The Range States of Central Asia have unanimously agreed to extend the Agreement on African Eurasia Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) geographical area to encompass the entire Central Asian Flyway (CAF) region and incorporate the CAF Waterbird Action Plan under the Agreement. The meeting on the way forward for the CAF legal framework took place in in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on 12 December 2012.
The delegates also issued a declaration requesting AEWA Parties to extend its geographic area to encompass the CAF region, and to take responsibility for the CAF Waterbird Action Plan. In the declaration, delegates also called for Central Asian countries to accede to AEWA and to implement the existing Action Plan.
The other option for the CAF legal framework, which was considered by participants at the meeting, was to set up set up the CAF Waterbird Action Plan as an independent framework outside CMS.
Nicola Crockford, BirdLife International, highlighted that waterbirds of the CAF region are in more rapid decline than those in Africa and Europe, and their habitats are under great pressure. David Stroud, UK, who chaired the meeting, noted that under the proposed arrangement, legal protection for the birds will be enhanced, and they will benefit from the greater international cooperation and coordination that AEWA could offer, with its 17 years of experience in managing pressing threats to waterbirds.
Bert Lenten, Officer in Charge, Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), said he will work together with AEWA to ensure all necessary preparatory steps are taken to enable the AEWA Parties to take an informed decision on the extension of the Agreement area to include the CAF region. In line with the outcome of the CMS Future Shape process, the extension of the agreement area would be preferable to the development of a new agreement, CMS notes.