The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago.

Developed under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), AEWA brings together countries and the wider international conservation community in an effort to establish coordinated conservation and management of migratory waterbirds throughout their entire migratory range.


Visit the general introduction leaflet on AEWA

Species Covered by AEWA

AEWA covers 254 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle, including many species of divers, grebes, pelicans, cormorants, herons, storks, rails, ibises, spoonbills, flamingos, ducks, swans, geese, cranes, waders, gulls, terns, tropic birds, auks, frigate birds and even the south African penguin.

All AEWA species cross international boundaries during their migrations and require good quality habitat for breeding as well as a network of suitable sites to support their annual journeys. International cooperation across their entire migratory range, as provided by AEWA, is therefore essential for the conservation and management of migratory waterbird populations and the habitats on which they depend.

AEWA Agreement area

Agreement Area, Range States and Contracting Parties

The Agreement area stretches from the northern reaches of Canada and the Russian Federation to the southernmost tip of Africa, covering 119 Range States from Europe, parts of Asia and Canada, the Middle East and Africa. Currently 80 countries and the European Union (EU) have become a Contracting Party to AEWA (as of 1 July 2020). The Agreement provides for coordinated and concerted action to be taken by the Range States throughout the migration system of waterbirds to which it applies.


The Structure of AEWA

The Agreement has three main bodies: the Meeting of the Parties (MOP), which is the governing body of AEWA, the Standing Committee (StC) and Technical Committee (TC), respectively responsible for steering the operations between sessions of the MOP and for providing scientific advice. The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat supports the Parties and services the bodies of the Agreement.

The latest, sixth Session of the Meeting of the Parties took place from 9-14 November 2015 in Bonn, Germany. For more information on MOP6 click here.

The AEWA Action Plan

Major Global Flyways

The core activities carried out under AEWA are described in its Action Plan, which is legally binding for all countries that have joined the Agreement. The AEWA Action Plan specifies different measures to be undertaken by Contracting Parties to warrant the conservation of migratory waterbirds within their national boundaries. These include species and habitat protection and the management of human activities as well as legal and emergency measures. Research and monitoring, education, awareness-raising and capacity building are also essential tasks for the implementation of the Agreement. In addition, special protective measures are to be implemented for those waterbird populations of particular conservation concern, listed in Column A of the Action Plan.


Title Status Status date CMS Party number Region
Zimbabwe Party 2012 117 Africa
Zambia Range State Africa
Yemen Range State 100 Asia
Uzbekistan Party 2004 055 Asia
United Republic of Tanzania Party 1999 059 Africa
United Kingdom Party 1999 019 Europe
United Arab Emirates Range State 123 Asia
Ukraine Party 2003 063 Europe
Uganda Party 2000 068 Africa
Turkmenistan Range State AM Asia
Turkey Range State AM Europe
Tunisia Party 2005 023 Africa
Togo Party 1999 048 Africa
Syrian Arab Republic Party 2003 082 Asia
Switzerland Party 1999 046 Europe
Sweden Party 1999 001 Europe
Svalbard and Jan Mayen (Norway) Party 18 Europe
Sudan Party 1999 AM Africa
Spain Party 1999 017 Europe
South Sudan Range State Africa
Instrument nameAgreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds
TypeArticle IV(3)
DepositaryGovernment of The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Attn.: Mrs C ‘t Hoen P.O. Box 20061, 2500 EB The Hague, The Netherlands Tel: (+31 70) 348 4922 / Fax: (+31 70) 348 6000 [email protected]
SignatureFinal Act signed in The Hague on 16 June 1995. Opened for signature at The Hague from 15 August 1996 until entry into force of the Agreement. Entered into force as of 1st of November 1999
Website URL
OtherA Technical Committee, comprised of experts appointed on a regional basis as well as representatives of relevant non-governmental organizations, was established at the 1st Session of the Meeting of the Parties. The 2nd Session of the Meeting of the Parties established a Standing Committee. This Committee consists of one representative of each of the following regions: Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and Northern Africa, Western and Central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa. In addition, a representative of the Depositary and the host country for future Meetings of the Parties are members of the Standing Committee.


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