Monday, March 25, 2013

Element 5: Inernational Conservation and Management of Waterfowl

African/Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)

"The AEWA is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland, and the Canadian Archipelago." -

Species Covered by AEWA:

255 species of birds are covered by AEWA. These species must be at least partially ecologically dependent on wetlands. Species covered include divers, grebes, pelicans, cormorants, herons, storks, rails, ibises, spoonbills, flamingos, ducks, swans, geese, cranes, waders, gulls, terns, tropic birds, auks, frigate birds and even the south African penguin.

Agreement Area, Range States, and Contracting Parties:

The AEWA Agreement area spans from northern Canada and Russia to the southern tip of Africa. This area covers 119 Range States from Europe, Asia, Canada, the Middle East, and Africa. As of June 2013, 71 countries and the European Union are Contracting Parties to AEWA.


There are 3 main bodies:
  • The Meeting of the Parties (MOP)
    • The governing body of AEWA
  • The Standing Committee (StC)
    • Responsible for steering the operations between sessions of the MOP
  • The Technical Committee   
    • Responsible for providing scientific advice 

Ramsar Convention for Waterfowl & Wetlands 

Purpose & History:

The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that guides the action and international cooperation for the conservation and use of wetlands and the resources they provide. As the concern about the loss and degradation of wetlands and the migratory birds that use them grew, countries and NGO's negotiated through the 1960's about what to do about the problem. In 1971, the treaty was adopted in Ramsar, Iran and came into force in 1975.

The Mission & Philosophy of the Ramsar Convention:

"the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world"
 At the center of the Ramsar philosophy is the "wise use" concept. This is defined as:
"the maintenance of their ecological character, achieved through the implementation of ecosystem approaches, within the context of sustainable development"
Ramsar Contracting Parties have committed themselves to implementing, what they call, the "three pillars" of the Convention. These pillars are as follows:
  • To designte suitable wetlands for the List of Wetlands of Internation Importance ("Ramsar List") and ensure their effective management
  • To work towards the wise use of all their wetlands through the national land-use planning, appripriate policies and legislation, management actions, and public education
  • To cooperate internationally concerning transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems, shared species, and development projects that may affect wetlands 

Contracting Parties:

Total Conracting Parties: 167
Number of sites designated for the Ramsar List: 2,122
Total Surface area: 205,366,160 hectares   

Designation and Description of Ramsar Sites:

When a Contracting Party joins the Ramsar Convention, it is required by Article 2.4 to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the Ramsar List. Contracting Parties collect data on the designated wetlands and submit it to the Secretariat for review. The Secretariat ensures that the data and map provided by the Party meet the standards set by the Conference of the Parties and then forwards the information to Wetlands International for inclusion in the Ramsar Sites database.


There are 4 main bodies:
  • The Standing Committee
    • Oversees implementation between meetings of the COP
  • The Convention Secretariat
    •  Carries out the day-to-day work of the Convention
  • The Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)
    • The Convention's scientific advisory body
  • The International Organization Partners (IOPs) 
    • NGO's that provide support for the work of the Convention on global, regional, national, and local scales
    •  Ramsar IOPs
      • BirdLife International
      • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)     
      • International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
      • Wetlands Inernational
      • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International

 Wetlands International

Wetlands International is the only global NGO dedicated the the conservation and restoration of wetlands. Wetlands Internationl works closely with both NGO's and government entities to realize their objective to maintain and restore wetlands both for their environmental values in addition to the services they provide. Their work is financed by both private donors and governments on a project basis.

Wetlands International Core Values:

  • Our work is globally relevant
  • Our work is based on sound science
  • We work through partnerships and with a wide range of sectors
  • We respect traditional values and knowledge
  • We respect human rights and aim to contribute to gender equality
  • We work in a transparent and accountable way

Mission Statement:

"To sustain and restore wetlands, their resources and biodiversity"

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