AEWA’s African Initiative Shines Focus on the Madagascar Pond-heron, White-winged Flufftail and Climate Change Adaptation Efforts

Discover the African Initiative Highlight in 2021 & 2022


Bonn, 4 April 2022 – Millions of migratory waterbirds depend on Africa’s wetlands for breeding, feeding, resting and nesting. With the survival of many waterbird populations being particularly at risk in the Afro-tropical region, the AEWA African Initiative plays a crucial role by offering a package of support focused on promoting the implementation of AEWA on the continent. Substantial progress was recorded on a number of activities related to the AEWA African Initiative despite the restrictions and changed conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservation actions for the Madagascar Pond-heron and the White-winged Flufftail, as well as the integration of waterbird conservation objectives in Climate Change adaptation action were amongst the activities conducted in 2021.

Conservation Action for the Madagascar Pond-heron

A project conducted by ASITY Madagascar in spring 2021 helped advance implementation of the AEWA Single Species Action Plan for the conservation of the Endangered Madagascar Pond-heron. Made possible with funding secured by AEWA from the United Kingdom, the project included surveys which confirmed the presence of the Madagascar Pond-heron and other endangered species at River Loza and Lake Tseny, while breeding of the species was confirmed at River Loza. Ongoing threats identified at River Loza during these surveys were addressed at a multistakeholder workshop involving local communities and regional and national government institutions. The workshop resulted in confirmed engagement and consensus from stakeholders to enhance community-based management, sustainable use and protection of the River Loza site, as well as promote its international designation as a Ramsar Site.

Integrating Waterbird Conservation Objectives in Climate Change Adaptation

A 4-day training workshop on the integration of waterbird conservation objectives in Climate Change Adaptation took place online from 13-16 December 2021. The workshop aimed to train technical and policy experts dealing with waterbird conservation and climate change issues in eligible AEWA Parties (Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe). Organized by Wetlands International in collaboration with the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat and other CRF project partners, the training took place as part of the wider African-Eurasian Climate Resilient Flyways (CRF) project, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German government’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), and co-funded by the governments of Luxembourg and Switzerland.

White-winged Flufftail conservation action in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority and BirdLife South Africa continued efforts on the ground for the conservation of the Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail, with funding secured by AEWA from the European Commission’s GPGC Programme and co-funding from the UK. The project aimed to promote engagement of local communities in the sustainable use and management of the Berga Wetland - the only known breeding site for the species in Ethiopia and the most important globally. A draft Community-Based Conservation Programme document will be presented a multi-stakeholder review, consolidation and approval process in 2022. It also constituted the basis for the traditional by-laws validated by the local communities and law enforcement offices at a meeting in Inchini Town in July 2021, as immediate guidance for the sustainable use of the wetland. Two stakeholder consultation meetings held in Ambo Town and Holeta Town resulted in consensus for the designation of the Upper Berga floodplain as a Protected Area under regional administration. This was followed by the participative demarcation and delineation of the Protected Area boundaries and its mapping by an assigned multi-stakeholder committee in July 2021.


The European Commission was recognized as Champion Plus for its generous support of and commitment towards the AEWA African Initiative and has been supporting the latter for the period 2017-2023. A number of activities under the AEWA African Initiative have been funded with the contribution granted by the European Commission under the Migratory Species Champion Programme and through the Global Public Goods and Challenges (GPGC) Cooperation Agreement with UN Environment.

Last updated on 05 April 2022

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South Africa
United Republic of Tanzania
Climate Change
Habitat loss and degradation
Ardeola idae
Sarothrura ayresi
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