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Report of main proceedings for 12 November 2015

6th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA MOP6)

AEWA MOP6 met in two parallel working group sessions throughout the day.

The Finance and Administrative Working Group continued its deliberations of the draft budget proposal for 2016-2018, including four possible budget scenarios, and the related draft resolution. In the evening, this working group addressed several other draft resolutions, and synergies in the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) Family.

The Scientific and Technical Working Group discussed and amended several draft resolutions.

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE WORKING GROUP

This closed working group, chaired by Chandanee Jhowry (Mauritius), met throughout the day. It continued its deliberations of the draft budget proposal for 2016-2018 and the related draft resolution on financial and administrative matters (AEWA/MOP 6.20 Rev.1 and DR18 Rev.1).

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 assessment, with some delegates preferring that an adjusted scale be used, given the fact that AEWA is not a global agreement. Delegates wondered how the two scales would differ; no final agreement was reached on this matter.

In the evening, this working group addressed draft resolutions on: the new Arabic version of the Agreement text (AEWA/MOP6 DR2); Communication Strategy (AEWA/MOP6 DR10 Rev.1); and resource mobilization for the implementation of AEWA (AEWA/MOP6 DR21). Synergies in the CMS Family were also discussed (AEWA/MOP6 Inf.8). Discussions continued late into the evening.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP

This working group, chaired by David Stroud (UK), Chair of the AEWA Technical Committee (TC), addressed eleven remaining draft resolutions, all of which were forwarded to plenary with amendments.

On proposed amendments to the AEWA Annexes (AEWA/MOP6 DR1), delegates 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.” They also agreed to maintain the name “African penguin” rather than “jackass penguin,” and to forward the draft resolution to plenary with these changes.

On strengthening monitoring of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR3), the working group decided to transmit to plenary the draft resolution after agreeing to invite the African-Eurasian Waterbird Monitoring Partnership to create and manage a monitoring fund and to urge parties to contribute financially to this fund.

Delegates agreed to submit to plenary with minor amendments the draft resolutions on: conservation and sustainable use of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR4); revision and adoption of conservation guidelines (AEWA/MOP6 DR5); and update guidance on climate change adaptation measures for waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR6).

On adoption and implementation of International Single and Multi-Species Action and Management Plans (AEWA/MOP6 DR8), delegates agreed to add text on “anticipating the forthcoming possible changes of AEWA listing of species due to recent changes in the global Red Listing.” In the afternoon, the EU, on behalf of its member states, stated support for the curlew action plan and ITALY reiterated their wish to be included as a range state. The draft resolution was forwarded to plenary with minor amendments.

On improving the conservation status of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR9 Rev.1), delegates added reference to the review “Best practices to mitigate seabird bycatch in longline, trawl and gillnet fisheries – efficiency and practical applicability.” They decided to retain reference to “unsustainable fisheries” among listed threats to AEWA species. They discussed adding reference to the first UN Environment Assembly (UNEA1) resolution on marine plastic debris and microplastics, which, among other things, calls for a study on this issue and subsequent recommendations to UNEA2. Delegates also added an operative paragraph that calls upon parties, as appropriate, to implement the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catches of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (IPOA-Seabirds) and comply with all current binding and recommendatory measures aimed at the protection of seabirds, as adopted by regional fisheries management organizations.

In the afternoon, the EU, on behalf of its member states, suggested several additional amendments to this draft resolution, including: the addition of a paragraph requesting the Secretariat, subject to availability of financial resources, and in consultation with the TC, to facilitate the development of an implementation process for the resolution; and operative text calling on parties, as appropriate, to implement the IPOA-Seabirds.

On addressing the impacts of renewable energy deployment on migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR11), delegates agreed to minor amendments to, inter alia, the first operative paragraph, expanding reference to the impacts of renewable energy technologies on protected areas to include “other sensitive areas of importance to migratory waterbirds, as appropriate.”

On avoiding additional and unnecessary mortality of migratory waterbirds (AEWA/MOP6 DR12), ISRAEL disagreed with an amendment by the EU, on behalf of 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.

On AEWA International Implementation Tasks 2016-2018 (AEWA/MOP6 DR13), UNEP suggested preambular text recalling Resolution A/Res/70/1 of the UN General Assembly on “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” including 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

On institutional arrangements: Technical Committee (AEWA/MOP6 DR17), delegates agreed to add a task to the work programme of the Committee requesting an information document on the process, timelines and data dependencies related to change in species conservation status in the context of the AEWA Action Plan.

IN THE CORRIDORS

With field excursions to the Lower Rhine and around historic Bonn on the agenda Friday, followed by final plenary on Saturday, delegates rolled up their sleeves and launched straight into their working groups’ agendas on Thursday morning. The Scientific and Technical Working Group soared through the eleven draft resolutions still under its consideration, agreeing to amendments and forwarding the documents to plenary well ahead of schedule. This freed happy delegates to attend side events, eat leftover chocolate cake iced with decorative ducks (offered by Wetlands International to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Waterbird Census), or, if they dared, join their beleaguered colleagues in the Finance and Administrative Working Group.

Delegates in that room were mired in discussions from morning until evening, trying to wrestle unwieldy budget lines and differing opinions into a coherent draft resolution they could all agree on. Proving particularly contentious was the recurring question of whether AEWA should chart its own course or use existing frameworks and mechanisms – for instance with respect to a scale of assessment for parties’ financial contributions. A lack of information on practical implications – in this case the actual differences between the UN scale versus an adapted scale of some kind – kept the matter from moving forward. “I’d rather be counting birds,” lamented one delegate.

By the end, no doubt, the Finance and Administrative Working Group participants will be so cross-eyed they’ll hardly be capable of focusing on waterbirds on the Rhine, or Bonn’s beautiful architecture, during tomorrow’s field excursions. Or perhaps, as rumor has it, some delegates may have to cancel on tomorrow’s activities for the sake of completing the working group’s tasks. At AEWA, at least when it comes to administrative and finance matters, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of AEWA MOP6 will be available on Tuesday, 17 November 2015, online at: http://enb.iisd.org/unep/aewa/mop6/

Further information

Participants

National governments
Israel
Italy
UK
Negotiating blocs
European Union

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