AEWA MOP8 Report Shows Conservation Status and Priority Actions for Waterbirds in Africa and Eurasia

Budapest, 26 September 2022 – The flagship AEWA report being presented at the 8th Meeting of the Parties to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA MOP8) being held in Budapest this week is the “Report on the Conservation Status of Migratory Waterbirds in the Agreement Area”.

The report brings together the latest waterbird survey and monitoring data available across the African-Eurasian Flyways to provide insight into the status and trends of the waterbird populations protected under AEWA. The report provides the basis for informed international conservation action under AEWA as well as the means to assess the effectiveness of the actions being taken over time.

“Regular estimates of population size and trends are an absolute prerequisite for the conservation and the sustainable use of waterbird populations under AEWA. Without the data and the analysis contained in this report, we would not know where to focus our priorities, nor would we know how we are doing in terms of implementing the Agreement and achieving its objectives,” says Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA.

The data used to compile the report is based on extensive surveys and monitoring work being conducted across many of the 119 countries that are range states to AEWA.

The report is showing that 41% of all waterbird populations protected under AEWA are decreasing in the short-term, while 29% are stable and 30% are increasing. In the long-term, 43% are decreasing, 23% are stable and 34% are increasing. Both the short and long-term trends are used to determine the categorization and level of protection given to populations listed under AEWA, which also determines the conservation and management regime being applied to these populations under the Agreement.

“While knowledge of the status of waterbird populations has significantly improved since the establishment of AEWA, important gaps remain, particularly in the eastern part of the Agreement Areas where there are fewer Contracting Parties,” says Trouvilliez.

According to the report, there is a pressing need to step up the recruitment of new Contracting Parties along the West Asian / East African Flyway and to significantly intensify implementation assistance for the Agreement through the AEWA Plan of Action for African, as well as possibly creating a similar mechanism for Central and Southwest Asia. 

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) © Szabolcs Nagy/Rubicon

In addition to providing a number of recommended actions based on the latest flyway-level population trends for waterbirds in the African-Eurasian Flyways, the CSR also provides insight into many of the threats confronting waterbird populations covered by AEWA.

Among the 38 different threats reported, habitat shifting and alteration, invasive alien species, unsustainable harvest and poaching as well as dams, and water management are the threats being recorded for most of the AEWA species. On top of these threats, climate change adds another layer of pressures.  

“The CSR is an iterative process which tells you what you need to do and then how well you have done it. It helps AEWA Parties identify where the priorities are and how well they have collectively performed when it comes to conserving migratory waterbirds in the African-Eurasian Flyways,” says Sergey Dereliev, Head of the Science, Implementation and Compliance Unit at the AEWA Secretariat.

CSR8 provides important insight into the status of the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2027 and includes valuable information with regard to five of the six purpose-level indicators designed to measure the achievement of the overall purpose of the plan to improve the state of waterbird populations by 2027.

Alarmingly, negative changes are being reported for several of the indicators, showing that on the flyway level the implementation of AEWA is sliding backward from the situation in 2018 when the latest AEWA Strategic Plan was adopted.

The report, therefore, calls on countries working together under the framework of AEWA to strongly enhance the implementation of the Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2027 in order to reverse the negative changes and step up their efforts to achieve the many targets that require particular attention under each of the Objectives of the plan.

The CSR recommends taking several actions to build on and continue the successful work already taking place under AEWA. For example, in addition to adopting a more systematic approach to monitoring migratory waterbirds, in particular in the eastern part of the Agreement area, the report also recommends the development of schemes to monitor the breeding of migratory waterbirds in Africa, Central and Southwest Asia and Russia. 

Recruitment of additional Parties to join the Agreement, intensifying the assistance to AEWA Parties both in Africa and in Central and Southwest Asia, filling the gaps in the planning and implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan 2019 – 2027, producing additional guidance for member states on how to best conserve and manage their waterbird populations and enhancing actions that contribute to the conservation of sites and habitats important for waterbirds – are also among the priority steps identified in the report.

Filling the gaps in information relating to the sustainable use and management of waterbird species that are subject to hunting (so-called quarry species) and continuing the good work being conducted on both the species and flyway level in the framework of the International Single and Multi-Species Action Plans have also been identified in the report as key actions countries should take.

“Internationally coordinated conservation action for a number of AEWA-listed species such as the Lesser White-fronted Goose, the Taiga Bean Goose, and the Northern Bald Ibis has clearly shown that coordination along flyways can significantly contribute to maintaining and improving the conservation status of species,” says Dereliev. 


Last updated on 26 September 2022

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