Wetlands Biodiversity and Waterbirds: the Central Asian Flyway initiative

Wetlands International has been the driving force behind the development of the 'Central Asian Flyway initiative'. Now after some years we achieved improved inter-governmental cooperation on the protection of waterbirds and their key habitats.

In 2001, a project was granted to Wetlands International by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, aiming at a long term conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the Central Asian Flyway (CAF). Project objectives include development of a CAF Action Plan, capacity building in the region, establishment of a network of specialists and promotion of exchange of information/expertise, support to surveys in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and other issues.

Central Asian Flyway

The Central Asian Flyway covers the areas used by species of birds with the main migratory routes through ‘Central Asia’ (sensu lato). It has also been referred to as “Central Asian-Indian Flyway” or as “Central Asian-South Asian Flyway”. As such, the area extends from the Arctic Ocean in the North until the Indian Ocean in the South (including islands in that region) and thus covers territories of 30 Asian and East European countries. It overlaps with the African Eurasian flyway in the West, and the East Asian flyways in the East. 

Since 2001, Wetlands International has been working closely with the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species to progress the finalisation of the Central Asian Flyway Action Plan for Conservation of Migratory Waterbirds and their Habitats and to support the development of an institutional framework to support implementation of the Action Plan.

Flyway workshop

In August 2001, the first Central Asian Flyway workshop in Tashkent, Uzbekistan was organised to discuss options for cooperative action for conservation of migratory waterbirds in the flyway. Government representatives, scientists and conservation experts from 15 of the 21 Range States of the flyway, inter-governmental organisations and specialised international NGOs participated in the meeting supported by the secretariats of CMS and African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), hosted by the Government of Uzbekistan and organised by Wetlands International.

The event was financed by the Government of the Netherlands, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the CMS.  The outcomes of the meeting have led to the development of an Action Plan. A brief report of the meeting can be downloaded (from the blue bar on the right).

International framework

In 2005, the 2nd Central Asian Flyway (CAF) Meeting of Range States to develop a common international framework to promote the conservation of migratory waterbirds and wetlands organised in New Delhi, India (10-12 June), brought together 23 of the 30 range states, CMS, AEWA, international and national NGOs and technical experts. The Meeting was hosted by the Minister for Environment and Forests, Government of India. The meeting was organised under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species, in cooperation with Wetlands International and Wildlife Institute of India. 

Generous financial contributions provided by the Governments of India, the Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as CMS, AEWA, the Global Environment Facility, the UNEP Regional Offices for West Asia, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe (Pan-European Biodiversity and Landscape Strategy), International Crane Foundation and Wetlands International supported organisation of the meeting. Click here for formal report of the meeting on CMS website.

The Action Plan was discussed in great detail and finalised. Various international concept proposals to support and inform implementation of the CAF Action Plan were prioritised. The Range States present were in almost complete unanimity for a legally-binding instrument for the Action Plan to be integrated with the existing AEWA Agreement.

Map of the Central Asian Flyway

Goose with a special tracking device to monitor its migrational behaviour