Birds connect our ecosystems. People connect to protect them

Friday, 9 October 2020
access_time 1 min read
Banc d'Arguin National Park © Common Wadden Sea Secretariat

Migratory birds are part of our shared natural World Heritage. They depend on critical breeding, staging and wintering sites along major flyways which often span several continents. Two of the world’s largest migratory bird stop-over areas, Wadden Sea and Banc d’Arguin National Park were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2009 and 1989 respectively. This World Migratory Bird Day, we celebrate the birds that connect our cultures and the people all over the world who work together to protect them.

For some international travellers, 2020 is just like any other year. Using the East Atlantic Flyway, millions of migratory birds, who have spend the summer in the Arctic to raise their young, have now started their annual journey to the warmer continents in the south where they will stay for winter.

Few can make such epic journey in one go. Places like the Wadden Sea (Germany, Netherlands, Denmark) are stopovers where millions of birds feed and rest annually before continuing their trip to their wintering grounds in places such as Banc d’Arguin National Park (Mauritania). Protecting the places where birds feed and rest during their migration journey requires international collaboration.

Recognizing the critical importance of global cooperation for migratory birds, Banc d’Arguin National Park and the Wadden Sea signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014. As part of the collaboration, scientists and local management exchange best practices and conservation techniques and cooperate on bird counting and monitoring initiatives. The cooperation between both UNESCO marine World Heritage sites has served as model for increased collaboration all along the East Atlantic and other global Flyways.

Since 2010, the network of marine World Heritage managers actively nurtures the exchange of best practices in conservation and management and helps establish cooperation agreements between sites where conservation concerns are shared. The theme of the 2020 World Migratory Bird Day  Birds Connect Our World, highlight the importance of conserving - and where needed restoring - the ecological connectivity of the ecosystems that support the survival of migratory birds.