The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Accedes to AEWA as 85th Party

Bonn, 30 June 2023 - The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat is pleased to announce the accession of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the 85th Party to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), with the country’s membership to the Agreement taking effect on 1 July 2023.

“We are pleased to welcome Saudi Arabia as a new Contracting Party to AEWA," said Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA. "The Kingdom's accession to the treaty is an important step towards the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the Middle East. It demonstrates the country's commitment to the environment and preserving biodiversity.”

Saudi Arabia's location at the crossroads of migratory flyways between Africa, Asia, and Europe makes it an important stopover site for many migratory waterbirds covered by AEWA.

“The location of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between three biogeographical regions (Palaearctic, Afrotropical, and Oriental), and in the middle of the flyway between Africa and Eurasian, make it a country highly rich in avifauna with more than 500 species, of which 65 percent are considered migratory. The long coastal wetlands in the East and West make it highly important for migratory waterbirds,” said Mohammed Shobrak, Consultant at the Saudi National Center for Wildlife.

The Kingdom's vast coastal wetlands and other important habitats provide critical feeding, resting, and breeding areas for many species of waterbirds. According to the Critical Site Network Tool, 171 waterbird populations occurring in the country are listed under AEWA, including regionally specific species such as the Socotra Cormoran and Crab Plover and various other species of herons, gulls, egrets, waders and terns.

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) Safwa Bay, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia © Sergey Dereliev,

Tarut and Safwa Bay, Farasan Island, Jizan Bay and the Sabkhat al Fasl lagoons can be named as some of the sites in Saudi Arabia that play a critical role as key stopover and breeding grounds for a variety of migratory waterbirds.

With Saudi Arabia joining AEWA as a Contracting Party on 1 July 2023, a total of 84 countries plus the European Union have signed the environmental treaty, which has a geographic range covering 119 countries across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland, and the Canadian Archipelago. 

The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, on behalf of the Parties to the Agreement, warmly welcomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the AEWA Family and looks forward to working closely with the Government of Saudi Arabia as well as other national stakeholders to support conservation efforts for the benefit of migratory waterbirds and their habitats. 

The depositary notification No. 06/2023 of 14 April 2023 on the accession of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to AEWA is available online at:

First Secretary of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the Netherlands handing in the Instrument of Accession to the depositary service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, The Netherlands in April 2023. From left: Mr. Nick Warmelink, AEWA National Focal Point for The Netherlands, Mr. Abdullah Alshahrani, First Secretary of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Jules van Eijndhoven, Head of Treaties Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, Mr. Rieks Boekholt, Legal Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands.


Last updated on 10 November 2023

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