Online session for the Wadden Sea Board highlights pressing topics in the trilateral cooperation

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 32nd meeting of the Wadden Sea Board had to be postponed to early 2022. On its original date, 19 November 2020, the Wadden Sea Board chair, members and advisors as well as the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) came together in a 2-hour online session. Here they exchanged current issues as well as spotlighted three topics on the current agenda of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation: shipping and ports, Swimway and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative.

The presentation given on shipping and ports highlighted that, besides the work done within Task Group Management (TG-M) and CWSS, several initiatives are currently developed by different actors such as the Wadden Sea Forum (WSF), preparing a Round Table on this issue, the Wadden Sea Team (WST) and the Partnership Hub. Shipping and ports is also one of the key topics addressed by the envisioned single integrated management plan (SIMP). In support of the formulation of the SIMP, a comparative legal research on existing regulations applying the three Wadden Sea countries was conducted, the results of which were also presented.

Further, the progress made by the Working Group Swimway (WG-Swimway) was presented. Observed declines in fish populations underline the need of a better understanding and actions, which is why the Swimway Vision Action Programme is in place. The programme builds on four pillars research and monitoring, measures, policy and communication & education. The WG-Swimway fosters exchange as well as initiates projects and initiatives for acquiring missing knowledge on fish as well as immediate conservation actions.

The third topic presented during the online session was on the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI). The Initiative was founded in 2012 to reflect on the responsibility the Wadden Sea countries accepted with the World Heritage title in protecting the East Atlantic Flyway, which the Wadden Sea is a major site of, against habitat loss, climate change and human impact. The WSFI implements a partnership network with focus on flyway monitoring, capacity building and research. CWSS coordinates the WSFI activities with the aim of a sustainable management and protection of the whole flyway from Arctic breeding to African wintering sites. Currently a Census report on a flyway-wide count in the beginning of 2020 is being finalized.

The next regular Wadden Sea Board meeting will take place in the end of February or beginning of March 2021.