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The SCWP final report is being launched at the UNEP General Council meeting

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International Meeting Launches Final Report on Siberian Crane Wetland Project

Countries, funding agencies and representatives of the SCWP will gather at the United Nations Environment Programme’s Governing Council meeting in Bali, Indonesia on February 24, 2010 to launch the publication of the project’s final report, Safe Flyways for the Siberian Crane: A flyway approach conserves some of Asia’s most beautiful wetlands and waterbirds. The report celebrates the accomplishments of the seven-year program to protect a network of key wetlands along the flyways of the critically endangered Siberian Crane shared by millions of other waterbirds in Eurasia. The SCWP is the first full size flyway-level conservation project supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), targeting wetland sites in China, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia.

The report launch will include addresses by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, Claire Mirande, SCWP Director and staff member of the International Crane Foundation (ICF), and Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). The SCWP was successfully implemented through extensive and diverse partnerships with organizations including UNEP, CMS, ICF, national executing agencies from the four project countries, as well as many site staff, technical experts and members of local communities. Much of this international collaboration will be continued through follow up work by country agencies and existing research and regional conservation networks.

The innovative flyway-level approach of the project demonstrated how coordinated actions on multiple levels are needed to conserve migratory species, which may depend on a chain of sites spread over thousands of kilometers between their northern breeding grounds and wintering areas far to the south.  The project further highlighted that the safety of entire flyways can be threatened by factors affecting key sites requiring national and local level attention. Examples are the Poyang Lake Basin, the main wintering ground for Siberian Cranes and many other migratory waterbirds in southern China, where applied research under the project is helping inform decisions by Governments on development proposals that could substantially alter the entire lake basin; or wetlands in Songnen Plain of northeast China (above), essential stop-over areas for migratory birds along the flyway where the project helped secure water releases to sustain wetlands during periods of water shortage due to development and drought. Targeted activities addressing these site-based threats to the flyway are of great importance to protect regional migratory waterbird populations, as well as ecosystem services, such as drinking water, for local communities.

Overall, the SCWP strengthened the network of wetlands along the Siberian Crane’s flyways through improving site protection and management (top photo: GIS training for project consultants and reserve staff in Kazakhstan), international recognition through site designations under CMS, the Ramsar and World Heritage Conventions, securing water supplies to water-stressed wetlands, integrating stakeholders concerns and decision making into reserve management (middle photo: Trapper's Association meeting at Fereydoon Kenar, Iran), and undertaking education and awareness programs at local, national and flyway levels (bottom photo: Crane Celebration supported by the Sterk Foundation in West Siberia, Russia). Its outcomes directly benefit the local communities, as well as millions of migratory waterbirds and other biodiversity dependent upon the 16 internationally important wetlands selected as project sites, including more than 27 globally threatened wetland bird species – a significant contribution to biodiversity conservation in 2010 – the International Year of Biodiversity.

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Last update: 23 February 2010

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