Meeting to Endorse the Proposed Western/Central Asian Site
Network for Siberian Cranes (and other waterbirds) (WCASN)
aimed to establish the basis for an international network
of sites important for the conservation and recovery of the
critically endangered Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus
in Western and Central Asia. The site network will be established
within the framework of the CMS Memorandum of Understanding
on Conservation Measures concerning the Siberian Crane. The
focused site network will pave the way for a wider network
for all waterbirds under the Central Asian Flyway Action Plan
in due course.
Nine Siberian Crane Range States were represented at the
meeting (eight of which are signatories to the CMS MoU),
plus observers from Iraq, Myanmar, the United States of
America and international organizations. Pakistan and Mongolia
were not represented. The meeting was hosted by the Government
of India and convened by CMS, with organizational and technical
assistance from the International Crane Foundation and Wetlands
The meeting agreed on criteria and qualifiers for selection
of sites for the network, the information (datasheet) required
for nomination of sites, and procedures for nominating,
reviewing and approving sites. It was agreed that the vetting
of nominations would be conducted by a Site Nomination Review
Working Group, composed of one representative from the breeding
range (Russian Federation), two representatives (rotating)
from the staging areas (Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan initially),
two representatives from the wintering range (Islamic Republic
of Iran and India), as well as BirdLife International, Wetlands
International and the International Crane Foundation. This
Working Group will operate on an interim basis until its
terms of reference are developed and approved at the Sixth
Siberian Crane MoU Meeting in 2006. The Working Group would
make recommendations to a WCASN Committee for approval.
A preliminary list of 21 sites that had been suggested
by the participating Range States for inclusion in the site
network was presented to the meeting, including eight sites
covered by the UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetlands Project.
The Range States were encouraged to formally nominate these
sites once the site nomination template had been finalized.
Finally, the scope of technical activities to be included
under the site network was outlined, and it was agreed that
these activities would be integrated into the existing conservation
plans under the CMS MoU.
The final proposal for the site network, as agreed at this
meeting, will be attached as an addendum to the Conservation
Plans for the Western and Central populations.
The full meeting
report is available on the CMS website.