France to host international conference on migratory waterbirds

The French city of La Rochelle will from May 14 to 18, 2012 play host to the 5th Meeting of the Parties (MOP 5) to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), a statement released simultaneously in Bonn, Germany; Paris, France and Nairobi, Kenya has said.

According to the statement, more than 200 representatives, government officials, NGOs and relevant experts are expected to come together to discuss urgent conservation responses needed to address the many threats facing migratory waterbirds in the African-Eurasian region today.

The intergovernmental meeting, which is directly preceded by an annual World Migratory Bird Day, which will take place on May 12-13, 2012, will be held under the theme: “Migratory waterbirds and people – sharing wetlands”.

Topics on the agenda of the meeting, according to the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat and the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing who are organising the 5-day event, include: Impacts of power lines, extractive industries, renewable energy developments, agrochemicals, alien species and climate change on migratory waterbirds, the importance of waterbird monitoring, promotion of twinning schemes and strengthening the implementation of AEWA, particularly in Africa.

AEWA is an international treaty administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds such as pelicans, cranes, storks, terns and flamingos and their habitats throughout their range.

Specifically, the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (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.

AEWA was developed under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP and brings together countries and the wider international conservation community in an effort to establish coordinated conservation and management of migratory waterbirds throughout their entire migratory range.

The Meeting of the Parties (MOP) is the decision-making organ of the Agreement and establishes as well as keeps under review the financial regulations, adopts the budget for each financial period and reviews the implementation of the treaty.

In particular, it may review and assess the conservation status of migratory waterbird species and the progress made towards their conservation, the statement says.

On the other hand, World Migratory Bird Day is a global awareness campaign held annually to promote the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats worldwide.

Initiated by AEWA and CMS, it has been celebrated around the world each year since 2006 and to mark World Migratory Bird Day this year, over 150 events in close to 60 countries have already been registered.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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