The Third Meeting of Range States of the endangered
Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus) took place in
Ramsar, Islamic Republic of Iran, from 8-13 December 1998.
The meeting was convened at the invitation of the Iranian
Department of Environment, and was held under the aegis
of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species
of Wild Animals (CMS), with the collaboration of the International
Crane Foundation (ICF). About 40 delegates from all ten
of the Range States concerned were in attendance.
The meeting reviewed the considerable progress
that had been made to implement the Conservation Plan agreed
at the previous meeting, held in India in November 1996.
It was apparent that this detailed plan had served as a
useful tool for guiding and assessing the activities that
were undertaken in 1997 and 1998 to promote the conservation
of Siberian cranes, and for setting new objectives for a
further two years. Much of this discussion was conducted
in small working groups which made an invaluable contribution
to the success of the meeting.
The meeting agreed a number of amendments
to the original Memorandum
of Understanding concerning Conservation Measures for the
Siberian Crane, concluded under the auspices
of CMS in 1993. Among other things, the MoU now provides
for the formal participation of China. Representatives of
seven the Range States present (Azerbaijan, India, Islamic
Republic of Iran, Kazakstan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan) formally signed the MoU on behalf of their agencies.
Signatures on behalf of Afghanistan, China and the Russian
Federation (a party to the original MoU), are still awaited.
The meeting also reviewed a first draft of
a comprehensive project proposal, prepared by ICF and CMS,
which aims to promote the conservation of Siberian cranes
and other migratory waterbirds throughout their migration
range. After incorporating further inputs of the Range States
and receiving the necessary official endorsements, the proposal
will be submitted, through the UNEP/GEF Co-ordination Unit,
to the Global Environment Facility with a view to securing
funding for future actions.