SA hosts African countries in pre-AEWA meeting

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"Migratory birds"

PRETORIA - South Africa will host a meeting of African parties to the Africa-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) from August 25 to 27, the environmental affairs department said on Sunday.

The more than 37 countries would be addressed by Deputy Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Thomson in Cape Town, the department said in a statement

“The meeting is a platform for the African countries to deliberate and agree on African regional positions to be taken on issues covered in the agenda of the sixth meeting of Parties to the Africa-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA MOP 6) taking place in November 2015 in Bonn, Germany.”

The agreement was developed under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), which is a treaty of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the department said.

The AEWA aims to facilitate close co-operation between countries to maintain or restore migratory waterbird species and their populations at a favourable conservation status throughout their flyways.

AEWA facilitates this co-operation at all levels, stimulating parties to contribute effectively to international conservation, for instance through improved national practices, international collaboration, and joint activities.

South Africa is a range state – one of the countries that the waterbirds visit or fly through in their annual journeys – for migratory waterbirds covered by this agreement and is also a party to the agreement.

Topics on the agenda included the fact that developing countries, particularly African countries, relied on natural resources for survival, given the high rate of poverty and unemployment.

As such, the meeting would discuss conservation approaches such as “conservation for people with the people”.

This approach was expected to yield co-management arrangements for the protection of important bird areas which should be facilitated between management authorities and communities for the benefits of current and future generations, the department said.