their efforts to contain, control and, as much as possible, eradicate these populations, in particular: the mallard in Southern Africa; the greater Canada goose, the Egyptian goose and the black swan in a number of European countries; the cackling goose in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands; the ruddy duck throughout Europe; and the sacred ibis mostly in south-central Europe.
UPDATE GUIDANCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION MEASURES FOR WATERBIRDS: On Wednesday, Stroud introduced the draft resolution (AEWA/MOP6 DR6) in plenary. It was discussed in the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday and Thursday, where minor amendments were made. The draft resolution was adopted in plenary on Saturday without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on update guidance on climate change adaptation measures for waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR6 Rev.1), the MOP, inter alia:
- adopts the revised “Framework for adaptation measures for migratory waterbirds – 2015,” as presented in Appendix I to the resolution as further guidance for actions related to national adaptation measures related to the conservation of waterbirds and their wetlands, and other habitats; and urges parties to implement these principles as a matter of priority;
- encourages parties to: complete the identification of relevant areas and build national networks of protected areas and other adequately managed areas; undertake national assessments of the resilience of these sites both individually and collectively; and report such assessments to future MOPs;
- urges parties and others to fully use existing guidance from the Ramsar Convention on the wise use of wetlands; and
- requests the TC to continue to periodically update AEWA’s Guidance Framework for Climate Change Adaptation to ensure that it summarizes up-to-date knowledge.
AVOIDING ADDITIONAL AND UNNECESSARY MORTALITY OF MIGRATORY WATERBIRDS: On Wednesday in plenary, Stroud introduced the draft resolution (AEWA/MOP6 DR12). Minor amendments were made in the Scientific and Technical Working Group on Wednesday. In the working group on Thursday, Israel disagreed with an amendment by the EU and its Member States to change “urges” to “encourages” in operative text on parties that are also parties to CMS implementing a CMS resolution on preventing poisoning of migratory birds. After discussions, Israel agreed to the suggested change “for the sake of consensus,” but noted that such wording weakens the importance of preventing the accidental killing of birds by lead poisoning related to the use of lead ammunition. The draft resolution was adopted in Saturday’s plenary without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on avoiding additional and unnecessary mortality of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR12 Rev.1), the MOP:
- urges parties to give priority to utilizing the large body of guidance summarized in Appendix 1, as necessary or appropriate, in their implementation of the Agreement;
- thanks the EU for its financial support to enable the creation of the Intergovernmental Task Force to Address Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean;
- requests the Secretariat, involving TC expertise, to continue to contribute to the work of the CMS Preventing Poisoning Working Group, and to contribute to the work of the Intergovernmental Task Force to Address Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean;
- encourages parties, which are also CMS parties, to implement, as a matter of priority, CMS Resolution 11.15 on preventing poisoning of migratory birds and to utilize, as appropriate, its appended guidance to address risks from: the incidental poisoning of birds through the use and/or abuse of insecticides and rodenticides to protect crops; the deliberate and/or incidental killing of birds through using poison baits for predator control and harvesting; and the use of lead ammunition and fishing weights; and
- invites those parties that are not parties to CMS to implement, as appropriate, CMS Resolution 11.15 on preventing poisoning of migratory birds and utilize its appended guidance.
STANDING COMMITTEE: In Wednesday’s plenary, SC Chair Størkersen presented the draft resolution on institutional arrangements for the SC (AEWA/MOP6 DR16).
In plenary on Saturday, the Secretariat listed the names of nominated regional representatives and alternates. The MOP adopted the revised resolution, as amended. However, during the closing plenary, Norway, as SC Chair, said that since a party can only be elected for two consecutive terms lasting six years, and both Uganda and Ghana have served for six years, the SC elections, as agreed by delegates, are actually invalid. He asked the MOP to reopen the issue. Uganda, however, recalled that Uganda and Ghana were only officially elected at MOP5. Uganda recalled AEWA MOP Resolution 2.6, paragraph 2(f), which states that the term of office “shall expire at the close of the second ordinary session of the MOP following that at which they have been nominated,” which is at MOP7. Germany asked UNEP to clarify the legal situation, but Uganda, on behalf of African countries, objected strongly to this request. UNEP said it would only provide legal advice if the parties so wished. The EU and South Africa supported Uganda’s case.
After informal consultations, Chair Spina highlighted that Rule 38 of the Rules of Procedure states that the same item cannot be considered again at the same meeting unless a two-thirds majority decides in favor of reconsideration. In light of this, Norway withdrew its concern, but called for the resolution to be amended at MOP7.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on institutional arrangements for the SC (AEWA/MOP6 DR16), the MOP, inter alia:
- approves the list of elected or reconfirmed regional representatives for the SC, as follows: France, with Croatia as alternate, for Europe and Central Asia; Georgia, with Norway as alternate, for Europe and Central Asia; Libya, with Algeria as alternate, for the Middle East and Northern Africa; Ghana, with Senegal as alternate, for Western and Central Africa; and Uganda, with South Africa as alternate, for Eastern and Southern Africa;
- decides to make a provision in the 2016-2018 budget for payment, upon request, of reasonable and justifiable travel expenses of appointed SC members from developing countries and countries with economies in transition; and
- requests parties to provide financial assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition that are AEWA parties, to be represented at SC meetings by an observer.
TECHNICAL COMMITTEE: Dereliev presented the draft resolution on institutional arrangements for the TC (AEWA/MOP6 DR17) in Wednesday’s plenary. He outlined the list of names for regional representatives and alternates proposed for the TC as well as the TC Work Plan for 2016-2018, and the request for the TC to establish a register of interests in which TC members declare potential conflicts between their personal and professional interests and responsibilities to AEWA.
The Scientific and Technical Working Group considered the draft resolution on Wednesday and Thursday, making minor amendments. In Saturday’s plenary, Norway highlighted vacancies on the TC. The Secretariat noted the challenge of recruiting qualified members, and said attempts would be made to fill the vacancies. Delegates adopted the revised draft resolution without further amendment.
Final Resolution: In its resolution on institutional arrangements for the TC (AEWA/MOP6 DR17), the MOP, inter alia:
- appoints to the TC the members and alternates named in Appendix I to the resolution;
- approves the TC Work Plan, summarizing the scientific and technical tasks for the AEWA TC for 2016-2018 and their prioritization;
- instructs the Secretariat to provide the necessary support to the TC and its activities; and
- requests the TC to create and maintain a register whereby relevant interest(s) can be declared by its members, observers, and other appointed and invited experts.
MIGRATORY SPECIES CHAMPION AWARDS: On Monday afternoon, MOP6 Chair Spina elaborated on the CMS-led Migratory Species Champion Programme, which promotes conservation initiatives under the CMS Family that provide medium- and long-term financial support. CMS Executive Secretary Chambers and AEWA Executive Secretary Trouvilliez presented Migratory Bird Champion Awards to: the Norwegian Government for supporting the conservation of the lesser white-fronted goose; the European Commission for its actions to combat the illegal killing of birds; and the German Government for its long-term efforts to reconcile energy sector development with migratory animals conservation.
20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION CEREMONY: This celebration on Monday afternoon was introduced by AEWA Executive Secretary Trouvilliez and chaired by Abdoulaye Ndiaye, AEWA African Initiative. Statements were made by: Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, German State Secretary for Environment, on successful past and ongoing AEWA initiatives; Gerard Boere, Honorary Patron of AEWA, on the history and the future of waterbird conservation and AEWA; Melissa Lewis, Tilburg University, on AEWA’s unique place in international environmental law; Jesper Madsen, University of Aarhus, on the sustainable harvest of waterbirds within the African-Eurasian region; Ndiaye on flyway conservation in Africa; and Nicola Crockford, BirdLife International, on AEWA’s strong engagement with the NGO community and the role of these NGOs in monitoring populations and identifying conservation priorities.
During Wednesday’s plenary, during a brief ceremony led by Nick Williams, CMS Secretariat, Croatia and Israel signed the Raptors MoU.
DATE AND VENUE OF MOP7 AND TRIBUTE TO THE ORGANIZERS: During the closing plenary on Saturday morning, MOP6 adopted resolutions on the dates and venue of MOP7 (AEWA/MOP6 DR19) and a tribute to the organizers (AEWA/MOP6 DR20).
Final Resolutions: In its resolution on the dates and venue of MOP7 (AEWA/MOP6 DR19), the MOP: decides that MOP7 will be held in 2018; invites interested parties to express, within six months of MOP6, interest in hosting MOP7; requests the SC on behalf of the MOP to decide on the venue; and invites parties to make voluntary contributions towards MOP7’s organization.
The resolution on a tribute to the organizers (AEWA/MOP6 DR20) acknowledges the efforts by the organizers and funders of MOP6.
REPORT OF THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE: The Netherlands, Chair of the Credentials Committee, noted that of the 58 parties present at MOP6, 45 had submitted credentials, all of which were accepted.
ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE MEETING: Delegates adopted the meeting report with minor amendments.
CLOSURE OF THE MEETING: In their closing statements, the Czech Republic expressed her appreciation for AEWA and its Secretariat, and South Africa, on behalf of African countries, confirmed their commitment to implementing the Agreement and requested support from parties to enhance the implementation of the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa. The EU and its Member States considered MOP6 a success, highlighting satisfaction with the focus on proactive measures to protect waterbird species and their habitats and AEWA’s important role as a bridge between Africa and Europe.
Chair Spina thanked all those involved in organizing MOP6, especially government funders. AEWA Executive Secretary Trouvilliez said he recognized some delegates’ frustration with the amount of time spent on administration and financial matters, but emphasized their importance, and expressed hope that MOP7 would “spend more time talking about birds.” He thanked delegates for their commitment, devotion and patience with the Secretariat.
Chair Spina closed the meeting just before 3:00 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF AEWA MOP6
Every year, for thousands of years now, waterbirds have flown between Africa, Asia and Europe on vast migrations. In addition, every three years, for the past two decades, delegates from Africa, Asia and Europe have flocked together to take the pulse of waterbird conservation along the flyways that link their countries. The latest stopover for this latter migration was in Bonn, Germany, where delegates gathered beside the Rhine for the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement. Convening under the theme “Making flyway conservation happen,” MOP6 marked the 20th anniversary of AEWA.
Outcomes in Bonn included a zero percent budget increase, the extension and revision of the Plan of Action for Africa, and agreement to continue refining synergies between AEWA and other CMS instruments. Though financial matters and synergies provoked considerable discussion at MOP6, as expected, the scientific and technical resolutions passed with remarkably few amendments and little controversy. Some lauded this as a signal that AEWA had drafted excellent resolutions ahead of time and generally “come of age” as an Agreement. Others wondered whether perhaps the MOP6 agenda was not ambitious enough, particularly given the fact that progress toward the Agreement’s Strategic Plan goal of maintaining or restoring migratory waterbirds at a favorable conservation status throughout their flyways was deemed, for the second triennium in a row, “very insufficient.”
This brief analysis considers the outcomes of MOP6 in the context of AEWA’s anniversary, reflecting on the conservation legacy of the past two decades, and exploring the challenges facing migratory waterbirds and the Agreement moving forward.
FUELING (AND FUNDING) LONG-HAUL FLIGHT
In the twenty years since the adoption of AEWA, more and more parties in the African-Eurasian flyway region have acceded to the Agreement, to a total of 75 by MOP6. Although the increase is worth celebrating, a growing number of contracting parties is only positive to the extent that it raises the profile of AEWA, advances the Agreement’s implementation, and furnishes more specific and detailed knowledge of the conservation status of migratory waterbirds. Given that just 55% of current parties submitted national reports in the lead-up to MOP6, AEWA’s ability to accurately assess the plight of migratory waterbirds is severely limited.
In fact, reliable population trends are not available for two-thirds of AEWA species; thus, in this case, “no news does not mean good news.” Based on what is known, a third of waterbird species are in decline. Although Strategic Plan implementation improved slightly since MOP5, progress toward the overall goal of waterbird conservation dropped, an apparent discrepancy explained by the fact that the targets achieved relate to capacity building and awareness raising. While these activities are necessary for better conservation outcomes, they are not in themselves sufficient. Overall progress will depend on parties focusing more on targets that can directly influence the status of AEWA waterbirds—and on accurately relaying the results of these efforts through national reports.
At MOP6, some parties asked the Secretariat to assist with national reporting more directly, namely by following up with individual parties who submit inadequate data and by taking NGO reports into consideration when assessing the status of waterbirds and progress on implementing the Agreement. But while parties are happy to increase the workload of the already overstrained Secretariat, they are less willing to increase their financial contributions to AEWA, at least judging from the zero percent budget increase.
Innovative funding mechanisms, such as support from waterbird hunting organizations, might be necessary to close the gap between AEWA’s aspirations and its available funding. Enhancing synergies and sharing common services between CMS instruments may also help streamline the efficiency of AEWA, allowing the diversion of funds from administrative matters to technical support, but joint efforts also risk watering down the focus on waterbirds. For AEWA to really soar, more reliable, long-term funding is needed for implementation.
THINGS WITH FEATHERS: THE AFRICAN REGION AND NGOS
Despite a chronic lack of funding, MOP6 revealed some heartening AEWA success stories. If hope is “the thing with feathers,” as the poem by Emily Dickinson attests, the African continent in particular boasts a lot of it—literally, in terms of the sheer quantity of plumage on waterbirds, but also figuratively, in terms of positive outcomes for AEWA. The African Initiative and Plan of Action for Africa were initiated to enhance the implementation of AEWA in Africa, and they appear to be succeeding. Since initiation after MOP5, they have provided valuable technical support on the ground, drafted lists of waterbird populations of particular conservation concern for 35 African parties, created five priority species action plans, and started concrete education, conservation and restoration projects under the AEWA Small Grants Fund in Africa.
Although the Initiative sorely lacks for funding, smart national focal points in Africa “know how to use NGOs,” as one participant put it, to make up for the budget shortfall. In general, AEWA boasts a thriving and productive relationship with civil society, perhaps because the Agreement gives a greater weight and significance to NGOs “than any other MEA,” in the opinion of one delegate. In return, NGOs play a crucial role in gathering and supplying data to the International Waterbird Census, monitoring waterbird population trends and identifying priorities for listing species on AEWA annexes. NGOs are also deeply engaged in the more bureaucratic and administrative aspects of AEWA, including drafting resolutions and shaping documents at MOPs.
A signal of this close relationship at MOP6 was the decision to invite the African-Eurasian Waterbird Monitoring Partnership, a coalition of NGOs and other organizations, to create and manage a waterbirds monitoring fund, rather than establish such a fund under AEWA and UNEP. Flyway conservation is by definition a team effort, and arguably the greatest success story of AEWA on its twentieth anniversary—in addition but related to the African Initiative—is the dynamic community of close partnerships the Agreement has fostered between parties, experts, the Secretariat and civil society along the African-Eurasian flyway. The result is that AEWA, as one NGO representative put it, “is not just talking shop.”
GAINING ALTITUDE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNICAL MATTERS
Where AEWA does far more than talk is in its Technical Committee (TC), the voluntary group whose dedicated intersessional work is the engine that keeps the Agreement flying. MOP6 marked the inaugural creation of a prioritized and costed TC Work Plan, a quiet yet significant development that gives parties oversight of the many and ever-increasing number of the tasks being asked of the TC by the MOP. The prioritized work programme is modeled after the one created by the Ramsar Convention’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel, which found itself, like AEWA’s TC, asked to accomplish more than its funding or capacity allowed. The TC also hoped to establish a zero budget line in the core budget at MOP6, signaling financial support in principle for implementing the Work Plan, but since this did not happen, a future MOP will have to address this issue. In the meanwhile, the TC can begin tackling the highest priority tasks assigned to it by MOP6, increasing the likelihood of their completion.
An equally understated but no less significant outcome for scientific and technical matters at MOP6 was a resolution on the potential contributions of AEWA to achieving the Aichi Targets of the Convention of Biological Diversity and the SDGs. By specifying the relevance of the Agreement to achieving high-profile biodiversity and development targets and goals, this resolution offers concrete proof that AEWA can play a serious role in protecting communities and promoting sustainable livelihoods by improving ecological integrity, notably through protecting and restoring wetlands. The resolution shows that helping waterbirds ultimately helps people, which could potentially allow AEWA to tap into sustainable development funding. As one delegate put it, “if we play it smart, and move away from the exclusive focus on biodiversity, we could be talking about a 50 million rather than a 3 million euro budget.” With the resolution in hand, it is now up to parties and the Secretariat to highlight to relevant development agencies and organizations the many ways AEWA can help deliver on the Aichi Targets and the SDGs—thereby not killing, but rather helping, three birds with one stone.
FAR HORIZONS: THE FUTURE OF AEWA
For the past twenty years, AEWA has made powerful strides toward conserving migratory waterbirds along their African-Eurasian flyways despite the challenges posed by habitat loss, climate change, agrochemical use, power lines, illegal killing and taking, and lead shot, to name a few. Looking ahead, can AEWA continue to grow as an Agreement, not just in quantity of parties but in quality of implementation, without securing long-term funding sources, particularly given that the International Waterbird Census and the TC Work Plan both rely on voluntary contributions? Can the Agreement strategically assert its relevance toward helping achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and, in particular, the SDGs, and thereby access novel sources of financial support? Can AEWA build the capacity of contracting parties in terms of implementation and national reporting, thereby gaining a more comprehensive picture of the status of migratory waterbirds across the African-Eurasian flyway? Only the next twenty years will tell, but MOP6, for the moment, was a small step in the right direction.
6TH GI WACAF Regional Conference: The Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF Project) will hold its 6th biennial Regional Conference to gather government and industry stakeholders from 22 African countries to discuss preparedness and response systems for oil and gas spills. GI WACAF is a partnership between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues. dates: 16-19 November 2015 location: Accra, Ghana contact: Anton Rhodes, GI WACAF Project Manager email: email@example.com www: http://epaoilandgas.org/giwacaf%20.html
VIII International Spoonbill Workshop: This workshop, convened under the auspices of the AEWA Eurasian Spoonbill International Expert Group, will provide a unique opportunity to strengthen connectivity between people involved in studying and managing wetlands for the conservation of spoonbills and associated waterbird populations. dates: 23-29 November 2015 location: Tour du Valat, France contact: AEWA Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-2413 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.unep-aewa.org/en/eventcalendar/viii-international-spoonbill-workshop-aewa-eurasian-spoonbill-international-expert
CITES SC66: The 66th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC66) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will address, among other things, matters relating to UN General Assembly resolutions on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife and the SDGs, World Wildlife Day, and CITES and livelihoods. dates: 11-15 January 2016 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: CITES Secretariat phone: +41-22-917-8139 email: email@example.com www: https://cites.org/com/sc/66/index.php
Second Meeting of the UNEP Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives: The Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives will prepare for the next meeting of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP. dates: 15-19 February 2016 location: Nairobi, Kenya contact: Jorge Laguna-Celis, Secretary of Governing Bodies phone: +254-20-7623431 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.unep.org/about/sgb
Fourth Session of the IPBES Plenary: The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Plenary will review progress made on the adopted IPBES work programme for 2014-2018, including the related budget and institutional arrangements for its implementation. It will, in particular, be invited to consider the two first full assessment reports of IPBES on pollination and pollinators associated with food production, and scenarios analysis and modelling of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The reports will be considered for adoption and their respective summary for policymakers will be considered for approval. dates: 22-28 February 2016 location: Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia contact: IPBES Secretariat email: Secretariat@ipbes.net www: http://www.ipbes.net/index.php/plenary/ipbes-4
CBD SBSTTA 20 and SBI 1: The twentieth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 20) and the first meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation of the CBD will be held back to back. dates: 25 April – 7 May 2016 location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220 fax: +1-514-288-6588 email: email@example.com www: https:// www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=sbstta-20 and https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=SBI-01
Second Meeting of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA): The UNEA of UNEP will convene for the second time, representing the highest level of governance of international environmental affairs in the UN system. dates: 23-27 May 2016 location: Nairobi, Kenya contact: Jorge Laguna-Celis, Secretary of Governing Bodies phone: +254-20-7623431 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: https://www.myunea.org
IUCN World Conservation Congress: Held every four years, the Congress is the world’s largest conservation event, bringing together leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grassroots organizations. dates: 1-10 September 2016 location: Hawaii, US contact: IUCN phone: +41-22- 999-0368 fax: +41-22-999-0002 email: email@example.com www: http://www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org
CITES COP17: The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES COP17) is expected to address issues such as amendment proposals, nomenclature, non-detriment findings, capacity building and production systems for specimens of CITES-listed species. dates: 24 September – 5 October 2016 location: Johannesburg, South Africa contact: CITES Secretariat phone: +41-22-917-81-39 fax: +41-22-797-34-17 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.cites.org/
CBD COP13: The thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the CBD, the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP-MOP 8), and the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (COP-MOP 2) will be held back-to-back. dates: 4-17 December 2016 location: Cancun, Mexico contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220 fax: +1-514-288-6588 email: email@example.com www: https://www.cbd.int/cop/
CMS COP12: The twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals will be held in 2017. dates: to be confirmed, 2017 location: the Philippines contact: CMS Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-2401 fax: +49-28-815-2449 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.cms.int
AEWA MOP7: This meeting will take place in 2018, with the dates and venue to be determined. dates: to be confirmed, 2018 location: to be determined contact: AEWA Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-2413 email: email@example.com www: http://www.unep-aewa.org
For additional meetings, see http://nr.iisd.org/