Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005

Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee
Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, 2001
ISBN 983 9663 30 5

Section A: Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005

Prepared by
Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee

Executive summary

The cyclical migration of waterbirds across the globe has been long recognised as a natural wonder. Annually millions of waterbirds fly many thousands of kilometres across a vast range of climates and habitats in response to the urge to nest and to avoid adverse weather conditions. These flights require them to replenish their reserves along the way. This cyclic pattern has occurred for aeons and predates the evolution of mankind.

In meeting the demands of their life cycles, birds depend on high quality wetlands and other habitats in many countries. However, this pattern of existence of migratory waterbirds has come under increasing threat. Rapid human development across the globe has dramatically increased pressure on wetlands and other habitats resulting in their degradation and loss, and their pollution. Efforts to conserve migratory species in one country can only be effective, if they are complemented by actions in the other countries through which the species moves during its annual cycle. Complementary actions in all range states are therefore essential for the conservation of migratory species.

In recognition of the threats to migratory waterbirds and the need for action to conserve waterbirds and their habitats, the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 1996-2000 was developed. The Strategy has been actively supported by the governments of Australia and Japan and coordinated by Wetlands International.

An international committee, the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee (MWCC) was established to monitor the implementation of the Strategy. The MWCC comprises seven government representatives (Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and U.S.A.), the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention), the Convention on Migratory Species (Bonn Convention), international NGOs (BirdLife International and World Wide Fund for Nature), a representative of the United Nations Development Programme/Global Environment Facilitiy, chairs of the three technical Working Groups (for Anatidae, cranes and shorebirds) and a Wetlands International Specialist Group Coordinator. The Strategy has been very successful in promoting international cooperation and an awareness of the need to work together to promote conservation. A number of international and national activities have been undertaken, primarily through the implementation of three regional migratory waterbird conservation action plans (shorebirds, cranes and Anatidae) including the establishment of three networks of sites of international importance for these groups of waterbirds. The networks (as at December 2000) comprised 67 sites in 11 countries with new sites being added each year. Based on the successes of the Strategy over the past five years, the MWCC recommended the development and implementation of this second Strategy for the period 2001-2005.

The Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005 aims to continue and expand on the successes of the previous Strategy by providing the international framework for the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the Asia-Pacific region into the 21st century.

The Strategy outlines eight key elements to promote the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats:

  1. Action plans for species-groups and globally threatened species.
  2. Effectively managed networks of sites that are internationally important for migratory waterbirds.
  3. Raised awareness of waterbirds and their link to wetland values and functions throughout the region and at all levels.
  4. Increased capacity of government agencies and non-government organisations to implement conservation actions for migratory waterbirds.
  5. An enhanced knowledge base and increased information exchange for the sound management of migratory waterbirds and their habitats.
  6. Harmonised national and state policies and legislation as a foundation for the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats.
  7. Enhanced organisational relationships at all levels to increase cooperation and deliver greater conservation benefits.
  8. Adequate planning and resources to implement the Strategy.

Over the next five years the Strategy aims to have:

  • achieved implementation of Action Plans for three species-groups in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, selected globally threatened species, and the Central Asian-Indian Flyway;
  • established effective networks of sites in the flyways to conserve migratory waterbirds and their important habitats;
  • built and strengthened capacity of governments and NGOs to sustainably manage waterbirds and wetlands primarily by providing training to managers of important sites;
  • promoted conservation education, public and community awareness at the international, national and local level through the development of products and programmes;
  • enhanced programmes to monitor waterbird diversity and abundance at important sites; through improving our knowledge base of wetlands by contributing to regional inventories;
  • improved our understanding of migration patterns and conservation needs of waterbirds;
  • promoted the implementation of improved national policy and legislation to ensure management of waterbirds and their habitats;
  • improved links between local communities at important sites;
  • promoted the sharing of knowledge and skills through various forums (meetings, publications, newsletters, web sites, etc.); and
  • mobilised at least USD 5 million to achieve these activities.

Implementation of the Strategy will require cooperation between governments, conventions, international and national corporations, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, international and national non-governmental organisations and local communities.