The WCASN was formally launched on 18 May 2007 in Kazakhstan, in a special signing ceremony held during the Sixth Meeting of the Signatories to the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane (MoU)under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

The establishment of a Siberian Crane site network has critical importance for Siberian Cranes. It has also benefited other cranes and waterbirds. The WCASN is the first step towards developing a more comprehensive site network for migratory waterbirds under a widerframework proposed within the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) Initiative under CMS. The WCASN will eventually be integrated within the wider waterbird site network under CAF.

The WCASN focuses on conservation efforts on sites of internationalimportance for the SiberianCrane along its West and Central Asian flyways in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russian Federation (western Siberia), Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The goal of the WCASN is to ensure the conservation of the Siberian Crane and other migratory waterbirds along the Western and Central Asian Flyways through recognition and appropriate management of a network of internationally important sites.

The Site Network

Ten sites from five countries (India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) were formally accepted into the WCASN at the launch ceremony in Kazakhstan on 18 May 2007. The sites were nominated by national representativesof each of the countries. Certificates were presented at the launch by Mr. Khairbek Mussabaeyev, Deputy Chairman, Forest and Hunting Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Kazakhstan, and by Mr. Douglas Hykle, Senior Advisor of the Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Two sites from Pakistan were designated for including in the WCASN at the lunch ceremony in Germany on 8 June 2010. Certificates were handed to national representative from Pakistanby Mrs. Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of CMS.

Additional sites nominated by Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation are currently under formal consideration.

The population of Siberian Cranes migrating along the Eastern flyway is covered by the Flyway Site Network under the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP):