The East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership brings together 33 national government agencies, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats for biodiversity and people throughout the 22 countries of the Flyway. A major objective of EAAFP is to identify a critical network of sites (the Flyway Site Network) that, if conserved and effectively managed, can support the continued migration of all waterbird species and groups into the future. Network sites include protected and non-protected areas and will require different approaches to assure their continued ability to support migratory waterbirds and their habitats.
Over 50 million migratory waterbirds using the East Asian – Australasian Flyway are at risk because of the rapid loss of critical habitats at key sites throughout the Flyway. Some shorebird species are showing annual declines of 6-9% related to the loss of intertidal mudflats at remaining staging areas, particularly the Yellow Sea. If these declines continue, this migration that has existed for millennia, will be lost within a single generation. The existing formal protected area system in the countries of the Flyway is inadequate to protect species at key points of the migratory cycle, particularly in East Asia. Given an increasing reluctance in some countries to designate additional formal protected areas that are perceived to limit potential future development, a more flexible and adapted arrangement to manage critical sites is required.
- Benefits of joining the Flyway Site Network need to be made clear. Ideally some commitment of effort and resources can help. It may be difficult to get acknowledgement of sites that are not currently in the formal PA system
- Partnerships at site level and internationally need to be constantly nurtured.
- Relying on the economic benefits of ecosystem goods and services may not be productive, since the benefits of site development may accrue to local elites. It may be more effective to appeal to international reputations and obligations