The end of the year is always a good opportunity to look back at what has been achieved. This special “end of 2006” edition of the AEWA E-Newsletter is intended to give our readers a short overview of the main AEWA related highlights and events which filled this year.


2006 has been an important year for "our" species - important in the positive as well as in the negative sense. Migratory birds, or rather their public perception, had a very difficult start this year. In the early months of 2006, the negative press about the possible role of migratory birds in spreading Avian Influenza dominated the global media agenda. Conservationists around the world scrambled to find ways to reduce the damage being done to the public image of migratory birds and tried to address the questions and concerns being raised by the media and the global community about the role of migratory birds as potential vectors of the disease.




Avian Influenza

This was also the reason for the AEWA Secretariat in close cooperation with UNEP and CMS to organise a Scientific Seminar on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, which took place in April 2006 at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The outcomes of the seminar are available on CD-rom and can be ordered at
For more information on CMS and AEWA activities on Avian Influenza and the "International Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds" please consult AIWEb, the recently launched designated Task Force website developed by CMS and AEWA in close cooperation with the Internet Division at UNEP.

World Migratory Bird Day

Another initiative which was launched at the height of the Avian Influenza crisis was "World Migratory Bird Day". Celebrated for the first time in April 2006 under the motto “Migratory birds need our support now!” this accumulation of nearly 70 events taking place in 46 countries around the world proved to be a most successful outreach tool to raise awareness of the phenomenon of bird migration and its ecological importance and to help tackle the negative image from which migratory birds were suffering at the time.

Taking into account the success of this new initiative and the enthusiastic participation of partner organisations and the public worldwide, the AEWA Secretariat is very confident that this was only the beginning of something which has the potential to become a widely accepted and long standing tradition. The AEWA Secretariat would like to take this opportunity to also express its gratitude to everybody who supported us in organising WMBD 2006. Special thanks go to Ms. Kuki Gallmann and her team for having organised the main launching event on her estate at Laikipia, Kenya. We also would like to thank Vogelbescherming Nederland (BirdLife Partner-The Netherlands) for having provided financial support to WMBD and the entire BirdLife Partnership for effectively using their global network to stimulate participation in WMBD by organising related events and special outings in many of the 46 countries.

Implementation of AEWA

2006 was also an important year for the implementation of AEWA. Being the first year after the last Meeting of the Parties (MOP3, October 2005, Dakar, Senegal) the implementation of many activities decided by the Parties had to be kicked off. Thanks to the voluntary contributions from Parties and partner organisations the AEWA Secretariat could implement 6 projects out of the 36 International Implementation Priorities identified by MOP3. However, the finalisation of some of these projects as well as the implementation of those which could not be started yet, is dependent on additional funds. The AEWA Secretariat, therefore, would like to make another strong “end of the year plea” to all its Parties to support the Agreement with financial or in-kind contributions. Each contribution is needed and helpful in order to implement the many decisions taken by the Parties. For more information on those projects, for which additional funding is needed, please have a look at our sample of leaflets "How you could support the implementation of AEWA" or ask the AEWA Secretariat to send you a hardcopy version by sending an email to:

Single Species Action Plans

Five Single Species Action Plans, which had been approved by MOP3, were published in 2006 (Light-bellied Brent Goose (Branta bernicla hrota), Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), Corncrake (Crex crex), Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca), White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)). The AEWA Secretariat started the process of establishing mechanisms for the implementation of these Action Plans (SSAP) and, moreover, set up coordination for the implementation of the SSAPs for the Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis), the Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni) and the Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) in cooperation with its respective partners in these projects.



At the last meeting of the Standing Committee (November 2006, Bonn, Germany) the Standing Committee members also approved the Single Species Action Plan for the Maccoa Duck (Oxyura maccoa). Moreover, Single Species Action Plans are in the process of being developed for the Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), the Dark-bellied Brent Goose (Branta bernicla bernicla) and the Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor). The development of the last mentioned was inititated at a workshop in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2006. Finally, fundraising activities are underway to support the development of a number of SSAPs for intra-African migrants, namely the Madagascar Pond Heron (Ardeola idae), the White-winged Flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi) - (both in cooperation with the CMS Secretariat), the Slaty Egret (Egretta vinaceigula) and the Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex), as well as two intercontinental migrants - the Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) and the Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia).


Sustainable Hunting

Another workshop organised by the BirdLife International partnership and AEWA, which took place in September 2006 in Hammamet, Tunisia, was the workshop on Sustainable Hunting of Birds in the Mediterranean Third Countries, which aimed at reaching agreement on draft Regional Guidelines for sustainable hunting of migratory birds and a draft Regional Code of Best Practice for migratory bird hunting.

WOW project

A long awaited project, which started this year and which will certainly represent a milestone in the history of AEWA, is the African-Eurasian GEF Flyways Project, now called the “Wings over Wetlands” (WOW) Project. A designated Project Coordination Unit (PCU) has been established and has been functioning since July 2006. The 4-year project was launched with a press conference in Bonn on 20 November 2006 in the framework of the AEWA Standing Committee. Furthermore, the first meeting of the WOW Steering Committee, in which the AEWA Secretariat is represented, took place in December this year. Contributing a major part of the funds as well as 50 % of the AEWA Information Officer's staff time, AEWA is one of four major partners in this project.

Strategic Plan for AEWA

The launch of the WOW project, which will significantly contribute to the implementation of AEWA, was not the only major issue on the agenda of the Standing Committee during its 2-day session (20/21 November 2006). The members also took the opportunity of the meeting to hold a brainstorming session to initiate the development of a Strategic Plan for AEWA. The Strategic Plan is expected to provide guidance to the Secretariat and the Parties for the implementation of AEWA for the period of 2009 - 2014.

Online national reporting system for AEWA

Another ambitious project, which was, among other issues, discussed at the last meeting of the Technical Committee in October (Berne, Switzerland) is the development of an online national reporting system for AEWA. This is part of a larger project run by UNEP for an improved knowledge management of MEAs. An enhanced national reporting format has been drafted by the Secretariat and circulated to the TC members for their consideration. This document, which is planned to be ready early next year, will be translated into an online reporting system developed by UNEP-WCMC as part of the now ongoing knowledge management project.

New partnership

One outcome of the AEWA MOP3 was the establishment of a new multi-institutional partnership: the “Wetlands International Global Waterbird Advisory Group (WIGWAG)”. The WIGWAG, which consists of representatives from Wetlands International, AEWA, the Ramsar Convention, JNCC (UK), FOEN (Switzerland), BirdLife International and CIC met regularly in 2006 in order to provide advice to Wetlands International on the development and operation of their waterbird programme. Many of the WIGWAG members, being representatives of governments or MEAs, are also main users of outputs from the WI waterbird programme. Under discussion is the establishment of a Global Waterbird Partnership.

Move to UN Campus

The AEWA Secretariat would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the Government of Germany for having generously provided new offices for the Secretariat in the historic building of Langer Eugen, Bonn, Germany, where the Secretariat has been based since June 2006.

Accession of new Parties

Last but not least - the Secretariat would like to collectively welcome the five new countries which joined AEWA in 2006, these being Latvia as of 1 January, Belgium as of 1 June, the Czech Republic and Italy as of 1 September and Algeria as of 1 October. The Secretariat is also happy to be able to confirm that Madagascar will be a Contracting Party as of 1 January 2007, hopefully followed by many other countries, which are already in the process of joining or may decide to do so in the coming year.

Finally, the Secretariat would like to thank all AEWA partners that have supported us in implementing the Agreement. Without your support we could not fulfill the tasks given to us by the Meeting of the Parties. We are looking forward to continue the cooperation with all of you.

The AEWA Secretariat team wishes you a good start in the New Year 2007!

To order hardcopies of the new AEWA publications please contact or download the electronic versions directly form the website:


AEWA Technical Series 1-12 (including 5 new SSAP and new Guidelines on Avoidance of Introductions of Non-native Waterbird Species)
How you could support the implementation of AEWA
Proceedings of the Third Session of the Meeting of the Parties
Climate Change and migratory species (published by CMS with contribution from AEWA)
Avian Influenza and Wild Birds (published by UNEP/CMS/AEWA)

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