Technical Support Unit for the AEWA African initiative


The Technical Support Unit (TSU) assists the implementation of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)’s Action Plan for Africa, mainly through direct technical support for the contracting parties.

AEWA is an intergovernmental treaty drawn up under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species, and managed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It encourages international cooperation between the contracting parties for better conservation and management of 255 migratory waterbird species and their habitats in Africa and Eurasia.


Actions and methodology

The TSU acts by developing and facilitating three networks:

  • A north-African network (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt) – the Mediterranean Waterbird Network (MWN) project;
  • A sub-Saharan network (AEWA contracting parties);
  • A Sahara-Sahel network, a partner in the RESSOURCE-ZH project.

The TSU’s actions include fund seeking, technical collaboration in the field with African partners in the framework of waterbird monitoring operations, and facilitating training workshops:

  • on the identification and monitoring of African waterbirds in the field;
  • on the management and development of national waterbird monitoring databases.

See the video presentation of the project


The TSU has designed and developed training tools and modules for improving waterbird identification and counting skills in Africa, and has contributed to the enhancement of national and international waterbird monitoring databases.

The TSU has also developed:

  • a project aimed at incorporating a module on waterbirds into the curriculum of a network of African wildlife schools (see video);
  • An educational film presenting the training techniques and counts on the ground and in the plane (see video).

The result of a close collaboration since 2012 between the Wildlife Conservation General Administration (WCGA), the High Commission for the Environment and Natural Resources (HCENR), AAO/Birdlife Tunisia, the Sudanese Wildlife Society, the University of Sennar, the Wildlife Research Center of Sudan, the French Office of Biodiversity and the Tour du Valat, the Khor Abu Habil Inner Delta has been recognized as a wetland of international importance, designated by Sudan under the Ramsar Convention and officially designated as a Ramsar site on 19 July 2022. These first steps for the designation of the Khor Abu Habil Inner Delta were captured in the field by Alizée Chiappini and Camille Barbé in December 2020 (see the film).



Technical partners

Financial partners

Publications and Multimedia

  • Waterbirds in flight identification booklet
  • The first ornithological field guide in Arabic enabling the identification of 200 migratory waterbird species
  • A multilingual CD (English, Arabic, French, and Portuguese) containing the training modules on the censusing and identification of waterbirds in Africa.
  • Sayoud, M. S., Salhi, H., Chalabi, B., Allali, A., Dakki, M., Qninba, A., El Agbani, M.A., Azafzaf, H., Feltrup-Azafzaf, C., Dlensi, H., Hamouda, N., Abdel Latif Ibrahim, W., Asran, H., Abu Elnoor, A., Ibrahim, H., Etayeb, K., Bouras, E., Bashaiman, W., Berbash, A., Deschamps, C., Mondain-Monval, J.L., Brochet, A.L., Véran, S. & Defos du Rau, P. 2017 The first coordinated trans-North African mid-winter waterbird census: The contribution of the International Waterbird Census to the conservation of waterbirds and wetlands at a biogeographical level. Biological Conservation, 206, 11-20.