"The History of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds" by one of AEWA's founding fathers, Dr. Gerard C. Boere, provides a detailed account of the development of AEWA.


The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment recognizes 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 results in the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
CMS comes into force. The goal of the Convention is to provide for the conservation of migratory terrestrial, marine and avian species throughout their range. International agreements are the primary tools for the implementation of CMS. They are more specific than the Convention itself, involve the Range States more deliberately, and are easier put into practice than CMS.
The first Conference of Parties (COP1) to CMS decides to prepare an Agreement for the Western Palearctic Anatidae. The Dutch Government begins developing a draft Western Palearctic Waterfowl Agreement as part of its Western Palearctic Flyway conservation programme. During the drafting process the name of the Agreement is changed into the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), emphasizing the importance of Africa for migratory birds.
The first consultative meeting of Range States of AEWA is held in June in Nairobi, Kenya.
The final negotiation meeting on AEWA takes place in June in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Meeting adopts the Agreement by consensus and accepts with appreciation the offer of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to act as Depositary and to provide an Interim Secretariat at its own expense until 1 January 1999.
The Dutch Government establishes the Interim Secretariat on 1 January. On 15 August the Agreement is opened for signature.
In accordance with Article XIV of AEWA the required number of at least fourteen Range States, comprising at least seven from Africa and seven from Eurasia, is achieved and the Agreement enters into force on 1 November. A few days later the first Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP1) takes place in Cape Town, South Africa, with funding from the AEWA depositary, the Government of the Netherlands.
A permanent Secretariat is established and co-located with the Convention Secretariat in Bonn, and administered by UNEP.
The second Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP2) takes place in Bonn, Germany.

AEWA celebrates its 10th Anniversary. To mark this event the AEWA Standing Committee establishes the AEWA Waterbird Conservation Award in order to recognize and honour institutions and individuals within the Agreement area that have significantly contributed towards the conservation and sustainable use of waterbirds. Award ceremonies have, since then, been held at each Meeting of the Parties (2005, 2008 and 2012).


The third Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP3) takes place in Dakar, Senegal.

AEWA, together with the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and other partner organizations, launches the first World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) on the weekend of 8 - 9 April. The campaign has since then been celebrated each year with a consistently increasing number of events and countries participating all across the world.
The fourth Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP4) takes place in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The Parties adopt the African Initiative for the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in Africa.
The symposium to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of AEWA is hosted by the Dutch Government and takes place in The Hague.
The fifth Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP5) takes place in La Rochelle, France.

The Agreement turns 20! Anniversary celebrations happen throughout the year and climax in the sixth Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6), which takes place from 9-14 November 2015, in Bonn, Germany.