The largest events related to migratory waterbirds conservation start in Durban


Червеногуши гъски

Today starts one of the largest events related to migratory waterbird conservation – The seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP7) to the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) is taking place 4-8 December in Durban, South Africa. The Agreement (AEWA) is a great example of international cooperation working well. It is a UN Treaty which operates on the basis of concerted actions. It has 78 members including the European Union.


MOP7 promises to be an important milestone in the development of AEWA because the Parties will have to make important decisions determining the way ahead for the Agreement over the next decade. A new Strategic Plan, along with other issues such as how to adopt the principles of adaptive management, potentially opening a new era in bird conservation.


The slogan for MOP7 chosen by the Host Government is “Beyond 2020: shaping flyway conservation for the future” and the Strategic Plan is an important contribution that AEWA can make to the post-2020 objectives for biodiversity policy by setting a new course for flyway conservation.


The AEWA has picked up for showcasing the work on priority species the Red-breasted Goose and the Life Project “Conservation of the Red-breasted Goose along the Global Flyway”. The International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Red-breasted Goose was adopted at the 5th Meeting of the AEWA Parties in 2012 and its implementation is laying in the basis of the LIFE Project known by its short name “LIFE for Save Flight”. The AEWA Red-breasted Goose International Working Group was convened by the AEWA Secretariat in 2011 and is coordinated by BirdLife Bulgaria.


 “LIFE for Safe Flight” is a project working to turn the tide for the Red-breasted Goose. A project that brought together partners from the five key Range States – the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, to make a difference for this declining species along the global flyway. The project involve a suite of actions linked together to achieve the overall objectives focusing on hunting-related problems and building on the success of the Bulgarian LIFE Project that led to the initial implementation of the AEWA Single Species Action Plan. The main objectives of the project are to:


  • Improve knowledge on the importance of specific threats and the migration ecology and current distribution.
  • Engage stakeholders and implement a set of conservation measures to reduce direct and indirect mortality from hunting and disturbance at the key sites along the global flyway.
  • Engage stakeholders to develop management practices for Red-breasted Goose conservation at key sites and enhance conditions for the species.
  • Ensure engagement of communities and stakeholders to enhance community pride in and support for the conservation of Red-breasted Geese.
  • Improve the species’ status and evaluate the effect of the action plan’s implementation, assessed by a comprehensive monitoring system in all range countries along the flyway.

The Red-breasted Goose has a relatively small population and its sensitivity to hunting and disturbance makes it a good ‘umbrella species’ for conservation of waterbirds and wetlands within its range. Although many major roosts are protected, these sites can still be seriously affected by hunting taking place just outside the protected areas. In addition, hunting continues in the feeding areas, which are often not protected. Direct mortality from hunting is a key threat to this species. Significant hunting occurs at sites along the migration flyway in the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and in the wintering grounds in Bulgaria and Romania. Recent analysis of available information on satellite tagged Red-breasted Geese indicates up to 40 per cent mortality caused by spring and autumn hunting in Southern Russia and Northern Kazakhstan. The Red-breasted Goose also has extraordinarily beautiful plumage making it a publicly recognizable ‘flagship’ species. If the species and the sites it uses can be managed successfully, then a number of other species will benefit, such as the Lesser White-fronted Goose.


The LIFE for Safe Flight is a unique concerted and coordinated effort across the Red-breasted Goose’s global flyway aiming to make a difference for a species that has severely declined in the early 2000s. This is ambitious attempt to implement number of actions highlighted in the AEWA Single Species Action Plan and build on the success of the LIFE+ Project “Safe Grounds for Redbreasts” replicate some of its results. The LIFE Project in partnership with AEWA Secretariat is pioneering training courses based on key AEWA documents such as the “Guidelines on Sustainable Harvest of Migratory Waterbirds”, adopted at the last MOP6 in 2015".


See the whole newsbit at the AEWA MOP7 Newsroom page.

migratory waterbirds, LIFE for Safe Flight