Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have adopted a number of measures for the protection of the Wadden Sea. Steps agreed on by delegates at the 12th Trilateral Governmental Conference in Tønder, Denmark, include greater protection of the East-Atlantic Flyway and a joint strategy on sustainable tourism.
"The Wadden Sea is a globally unique natural area and quite rightly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We therefore have a global responsibility, not least for the millions of birds that use the Wadden Sea each year as a resting site. As riparian states of the Wadden Sea, we want to work with our African partners to protect migratory birds along the whole of their flyway," said Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, who headed the German delegation.
At the conference, representatives of national park administrations, nature conservation associations and international organisations signed a coommon guideline for collaboration on protecting migratory birds along the East Atlantic Flyway. A cooperation agreement was concluded with Banc d'Arguin World Heritage Site in Mauritania. The Wadden Sea is a key hub in the East Atlantic flyway. Each year, 10 to 12 million migratory birds rest here before continuing their journey north to breed or south to winter.
The strategy for sustainable tourism was developed by representatives of nature conservation and tourism associations, national and regional government bodies. For the first time, three countries will work together to develop nature-friendly tourism under the World Heritage brand. This includes partnerships with hotels and restaurants, environmentally sound transport and transnational environmental education.
The Dutch-German parts of the Wadden Sea was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2009. Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have now applied to UNESCO for an extension to incorporate the Danish part of the Wadden Sea. The three countries have cooperated on the protection of the Wadden Sea for over 35 years. After the Conference in Tønder the Presidency of the Wadden Sea Cooperation passed from Denmark to the Netherlands.