AEWA MOP8 Kicks Off in Budapest

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The Eighth Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA MOP8) opened in Budapest, Hungary on September 27, 2022 under the theme “Strengthening Flyway Conservation in a Changing World”.

AEWA MOP8 will be an important policymaking forum ahead of a series of biodiversity-related meetings in the coming months, culminating with the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) hosted by Canada under the presidency of China at the end of the year.

The AEWA meeting is set to be the largest international conference focusing on the conservation of migratory waterbirds in Africa and Eurasia in recent years. The four-day meeting will be an opportunity for governments to take stock of their collective efforts to implement the UN-backed treaty and to agree on future actions to improve the conservation status of the 255 species of waterbirds listed under AEWA.

The meeting was officially opened by Ms Flora Mokgohloa (South Africa) as Chair of AEWA MOP7, who thanked the Government of Hungary for hosting the event.

During the opening ceremony, delegates were warmly welcomed by Dr Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary as well as a number of other host country representatives, which included Mr. András Rácz, State Secretary for Nature Conservation, Dr Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication and Relations, as well as Mr. Bertalan Balczó, Deputy State Secretary for Nature Conservation.

In his opening speech, Dr Zsolt Semjén speaking on behalf of the host country welcomed all participants to Budapest and highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the conservation of wetlands and waterbirds.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) highlighted AEWA’s important role as the largest daughter Agreement of CMS and gave special thanks to the Government of Hungary for hosting this important international meeting. She encouraged delegates to make good use of their time in the “extraordinary city of Budapest” to do all they can to make the meeting a success. Underlining the importance of strengthening AEWA, she noted that this was a key moment for advancing work for the conservation of migratory waterbirds, as well as biodiversity more broadly.

Addressing the meeting through a speech delivered by video message, Ms. Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, highlighted AEWA as an important instrument through which countries can make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

She also said that there was a “need to strengthen flyway conservation in a changing world” and emphasized that AEWA’s internationally coordinated action plans are important tools to improve the conservation status of endangered waterbird populations, calling on all stakeholders to “invest time and resources in these action plans” and that it was “now time to strengthen flyway conservation from the arctic circle to South Africa.

In his opening address to AEWA MOP8, Jacques Trouvilliez, AEWA Executive Secretary, stressed that MOP8 represented a crucial moment for the Agreement, which would determine what could be achieved in the following years, highlighting the need of countries to increase financial support to allow the Secretariat to continue doing its work.

Following the opening ceremony, delegates heard reports from AEWA bodies: the Standing Committee, Technical Committee and the Secretariat, the Depositary, and reports on the implementation of the AEWA Strategic Plan 2019-2027 and the African Initiative and Plan of Action for Africa 2019 -2027.

In the afternoon, the meeting resumed in plenary covering the agenda items on the Analysis and Synthesis of National Reports, the Implementation of the Plan of Action for Africa (PoAA), the Report on the Joint Information Management, Communication and Awareness-Raising (Unit) shared by CMS and AEWA and a Report on the Implementation of the AEWA Communication Strategy.

As one of the highlights of the afternoon, Szabolcs Nagy (Wetlands International) gave a presentation summarizing the main findings of the AEWA Conservation Status Report (8th Edition), drawing the attention of the meeting to the nicely presented Summary of the CSR8 report that had been included in the MOP8 registration pack handed out to the delegates at the start of the meeting.

The afternoon session then included reports on the Implementation Review Process (IRP), Institutional Arrangements and the Report of the Secretariat on Finance and Administrative Issues in 2019 – 2022 and a presentation on the Draft Budget and Secretariat’s Programme of Work for the 2023-2025 triennium, which was the final item covered in plenary.

Toward the end of the last day, MOP8 delegates split into two working groups, one on Finance and Administrative Issues and one on Scientific and Technical Matters, which began reviewing draft resolutions on the Procedure for Submission of Proposals for Amendments to the Agreement (DR1), Adoption of Amendments to the AEWA Annexes (DR2) and the State of Implementation of AEWA and its Strategic Plan 2019 -2027 (DR3).

At the end of the first day, delegates attended a reception offered by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

For full coverage of this event, visit the AEWA MOP8 Newsroom.

AEWA MOP8 is supported by the CIC, Delegations of the CIC, Dallas Safari Club (DSC), Leica Camera AG and RAUCH.