25 Years of AEWA – Statement by David Stroud, Honorary Patron of AEWA
For millions of years birds have connected our planet – indeed they were doing so long before we humans were there to wonder at their spectacular annual migrations.
When humankind did appear to join the world of waterbirds, it was unsurprising that one of the very first animal sculptures, made some 30,000 years ago, was that of a Palaeolithic waterbird.
Birds' movements link our world at many scales, yet through human activity, these ecological connections are becoming weaker, and in some cases have broken. We have lost some species and others teeter on the edge of extinction.
For a quarter of a century, AEWA has provided an effective response by connecting people that care about waterbirds. AEWA’s strength has been not only to connect governments – its formal signatories – but also to bring together multiple interest groups that all share a common concern for migratory waterbirds: whether they be individuals or organisations; governmental or non-governmental; from north or south. There is no doubt this has reduced pressure on waterbirds and their wetland habitats.
Yet although AEWA’s success has been significant, the pressure from people on waterbirds and wetlands continues to grow. In the last 25 years the human population of the Agreement area has increased by about 835 million.
This anniversary is a time to celebrate what AEWA has achieved. But whilst we wonder at the marvels of waterbirds, and their migrations that connect the world, we need to redouble our own efforts. We should reach out to connect and engage with those whose activities may be harming waterbirds, and thus broaden the scope of national implementation.
Waterbirds need our help and they need it now more than ever before.
Last updated on 16 June 2020