AEWA Technical Committee Paves Way for the 8th Meeting of Parties

Bonn, 4 February 2021 – The 16th Meeting of the AEWA Technical Committee (TC16) was held virtually from 25 to 29 January 2021, with a record attendance of 61 participants from over 30 countries. The meeting brought together experts from a wide spectrum of fields as well as 14 Party Observers, several MEAs and partner organisations, making it the largest TC meeting ever conducted in the history of the Agreement.

Originally planned to take place in the Czech town of Mikulov at the kind invitation of the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic, the meeting was moved online due to the enduring global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his opening remarks, Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA said: “The current COVID pandemic highlights the links between environmental health, human health and wildlife health. It clearly shows the pertinence of the “One Health’’ approach. I hope we will be able to build back better by taking biodiversity as our best ally. This year is a crucial one for both nature and humankind with the CBD COP in China, the IUCN World Congress in Marseille but also the Climate Change Convention COP in Glasgow. The highest political level is now linking all these dimensions together as shown by the recent One Planet Summit. As the danger of new zoonotic diseases is increasing it is critical to have a good monitoring system in place for waterbirds, but also for other wild and domestic animals.”

This was the final meeting of the AEWA Technical Committee ahead of the 8th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to AEWA, which is planned to be held from 5 to 9 October 2021 in Budapest, Hungary.

The online meeting was presided by the TC chairperson Dr. Ruth Cromie from the United Kingdom (representing the North and South-west European region), who began the meeting by honoring two friends of AEWA: Paul G. Mafabi, the former director of Environment at the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda, who succumbed to COVID-19 on 15 September 2020 as well as Robert A. Vagg, the principal English language writer and editor in the Joint Communication Unit of the CMS and AEWA Secretariats, who passed away on 13 January 2021.  

The primary focus of AEWA TC16, was to assess the status of implementation of the Technical Committee’s Work Plan for the period 2019-2021 and to review and endorse draft documents and resolutions for submission to AEWA MOP8. The meeting dealt with 42 documents, including seven draft resolutions. The Committee also agreed on a list of remaining tasks to be advanced by the end of 2021, and possibly under some of them to deliver outputs to MOP8. Several tasks were agreed to be carried over into the next triennium as part of the draft TC Work Plan 2022-2024.

Early in the meeting, the Technical Committee received updates from its regional representatives on the status of implementation of AEWA in their respective regions since the last meeting in April 2019.

Documents for submission to MOP8 included the draft Conservation Status Report (8th Edition) the draft International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) as well as several other documents relating to International Species Action and Management Plans, proposed priorities for monitoring of waterbird populations and drivers of trends, proposed framework for AEWA flyway site network monitoring,  various guidance on the implementation of AEWA, overview of the knowledge gaps and needs relevant for the implementation of the Agreement, as well as the draft fortmats of the AEWA National Report and the Report on the Implementation of the Plan of Action for Africa for 2021-2023.

The Committee also considered the final assessment of AEWA’s contributions to the Biodiversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020, more specifically the so-called Aichi Targets, as well as a forward looking overview of the potential contributions of the Agreement to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Personally I’ve needed nature more than ever during the pandemic to help keep me grounded – so it feels good that we’ve brought together dozens of experts from their ‘home offices’ from across our flyway and beyond to graft on behalf of waterbirds and their precious wetland habitats. We’ve collectively finished up an array of key guidance documents and resolutions which make international conservation work. And although I promise I was concentrating (!) I kept looking at the Committee member from South Africa and wondering if she was able to see the enigmatic terns outside her window that will be outside my UK window in a few months’ time,” said Ruth Cromie.

The 16th Technical Committee meeting was the last meeting to be chaired by Ms Cromie as well as for several other members and thematic experts, including Ms Lizanne Roxburgh (Southern Africa), Mr Imad Cherkaoui (Northern Africa), Mr Pierre Defos du Rau (game management expert), Mr Philippe Karpe (rural economics expert) and Ms Olesya Petrovych (CEPA expert).

Sergey Dereliev, Head of the Science, Implementation and Compliance Unit at the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat said:“This was the first virtual meeting of the AEWA Technical Committee and although we missed meeting in person in the beautiful town of Mikulov, everyone embraced this new format and delivered a smooth and productive event. It was indeed remarkable to see how busy the Committee has been over the last 21 months since its previous meeting – evidenced by the extensive number of high-quality documents produced. Despite challenges, particularly over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MOP8 will be presented with significant and elaborate advice on advancing further the implementation of the Agreement and its Strategic Plan for 2019-2027. This was only possible thanks to the financial support provided by a few Contracting Parties and the dedicated work of the Committee.”  

The next meeting of the AEWA Technical Committee is tentatively scheduled for February/March 2022, shortly after MOP8, to focus on detailed planning of implementing its workplan for 2022-2024 to be adopted by the MOP.

TC16 meeting documents are available here.


About the Technical Committee

The Technical Committee is the AEWA body that provides scientific and technical advice and information to the Meeting of the Parties and, through the Agreement Secretariat, to Parties. Its membership comprises one expert from each of the nine regions of the Agreement Area; one representative each from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wetlands International, and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC); and one thematic expert each on the topics of rural economics; game management, environmental law and Communication, Education and Public-Awareness (CEPA). The Technical Committee further benefits from the expertise of several invited experts on specific topics currently on its workplan as well as permanent observers from a few partner organisations.

Last updated on 22 March 2021

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