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The Second Central Asian Flyway Meeting of Range States

17-Jun-2005

The Second Central Asian Flyway Meeting of Range States to develop a common international framework to promote the conservation of migratory waterbirds and wetlands was held at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, India, from 10-12 June 2005. For the report and pictures, click here.

news&/NewsItems/CAF.htm TWO FLYWAY MEETINGS MAKE GREAT PROGRESS IN INTERNATIONAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MIGRATORY WATERBIRD AND WETLAND CONSERVATION IN THE CENTRAL ASIAN FLYWAY NEW DELHI, INDIA, 10-13 JUNE 2005 2nd Meeting on the Central Asian Flyway Action Plan to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats 10-12 June The Second Central Asian Flyway (CAF) Meeting of Range States to develop a common international framework to promote the conservation of migratory waterbirds and wetlands was held at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, India, from 10-12 June 2005 at the invitation of the Minister for Environment and Forests, Government of India. The meeting was organised under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), in cooperation with Wetlands International and Wildlife Institute of India. Representatives from 23 range states including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan and Yemen attended. In addition there were representatives of the United States of America, African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), Central Asian Regional Environment Centre (Kazakhstan), BirdLife International, International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), International Crane Foundation (ICF), Wetlands International, and a number of national non-governmental organisations and institutions, including Bombay Natural History Society, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), and Wildlife Protection Society of India’s Indian Cranes and Wetlands Working Group. Range States of the CAF region not in attendance were Bahrain, Georgia, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Generous financial support was provided by the Governments of India, the Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as CMS, AEWA, the Global Environment Facility, and the UNEP Regional Offices for West Asia, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe (Pan-European Biodiversity and Landscape Strategy) and Wetlands International. The New Delhi Meeting built on discussions held in the First Meeting of the Range States of the CAF in Uzbekistan, in 2001 and had four primary meeting objectives: (1) to provide Range State delegations with an overview of flyway conservation issues; (2) to finalise and endorse the draft CAF Action Plan; (3) to consider, prioritise and endorse selected implementation activities, and lay the basis for exploring and possibly establishing an interim coordination mechanism; and (4) to develop a consensus on their preferred option for a legal and institutional framework for the CAF region. The meeting was officially inaugurated by Honourable Minister for Environment and Forests (MOEF), Government of India, Thiru A. Raja, in the presence of Mr. Namo Narain Meena, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Dr Prodipto Ghosh, Secretary MOEF, Mr. R.P.S Katwal, Additional Director General (Wildlife) MOEF, Mr Douglas Hykle, Senior Advisor, Convention on Migratory Species, Mrs. Désirée Bonis, Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Netherlands Embassy and Mr. Ward Hagemeijer, Head of Biodiversity and Ecological Networks, Wetlands International. Mr. R.P.S Katwal was elected to chair the meeting. The Honourable Minister launched a new book entitled "Handbook of Indian Wetland Birds and their Conservation", which has been published by the Zoological Survey of India. The Handbook, the first of its kind for the country provides comprehensive information on conservation issues and initiatives, Indian Ramsar Sites and other important wetlands for waterbirds in addition to species texts and colour photographs for all wetland bird species. A series of technical presentations by national and international experts set the scene and provided an overview of flyways and global and regional frameworks for migratory waterbird and habitat conservation (Mr. Ward Hagemeijer and Dr. Taej Mundkur, Wetlands International) , a review of migration strategies of waterbirds in the CAF (Dr. S. Balachandran, Bombay Natural History Society), the International Waterbird Census programme (Mr. David Li, Wetlands International), Important Bird Area programme (Mr. Simba Chan, BirdLife International), a case study of national habitat inventory for migratory waterbirds in India (Dr. Lalitha Vijayan, SACON), and the CMS MOU on Siberian Crane and related UNEP GEF Project (Mr. Crawford Prentice, ICF). Overviews on CMS related work included an introduction on CMS (Mr. Lyle Glowka, CMS Secretariat), AEWA (Mr. Bert Lenten, AEWA Secretariat), capacity building and site conservation: a case study of the UNEP/GEF African Eurasian waterbird project to support implementation of AEWA (Mr. Ward Hagemeijer), and the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy (Dr. Taej Mundkur). A case study on the range of activities being implemented in India for waterbird and wetland conservation (Mr. B. C. Choudhury, Wildlife Institute of India) provided a basis for understanding the kind of work needed on the ground to conserve these species. The Central Asian Flyway covers at least 272 migratory waterbird populations of 178 species, including 27 globally threatened and near-threatened species that breed, migrate and spend the non-breeding (winter period) within the region. Species such as the critically threatened Sociable Plover Vanellus gregarious, endangered White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis, vulnerable Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis and Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis, and Barheaded Goose Anser indicus, Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii, and Brownheaded Gull Larus brunnicephalus are completely (or largely) restricted to the Central Asian Flyway region. The draft CAF Action Plan covers a range of actions to promote the conservation of species, their habitats, build capacity, raise awareness, and promote monitoring and research. The text of the Action Plan was discussed at length and amended by the meeting. A number of new action points were introduced, including, (a) the need for adequate attention to gender issues while developing and implementing alternative livelihood options to manage wetlands and other habitats important to migratory waterbirds, (b) the need to monitor disease occurrence in wild waterbirds and, using a multi-disciplinary approach, assess disease risk and implications for human health, in relation to poultry husbandry and trade practices, trade in wild waterbirds and migratory waterbird movements, (c) development of outcome-oriented medium-term Flyway Strategic Plan and National Strategic Plans to implement actions. It was agreed that the finalised Action Plan would be circulated by the CMS Secretariat to the Range States for final review and comment prior to its adoption at a future intergovernmental meeting. Various priority international concepts to support and inform implementation of the CAF Action Plan were reviewed and feedback provided on the order of priority for their implementation. They include the need to develop:  a directory of sites of international importance for migratory waterbirds in the CAF,  a flyway overview of the status and trends of waterbird populations to determine future monitoring and conservation priorities,  a flyway status overview of national and international conservation aspects of migratory waterbirds and their habitats as a basis for cooperative conservation action,  a monitoring strategy and strengthen capacity for monitoring waterbirds in the CAF,  a flyway network of key contacts and collate an international register of waterbird and habitat projects, and  a framework to establish a “Central Asian Flyway Site Network”. Three additional priorities were suggested and they include the need to develop:  single species action plans for threatened species,  a common framework for inventory of wetlands, and  an awareness programme for waterbirds and their habitats. The CMS and AEWA Secretariats were invited to consider the priorities of the Meeting in initiating development of flyway activities to support implementation of the Action Plan. There was also agreement on the need to develop a medium-term Flyway Strategic Plan to support implementation of the Action Plan and for the development of national Strategic Plans. The CMS Secretariat was also invited to further explore with Range States, AEWA and other potential partners, the concept of an interim coordination mechanism to initially support the implementation of the Action Plan, once adopted. The Range States present were invited to provide an indication of their Government’s or Ministry’s preference to link the Action Plan under discussion either to a legally-binding or non-binding instrument. There was almost complete unanimity for a legally-binding instrument and, of these, there was near unanimity for the Action Plan to be integrated with the existing AEWA Agreement that has been developed under CMS. It was agreed that more detailed consultations within the Range States and Secretariats of CMS and AEWA were need to progress this issue. Meeting papers and formal outputs can be viewed on the CMS CAF meeting website http://www.cms.int/bodies/meetings/regional/caf/caf_meeting.htm. Meeting to endorse the proposed Western/Central Asian Site Network for Siberian Cranes (and other waterbirds) 13 June The CAF Meeting was followed by a CMS Meeting to endorse the proposed Western/Central Asian Site Network for Siberian Cranes Grus leucogeranus (and other waterbirds), on 13 June. The meeting brought together the range states of the Siberian Crane and was focused on finalising the framework for the establishment of an international site network to cover the two narrow flyways of the Siberian Crane from western Russia that terminate in Iran and India. The establishment of this network is proposed to be a forerunner for a larger migratory waterbird site network in the CAF to be established under the CAF Action Plan. Meeting papers and formal outputs can be viewed on the CMS Siberian Crane meeting website http://www.cms.int/bodies/meetings/regional/site_network/asian_meeting.htm. The detailed discussions and debates in New Delhi during these two important meetings have enabled all to come to a common understanding on the need to work cooperatively across the flyway to conserve migratory species and their habitats in the Central Asian Flyway, with the Action Plan providing a strong basis to support this international challenge and opportunity. The camaraderie developed between the delegates of the meetings provides the people networks much needed to progress this work. Indian Minister for Environment and Forests, Thiru A. Raja lights the traditional lamp to open the meeting, with Mr Douglas Hykle, Mr. Namo Narain Meena, Mr. R.P.S Katwal and Dr Prodipto Ghosh onlooking Mr. Douglas Hykle, CMS, thanks the Government of India in taking the lead and initiative in organising the Meeting Mrs. Désirée Bonis, Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Netherlands Embassy stating that the Netherlands would make efforts to actively support work in the Central Asian Flyway Mr. Ward Hagemeijer WI, addressing the meeting on behalf of Mrs. Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer, WI, expressing the organisation's commitment to working with CMS, the Government of India and other Range States and partners in the long term to develop a legally binding agreement to enable stronger support to promote the conservation of migratory waterbirds and wetlands Mr. Douglas Hykle, CMS, Mr. R.P.S Katwal, MOEF, Mr. Lyle Glowka, Agreements Officer, CMS and Dr. Taej Mundkur, Coordinator, Wetlands International during the technical session Photo by Crawford Prentice Mr. Douglas Hykle and Mr. Lyle Glowka of CMS in animated discussion with Session Chair, Dr. R.B. Lal, MOEF on the way forward Minister Thiru A. Raja and Dr. J.R.B. Alfred, Director of the Zoological Survey of India with the Handbook of Indian Wetland Birds. Others in the photo are Dr. Arun Kumar, coauthor of the publication, Dr Prodipto Ghosh, and Mr. Namo Narain Meena Dr. Khalaf Al-Robaae, Director of the Natural History Museum, Iraq provides new information on the restoration of the famous Marshes and resurgence of waterbird species Dr. Eldar Rustamov, an expert on waterbirds with the Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan makes a point on the need for cooperation Mr. Sulaiman Shah Salary, General Independent Department of Environment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan endears himself to the meeting with his enthusiasm and words of wisdom for waterbird conservation and habitat management Dr. Karén Jenderedjian of the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia speaks out on the need for binding decisions to move ahead for conservation of migratory waterbirds in the CAF region. View of the Meeting in progress Delegates of the Second Central Asian Flyway Meeting, New Delhi, 10-12 June 2005 Photo courtesy MOEF Delegates of the CMS Meeting to endorse the proposed Western/Central Asian Site Network for Siberian Cranes (and other waterbirds), on 13 June 2005 Photo by Crawford Prentice Mr. Douglas Hykle addressing the meeting with Mr. R.P.S Katwal and Mr. Crawford Prentice of International Crane Foundation Ms. Elena Ilyashenko, GEF/CMS Siberian Crane Flyway Coordinator introduces criteria for selection of Siberian Crane Network Sites Mr. Simba Chan, Crane Flyway Officer, North East Asian Crane Site Network outlines the status and conservation efforts for globally threatened species in East Asia Dr. Taej Mundkur, Strategy Coordination Officer and Mr. Ward Hagemeijer, Head of Biodiversity and Ecological Networks, Wetlands International Photographs by Taej Mundkur, except where indicated otherwise

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