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Flyway protection and the predicament of our migrant birds: A critical look at international conservation policies and the Dutch Wadden Sea
Boere, G.C.; Piersma, T. (2012). Flyway protection and the predicament of our migrant birds: A critical look at international conservation policies and the Dutch Wadden Sea. Ocean Coast. Manag. 68: 157-168. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.05.019
In: Ocean & Coastal Management. Elsevier Science: Barking. ISSN 0964-5691, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Boere, G.C.
  • Piersma, T., more

Abstract
    The nomination of the Dutch and German parts of the Wadden Sea as a World Heritage Site within the framework of the World Heritage Convention (WHC) represents high-level recognition of the global importance of this area for millions of migratory birds. It was not the first accolade for the unique wilderness area, but arguably the most prestigious. In its nomination, the World Heritage Convention requests the two countries to strengthen cooperation within the African-Eurasian Flyways, a system of global connectedness by migrant waterbirds in which the Wadden Sea plays a vital role. Here we review the origin and (lack of) implementation of the international conservation instruments available to protect values that are easily undervalued and forgotten, instruments that involve cooperation along the flyway axes. We describe how scientific information sometimes helps governments to implement their obligations, but also how, in spite of indisputable scientific data, governments take decisions contrary to their obligations under international conservation instruments. In some cases such decisions are reversed after scientists have shown measurable declines in the global populations of the migratory waterbirds and established the causality of such declines. At a global level, a few more regional flyway conservation instruments may be needed, but for most parts of the world the instrumentation to secure the well-being of the flyways are in place. It boils down to the determination by governments, informed by good science and under close scrutiny by NGOs, to put them into concrete action.

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