Dear Reader! We have so much to report that the May issue comes out slightly belated. We hope you will enjoy the reading.
Your CWSS Team


Danish Wadden Sea on the World Heritage List?

When the Dutch-German Wadden Sea was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2009 the World Heritage Committee encouraged Denmark to nominate its part of the Wadden Sea as soon as possible to complement the inscription. The Danish Environment Ministry has lately approached the four Danish Wadden Sea municipalities and inquired whether they would support the start of procedure which could lead to a Danish application for inclusion of the Danish Wadden Sea Conservation Area in the prestigious World Heritage List based on the already existing rules and regulations encompassed by the Danish protection order for the Wadden Sea Nature and Wildlife Reserve. The enquiry has recently been discussed in the municipal councils and the three mainland municipalities have responded positively pending a discussion on the exact delimitation whereas the island of Fanø decided to await the outcome of the adoption of the national park plan for the Danish Wadden Sea. Once the nomination document has been finished it will be sent into public hearing prior to the submission of the final application.

Mark Your Calendar - Wadden Sea Day 2012

(c) Herman VerheijThe Wadden Sea Day 2012 will take place in Wilhelmshaven on 30 August 2012. This year’s theme is “Energy Transition in the Wadden Sea – Challenges towards a climate friendly and sustainable Wadden Sea Region”. It has the aim to provide insight into recent developments in the energy sector and to discuss how to address the upcoming challenges in the Wadden Sea region with scientists and managers. The sessions will give an overview on initiatives to reduce CO2, as well as on new developments in energy production, and discuss opportunities and perspectives for an environmental-friendly energy production in the Wadden Sea region.

The draft program will be distributed in mid-June together with a possibility for registration.

Draft program and updates are available here.

PROWAD Sustainable Tourism Workshop in Denmark

The last of the four regional workshops on sustainable tourism in the Wadden Sea, arranged within the PROWAD project, was held on the Danish Wadden island Rømø on 16 May. The workshop was attended by almost 30 participants representing local and regional governments, tourism industry and information centers. The objective of the workshop was to take stock of the status of tourism activities in the region and provide an opportunity for the participants to deliver and discuss their ideas to the development of the sustainable tourism strategy.

During the introductory presentations, it became apparent that sustainable tourism has already been extensively discussed in the framework of the establishment of the Danish Wadden Sea national park. The Wadden Sea municipalities are currently working on a tourist destination plan to enhance their cooperation in the field of tourism. A representative from the national tourist organization VisitDenmark underlined that coastal tourism is weakly positioned and that there is a great growth potential. The possible designation of the Danish Wadden Sea as part of the Wadden Sea World Heritage will provide the region with a unique market position.

After the presentations, the participants analyzed the strength, weaknesses and opportunities of sustainable tourism in the Danish Wadden Sea. There was consensus that the strengths and hence opportunity in the Wadden Sea’s highly recognized and unique nature with a high level of protection offers a broad range of authentic nature experiences all year round. Participants considered the lack of vision in terms of what should be understood as sustainable and the lack of cooperation between the stakeholders as key threats for using this potential. Also the lack of an adequate infrastructure and public transport were seen as weaknesses.
The result of the workshop together with the workshops in the Netherlands and Germany will now feed into the development of an overall sustainable tourism strategy for the Wadden Sea und the responsibility of the trilateral Task Group Sustainable Tourism Strategy.

The workshop reports and additional information are available here.

PROWAD is the first initiative for a sustainable tourism development for the entire Wadden Sea area, covering the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. The project is aimed to foster sustainable socio-economic development in the Wadden Sea region resulting from the designation of the Wadden Sea as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. A consistent sustainable tourism strategy is being elaborated in a participatory approach with relevant local and regional stakeholders. The project promotes high quality sustainable tourism products and activities and, therefore, contributes to the preservation of the Wadden Sea.
The project is co-financed by the Interreg IVB North Sea Region Program (The European Regional Development fund).

More information at www.prowad.org

Stronger Market Presence, Better Infrastructure and Service Quality – Great Potential of the Wadden Sea World Heritage

Europarc Consulting, the Task Group Sustainable Tourism Strategy (TG-STS) and the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat have developed and conducted a survey for the German part of the Wadden Sea World Heritage within PROWAD Project. The objective of the project is the development of the sustainable tourism strategy for the region. Overall 124 representatives from tourism organizations, nature protection institutions and municipalities in Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg participated in the survey. The questions focused on five topics, on which the future strategy will be built on: marketing and communication, qualification and quality, infrastructure, market research and education.

There are some selected results of the survey:

  • The potential of the Wadden Sea World Heritage in creating pride and identification among the local population is assessed as “rather high” and “very high” by 53% of respondents.
  • 62% of respondents see that the World Heritage status of the Wadden Sea can create an international Wadden Sea marketing platform.
  • 76% of respondents see in the World Heritage status a chance to improve quality standards in tourism
  • Development of sustainable infrastructure as a World Heritage added value is seen by 63% of respondents.
  • Generally, it was commonly agreed that the World Heritage status of the Wadden Sea offers an unprecedented chance for the region for sustainable development, which will greatly benefit the local population, attract investments and improve the general quality of tourism services.

The results of the survey can be viewed here.

Guidance for Effective Management of Marine World Heritage

Managers from marine World Heritage sites around the world met on invitation of UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme at the International Academy of the BfN on Vilm on 8-10 May 2012.

It was the second meeting within a series of workshops aiming at the development of a practical guidance for improved management of marine World Heritage sites and increased the use of the added value, which a World Heritage designation provides to a site for nature conservation.  The final product will be ready for presentation to the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee in June 2013.

Representatives came from the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Papahanaumokuakea (Hawaii, USA), the High Coast/Kvarken (Sweden / Finland), Guanacaste and Cocos Island (Costa Rica) and all three marine World Heritage sites from Mexico (Islands of the Gulf of California, El Vizcaino, and Sian Ka’an), Banc D’Arguin (Mauretania), and the Wadden Sea (Netherlands/Germany). About 75% of the marine World Heritage sites are multiple-use areas which have to balance nature conservation and economic interests. Obtaining a World Heritage status brings international recognition to exceptional places but also results in a responsibility towards the world community to maintain and protect the outstanding values for future generations. Reflecting this global dimension in the day-to-day management of the site helps to gain support from all stakeholders and inhabitants for the conservation of these special places and more broadly its natural environment and ecosystem services.

The workshop also convincingly illustrated the synergies of international cooperation in management using a network of site managers from all 45 marine sites currently inscribed on the World Heritage List. Many topics were discussed relating to either existing or potential threats for the marine sites covering climate change, habitat loss, marine pollution, overfishing, shipping and alien species. Many sites especially in Mexico suffer from negative impacts from outside the conservation area such as coastal development. Such threats are increasing global and can often not be managed by the site directly but require concerted action across many local, and national governments, and sometimes at international level. The meeting also underlined the need for training of site managers and the possible synergies of business partnerships for nature conservation.

“World Heritage sites can be a driver towards a more effective management” said Fanny Douvere from the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Programme in Paris. “A solid and dynamic global network of site managers will be an effective instrument towards this end.”  On 8 June (World Ocean Day), the program will launch a new site managers’ website that will further facilitate the possibility for site managers, located across the planet, to get in touch with one another.

Over 930 sites are inscribed in the World Heritage List, 45 of them are marine sites cooperating under the umbrella of UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Program. A first meeting of representatives of almost all marine World Heritage Sites took place on Hawaii in December 2010, which prepared a report on the main management challenges and future work fields.

Preparations are now being made for the next global World Heritage Marine Site Managers meeting in Marseille (France) on 26 – 27 October 2013. 

Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative at the AEWA/MOP5

The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) has been presented at the 5th Meeting of the Parties of the 'The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds' (AEWA) in La Rochelle, France, on 15 May 2012.

The Wadden Sea is a crucial stepping stone on the migratory route of millions of birds. Now that the Dutch-German Wadden Sea has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Germany and the Netherlands have an enhanced responsibility to strengthen their cooperation with countries along the East Atlantic Flyway for the conservation of migratory birds. The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative has thus been launched to put this into action. Two projects have been developed under the Initiative aim to increase capacity for migratory bird conservation and monitoring along the western seaboard of Africa. The projects, which run from 2012 to 2014, are funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.

The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative works in close collaboration with other migratory bird conservation projects and initiatives in West Africa, most notably AEWA and the Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project of Birdlife International and Wetlands International.

The aims of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative are to support the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the region, to obtain more detailed monitoring data and to develop a long-term perspective for the cooperation of the Wadden Sea with countries along the whole flyway.

The speakers of the WSFI side event at the AEWA/MOP5 emphasized the importance of African-European cooperation for the conservation of migratory birds along the East Atlantic Flyway.

Download flyer “Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative”.

New Impulse for the Educational Work of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The meeting of the interdisciplinary work group "World Heritage Education" took place at the Bode Museum in Berlin on 4 May 2012. It brought together education experts and practitioners with the aim to create innovative concepts for the World Heritage education and to enhance an interdisciplinary discourse between universities, schools, UNESCO World Heritage sites and museums in order to create network opportunities and to discuss various research perspectives. The third session was devoted to methods in media communication and intercultural education at schools. Various World Heritage stakeholders presented new education projects from their area.

The work group was organized by Prof. Dr. Jutta Ströter-Bender of the Department of Art at the University of Paderborn and Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund from the Department of Geography at the University of Education Heidelberg in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO and the National Museums in Berlin.

Third pillar of the World Heritage program
Dieter Offenhäußer, deputy secretary general of the German UNESCO Commission, highlighted the importance of World Heritage education as the "third pillar of the World Heritage program": in addition to the nature conservation and the promotion of sustainable tourism, also intercultural competence belongs to the core of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Mr. Offenhäußer supported even more intensive cooperation with UNESCO-project schools, representatives of which participated at the meeting for the first time. The meeting attracted representatives from more World Heritage sites than ever before. New cooperation partner is, for example, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum Island in Berlin. Christoffer Richartz, Head of the Visitor Services of the State Museums of Berlin, presented the educational work of the Museum Island. Five more world heritage sites participated in the third meeting of the work group. Representatives of the Weimar Classics Foundation, the Zollverein, the World Natural Heritage Site "Old beech forests in Germany", the Messel Pit and the Wadden Sea National Park of Lower Saxony presented their initiatives to promote the World Heritage Education.

The next meeting of the work group will take place on the first Friday in May. In 2013 the meeting will be hosted by the Messel Pit World Heritage site.

Source and full text (in German) here.

New Booklet Accompanies School Children in an Exciting Trip in the Wadden Sea World Heritage

The Wadden Sea - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is an ideal teaching topic and a great destination for school trips. For over 25 years this world wide unique ecosystem has been protected by the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation and German national parks, and for over 30 years WWF has been committed to its conservation. Now the WWF office Wadden Sea and the Schutzstation Wattenmeer together with the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat produced a new booklet for children of 4th to 7th class that brings closer the natural beauty of the Wadden Sea.

In the colored booklet, on 44 pages, in a convenient A6 format, children are invited to discover why the Wadden Sea has become a World Heritage site and is protected as national parks. They get to know 25 typical animals and plants and the structure of the coast in the Wadden Sea. Exciting informative texts, challenging questions for young experts and numerous action tips will encourage children to experience the Wadden Sea.  A sticker sheet with 12 beautiful Wadden Sea motives complements the information in the booklet.

The booklet is available at a price of € 1.50 in most of the national park houses and environmental centers along the coast and on islands in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Hamburg. The Dutch version of the booklet will be available shortly.

For a classroom use, the booklet can be ordered directly at info(at)idee-konzept.de for the same price plus delivery charge.

Many other games and materials to the Wadden Sea can be found in the IWSS teachers’ lounge, a free download area of the International Wadden Sea School.

The Wadden Sea World Heritage Belongs to 100 Sightseeing Attractions of Germany

Over 18 000 international tourists participated in a survey by the German National Tourist Board, in which they were asked to choose their favorite German tourist destination.

From February to March 2012, non-German tourists had an opportunity to pick three of Germany’s destinations on the website www.germany.travel. The winner was the Heidelberg Castle, the Wadden Sea took place 62nd in the rating, making it into the 100 most admired travel destinations for international tourists.

Germany remains the greatest source market for the Wadden Sea/North Sea tourism. For example in 2010, 97% of the tourists in the Wadden Sea in Schleswig-Holstein came from Germany. However, the number of international guests is increasing and there is, therefore, a great potential for making the Wadden Sea World Heritage attractive for international nature lovers. A survey conducted by the PROWAD project for sustainable tourism showed that over 52% of local German tourism stakeholders evaluate the potential of the Wadden Sea region to become a destination for international tourism as “high” or “very high” (www.prowad.org).

New deputy secretary at CWSS

Sascha Klöpper started his job as deputy secretary at the CWSS on the 15th of May 2012. He has a degree in biology from the University of Bremen and has worked for the Leibniz Center of Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) in Bremen and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Edinburgh, most recently as a senior scientist with responsibility for the coordination and supervision of the national phytoplankton monitoring programme under the Water Framework Directive. He is currently finalizing his PhD in the field of phytoplankton blooms at the Alfred Wegner Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven.

His main responsibility at the CWSS is the coordination of the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Programme (TMAP).

37th Annual Meeting of the Waterbird Society

24 – 29 September 2013, in Wilhelmshaven, Germany

The Waterbird Society will hold its 37th annual meeting in 2013 for the first time in Germany. The Institute of Avian Research “Vogelwarte Helgoland”, one of the oldest ornithological research institutes in the world, will be the host. The meeting venue is the Stadthalle, located in the center of Wilhelmshaven on the German North Sea coast.

There will be good opportunities to experience the rich biodiversity of the Wadden Sea, which provides critical habitat for both breeding and migrating waterbirds along the East-Atlantic Flyway.

The three-day scientific program will consist of plenaries, symposia, contributed papers and poster sessions. Saturday 28 September will be a joint scientific day with the International Wader Study Group (IWSG) annual conference (27 to 30 September).

The 37th annual meeting of The Waterbird Society is organized by the Institute of Avian Research, Wilhelmshaven, and The Waterbird Society.

Check www.waterbirds.org for updated information.


Signals from the Wadden Sea: Population declines dominate among waterbirds depending on intertidal mudflats. Ocean & Coastal Management.

Marc van Roomen (SOVON Dutch Centre For Field Ornithology)
Karsten Laursen (Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University)
Chris van Turnhout (SOVON)
Erik van Winden (SOVON)
Jan Blew (BioConsult SH)
Kai Eskildsen (Nationalparkverwaltung Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer)
Klaus Günther (Schutzstation Wattenmeer)
Bernd Hälterlein (Nationalparkverwaltung Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer)
Romke Kleefstra (SOVON)
Petra Potel (Nationalparkverwaltung Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer)
Stefan Schrader (Landesbetrieb für Küstenschutz, Nationalpark und Meeresschutz Schleswig-Holstein)
Gerold Lüerssen (Common Wadden Sea Secretariat)
Bruno J. Ens (SOVON)

The Wadden Sea, shared by Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, is one of the world's largest intertidal wetlands. Waterbirds are an important element of the Wadden Sea ecosystem. By their migratory behavior they connect the Wadden Sea with other sites, ranging from the arctic to the western seaboards of Europe and Africa, forming the East-Atlantic Flyway. The Joint Monitoring of Migratory Birds (JMMB) project of the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Program (TMAP) follows the changes in population size within the Wadden Sea.

Preview and purchase here.

Trilateral Meetings

13-14 June 2012
Task Group Management (TG-M)

9-10 July 2012
Task Group Sustainable Tourism Strategy (TG-STS)

11 July 2012
Task Group World Heritage (TG-WH)

30 August 2012
Wadden Sea Day 2012