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Publications archive - Biodiversity


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Migratory waterbird conservation (fact sheet)

Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee
Department of the Environment and Heritage

Migratory waterbird conservation

Millions of migratory waterbirds make a long migration each year between the Arctic tundra of the northern hemisphere and the coastal beaches and mudflats of the southern hemisphere. These birds cross more than 20 countries along their migratory path known as the East Asian–Australasian Flyway.

The migratory lifestyle of these birds poses great challenges for their conservation. It is important to protect the birds during all three phases of their annual life cycle: breeding, migration and non-breeding. Effective conservation of these birds relies on international action to protect the birds and their habitat in all the countries through which they move.

Australia is leading efforts to conserve migratory waterbirds, and shorebirds in particular in the Asia Pacific region, through formal agreements with other governments, and through cooperative arrangements with governments, conservation organisations and local communities.

International agreements

The Australian Government has two international bilateral agreements that protect migratory birds and their habitats. They are the Japan–Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA), which was signed in 1974 and the China–Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA), signed in 1986.

Under the agreements, the Governments of Australia, Japan and the People's Republic of China, have undertaken to protect migratory birds listed under the agreements, preserve and enhance their habitats, engage in joint research programs and share information.

Consultative meetings for each Agreement are held every two years and are scheduled simultaneously so that areas of common interest to the three countries can be discussed. The aims of these meetings are to report on national implementation and to develop cooperative projects and exchange information and research.

In April 2002, Australia and the Republic of Korea agreed to develop a similar agreement on migratory birds. It is anticipated that the agreement will be finalised in 2003.

Ramsar convention

The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) is an international treaty that seeks to conserve, through wise use and management, wetland habitats. Australia and other parties to the Convention undertake to designate wetlands that meet specific criteria to the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Many sites of significance to migratory waterbirds are included on the list. Australia is an active party to the convention.

The Parties to the Convention, through recommendations endorsed at Conferences of the Parties, have also made specific commitments to the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the Asia Pacific region.

The convention on migratory species

The convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (also known as CMS or the Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.

Australia and other Parties to the Convention work together to conserve migratory species and their habitats by providing strict protection for the endangered migratory species listed under Appendix I of the Convention, by concluding multilateral Agreements for the conservation and management of migratory species listed as threatened under Appendix II, and by undertaking co-operative research activities.

Australia is a range state for a number of migratory shorebird species listed in Appendix II.

The Parties to the Convention, through recommendations and the work-plan endorsed at Conferences of the Parties, have also affirmed their commitment to the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the Asia Pacific region.

World Summit on Sustainable Development

In September 2002, the Governments of Australia and Japan announced a partnership to strengthen the protection of migratory waterbirds in the Asia Pacific region. The partnership is guided by the Asia Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy, and aims to conserve a network of internationally important sites for migratory waterbirds across the region.

Asia–Pacific migratory waterbird conservation strategy

At an international meeting at Kushiro, Japan, in 1994, it was agreed that greater multilateral cooperation was necessary to promote the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the Asia–Pacific region. This prompted the creation of the Asia–Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 1996–2000. The second phase of the strategy for 2001–2005 is currently being implemented.

Implementation of the Strategy is dependent on the capacity and ability of governments, conventions, nongovernment organisations, technical experts and local communities to work cooperatively to implement actions to achieve the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats.

The Strategy sets out objectives relating to habitat management, training, information exchange, establishment of networks of significant wetland sites, and development of action plans for priority species groups — Anatidae (ducks, swans, geese), cranes and shorebirds).

Shorebird action plan

The Action Plan for the Conservation of Migratory Shorebirds in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway: 2001–2005 identifies the key priority actions needed to ensure the long–term conservation of migratory shorebirds and their habitats in the Asia Pacific region. Actions have been identified under three themes:

Australia strongly supports the Shorebird Action Plan, as approximately 2 million migratory shorebirds in the Asia Pacific region spend their non–breeding season in Australia.

For more details contact:
Wetlands Section
Environment Australia
GPO Box 787
Telephone: +61 2 6274 2393
Facsimile: +61 2 6274 1741

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