The development of the revised Strategic Plan for the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) for the period 2019 – 2027 was formally launched at the meeting of the AEWA Strategic Plan Working Group in Bonn on the 28-30 June 2016. FACE was represented by Dr. David Scallan.

The meeting brought together a wide range of AEWA stakeholders, including designated representatives from Contracting Parties, members of both the Standing and Technical Committees as well as a number of key AEWA partner organizations.

Aside from the Birds Directive, AEWA provides an important framework for regulating waterbird hunting in Europe. As an international agreement, it is unique in that it focuses on the “Conservation and Sustainable Use of Migratory Waterbirds”. It has a dynamic species listing system, which takes account of the IUCN (Global) Red List, i.e. when a species is doing poorly, it has a mechanism to restrict hunting or to allow hunting under adaptive harvest management.

Of the 81 huntable species of birds listed under Annex II of the Birds Directive, 50 of these (waterbirds) are listed under AEWA, comprising of 83 different populations. Of the 83 AEWA-listed populations; 35 species (42%) have declined over the last decade, 27 species (32%) are stable, fluctuating or uncertain and 21 species (25%) have increased.

Some of the ‘key concern’ declining huntable AEWA-listed species include Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Common Pochard, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Red Knot, Common Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Greater Scaup, Northern Lapwing and Common Red Shank.

Going forward, AEWA will likely initiate more action planning for declining species. At the meeting, FACE stressed the need to utilise adaptive harvest management strategies. This builds on previous work by FACE on promoting the adaptive harvest management of migratory waterbirds in Europe developed under the Waterbird Harvest Specialist Group.

In other areas, FACE pushed for greater recognition of the role of community-based wetland conservation; the need to promote the value of wetlands and the multiple services/benefits they provide as well as the importance of progressing the recently established Goose Management Platform to address concerns about increasing and decreasing goose populations. It is also likely that there will be greater policy linkages between AEWA and other key EU policies including the CAP, which is good news.

*Picture: Participants of the AEWA Strategic Plan Working Group

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