AEWA Workshop Strengthens Data Management Capacity in Africa

Bonn, 31 October 2016 - The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, in collaboration with Wetlands International and the Technical Support Unit (TSU) for the implementation of the AEWA African Initiative , organized a Waterbird Data Management Workshop from 22 to 24 October in Dakar, Senegal, immediately following the 14th Pan-African Ornithological Congress (PAOC 14) which also took place in Dakar. The local organization of the workshop was supported by Wetlands International Africa.

The aim of the workshop was to improve the capacity in the anglophone AEWA Contracting Parties in Africa to manage waterbird monitoring data collected in the framework of the International Waterbird Census (IWC), as well as to cleanse and fill in gaps in waterbird and site-related data currently available in the IWC database for the participating countries. The expected impact of the workshop is the substantial enhancement to the quality and quantity of the data over time.

“Conservation starts and ends with data. In the AEWA processes,  knowledge of population sizes and trends determines the listing of each population on Annex 3 of the Agreement, which in turn defines the suite of measures that each Range State needs to put in place for those populations. The changes in population sizes and trends are also a mirror of the effectiveness of those conservation measures and a demonstration of how successfully the treaty is being implemented by its Parties. The International Waterbird Census has been a major provider of population data on AEWA species, but amongst all AEWA flyways, the Afrotropical and the West Asia-East Africa flyways have the lowest quality of population data. This workshop was an important event for improving and streamlining IWC data management workflow in African countries, which will help with increasing data availability and improving population estimates of waterbird populations in Africa” said Sergey Dereliev, AEWA Technical Officer.

Made possible through a generous financial contribution from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in Switzerland, the workshop brought together some 20 participants, among them national IWC data managers from 13 African countries (Angola, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland,  Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe) as well as representatives from some AEWA partners concerned with waterbird data collection in Africa, including Wetlands International Africa and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative.

The training, which was conducted by data management experts of Wetlands International and the TSU, equipped workshop participants with an in-depth understanding of IWC processes, data management and the underlying systems and tools required for data entry, curation and analysis. It was also an opportunity for participants to exchange relevant experience and expertise. Hands-on sessions enabled participants to practise and consolidate the knowledge and skills they acquired during the workshop, for example on reviewing and cleansing existing IWC historical data. In addition, a case study on the Coordinated Waterbird Counts (CWAC) programme, implemented by South Africa, helped to illustrate effective data management in the region.

Under the sponsorship of Wetlands International participants attended the last day of PAOC 14. This gave them the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion on IWC planning and coordination at the regional level as well as in a symposium on the links between waterbird data collection and policy and decision-making. 


Background information:

The need for improved waterbird data from Africa is addressed in the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa (PoAA) and it was also identified by the AEWA National Focal Points of all five sub-regions as a priority to be addressed at the sub-regional level. In December 2014, a first data management workshop was conducted in Dakar, with a focus on francophone AEWA Parties in Africa.

The International Waterbird Census (IWC), coordinated by Wetlands International, is a framework for the acquisition and management of waterbird data globally, using standardized methods. The data obtained from the IWC provide useful information for assessing and monitoring changes in the status and trends of waterbird populations and their sites both nationally and internationally. This valuable scheme for the management and conservation of waterbirds also contributes to the development of the reports on the conservation status for AEWA populations and their sites, as well as for waterbird population estimates in the framework of the Ramsar Convention.

Last updated on 08 November 2016

News item
Species group: