World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. WMBD is organized by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties -the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) -and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA).
2023 Theme: Water
Water is fundamental to life on our planet. The vast majority of migratory birds rely on aquatic ecosystems during their life cycles. Inland and coastal wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, and ponds are all vital for feeding, drinking, or nesting, and also as places to rest and refuel during their long journeys.
Unfortunately, aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly threatened around the world and so are the migratory birds that depend on them. The increasing human demand for water, as well as pollution and climate change, are having a direct impact on the availability of clean water and the conservation status of many migratory birds.
This year’s World Migratory Bird Day campaign highlights the importance of water for migratory birds and identify key actions for protecting water resources and aquatic ecosystems.
The two peak days of World Migratory Bird Day 2023 are 13 May and 14 October, reflecting the cyclical nature of bird migration with varying migration periods in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Protecting Migratory Birds from Geneva
Migration is a perilous journey and involves a wide range of threats, often caused by human activities. Climate change, habitat loss, plastic pollution are just a few of the diverse threats that the birds face. As migratory birds depend on a range of sites along their distribution area, the loss of wintering and stopover sites could have a dramatic impact on the birds’ chances of survival. Flying long distances involves crossing many borders between countries with differing environmental politics, legislation and conservation measures. Thus, international cooperation among governments, NGOs and other stakeholders is required along the entire flyway of a species in order to share knowledge and to coordinate conservation efforts. The legal framework and coordinating instruments necessary for such cooperation is provided by multilateral environmental agreements such as CMS and AEWA.
Switzerland is of particular importance as a wintering and resting place for various migratory waterbird species. The Geneva region contains some important ecosystems for migratory birds, with several protected areas of international and national importance. The region also hosts many international organizations and local associations who are active in protecting bird species. Learn more in our update below.
- Global Campaign Highlights Importance of Water for Migratory Birds | World Migratory Bird Day | 12 October 2023
- Migratory birds can be taught to adjust to climate change, study shows | Phys.org | 22 September 2023
- World Migratory Bird Day 2023: Water Sustaining Bird Life | UNESCO | 13 May 2023