Gorssel, The Netherlands, in December 2010 - Reminding you all - but now for the last time! - more than a decade has passed since the first Meeting of the Parties (MOP) of AEWA in Cape Town, South Africa. It was there that the Dutch Government, the AEWA Interim Secretariat and Wetlands International (WI) held preliminary discussions on a possible GEF project to support AEWA activities. That meeting gave rise to the now widely known Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project. Since its inception in 2006 the WOW project has been making remarkable progress in changing the conservation landscape for migratory waterbirds, throughout the African-Eurasian region.
Ede, 7 January 2011 - The further development of one of the WOW Project’s main products - the ‘Critical Site Network (CSN)’ Tool – has not stopped after the launch of a consultation version of the tool at the 15th Anniversary Symposium of AEWA in June 2010. In December 2010, a new version was released which has not only corrected some bugs, but also sports some exciting new features.
by Camillo Ponziani, WOW Project Coordination Unit
Lakes are safe havens for wild animals and Lake Burdur in Turkey is no exception. Being on a key migration route of birds, Lake Burdur is a special place, particularly for waterbirds. More than 100,000 waterbirds rest around the lake, which does not freeze during winter due to its salty alkaline water. The most famous winter visitor is the White-headed duck. As a worldwide endangered species, half of the White-headed ducks spend the winter here. They cross thousands of kilometers to come here and are the symbol of Burdur. But this rare species’ days at Lake Burdur could be numbered.
Bonn, 13 December 2010 – A sub-regional Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on “The flyway approach to the conservation and wise use of waterbirds and wetlands” took place in Astana and Korgalzhin Nature Reserve, Kazakhstan from 25-30 October 2010.
Bonn / Cambridge, 8 December 2010 - The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project is being featured in the December 2010 edition of World Birdwatch Magazine. This is the second time the WOW Project has been featured in World Birdwatch - BirdLife's world renowned international magazine about birds.
Wakkerstroom, 11 November 2010 - The WOW Demonstration Project Team in Wakkerstroom, South Africa have reported that 3600ha of privately-owned farmland extending from Wakkerstroom to Luneburg was declared a Protected Environment on 13 September 2010. The declaration of the KwaMandlangampisi area as a Protected Environment places it under formal protection effectively one step under a National or Provincial Nature Reserve.
Bonn, 26 October 2010 - The WOW Flyway Training Kit (FTK), a one-of-a-kind resource in flyway-scale conservation, is making quite an impact on some academic institutions in Africa and Eurasia. Originally intended to build professional capacity to plan, implement, monitor and engage in effective flyway-scale conservation of migratory waterbirds and wetland habitats, the modules are being used by some academic institutions as part of their own training programmes.
Nagoya, Japan 21 October 2010 - The rate of decline of waterbird populations has slightly decreased over the last three decades. However, 47% of the waterbird populations are still declining and only 16% are increasing. The status of waterbirds is improving mainly in North America and Europe, while it is least favourable in Asia. Especially long distance migrants appear to be vulnerable. [ Read the full WI press release ]
Bonn, 2 September 2010 - A new documentary film entitled "Bird Migration on the Bihar Plain" has been produced by the WOW demonstration project team in Hungary. The film documents the importance of the Bihar Plains as a breeding, wintering and stop-over area for hundreds of thousands of migratory waterbirds, highlighting the role played by the fishponds found in the area as a source of food and as an important place for the birds to rest during their often long and arduous journeys.
Bonn, 6 August 2010 - A presentation on the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project's Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool is now available on the video-sharing website YouTube. The presentation was given during the official launch of the CSN Tool on 14 June 2010 at an International Waterbird Conservation Symposium which took place in The Hague, the Netherlands to mark the 15th Anniversary of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA).
The Hague, 14 June 2010 - Key organisations from the Wings Over Wetlands project partnership, representing the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), Wetlands International and BirdLife International signed a historic collaborative agreement to redouble their efforts to conserve migratory waterbird species and their critical habitats in Africa and Eurasia.
Innovative website, launched to support international conservation efforts for migratory waterbirds, shows key wetlands across Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia need protection now
Nairobi, 14 May 2010 - The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project - the largest international wetland and waterbird conservation initiative in the African-Eurasian region – today launched the innovative Flyway Training Kit at a special side event presentation during the fourteenth meeting of the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-14) in the UNEP Premises, Nairobi, Kenya.
Nairobi, 6 May 2010 - The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project - the largest international wetland and waterbird conservation initiative to take place in the African-Eurasian region - is launching an innovative Flyway Training Kit for waterbird conservation at a side event presentation on the fringes of the fourteenth meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-14) at the UNEP Premises in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ede, 30 April 2010 - The internationally important wetlands of Banc d’Arguin National Park in Mauritania can now rely on 16 new guides specialised in waterbird eco-tourism. The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project has trained the guides as part of its newly developed eco-tourism strategy, which includes a circuit of observation towers, tourist infrastructure and training of members of the local Imraguen community.
Bonn / Wakkerstroom, 31 March 2010 - A Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project Team and Steering Committee Meeting took place in Wakkerstroom, South Africa from 8-12 March 2010. With the WOW project currently in its final year of implementation, the two meetings brought together key international staff involved in the project and gave participants the opportunity to present the many achievements made in the context of this unique international flyway conservation initiative to date.
Bonn/Ede, 18 February 2010 - The third annual newsletter of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) UNEP-GEF African-Eurasian Flyways Project has now been printed and is available from the WOW Project Coordination Unit upon request. The publication, which is also available for download from the WOW website, gives an overview of the WOW project and the latest achievements of this unique flyway initiative in the African-Eurasian region. The newsletter showcases the important flyway-scale conservation work and materials being developed under the project, such as:
Nairobi, Kenya, 11 December 2009 - A national wetland and waterbird training course was held at the Natural History Museum of Mozambique (Museu da Historia Natural) in Maputo, Mozambique from 9 - 17 November 2009. The training was facilitated by Mr. Oliver Nasirwa (Wetlands International), Mr. Paul Kariuki Ndang’ang’a (BirdLife International) and Dr. Carlos Bento (Museu da Historia Natural) and aimed to build national capacity in Mozambique on the conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds.
Bonn, Germany 2 December 2009 - A sub-regional Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop to build wetland and waterbird management capacity and raise awareness for flyway conservation in Western and Central Africa took place in Limbe, Cameroon from 2-10 November 2009.
Wakkerstroom, South Africa, 23 November 2009 - BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) has recently introduced a new brand called ‘Uthaka’ to help support the agricultural products and crafts produced by the local community in Wakkerstroom. A Swazi phrase meaning “wetland” or literally “a wet place”, the Uthaka label unites five community-owned enterprises, set-up by BirdLife South Africa, which produces products that are linked to sustainable resource use.
Bonn, 16 November 2009 - Representatives from the Wings Over Wetlands partners BirdLife International, Wetlands International and the AEWA Secretariat came together at the UN Premises in Bonn, Germany last week (10-11 November 2009) to work out the details of an inter-agency Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) for continued collaborative flyway-level action in the AEWA region for the period following the conclusion of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) UNEP-GEF African-Eurasian Flyways Project.
Nairobi / Bonn, 5 November 2009 - UNEP's Division of Global Environment Facility Coordination (UNEP/DGEF) and a number of leading organisations involved in the flyway-scale conservation of migratory birds have published a landmark issue paper entitled "The Experience of UNEP GEF and Partners in Flyway Conservation".
The paper provides an overview of the key lessons learned from both the WOW Project and the Siberian Crane Wetland Project - two flagship flyway initiatives currently being supported by UNEP GEF.
The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project has been featured in the September 2009 issue of World Birdwatch magazine. The special feature on WOW, written by Nick Langley for World Birdwatch, gives a refreshing overview of the project and highlights many of it's achievements to date.
Biharugra, Hungary, 28 October 2009 - Just several years ago Agropoint Ltd., one of the main fishfarming operations in the Biharugra Fishponds in Hungary, was struggling just to stay afloat. MME, BirdLife’s Hungarian Partner, has helped this company to restore the Biharugra Fishponds to commercial viability in a nature-friendly manner.
The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project partnership and the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) regret to announce that the WOW Demonstration Project in the Dar es Salaam wetlands in Tanzania has been closed. The primary outcome of this demonstration project, a Wetlands Education Centre, will no longer be built due to complexities at the local level.
The exciting work of Doğa Derneği at the WOW demonstration site at Lake Burdur, Turkey was highlighted in an article in the Daily Telegraph on 4 August 2009. The Daily Telegraph is one of the UK's leading broadsheet newspapers with a circulation of over 850,000. The article was prompted by a news piece featured on the BirdLife International website entitled "Preachers and teachers help conserve Turkish wetland", which highlighted the use of a sermon to educate the local community of Burdur on the importance of conserving their lake. Click here to view the clipping from the Daily Telegraph.
Cambridge, 24 September 2009 - Fish-farmers from Hungary, and Romania, will attend a workshop on nature-friendly fish-farming, at Biharugra fishponds organised by MME (BirdLife in Hungary) this week. "The workshop is useful in so many ways”, said Simay Gábor, manager of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project in Hungary. “It is a good opportunity to bring people together to exchange knowledge and experience about the main issues affecting their work in places so important for nature conservation”.
Amman, Jordan, 17 August 2009 – The BirdLife International Middle East Secretariat in its capacity as the Regional Centre for the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (the BirdLife partner in Jordan) conducted the first regional “Training of Trainers” (ToT) course in “The Flyway Approach to the Conservation and Wise Use of Waterbirds and Wetlands” in Amman, Jordan on 10th – 16th August 2009.
Silute, Lithuania, 28 July 2009 - The Nemunas River Delta Regional Park has received the coveted 2009 European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) Award from the European Commission. This year marks the third phase of the European Destinations of Excellence Competition established by the European Union to highlight the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations. Launched by the European Commission in 2006, the EDEN award recognizes places where tourism is managed and supports growth in a socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable way.
Burdur, Turkey, 28 July 2009 - Well-known as one of the world’s most important wintering grounds for the globally-threatened White-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala), the health of Lake Burdur has been negatively affected in recent years by pollution, urban development and unsustainable agricultural practices, leading to the drying up and degradation of the lake. Worryingly, there was also a relatively low level of environmental awareness among the local population of the natural and recreational values of this wetland habitat and the migratory bird species which depend on it. Thanks to the efforts of Doga Dernegi and the support of the Municipality of Burdur things are changing fast!
Bonn, Germany, 26 July 2009 - The WOW Project Coordination Unit (PCU) staffed by UNOPS has recently relocated to the UN Premises in Bonn, Germany and will be co-located with the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat.
Burdur, Turkey, 24 July 2009 - Lake Burdur is one of the lakes in Turkey that have been drying up quickly over the last 20 years. Doğa Derneği, the BirdLife Partner Designate for Turkey, recently drafted a sermon on the wise-use of water in an effort to reach out and connect with the community of Burdur on the importance of conserving their lake. The sermon, a collaborative effort between Doğa Derneği, Burdur’s Provincial Mufti and the Burdur Centre Ulu Mosque Imam Nuri Çınar was read during Friday prayers on the 24th of July.
Haapsalu, Estonia, 24 July 2009 - A new interactive visitor experience in the Haapsalu-Bays is providing tourists with a bird’s eye view of the incredible journeys made by migratory waterbird species. Recently re-located from the neighbouring village of Saunja, Estonia’s Environmental Board recently opened the doors of the newly refurbished Nature Information Centre in Haapsalu on 30 June 2009 to make it more accessible for the many tourists who visit the area for its cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes and recreational value.
The Nemunas River Delta, Lithuania, 23 July 2009 – Tucked away along the north-western part of Lithuania is one of the very few natural estuaries remaining in the Baltic Region and a unique example of a coastal wetland complex characteristic of the Eastern Baltic Region. The Nemunas River Delta is by far the most important wetland complex in Lithuania and a key stop-over site for many migratory waterbirds. It is also one of the key nesting sites of rare and vulnerable bird species in Europe.
Mr. Garba Mohammed Boyi, the Project Manager of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project at the Hadejia-Nguru wetlands in Nigeria has been quoted in a recent allAfrica.com news article as saying "Hundreds of thousands of species of waterbirds migrate from European countries sometimes traveling a distance of over 5,000 Km to come to this area which is globally known as one of the best habitat for migratory waterbirds. There is every need to ensure that the place is conserved as these birds play a vital role in the wetlands ecosystem. Their droppings provide local manure to aquatic plants as well as feeds to fish."
Wakkerstoom, South Africa, 9 June 2009 - BirdLife South Africa, the main local implementing agency of the WOW Demonstration Site in the area,is using crane decoys to attract wintering Grey Crowned Cranes to the well-known Wakkerstroom wetland, bringing together conservation, community-development and tourism.
New York / Nairobi, 5 June 2009, The United Nations is leading a powerful new outreach campaign to encourage governments to reach a definitive agreement on climate change in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December 2009. Titled "Seal the Deal!", the campaign is designed to mobilize political leaders, the business sector and civil society – including NGOs, community environment groups, youth and faith organizations – on a global scale to apply pressure for action to combat climate change.
Ede/Bonn, 26 May 2009 - Update reports compiled by the WOW Project Coordination Unit (PCU) on the progress of all WOW demonstration site projects, as well as a number of other important technical documents have been added to the WOW website over the past few months.
London, 20 May 2009 - More than half the populations of waders in Europe, West Asia and Africa are declining at an accelerating rate. There is a need for better protection of the key wetlands along their flyways, especially in Africa and the Middle East. This is the conclusion of the Wetlands International’s Wader Atlas, the first comprehensive overview of key site networks for waders in Europe, West-Asia and Africa, launched in London today.
Cotonou, Benin, 20 May 2009 - The second meeting of the WOW Training Board for Western and Central Africa was held from 6-7 May 2009 in Benin. A workplan for the next semenster was endorsed by all Training Board members and plans were made for the delivery of a Training of Trainers (ToT) course in November 2009 using the tools being developed by the WOW Project.
Moscow/Almaty, 19 May 2009 - Alexander Solokha, the WOW Regional Waterbird Officer for the Central Asian and Caucasus States (based in Moscow) has sent in a summary report on gap-filling surveys conducted in Armenia and Uzbekistan in 2008. The field projects in Armenia and Uzbekistan were implemented to collect waterbird and habitat data from presumably important wetlands which were not previously covered by IBA and IWC monitoring.
Washigton, 19 May 2009 - In its effort to create awareness on all the different ways in which we can help to protect our planet, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is looking for photos that portray human effort to protect our environment and mitigate and adapt to the changing climate. The photos will be divided in three categories 1.) PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT 2.) WILDLIFE 3.) CLIMATE CHANGE. For more information please visit the GEF Photo Competion Website and note the deadline for Submission: All entries must be received by June 1st, 2009!
Gland, 11 May 2009 - Leon Bennun, the Director of Science, Policy and Information at BirdLife International and member of the WOW Steering Committee highlighted the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project in his Opening Statement at the 40th Standing Committee Meeting of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which took place in Gland, Switzerland, 11- 15 May 2009.
Namga-Kokorou, Niger, 13 May 2009 - The community of Namga-Kokorou will soon have access to a wetland management plan that will allow them to have a solid legislative framework for the better management of the area’s wetland and natural resources.
Wakkerstoom, South Africa, 15 May 2009 - Big things are happening in the small town of Wakkerstroom these days. This well-known birding hotspot hosts very important wetlands and its high altitude grasslands are home to some 300 species of birds and more than 100 endemic plants.
Almaty, Kazakhstan 14 April 2009 - The recently translated Russian version of the WOW "Building capacity for flyway conservation" leaflet is now available as hard copy print publication in addition to it being downloadable in PDF Format from the WOW website.
Dakar, Senegal - The first Regional Exchange Workshop for Western and Central Africa in the framework of the WOW Project was held from 17 - 19 February 2009 at the Headquarters of Saloum National Park in Senegal.
Renske den Exter, who served as an intern at the WOW Project Coordination Unit (PCU) in Ede, The Netherlands from November 2008 to March 2009 has begun her second phase of her internship at the WOW Demonstration Site in Wakkerstroom, South Africa.
Ede, 8 April 2009 - a summary report highlighting the main results of the recently conducted WOW communications survey and the underlying University research project entitled "Evaluation of the communication efforts of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project - solutions for enhanced communication" prepared by Renske den Exter is now available.
A Red-breasted Goose Conservation Workshop took place 23-25 February 2009 in Moscow, Russia. The workshop was organized by the Red-breasted Goose International Working Group (RBGIWG) and was hosted by the Goose, Swan and Duck Study Group of Northern Eurasia, Moscow Zoo and the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Science.
Parc National du Banc D’Arguin, Mauritania, 25 February 2009 -The small fishing village of Mamghar, located deep in the Parc National du Banc D’Arguin, has been abuzz with activity recently. For the past six months 20 members of the local Imraguen community have been receiving intensive language training in French under the instruction of Mr. Ahmed Ould Meslem and are now ready to begin a hands-on nature guiding training course.
Edoardo Zandri, the former Chief Technical Advisor of the WOW Project, has joined the UNEP/DGEF team in Nariobi, Kenya on 17 February 2009, as Task Manager for Biodiversity and Natural resources. As part of his new job he will contribute to the development and implementation of ongoing and new UNEP/GEF biodiversity conservation initiatives at the global level. His positive experience with WOW will also be instrumental for the future development of other innovative flyway-level conservation projects.
12 February 2009 - A new Russian version of the WOW "Building capacity for flyway conservation" leaflet is now available in PDF Format for download from the WOW website.
The new leaflet will help promote the flyway-scale training and capacity building activities and Flyway Training Kit of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project in the Central Asian and Caucasus Region.
We deeply regret to inform you that on 4 February 2009 the Wings Over Wetlands Project lost one of its staff members. After a brief illness, Mounkaila Soumana passed away suddenly at the University Hospital Centre in Niamey, Niger. Mounkaila was the site animator for Namga village and responsible for the implementation of activities locally.
In early January 2009, the CACS Sub region Waterbird Officer in partnership with local experts organised a training expedition for waterbird monitoring in the Bukhara region of Uzbekistan. The expedition was organised in the framework of WOW Project implementation activities within the Central Asia and Caucasus sub-region to support the local volunteer network engaged in the International Waterbird Census (IWC).
On 7th – 16th January 2009 a training and exchange visit between Haapsalu - Noarootsi Bays (Estonia) and Saloum-Niumi (Senegal/The Gambia) demonstration sites was implemented. The aim of this event was to share and exchange ideas and transfer capacity on migratory waterbird monitoring. The workshop was organized in cooperation between Wetlands International Africa, Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (Gambia), Direction des Parcs Nationaux (Senegal), WOW Project Coordination Unit, Estonian and Senegal/Gambia demonstration project teams. The 19 very enthusiastic participants from Saloum and Niumi National Park worked closely with the Estoinan team in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Wageningen, 19 January 2009 - Wetlands International is highlighting the Wakkerstroom Wetlands as "this month's threatened wetland" on its website. Accessible from the front page of the Wetlands International website, the special resource page on the Wakkerstroom Wetlands contains background information and links to further resources on the mining threat to the wetlands at the WOW Demonstration Project near Wakkerstroom in South Africa. For more information please visit the Wetlands International website.
Ede, 13 January 2009 – the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project is conducting a short evaluation of its external communication activities with the aim to better target future communication efforts related to the project.
A number of surveys have been prepared and sent out to both project partners and a wide range of WOW related stakeholders in the African-Eurasian region. In addition, a number of telephone interviews have been conducted with project partners at the 12 WOW Demonstration Sites and 4 Regional Centres.
Rome, 4 December 2008 - The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project Partnership conducted a side event on Thursday, 4 December 2008 at the Ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP9) which took place 1-5 December 2008 in Rome, Italy.
The WOW Exhibition Stand was on display and staffed throughout the duration of the conference and was visited by many of the 300 international delegates which attended the meeting.
The Saloum-Niumi Complex has been officially declared as the first African Transboundary Ramsar Site by the Governments of The Gambia and Senegal. Shared between these two countries, the Saloum-Niumi complex forms a single ecological system comprising coastal wetlands and savannah forests, and includes one of the largest tracts of mangrove forest in West Africa.
Cambridge, 28 November 2008 - A collaborative project by BirdLife and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF; BirdLife in Nigeria) has empowered a community to improve a local wetland. Habitat management has greatly improved the wetland, and local people are already catching more and bigger fish. The forthcoming annual waterbird count will soon reveal how birds have also benefited.
Not even aware of their own success, the eagles in the “Haapsalu-Noarootsi Bays” are the new movie stars in a recently launched camera project in Estonia. This winter the live camera project started to watch the White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in their feeding place. So far 7 different White-tailed Eagles have been observed.
Wageningen, 25 November 2008 - A new leaflet designed to help promote the flyway-scale training and capacity building activities currently underway in the framework of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project is now available as hardcopy and for download on the WOW website. The colourful 4 page flyer will be used to help promote the new FLYWAY TRAINING KIT being developed in the context of the capacity building compontent of the WOW Project.
Karagandy, Kazakhstan, 22-24 November 2008 - A group of dedicated students from a number of birdwatching clubs in Kazakhstan took part in a special two day conference hosted by the WOW Regional Center for Central Asia and the Caucasus States. The conference, which was supported by the Van Tienhoven Foundation took place from 22-24 November 2008 in the city of Karagandy in Kazakhstan and gave the students the opportunity to present their annual achievements in nature conservation and bird monitoring.
Wageningen, 21 November 2008 - Renske den Exter from The Netherlands, has joined the WOW Project Coordination Unit (PCU) in Wageningen for a five month internship. Renske is a third year environmenal science student from the Van Hall-Larenstein Institute and her internship at the WOW PCU will be her second practical on-the-job training required by her university curriculum.
Wageningen, 21 November 2008 - Hosted by Birdlife International, The WOW Project team convened on 13 - 14 November in Cambridge for an internal planning and strategy meeting. The meeting brought together the core technical teams from all main project partners to jointly review the progress and achievements of all WOW Project components in the light of the upcoming Steering Committee meeting to be held in Rome during CMS CoP9.
Wageningen, 21 November 2008 - In a marked piece of land, surrounded by beautiful mangroves, the first signs of hard work on the new Wetlands Education Centre for the Dar Es Salaam Wetlands in Tanzania are already becoming visible. The establishment of this new education centre is being supported by the Wings Over Wetlands Project as one of the project’s twelve demonstration sites.
Moscow, 10 November 2008 - Alexander Solokha, the Regional Waterbird Officer for the Wings Over Wetlands Project at the WOW Regional Centre for Central Asian and Caucasus States reports that the "WOW Project in Brief 2007" publication is now available in Russian. The Russian version of the brochure was produced by Alexander Solokha and the team at the Wetlands International Russia office and includes an extra section about the subregion of Russia, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus.
Wageningen, 30 October 2008 - A new report on the monitoring workshops carried out under the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project in the four sub regions (Eastern and Southern Africa, Western and West-central Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East) is now available on the WOW Website for download.
The report provides an overview of the results of the four regional gap-filling and monitoring workshops carried out in the context of the WOW Project between November 2007 and April 2008 and which were attended by 99 waterbird experts from 50 countries.
October 2008 was a busy month in the WOW Lithuanian demonstration site “Nemunas River delta”. Beside two large-scale public events (the “Euro-bird-watch Day-2008” and the “Bird Rally-2008” with over 1,200 people participating), a large international conference entitled: “The Nemunas River delta – internationally important bird area” was held in the Nemunas River Delta from 24-25 October 2008.
Almaty, 18 October 2008 - Marina Koshkina, the WOW Project Capacity Development Officer for Central Asia, Southern Caucasus and Russia, was amongst the participants of a 5 day workshop on "Avian Influenza and the Role of Wild Birds in Central Asia" which took place 13 - 17 October 2008 in Almaty Kazakhstan. The regional workshop was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and organized by FAO with the help of the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstanm (ACBK) and with the financial support of the Asian Development Bank and Swedish International Development Agency.
Wageningen, 16 October 2008 - Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Salim Bawaneh, the new Capacity Development Officer for the Middle East Region. Salim Bawaneh will be replacing Majdi Salameh, who left the BLI Middle East Division for another job opportunity in August 2008. Born in Hareema (Jordan), Salim graduated as a teacher in English language and literature and has always felt that as a teacher he played an important role in communicating environmental issues.
Barra, The Gambia, 10 Ocotber 2008 - There will be plenty more places to go birding in The Gambia with the recent announcement by Niumi National Park - administered by the Gambian Department of Parks and Wildlife Management - that it is creating a new camp site and visitor facilities at its Headquarters just outside the town of Barra to the northern border with Senegal.
Antananarivo, 15-19 September 2008 - several members from the WOW Project Team were among the 160 representatives of government and non-governmental organisations as well as waterbird experts from 80 countries which met in Antananarivo, Madagascar from 15-19 September 2008 to discuss urgent conservation responses necessary to reverse the declines of many migratory waterbird species along the African-Eurasian Flyways.
Bonn, 22 August 2008 - The AEWA Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Republic of Estonia - the third Baltic State besides Lithuania and Latvia – will accede to the Agreement as of 1 November 2008 and will raise AEWA membership to 62 countries.
Wageningen, 8 July 2008 - Wetlands International has compiled a report on the WOW Exchange Programme Planning Workshop which was held in Wageningen on 31 January and 1 February 2008. One of the planned outcomes (Outcome 3.3) of the WOW Project is to establish an Exchange Programme for waterbird and wetland conservation practitioners and other stakeholders for the African-Eurasian region.
Its aim is to target various stakeholder groups across the flyways such as technical site based staff (including those in project demonstration projects) and decision makers and to foster the exchange of information and lessons learned between these individuals and organisations within the project area.
Majdi Salameh, who has been working as the Capacity Development Officer at the WOW Middle East Regional Centre will be leaving his present position at the BirdLife Middle East office as of 1 August 2008 to pursue his career goals with another regional organization. Majdi has played a pivotal role in coordinating and supporting the regional training component of the WOW project and has significantly contributed to the overall advancement of the programme.
30 June 2008 – The WOW demonstration project team in the Silma Nature Reserve in north-west Estonia, implemented by the Estonian State Nature Conservation Centre (SNCC), is excited by this year’s bird monitoring data. In spring 2008 the WOW demonstration area was the main stopover site in Estonia for the globally endangered Lesser White-fronted Goose (LWfG), Anser erythropus. This past April and May, at least 22 different birds were observed at the demonstration site.
The Wings Over Wetlands workshop, held in Amman, Jordan, from 9-16 June 2008, was the near-final step in the development of the Training and Awareness component of the WOW project, and Sandra Hails, the Ramsar Secretariat’s CEPA Programme Officer, was in attendance from 13-16th. Make sure to read her full report of the recent workshop on the Ramsar Website!
Bonn, 26 May 2008 – Despite strong competition from many other parallel side events at the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP9), the side event “Migratory Birds – Ambassadors for Biodiversity”, organized by the AEWA Secretariat in close collaboration with the WOW Project Partnership attracted considerable interest. Over 40 COP participants found their way to the Ministry of Transport outside the main conference venue, where the lunch-time side event took place. [ read on ]
19 - 30 May 2008 - The ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP9) is currently underway in Bonn, Germany. The WOW Project team is using the conference as an opportunity to present the project to the 5000+ international delegates attending the meeting. In addition to being present with new displays and publications at several WOW Partner exhibition stands for the duration of the conference, a dedicated WOW side event is being organised to highlight the project and in particular the Critical Sites Network (CSN) Tool.
The HNWCC in Nguru, Northern Nigeria has been fully renovated, its office and accommodation facilities upgraded, and provided with state-of-the art IT and communication equipment. After a period of reduced activity, the centre is now fully active again and run by a permanent team of four NCF (Nigerian Conservation Foundation) staff, now reachable through a satellite internet connection on site. In the framework of the WOW project, the NCF team is working with local community groups, local authorities and national research institutions on a wide range of programmes on wise use of wetlands and conservation of migratory waterbirds.
Almaty, 8-10 April 2008 - The first Regional Training Board Meeting for Central Asia, the Southern Caucasus and Russia was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan with the aim of establishing the 4th Sub-regional Training Board. The meeting was organized within the framework of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project and was hosted by ACBK (The Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan)
Nairobi, 17-21 February 2008 – the Critical Sites Network (CSN) and exchange programme strand of the Wings over Wetlands project has started working on the ground in the Horn of Africa. Mr. Abdi A. Jama, the interim National Coordinator for the Africa Waterfowl Census in Somaliland visited Mr. Houssein Rayaleh, the National Coordinator for Djibouti in an exchange visit aiming to gain on the ground training on organizing and conducting waterbird counts. Subsequently, surveys to fill gaps in the knowledge on wetlands and waterbirds covering parts of the Red Sea shoreline in northern Somaliland were carried out.
Wakkerstroom, 21 April 2008 - Recent reports from Birdlife South Africa (BLSA) indicate that the conservation of the Wakkerstoom Wetlands (one of the WOW Demonstration sites) may be jeopardised by looming threats of mining exploration in the area. BLSA and several local NGOs and community groups are working together to ensure that conservation and community concerns are duly taken into account by relevant national authorities. For more information please visit the BLSA website.
Linnamäe, Oru vald, Estonia, 18 April 2008 - The Estonian State Nature Conservation Centre has registered an awareness raising activity for World Migratory Bird Day on the WMBD campaing website. The State Nature Conservation Centre will celebrate World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD 2008) with an illustrated lecture for younger school children. The aim of the event is to increase the understanding about bird migration as an unique phenomenon and to show how migration between important wetland areas along their flyways is a large part of their life cycle. The presentation will explain when, where and why our birds migrate and why it is necessary to protect them globally. The educational activity is being organised by Marko Valker, a nature education specialist working at the Estonian State Nature Conservation Centre and who is also one of the focal points for the WOW demonstration site at Haapsalu-Noarootsi Bays in Estonia.
Wakkerstroom, 09 April 2008 - The WOW Demonstration Site at Wakkerstroom Wetland in South Africa has registered an activity for World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2008 on the WMBD website. The planned event will involve the public opening of a visitor centre and bird watching excursions. On 10 May 2008 the BirdLife South Africa team in Wakkerstroom will be joined by members of the Indwe Environment Club, the Wakkerstroom Primary School and Uthaka Secondary School Eco-Clubs and will give a presentation on migratory birds inhabiting the Wakkerstroom area and stress the importance of the local wetland system and help introduce the flyway approach to the participants. After the launch participants will get the opportunity to visit the local open water system where a bird watching activity will be organized. For more information please visit: www.worldmigratorybirdday.org
Lybrich van der Linden, who served as an intern at the WOW Project Coordination Unit for over 10 months has left to complete her studies in Coastal Zone Management at the University of Wageningen. Over the course of her internship she supported the project in many ways and was fully integrated in the PCU team. As a superb "conference organiser" she helped organise the Almen Capacity Building Workshop and the recent WOW Project Team Meeting in Wageningen.
Over 45 participants from 23 countries along the African-Eurasian Flyway attended the WOW Project Team Meeting in Wageningen, The Netherlands on 28 January -01 February 2008. The event brought together key international staff currently involved in the Wings Over Wetlands Project, giving them a chance to exchange latest information and to jointly present the project to the wider public.
Nairobi, November 19, 2007 - A series of international workshops on enhancing the conservation of Waterbirds in Eastern and Southern Africa was launched in Nairobi Yesterday. 'The timing of these workshops is opportune as we currently face various conservation challenges that include environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity in all regions of the world,' said Erustus Kanga, the head of ecological monitoring and biodiversity evaluation at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in a speech read on behalf of the KWS Director, Dr. Julius Kipng'etich.
A number of regional WOW Training Boards are currently being established in the 4 WOW Sub-regions. The first WOW Regional Training Board Meeting took place in Amman, Jordan for the Middle East region on 10-11 November and the WOW Training Board Meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa will be taking place in Entebbe, Uganda in December.
A new draft Training & Awareness Raising Framework that integrates the flyways concept into wetland management planning has been elaborated by Wetlands International and other international project partners in the context of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project for stakeholders in the AEWA region.
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