The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project was the largest international, flyway-scale wetland and waterbird conservation initiative ever to take place in the African-Eurasian region, spanning Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago. The four year project (2006 - 2010) was a partnership among many international conservation organizations and national governments and aimed to improve the understanding and the conservation of healthy and viable populations of African-Eurasian migratory waterbirds.
Some of the key outputs of the Wings Over Wetlands project were:
The Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool
The Critical Sites Network (CSN) Tool is an online resource for the conservation of 294 waterbird species and the important sites upon which they depend. The tool makes it easy to obtain information on the critical sites for waterbirds by accessing several independent databases and analysing information at the biogeographical population level providing decision-makers and conservation organizations with an improved data access needed for timely and focused wetland and waterbird conservation within the African-Eurasian region
The WOW Flyway Training Programme and Flyway Training Kit
Another key output of the WOW project has been the compilation of the WOW Flyway Training Kit. The Training Kit includes three modules with example-rich text, case studies and exercises and is supported by a comprehensive set of PowerPoint presentations, as well as accompanying CDs with a range of supporting material. It is designed to assist in targeted trainings that can be customized by topic as they relate to flyway conservation, wetland management and migratory waterbird conservation.
11 WOW Demonstration Sites
Distributed throughout the project area, WOW supported field projects at eleven important wetland sites in 12 countries. These projects focused on a number of wetland-related conservation issues including community mobilization, management planning, ecotourism, field research, wetland restoration, control of invasive species, trans-boundary management, education and alternative livelihoods. WOW Demonstration Projects were carried out in the following countries: Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal & The Gambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey and Yemen.
One of WOW’s other big successes has been the high level of cooperation and partnership in its multi-institutional and international team working at all levels of the project. Across the African-Eurasian region, national governments have highlighted the importance of flyway-scale conservation as the only meaningful way to protect waterbirds across their diverse habitats.
The WOW Project was sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Secretariat of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (UNEP/AEWA Secretariat) and several other donors.
More information on the project can be found on the dedicated WOW project website: www.wingsoverwetlands.org