International Waterbird Census coordinators meet to discuss counts, 2023 plans

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Coordinators for the International Waterbird Census met in November to share updates from their 2022 counts and plans for the upcoming 2023 surveys. The coordinators also elected new coordinator representatives to the African-Eurasian Waterbird Monitoring Partnership Strategic Working Group (AEWMP SWG), with Mr. Ally Nkwabi (Tanzania) chosen to represent Eastern and Southern Africa and M. Firmin Kouame (Côte d’Ivoire) representing Western and Central Africa.

Representatives from 17 sub-Saharan African countries took part in the event, which took place online on 28 November.

Members of the AEWMP SWG also presented updates from important monitoring and capacity building projects, including:

  • RESSOURCE which has supported monitoring of many of the major Sahelian wetlands in recent years;
  • Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative which is collaborating with BirdLife International, Wetlands International and national partners to organise an extended “total” count and wetland assessment all along the East Atlantic Flyway in 2023.
  • The MAVA West African project which is supporting monitoring and capacity building in Mauritania, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau;
  • Updates in the West Asian-East African Flyway, including recent support for waterbird counts and major surveys in East African countries, workshops in the Arabian Peninsula and Central Asia and plans for a “total” Lesser Flamingo survey across Africa in 2024.

Finally, participants presented an overview of the recent international policy decisions, including related to Ramsar and the AEWA plans for the period 2022-2028. The International Waterbird Census and network of coordinators will be crucial in the successful implementation of these ambitious plans.