Throughout history, migration of animals
has been a universal phenomenon. Many animals migrate in
response to biological requirements, such as the need to
find a suitable location for breeding and raising their
young, and to be in favourable areas for feeding. In some
cases, these specific requirements are fulfilled in locations
separated by distances of thousand of kilometres.
During their migration, these animals cross
political boundaries between nations; boundaries that have
no inherent meaning for animals, but which have a dramatic
influence on their annual life-cycles and their individual
survival chances, due to the great differences that exist
between countries in conservation policy. Migratory species
are dependent on the specific sites they find at the end
of their journey and along the way. Increasingly these sites
are threatened by man-made disturbances and habitat degradation.
Migratory animals may also fall victim to adverse natural
phenomena, such as unfavourable climatic conditions.
The above mentioned influences are aggravated
by the fact that it has long been held that migratory species
legally do not fall within the jurisdiction of one particular
country which could be held responsible for any harm occurring
1972 In 1972 the United
Nations Conference on the Human Environment, recognized
the need for countries to co-operate in the conservation
of animals that migrate across national boundaries or
between areas of national jurisdiction and the high seas.
This recommendation resulted in the Convention on the
Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
1983 This Convention,
commonly referred to as the Bonn Convention, (after the
German city where it was concluded in 1979), came into
force in 1983. The goal of the Convention is to provide
conservation for migratory terrestrial, marine and avian
species over the whole of their range. This is very important,
because failure to conserve these species at any particular
stage of their life cycle could adversely affect any conservation
efforts elsewhere. The fundamental principle of the Bonn
Convention therefore, is that the Parties of the Bonn
Convention acknowledge the importance of migratory species
being conserved and of Range States agreeing to take action
to this end whenever possible and appropriate, paying
special attention to migratory species, the conservation
status of which is unfavourable, and taking individually
or in co-operation appropriate and necessary steps to
conserve such species and their habitat. Parties acknowledge
the need to take action to avoid any migratory species
becoming endangered. In particular, the Parties:
*shall endeavour to provide immediate
protection for migratory species included in Appendix
*shall endeavour to conclude Agreements
covering the conservation and management of migratory
species included in Appendix II.
Agreements are the primary tools for the implementation
of the main goal of the Bonn Convention. Moreover, they
are more specific than the Convention itself, involve more
deliberately the Range States of the species to be conserved,
and are easier to put into practice than the whole Bonn
A Brief Historical
The African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement
is an international agreement aiming at the conservation
of migratory waterbirds.
1988 After the first
Conference of Parties of the Bonn Convention, where it
was decided to prepare an Agreement for the Western Palearctic
Anatidae, in 1988 the Dutch Government began developing
a draft Western Palearctic Waterfowl Agreement as part
of its Western Palearctic Flyway conservation programme.
During the process of drafting and consultation, the name
of the Agreement was changed into the African-Eurasian
Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), emphasizing the importance
of Africa for migratory birds.
1994 The first consultative
meeting of Range States of AEWA was held in Nairobi in
June 1994. This meeting strongly supported the concluding
of AEWA, and consensus could be achieved on almost all
matters of substance.
1995 In June 1995 the
final negotiation meeting was held in The Hague. The Meeting
adopted the Agreement by consensus and accepted with appreciation
the offer of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
to act as Depositary, to provide at its own expense until
1 January 1999, an Interim Secretariat and to host the
first session of the Meeting of the Parties. For more
information go to Agreement
1996 The Dutch Government,
Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries,
established the Interim Secretariat on 1 January 1996.
On 15 August 1996, the Agreement was opened for signature
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
1999 In accordance with
Article XIV, in 1999 the required number of at least fourteen
Range States, comprising at least seven from Africa and
seven from Eurasian, was achieved and the Agreement entered
into force on 1 November 1999. Only a few days later the
first Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP1) took
place in Cape Town, South Africa. The Meeting of the Parties
is the governing body of the Agreement. For more information
on this Meeting you are referred to the meetings
2000 As adopted by the
Meeting of the Parties, a permanent Secretariat was established
and co-located with the Convention Secretariat in Bonn.
Following the decision of the Meeting of the Parties,
this Secretariat is administered by UNEP.
2002 The second Session
of the Meeting of the Parties took place from 25 - 27
September 2002 in Bonn, Germany. The Proceedings of the
Meeting can be downloaded
2005 The African-Eurasian
Waterbird Agreement, which was concluded under the aegis
of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals
in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 16 June 1995 celebrated
its 10th Anniversary.
To mark the 10th
anniversary of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian
Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) the Standing Committee of
AEWA has established the AEWA
Waterbird Conservation Award
in order to
recognise and honour institutions and individuals within
the Agreement area that have significantly contributed
towards the conservation and sustainable use of waterbirds.
2005 The third Session
of the Meeting of the Parties took place from 23-27 October
2005, in Dakar, Senegal. For more information please visit
section on the AEWA website.
2006 AEWA, together with the Convention
on Migratory Species (CMS)
and other partner organizations, launched the first
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)
on the weekend of 8-9 April 2006.
2007 World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)
was celebrated for second time in 56 countries and at
more than 100 different locations all across the planet
on the weekend of 12-13 May 2007. With these numbers,
AEWA has managed to surpass the number of events and
participating countries in 2006 (70 registered events
in 46 countries)! During the course of summer of 2007,
the AEWA Secretariat received 157 drawings from children
from all over the world, who took part in the Drawing
Competition. The children up to the age
of 16 years were requested to portray their thoughts
on this year's WMBD theme “migratory birds in a changing
climate” and to express their fears and visions on paper.
2008 World Migratory Bird
was celebrated for the third time on 10-11 May 2008
and this year more than 136 events were registered in
59 countries around the world.
2008 The fourth Session of the Meeting
of the Parties took place from 15-19 September 2008
in Antananarivo, Madagascar. For more information on
the outcome of the meeting please visit the meetings
section on the AEWA website.
2009 The fourth World Migratory Bird
Day (WMBD) took place on 9-10 May 2009 and motivated
thousands of people in over 50 countries to conduct
special events and activities to mark this global celebration.
The central theme of this
year’s WMBD: “Barriers to migration”
helped to highlight the increasing threat posed by man-made
structures on migratory birds, such as wind turbines,
power lines, windows and tall buildings etc. Over 130
different WMBD events, which took place in all corners
of the world, were registered on the WMBD website (www.worldmigratorybirdday.org).
2010 On 8-9 May 2010 World Migratory Bird Day was
celebrated in over 40 countries around the world. Under the theme “Save
migratory birds in crisis - every species counts!”, over 90
registered events took place around the world. The 2010 campaign was
closely linked to the International Year of Biodiversity and raised
awareness on globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular
focus on those on the very edge of extinction – the Critically
Endangered migratory birds.
Read more more about
the event in 2010.
2010 The Symposium to celebrate
the 15th Anniversary of the Agreement on the Conservation
of Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) was hosted by the
Dutch Government and partially funded by the Department
of Nature, Landscape & Rural Affairs of the
Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food
Quality. The Symposium took place in The Hague,
where AEWA was concluded on 16 June 1995 at the
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This two-day symposium was opened by Mr. H.M.A.
van den Berg, representing the City of The Hague
and Prof. Dr. André van der Zande, Secretary General
of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food
Quality. Over 100 participants from 36 countries
across the entire AEWA region and beyond were able
to look back on the many positive achievements made
under AEWA during the course of the last 15 years,
and most importantly to examine the future role
of the Agreement and the challenges faced. The outcome
of the informative and productive discussions during
the workshops was held down in the
Hague Action Statement,
which outlines the currently crucial international
actions necessary for the conservation
of migratory waterbirds and their habitats.
website showcases 15th Anniversary of AEWA.
2012 The fifth Session of the Meeting of the Parties
was held in La Rochelle, France from 14-18 May 2012
and was attended by more than 200 participants.
The meeting was preceded by an African regional
preparatory workshop aimed at revising and validating
a draft Plan of Action (PoA) for the conservation
of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in Africa.
For more information on the outcome of both meetings
please visit the meeting
section on the AEWA website.