East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership: preliminary phase
This project involves the establishment of the partnership for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Migratory Waterbirds and their Habitats in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway. Wetlands International has been the driving force behind the initiative.
Objective of the partnership
Waterbirds and their habitats are under increasing pressure from rapid population growth and economic development, particularly in East and South East Asia. These pressures impact on the waterbirds that spend the non-breeding season in these countries as well as those waterbirds that utilize the central parts of the Flyway during migration. This Partnership recognises the importance of economic development for local communities that share important sites with migratory waterbirds, whilst ensuring the availability and quality of habitat required to maintain populations of migratory waterbirds.
The Partnership recognises that building and promoting network of wetland sites for migratory waterbirds, and training people at a local level will enhance the conservation status of the migratory waterbirds covered by the Partnership.
The Partnership will contribute to the implementation of the recommendations a number of Inter-Governmental Conventions, including the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), the Convention on Migratory Species and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Partnership will also assist those countries that currently have bilateral agreements for migratory birds in the Flyway (People's Republic of China, Japan, United States of America (Alaska), Australia, Russian Federation, the Republic of Korea and, the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea) to meet their obligations under their respective agreements.
The geographical routes that migratory waterbirds traverse are known as ‘flyways’. There are eight major flyways around the world. The East Asian-Australasian Flyway stretches from the breeding grounds of the Russian Far East and Alaska, southwards through East Asia and South-east Asia, to Australia and New Zealand and encompasses 22 countries. The East Asian – Australasian Flyway is home to over 50 million migratory waterbirds from over 250 different populations. During migration, waterbirds rely on a chain of highly productive wetlands to rest and feed, building up sufficient energy to fuel the next phase of their journey. International cooperation across their migratory range is therefore essential to conserve and protect migratory waterbirds and the habitats on which they depend.
In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the Governments of Japan and Australia, together with Wetlands International, successfully proposed a Partnership for the conservation and sustainable use of sites of international importance for migratory waterbirds in East Asia, South East Asia and Australasia.
In November 2004, representatives from twenty-one Governments, inter-governmental organizations and non-government organizations met in the Republic of Korea to discuss future regional cooperation using the Type II Partnership model from the World Summit on Sustainable Development. They agreed that this Partnership would enhance collaboration between Governments, Inter-Governmental organizations and non-Government organizations and contribute towards achieving the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Partnership is being developed by an international Working Group with representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, USA, Ramsar Secretariat, BirdLife International, Wetlands International, World Wide Fund for Nature, and the Chairs of the three existing Working Groups for Anatidae, Cranes and Shorebirds under the Asia Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy. Australia provides Interim Secretariat facilities to the group.
The Partnership Working Group has met twice, first in Krabi, Thailand in 2005 December and more recently in Canberra, Australia in March 2006. The work towards development of documentation to support the new Flyway Partnership progressing well and will be communicated to the partners shortly.