The territory of the agreement extends from the northern foothills of Canada and the Russian Federation to the southernmost tip of Africa and includes 119 range states from Europe, parts of Asia and Canada, the Middle East and Africa. Currently, 80 countries and the European Union (EU) are contracting parties to AEWA (as of 1 July 2020). The agreement provides for coordinated and concerted actions taken by range states throughout the waterbird migration system to which it applies. The African and Eurasian Migratory Bird Conservation Agreement (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty on the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago. The essential activities under AEWA are outlined in its action plan, which is legally binding on all countries that have joined. The AEWA Action Plan sets out the various measures to be taken by the parties to justify the conservation of migratory birds within their national borders. These include the protection of species and habitat, the management of human activities and legal and emergency measures. Research and monitoring, education, awareness and capacity building are also essential tasks for the implementation of the agreement. In addition, specific protective measures must be implemented for waterbird populations listed in Column A of the Action Plan, which have specific grounds for protection.
Developed under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), managed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), AEWA brings together countries and the international conservation community to achieve coordinated management of migratory birds throughout their range. All AEWA species cross international borders during migration and require quality livestock habitat and a network of suitable sites to support their annual movements. International cooperation across their migration territory, as proposed by AEWA, is therefore essential for the conservation and management of migratory populations of waterfowl and the habitats on which they depend. The agreement focuses on bird species that depend on wetlands for at least part of their life cycle and, in their migratory patterns, cross international borders. It currently comprises 254 species.  AEWA comprises 254 species of birds, which are ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle, including many types of divers, divers, pelicans, cormorants, herons, storks, rails, ibises, stingers, flamingos, ducks, swans, geese, cranes, seabirds, sea swallows, tropical birds auks, dumplings and even African penguins. Contracting parties meet every two years. There have been seven meetings so far: the agreement has three main bodies: the Parties Meeting (MOP), the AEWA Governing Body, the Standing Committee (StC) and the Technical Committee (TC), which are responsible for managing operations between MOP meetings and scientific councils.