CMS Flyways Working Group Meets in Scotland

© Florian Keil/AEWABonn,
25 February 2011
- Twenty-five experts from all
regions of the world met in Edinburgh 20-21 February 2011
under the chairmanship of Dr Taej Mundkur, appointed member
for Asiatic Fauna of the Scientific Council of CMS. The
group was made up of representatives of the CMS Parties,
scientific councillors, international organizations and
independent experts.

At a global level, 14% of the species under consideration
are currently ranked as threatened or near-threatened according
to the IUCN Red List and there is increasing evidence of
regional declines, although regional and taxonomic differences
exist. In the case of waterbirds, the East Asia–Australasia
region has the highest proportion of threatened migratory
species (20%).

The threats to migratory birds were discussed and it was
agreed that habitat destruction and degradation was the
most relevant one, together with land-use change, illegal
hunting, by-catch, invasive alien species, diseases, pollution,
climate change and infrastructure development. Those species
that depend on a network of sites along their flyways will
strongly benefit from the proper protection and management
of these sites, which are at present insufficient. Effective
management of key sites for migratory birds needs to address
the whole range of factors that cause direct mortality and
those that reduce food supplies or destroy or degrade habitats.
Best practice habitat management needs to be shared as well
as links with the work that CMS is developing on ecological

The group focussed on the discussion of policy options
and considered that in order to fill the gaps in the coverage
of CMS instruments and to limit the impacts from the threats
to migratory birds it was important to build on existing
agreements and initiatives to provide a new overarching
approach. This could take the form of generic regional agreements,
underpinned by a series of flexible action plans designed
to tackle the top priorities for action in each part of
the world. It was suggested that this mechanism could provide
a streamlined approach for the use of resources by governments
that opens to way for more rapid conservation action and
better opportunities for partnerships with others in the

A regional approach will be necessary since each flyway
has its own idiosyncrasy in terms of the overall biological
and social context that underpins the whole process. In
this respect, the group considered that a series of regional
workshops had to be organized involving all the relevant
actors in each region, in order to tackle the problems and
priorities on an ad hoc basis and working in partnership
with existing initiatives.

The Flyways Working Group was established during COP9 in
Rome to act as a think tank on flyways and frameworks, and
given the task of reviewing scientific and technical issues
for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats,
and relevant international instruments, initiatives and
processes, as the basis for future CMS policy on flyways.
The findings of the FWG will be taken into account by the
Working Group on the Future Shape of CMS when deciding its
final options



Last updated on 16 June 2014