Black-tailed Godwit Range States along the East Atlantic Flyway Agree on Urgent Conservation Action at Staging and Wintering Sites

Bonn, 22 December 2017 – Key Range States and species experts came together in Dakar, Senegal on 13-14 November 2017 for the 1st regional meeting of the AEWA Black-tailed Godwit International Working Group for the countries hosting the species during winter along the East Atlantic Flyway.

The Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa limosa), is recognized as Near-Threatened on the IUCN Red List and is listed on Table 1 Column A of the AEWA Action Plan. Despite ongoing conservation efforts, the Western European/North Western and West African flyway population which was the focus of this meeting continues to decline.

Meeting participants included representatives from Portugal, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and the Netherlands as well as international observer organizations and the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat. Hosted by the Dutch Ambassador to Senegal, H.E. Theo Peters, at the Ambassador’s Residence, the meeting was chaired by Colonel Lamine Kane, Head of the Directorate of National Parks from the Ministry of Environment of Senegal.

Following an overview of the species' status as well as updates from each country, the Acting Coordinator of the Working Group, Marc van Roomen (Sovon), led the group through an assessment of implementation progress made against the actions listed for the region in the AEWA International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Black-tailed Godwit, which was adopted at the 4th Meeting of the AEWA Parties in 2008.

Almost ten years after the adoption of the Action Plan, it was concluded that although some progress has been made, much still needs to be done to ensure the protection of the species and to halt the current decline. Threats during migration and wintering include habitat destruction and degradation, in connection with expanding human populations and droughts, illegal killing, as well as disturbance caused by hunting, the expansion of rice field farms in some countries, as well as the abandonment of rice agriculture in other countries.

The Black-tailed Godwit is our national bird in the Netherlands and therefore it was a priority but also great pleasure to meet with the other countries along the flyway with whom we share these birds to discuss what we can do together to halt the decline of the species.”

Wilmar Remmelts, AEWA Focal Point, Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

Meeting participants discussed, in particular, the complex relationship of the species with rice agriculture, which appears to have both positive as well as detrimental effects on Black-tailed Godwits along the flyway depending on how farming is undertaken. A key question to address is therefore which rice agriculture policies benefit Black-tailed Godwits.

The main outcome of the meeting is the development of a workplan detailing the most urgent conservation priorities for the East Atlantic Flyway Range States for the next three years, outlining detailed priority activities for each country, as well as overall urgent research needs.

The AEWA Black-tailed Godwit International Working Group was convened by the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat in 2010 and the coordination of the Working Group is currently provided by Sovon (the Dutch Center for Field Ornithology). The meeting was kindly funded by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and organized by Sovon together with Wetlands International Africa.

Last updated on 10 April 2018

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