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Statement by Mr. Rüdiger Strempel on World Migratory Bird Day 2018

Rüdiger StrempelMr. Rüdiger Strempel

Executive Secretary of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS)

Migratory birds are among the iconic species of the Wadden Sea, for whom the area is of extraordinary importance as a staging, moulting and wintering area. The Wadden Sea is essential for the existence of at least 52 populations of 41 migratory waterbird species. Every year, 10 to 12 million birds, especially migratory waders, pass through the region on the journey along the East Atlantic Flyway between their northern breeding grounds and wintering areas in southern Europe and Africa. Essential elements of the Wadden Sea ecosystem, they are also among the best-loved species in the region, contributing to the unique character and the Outstanding Universal Value of the Wadden Sea World Heritage.

But while many of these species are thriving, it is equally true that others are showing a downward trend, for reasons that are not always well understood. Continued efforts to protect these species are therefore required and cooperation between countries along the entire flyway is essential if these efforts are to succeed. Raising awareness and reaching out to the general public are key elements of any successful conservation campaign. CWSS, which partners with AEWA as well as BirdLife and Wetlands International in the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative, therefore welcomes World Migratory Bird Day, which for many years has been an effective tool in raising global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. As a World Heritage Site we are, moreover used to cooperating with partners far beyond our own region and are therefore especially gratified that this Year’s World Migratory Bird Day brings together two of the world’s largest bird education and awareness-raising campaigns, covering the Eurasian, East-Asian-Australasian Flyways as well as the Americas.

Every year, the voices of thousands of migratory birds jointly emitting flight calls mark the onset of spring and the coming of fall. This year, we are following their example in uniting our voices to amplify our call for continued and enhanced conservation of these amazing species. CWSS wishes to congratulate the organizers for their continued and untiring efforts and looks forward to a successful 2018 World Migratory Bird Day!

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