Dr Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, addressing the plenary during the opening ceremony of AEWA MOP8 in Budapest, Hungary - © Csaba Pelsőczy
Budapest, 27 September 2022 – The Eight Meeting of the Parties (MOP8) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) opened on Tuesday, 27 September in Budapest Hungary, under the theme “Strengthening Flyway Conservation in a Changing World”.
The meeting was officially opened by Ms Flora Mokgohloa (South Africa) as Chair of AEWA MOP7, who thanked the Government of Hungary for hosting the meeting.
During the opening ceremony, delegates were warmly welcomed by Dr Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary as well as a number of other host country representatives, which included Mr. András Rácz, State Secretary for Nature Conservation, Mr. Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication and Relations, as well as Mr. Bertalan Balczó, Deputy State Secretary for Nature Conservation.
In his opening speech, Dr Zsolt Semjén speaking on behalf of the host country welcomed all participants to Budapest and highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the conservation of wetlands and waterbirds.
“The conservation of wetlands and waterbirds is a priority for Hungary, which we have been trying to ensure for many decades through a number of measures. We also know that the efforts of a single country are not enough to protect waterbirds, as they are exposed to many threats during the course of their migration. We can do all we can to protect them, if the countries along their migration routes do not have the legal regulatory instruments and measures in place to ensure that they find adequate habitats and feeding areas to ensure the necessary resting and living conditions. It is also important that these measures are coordinated. And that is unthinkable without international cooperation.”
Dr Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary
In her opening remarks, Ms. Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) highlighted AEWA’s important role as the largest daughter Agreement of CMS and gave special thanks to the Government of Hungary for hosting this important international meeting. She encouraged delegates to make good use of their time in the “extraordinary city of Budapest” to do all they can to make the meeting a success. Underlining the importance of strengthening AEWA, she noted that this was a key moment for advancing work for the conservation of migratory waterbirds, as well as biodiversity more broadly.
Addressing the meeting through a speech delivered by video message, Ms. Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, highlighted AEWA as an important instrument through which countries can make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
“As we seek to deepen our impact through this Agreement, we must remember that the ecosystem-based approach to habitat conservation taken for migratory waterbirds supports both effective environmental management, and local communities who often depend on the ecosystem services derived from the same wetlands used by waterbirds.”
Ms. Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme
She also said that there was a “need to strengthen flyway conservation in a changing world” and emphasized that AEWA’s internationally coordinated action plans are important tools to improve the conservation status of endangered waterbird populations, calling on all stakeholders to “invest time and resources in these action plans” and that it was “now time to strengthen flyway conservation from the arctic circle to South Africa.
In his opening address to AEWA MOP8, Jacques Trouvilliez, AEWA Executive Secretary, stressed that MOP8 represented a crucial moment for the Agreement, which would determine what could be achieved in the following years, highlighting the need of countries to increase financial support to allow the Secretariat to continue doing its work.
“Like emergency doctors, we keep seeing new species or populations in need of our skills and interventions. Like emergency doctors, we are fighting to avoid extinction. Like emergency doctors, we need the resources to do more because when we all work together at the bedside of an endangered species, we achieve success.”
Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of the AEWA Secretariat
Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA addressing the plenary during the first day of MOP8 in Budapest, Hungary - © Aydin Bahramlouian
Following the opening ceremony, the MOP adopted the Rules of Procedure and elected Hungary as Chair of MOP8 and South Africa as Vice-Chair. In his opening address, the representative of Hungary, Mr Levente Kőrösi, from the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, thanked the meeting for electing Hungary as Chair and paid tribute to the work of Mr Zoltán Czirák, former AEWA National Focal Point of Hungary, who had sadly passed away in March 2021, and who had been deeply involved in the preparation of AEWA MOP8. Delegates then heard opening statements (with written reports submitted by the EU, Eswatini, South Africa, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine) and reports from AEWA bodies: the Standing Committee, Technical Committee and the Secretariat, the Depositary, and reports on the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan 2019-2027 and the African Initiative and Plan of Action for Africa 2019 -2027.
In the afternoon, the meeting established two Sessional Working Groups: The Finance and Administration Working Group (Working Group I), with Simon Mackown (United Kingdom) as Chair and Uganda serving as Vice-Chair and the Scientific and Technical Working Group, presided over by Andras Schmidt (Hungary) and Egypt serving as Vice-Chair. The meeting then resumed in plenary covering the agenda items on the Analysis and Synthesis of National Reports, the Implementation of the Plan of Action for Africa (PoAA), the Report on the Joint Information Management, Communication and Awareness-Raising (Unit) shared by CMS and AEWA and a Report on the Implementation of the AEWA Communication Strategy.
As one of the highlights of the afternoon, Szabolcs Nagy (Wetlands International) gave a presentation summarizing the main findings of the AEWA Conservation Status Report (8th Edition), drawing the attention of the meeting to the nicely presented Summary of the CSR8 report that had been included in the MOP8 registration pack handed out to the delegates at the start of the meeting.
The afternoon session then included reports on the Implementation Review Process (IRP), Institutional Arrangements and the Report of the Secretariat on Finance and Administrative Issues in 2019 – 2022 and a presentation on the Draft Budget and Secretariat’s Programme of Work for the 2023-2025 triennium, which was the final item covered in plenary.
Toward the end of the last day, MOP8 delegates split into two working groups, one on Finance and Administrative Issues and one on Scientific and Technical Matters, which began reviewing draft resolutions on the Procedure for Submission of Proposals for Amendments to the Agreement (DR1), Adoption of Amendments to the AEWA Annexes (DR2) and the State of Implementation of AEWA and its Strategic Plan 2019 -2027 (DR3).
At the end of the first day, delegates attended a reception offered by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
About this Report
This AEWA MOP8 DAILY COVERAGE feature has been prepared by the Joint Communications Unit of the UNEP/CMS and UNEP/AEWA Secretariat. The feature includes a short summary and audio-visual elements (photos, videos and audio recordings) of the main highlights of each day of the Eight Meeting of the Parties (MOP8) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) taking place in Budapest, Hungary from 27 – 30 September 2022. The product is prepared in-house using available capacity within the Secretariat. Its main purpose is to capture the highlights of AEWA MOP8 for public awareness and communication purposes, i.e. it does not serve as an official record of the meeting. For feedback, content suggestions and inquiries please contact Mr. Florian Keil, AEWA Information Officer by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The AEWA Secretariat would like to sincerely thank the Government of Hungary and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) for providing audio-visual content in the form of photos and videos for this special coverage of AEWA MOP8.
Last updated on 19 December 2022