At the 14th Trilateral Governmental Conference, held in Wilhelmshaven on 28-30 November 2022, five new partner organisations signed the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative vision. The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative is an international partnership which aims to conserve and protect migratory waterbirds and their habitats along the East Atlantic Flyway. Migratory birds depend on a network of sites that provide essential resources. Changes at each site in this network can have consequences for their survival and thus the development of the flyway population, highlighting the need for conservation and management to take place at the global (flyway) scale. The geographical scale and the multitude of challenges that need to be addressed call for collaborations among international, regional and local stakeholders.
Ahmed Senhoury, Regional Partnership for the Conservation of the Coastal and Marine Zone (PRCM): “On the East-Atlantic Flyway, the PRCM member countries have a major responsibility to conserve their coastal zone and the migratory waterbirds that occupy it for six to eight months per year. We look at the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative to help us meet our responsibilities to manage and protect these birds and their habitats during their stay in West Africa. The WSFI is a model of international solidarity and cooperation that inspires humanity to join forces and protect our one and only planet from the enormous challenges it faces.”
Paul Rutten, Dutch Wadden Sea Management Authorities: “The Wadden Sea is important for birds, for which we have a moral and legal responsibility. From my perspective of site-management the monitoring, training and improved management of the WSFI are essential elements for our trilateral cooperation.”
Katja Philippart, Waddenacademie: “By connecting knowledge, areas and people, migratory waterbirds underline also the importance of other aspects of large-scale interactions, such as those by water, plankton and fish. The Waddenacademie welcomes, therefore, the Flyway Vision because it helps us in identifying the most crucial links within and between coastal sites. This understanding is urgently needed to protect these birds as well as and the environment that they rely upon.”
Senator Jens Kerstan Minister for Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg: “The Wadden Sea World Heritage is of outstanding importance for migratory birds, which are breeding, resting and wintering in this area. Their protection can only be done together along the flyway from South Africa up to the Arctic.”
Theo Verstrael, Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology (Sovon): “The unique international waterbird counts along the entire East Atlantic Flyway provide necessary insights in changes in numbers and distribution of many bird species and in the possible causes behind these changes. This monitoring contributes to the realization of the goals as set out in the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative Vision and we feel proud to be part of this cooperation.”
To strengthen existing close partnerships, a new action plan was also signed in support of the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Parc National du Banc d’Arguin and the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat.