Dr. Taej Mundkur introducing EAAFP at the meeting © Hanns Seidel Foundation, Korea
Between 2nd and 4th May, 2023, a Central Asian Flyway (CAF) Range States meeting was organised by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Secretariat and hosted by the Government of India with support of the Wildlife Institute of India, in New Delhi, India. The meeting was attended by 75 representatives of government and relevant organizations, aiming to discuss an institutional framework for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats in the CAF.
Dr. Taej Mundkur, attended on behalf of BirdLife International to present the CAF Situation Analysis report on migratory birds and their habitats. He also on behalf of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), as Vice Chair of the Technical Sub-Committee, gave a presentation to share the case in EAAFP, of which BirdLife International and the CMS Secretariat are partners.
The CAF covers 30 countries, including the breeding grounds of many birds in central and eastern Russia, Central Asia, west, central and northern China, and Mongolia. The CAF lies between the East Asian – Australasian Flyway and African Eurasian flyways. It overlaps with both, particularly in the northern and central latitudes where many of the birds breed and stage during migration.
This meeting built on the history of previous meetings of the CAF range states (in Uzbekistan, 2001, India 2005, United Arab Emirates 2012, and India 2019) and follows on the decisions of the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to CMS, held in Gandhinagar, India, in 2020, to establish an institutional framework to support the implementation of conservation action for migratory birds and their habitats in the region, by CMS COP14 due in October 2023.
The three-day meeting was attended by 75 representatives of governments from the following 12 countries: Armenia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and India together with representatives of the Secretariats of CMS, the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU), the African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan (AEMLAP) and the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) and of international organisations including BirdLife International, Hanns Seidel Foundation, IUCN, WWF – India and Wetlands International - South Asia, national NGOs including Bombay Natural History Society, senior representatives of the forest department of different states of India, national organisations and others.
The meeting discussed ways to promote international cooperation between range states to conserve and reverse the decline of nearly 600 species of migratory birds of over 80 families, including waterbirds (e.g. cranes, ducks, geese swans, pelican, shorebirds, gulls, terns), birds of prey (e.g. eagles, vultures, falcons), bustards and other land birds and seabirds that migrate and depend on a variety of habitats within the CAF.
There was broad recognition of work in these countries on a number of species and habitats including research, monitoring, conservation, and restoration, capacity building, and awareness-raising, involving citizen science, researchers, conservationists, NGOs, local grass-roots organisations, and the corporate sector, in addition to by national and local government agencies and inter-government frameworks.
Dr. Taej Mundkur presenting about the EAAFP at the meeting ©Mohamed Shobrak
The main outcomes of the meeting were to:
- Discuss and agree on an institutional framework for the CAF for all migratory birds through the establishment of a CAF Initiative, under the umbrella of the CMS and with the support of the Government of India, that will include governments, MEAs, international organisations, international NGOs and other stakeholders.
- Consider options for a CMS CAF coordination unit to be hosted by India in coordination with the CMS Secretariat.
- Draw conclusions from a draft comprehensive CAF Situation Analysis report presented by BirdLife International and discuss priority areas for implementation. The report highlights the degradation and loss of all habitats and direct threats to birds including increasing collision and electrocution from power lines and other energy and linear infrastructure, and illegal killing, and poisoning across the flyway. The meeting agreed to contribute to the finalization of the report by providing feedback by the end of May to meet the aim of making the final report available at the CMS COP14 in Uzbekistan in October 2023.
- Develop and agree on a draft roadmap for updating the CMS CAF Programme of Work and Action Plan.
- Develop and agree on a draft CMS Resolution text, and the Terms of Reference for the new Initiative, as well as CMS Decisions outlining the next steps in the development of the initiative. These documents would be proposed for consideration and adoption to the CMS COP14 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Oct 2023).
The new CAF Initiative will recognize, support, and strengthen regional and national implementation of existing international frameworks (incl. AEWA, Raptors MOU, AEMLAP, CAF Waterbird Action Plan, and EAAFP ) in the CAF region. The initiative will also undertake a range of actions, funding permitted, as per a Programme of Work and Action Plan to be developed in the future to conserve migratory birds and their habitats.
The meeting called for the first meeting of the CAF initiative to be organised in 2024 to progress the establishment of the coordination mechanism and confirm modalities for operations of the initiative and priority collaborative actions.
Outcome documents of the meeting and all presentations are now available at the CAF Meeting website: https://www.cms.int/en/meeting/meeting-range-states-central-asian-flyway
Prepared by Taej Mundkur, Good Earth Environmental