CBD and EAAFP join forces to conserve migratory waterbirds
along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway
7 October 2014, Pyeongchang, Korea: Today, the Secretariats of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed a Partnership Agreement to better coordinate efforts to promote and protect migratory waterbird species and their habitats along the threatened East Asian-Australasian Flyway, a major waterbird migratory route, extending from the Arctic Circle in Russia and Alaska, southwards through East and South-east Asia, to Australia and New Zealand in the south and encompassing 22 countries. The Flyway supports over 50 million waterbirds of more than 200 species, of which 33 are globally threatened with extinction.
Migratory waterbirds – shorebirds, ducks, swans, egrets, geese and cranes – share this Flyway with 45 percent of the world’s human population. Unbridled recent exploitation of coastal and wetland areas in the Flyway for infrastructure and other development has resulted in a loss of habitat for migrating waterbirds, precipitating rapid and accelerating declines in many species. The remaining populations of some of the most-at-risk bird species live in this Flyway, including for example the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a ‘Critically Endangered’ shorebird facing imminent extinction. This bird breeds in Chukotka, Russia and passes through coastal wetlands in China while migrating to wintering grounds in South-east Asia. According to the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, during the last 30 years, the number of Spoon-billed Sandpipers has decreased dramatically from about 6,000 breeding pairs to just a few hundred pairs. Besides loss of habitat in staging and wintering areas, the most critical cause of the decline appears to be indiscriminate hunting in parts of Southeast Asia, where the birds are caught in mist nets and sold to local markets as food.
In response to the impending ecological crisis in the Flyway, EAAFP brings together 16 national government agencies, 6 intergovernmental bodies, 10 international NGOs, and 1 International Private Enterprise to protect migratory waterbirds and their habitats throughout the Flyway for the benefit of biodiversity and people The Secretariat of CBD became the 31st Partner of EAAFP on 5th April 2014 and looks forward to working with other EAAFP Partners to stem the loss of habitat and decline of migratory waterbirds through sustainable approaches and solutions by CBD member countries in the region.
The adoption of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets has provided an agreed framework for action among the multi-lateral environmental agreements. A number of these targets, notably Targets 5, 10, 11, 12 and 15, are of direct relevance to the EAAFP:
- Target 5: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.
- Target 10: By 2015 the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimized, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.
- Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascapes.
- Target 12: By 2020, the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.
- Target 15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks have been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.
The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, in October 2014 will be an opportunity to assess progress towards achievement of the Aichi targets. At this meeting, Partners and the Secretariat will identify cooperative measures and actions to achieve both EAAFP goals and contribute to the Aichi targets. EAAFP Secretariat and the CBD Secretariat have been in discussions about a potential initiative on coastal wetland restoration that links the conservation of migratory waterbirds to broader issues of coastal management, such as benefits for disaster risk reduction. The Partnership Agreement, signed here, formalises cooperation and contributes to building and sharing knowledge, creating awareness and enhancing capacity for conservation of migratory bird species along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
CBD as an EAAFP Partner also facilitates the development of National Partnerships in member countries. While CBD national offices are often in the same agencies as EAAFP focal points, sometimes they are located in different agencies, thus potentially broadening cooperation at the national, as well as international, level. EAAFP’s Implementation Strategy already identifies the inclusion of the conservation of migratory waterbirds into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. In addition, there are many other areas where CBD and EAAFP priorities and actions align, thus paving the way for productive collaboration in the future.
Spike Millington, Chief Executive, EAAFP
David Coates, Environmental Affairs Officer, Inland Waters, CBD Secretariat
firstname.lastname@example.org +1 514 287 8715
About the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP)
The Partnership, adopted in the list of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as a Type II initiative –is an informal and voluntary initiative, which aims to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitats and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them within the Flyway. There are currently 33 partners including 16 national governments, 6 intergovernmental agencies, 10 international non-government organizations and 1 international business organisation. For more information, see www.eaaflyway.net.
About the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. For more information, see www.cbd.int.
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