First AEWA International Species Expert Group Set up for the Eurasian Spoonbill

Bonn, 10 June 2014 - The first ever AEWA International Species Expert Group has been set up for the Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) by strengthening the affiliation of the longstanding International Spoonbill Working Group with the Agreement. The main focus of the group will continue to be the implementation of the AEWA International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Eurasian Spoonbill, adopted at the 4th Meeting of the AEWA Parties in 2008.

Participants VII Spoonbill Workshop in Santoña, Victoria and Joyel marshes Natural Park, Cantabria, Spain, October 2012 © Manuel Estébanez

To this end a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the AEWA Secretariat and the Werkgroep Lepelaar in the Netherlands and the Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas of the Universidad Austral de Chile (ICML-UACh). The Werkgroep Lepelaar (Spoonbill Working Group) is a Dutch NGO with the specific mission to improve the conservation of the Eurasian Spoonbill and with 30 years of national and international experience in the research and conservation of wetlands for spoonbills and associated waterbirds. For the Werkgroep Lepelaar, Mr Otto Overdijk - who has played a key role in the International Spoonbill Working Group for the past two decades – will act as Chair of the Expert Group. Dr Juan G. Navedo, currently a full Professor at the ICML-UACh, has also been actively involved in the International Spoonbill Working Group for over ten years, and will be taking up the role of Expert Group Coordinator. Both Mr Overdijk and Dr Navedo were also closely involved in the development of the AEWA International Action Plan for the species, which is foreseen to be updated by 2018.

The first official engagement of the new AEWA Expert Group will be leading a working group “Developing concepts for the stabilization of the Eastern European Spoonbill along the Adriatic Flyway” during the second Adriatic Flyway Conference, organized by EuroNatur in Durres, Albania, from 1-3 October 2014.

Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) © Manuel Estébanez

As opposed to the more formal inter-governmental International Species Working Groups set up for prioritized AEWA International Single Species Action Plans, the AEWA International Species Expert Groups will largely be based on already existing expert cooperation networks. The Expert Groups will also be more informal in nature, requiring less guidance and input from the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat in their day-to-day work. The formal affiliation with AEWA is nevertheless expected to bring added value to the international status and work of a species group or expert network, such as enhanced support by governments and the international conservation community, access to AEWA contacts and guidance from the AEWA bodies as well as possible access to new sources of funding. The mandate and duties of the International Species Expert Groups working under the AEWA banner are outlined in the generic Terms of Reference adopted by the AEWA Technical Committee at its 11th Meeting in August 2012.

The UNEP/ AEWA Secretariat looks forward to strengthening the collaboration between the Agreement and the dedicated people working for the conservation of this species within the framework of the AEWA Eurasian Spoonbill International Expert Group.

For more information, please contact AEWA Associate Programme Officer Ms Nina Mikander or the Expert Group Coordinator Dr Juan G. Navedo.


By Nina Mikander.

Last updated on 09 October 2014

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