Botswana Accedes to AEWA as Party No. 77

Bonn, 21 November 2017 - The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat is pleased to announce the accession of the Republic of Botswana as AEWA’s 77th Party.

Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa and has borders with Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The country has an area of just over 600,000 km2 and a population of 1.6 million making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world; the capital is Gaborone.  The country is relatively flat with seventy per cent of the territory dominated by the Kalahari Desert. This, in addition to its numerous lakes, rivers, swamps, salt pans and deltas offers diverse habitats for a wide variety of wildlife, including for some 533 species of avifauna. Botswana hosts 93 out of the 254 species of migratory waterbirds covered under AEWA. Its membership of the AEWA network is therefore of crucial importance for the effective conservation and sustainable use of many populations of migratory waterbirds which use the East African/West Asia and the East Atlantic flyways and depend on key sites in the country for breeding, wintering and feeding.

A total of 12 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) covering a total of 134,196 km² have been identified in Botswana by BirdLife International. Among these IBAs is the Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland deltas which is comprised of permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. The Okavango Delta wetland is also included within Critical Sites Network (CSN) as being of key importance for migratory waterbirds covered under AEWA, as well as designated as a wetland of international importance (Ramsar Site) and a natural World Heritage Site and is crucial for many waterbird species covered under AEWA, including the Vulnerable Slaty Egret (Egretta vinaceigula) and Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus) and the Near Threatened African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris). The Makgadikgadi Pans, Lake Ngami and Chobe National Park are other IBAs and CSN sites which are also crucial for the survival of many migratory waterbird populations.

“Botswana has a long history of bird conservation. Being a Contracting Party to AEWA brings the added advantage of combining the country’s conservation actions with those of others along the flyway, in order to improve the efficiency of conservation efforts for the benefit of migratory waterbirds, their habitats and the local populations”, said AEWA Executive Secretary, Dr Jacques Trouvilliez.

Botswana’s accession to AEWA is the country’s first direct involvement in the Family for the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, on behalf of the Parties to the Agreement, warmly welcomes Botswana to the AEWA Family, and looks forwards to working closely with the Government of Botswana as well as other national stakeholders to support conservation efforts for the benefit of migratory waterbirds and their habitats.  

Last updated on 14 December 2017

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