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January 21, 2018

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Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory
Waterbirds (UNEP/AEWA)


Every year millions of waterbirds migrate to areas where food and weather conditions are better. Some only travel a few hundred kilometres, others cross entire continents. Since they rarely fly non-stop, nature areas along their migration routes, or flyways, are important safe havens for these birds. However, human behaviour, in the form of infrastructural development (urban areas, industry and agriculture), disturbs these waterbirds’ natural habitats and affects their flyways. High-voltage power lines, wind turbines and other aspects of modern civilisation clutter the landscape, often disturbing migratory birds and destroying their habitats. When these nature areas disappear, migratory birds are forced to find alternative sites to rest and forage, such as agricultural land or man-made wetlands.

Conflicts between people and birds are the inevitable consequence. Protecting waterbirds’ habitats along their flyways requires international cooperation. This is why the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) was adopted in 1995 under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). It is a means of restoring and/or maintaining waterbird populations to ensure their conservation.

The Agreement’s Secretariat, located in Bonn since 2000, is its motor and is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The staff initiates and coordinates AEWA projects and oversees how countries implement the Agreement.

The Secretariat also organises meetings of Parties and manages information exchange. AEWA provides the framework for long-term sustainable solutions, which integrate the needs of people with migratory waterbird conservation. This can, for example, involve the creation of nature reserves or national parks. The Agreement protects 255 species of waterbirds in 119 countries from Europe, parts of Asia and Canada, the Middle East and Africa. Countries signing AEWA agree to adopt measures to protect migratory birds and their habitats. In general, these measures concern species and habitat protection, management of human activities, research and monitoring, as well as education and information. As of June 2012, the Agreement has 66 Parties.

(Source: Common Information Unit of the UN Organizations in Bonn)

UN Campus
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn

Tel.: +49 228 - 81 52 41 3

e-mail address:


Last update: July 31, 2013



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