The Flyways Working Group was set up in late 2009 as an open-ended working group on global bird flyways within the framework of the Scientific Council to act as a think tank on flyways and frameworks (by the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP9), see Creation of the Working Group below for details) and has undertaken a range of activities listed under Past Achievements (seebelow for details).
The current Mandate for the intersessional period between COP12 and COP13 (2018-2020), is contained in Resolution 12.11 “Flyways” . The associated POW (contained in Annex I of the Resolution) provides the basis for activities being currently undertaken.
The Flyways Working Group focuses on flyways worldwide of all migratory bird species groups covered under CMS: waterbirds, seabirds and landbirds (including passerines, raptors, grassland and forest birds).
The Flyways Working Group mainly requires implementation of the following actions:
(a) monitor implementation of the POW and the Americas Flyways Framework
(b) provide guidance on and input into the conservation and management of flyways at global and flyway level during the intersessional period until COP13,
(c) review relevant scientific and technical issues, international initiatives and processes, and
(d) review and update the POW (in 2020), as a basis for the continued prioritization of the CMS activities on flyways.
Membership aims to include experts covering all groups of CMS-listed migratory bird species and ensure participation of persons knowledgeable in the interactions of flyways, migratory species and habitat conservation. Members of the Scientific Council are invited to provide representations to the working group. In addition, key organizations and invited experts, who can add value to the efforts of the working group, are identified. The number of members should allow the working group to work as effectively as possible.
The working group is chaired by Dr. Taej Mundkur (COP-appointed Scientific Councillor for Asiatic Fauna).
The Flyways Working Group has drafted Resolution 11.14 “Programme of Work on Migratory Birds and Flyways 2014-2023” (the POW) and the Americas Flyways Framework that was adopted by COP 11 (Nov 2014). The POW provides a basis for CMS Parties, non-Parties, GEF, UNEP and other UN organizations, bilateral and multilateral donors, the private sector and others to work together to strengthen national and local capacity for flyway conservation including, inter alia, by developing partnerships with key stakeholders and organizing training courses; translating and disseminating documents, sharing protocols and regulations; transferring technology; designating and improving management of critically and internationally important sites; understanding the ecological functionality of flyways through research of migratory birds and their habitats; strengthening monitoring programmes; and promoting the conservation of migratory birds and ensuring any use of migratory birds is sustainable. It also calls on Parties to report progress in their national reports in implementing this Resolution,including monitoring and efficacy of measures taken, to COPs 12, 13 and 14.
Prior to this, the Flyways Working Group has prepared three major reviews and drafted Resolution 10.10that was adopted by COP 10 (Nov 2011) during the intersessional period between COP9 and COP10. The first review analysed the existing CMS and non-CMS administrative arrangements (Review 1); the second covered scientific and technical issues and priority issues related to flyways and management of migratory species and their habitats (Review 2); and the third focussed on future policy options for CMS (Review 3). Updates of the work were presented to the 17th Meeting of the Scientific Council and Future Shape Working Group Meeting.
The three reviews carried out by the working group have been published in the CMS Technical Series, under the title "A Review of Migratory Bird Flyways and Priorities for Management" (CMS Technical Series Publication No.27), a PDF of which can be accessed here.
Creation of the Working Group
The Ninth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP9) passed two resolutions calling for a review to develop appropriate conservation frameworks/ agreements for migratory species to be undertaken during the inter-sessional period to COP10. Resolution 9.2 states that the COP “decides to establish an open-ended working group on global bird flyways within the framework of the Scientific Council to act as a think tank on flyways and frameworks, and tasked with reviewing scientific and technical issues for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats (e.g. UNEP/CMS/Conf.9.27 Future Flyways Policy), and relevant international instruments, initiatives and processes, as the basis for future CMS policy on flyways and contributing to the work on the future shape of CMS”.
Resolution 10.10 “Guidance On Global Flyway Conservation And Options For Policy Arrangements” recognised the excellent work of the Flyways Working Group over the last triennium and “Proposes the continuation of the open-ended Flyways Working Group to review relevant scientific and technical issues, international initiatives and processes, and to provide guidance and input to the conservation and management of flyways at global and flyway level during the intersessional period until COP11, as a basis for CMS policy on flyways; and further requests Parties to provide resources for this work.”
Resolution 11.14 further requested the continuation of the open-ended Flyways Working Group and undertake activities as outlined in the mandate above. Resolution 11.14 was superseded by Resolution 12.11 "Flyways" adopted at COP12.