Official Launching of Regional Flyway Initiative

On 14th October, The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and BirdLife International today launched the Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI), a long-term joint program to scale up the restoration of key wetland ecosystems and sustainable management in the East Asian- Australasian Flyway (EAA Flyway).

The RFI is a financing mechanism for the EAA Flyway with four focus areas: Biodiversity Conservation, especially on migratory waterbirds and wetland biodiversity; Maximizing Economic and Social benefits;  Investing in nature-positive, socially-inclusive development; and tackle Climate Change issues. This initiative will contribute to achieving the objectives of the Partnerships’ Strategic Plan 2019-2028.

RFI was firstly introduced to EAAF Partners in an international webinar on 16 October 2020. In July 2021, a call for tenders for Technical Assistance was open on ADB website. On 6 October, the EAAFP Secretariat organized a consultation webinar for EAAFP government focal points that are identified as focus countries for RFI implementation, to update them on the RFI and gather feedback. The provisional list of RFI focus countries includes Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, PR China, Thailand and Vietnam. The country list can be expanded upon the government’s interest.

The initiative was officially launched on 14 October at the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Kunming, People’s Republic of China. The Initiative was introduced during the Sub-Forum of Mainstreaming Ecological Civilization and Biodiversity Conservation, Dialogue III Biodiversity mainstreaming and Livelihoods in wetlands.

EAAFP, ADB and BirdLife International will jointly make financing available to catalyze protection and sustainable management of prioritized important wetlands along the EAA Flyway in the next two decades. The launch of Regional Flyway Initiative marks a big step forward to safeguard our Flyway for ecosystem services that wetlands provide and the people that rely on them.

“The uniqueness and core values of East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership is based on the diversity of our 39 Partners which consist of national governments, international NGOs, inter-governmental organizations as well as the private sector. As a Partnership, we work together to promote healthy wetlands for migratory waterbirds and local communities, by enhancing research, monitoring, and information exchange. This collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and BirdLife International will contribute to biodiversity conservation, improving livelihoods of local communities at important wetlands – especially vulnerable populations including women, youth and poor communities.” stated Doug Watkins, the Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat, in the launching video,

Doug Watkins, the Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat

“BirdLife International is proud to join the ADB and the EAAFP in this truly important effort to save and restore such critical habitats for birds and people. With the planet at a tipping point from the biodiversity and climate emergencies, this type of innovative, integrated, large-scale, and broad approach is commensurate to the challenges. From key ecosystem services such as food and clean water to the climate resilience of flood control and carbon sequestration, the EAAF’s wetlands couldn’t play a more important role in the healthy lives of the region’s people, as well as the 50 million birds who depend on them as critical rest and food stops on their biannual migration journeys.” said Patricia Zurita, CEO of BirdLife International.

“Our vision for the RFI over the next ten years will be to support the protection and sustainable management of at least 50 priority sites along the EAAF, building a coherent network of sites to maintain and enhance species populations as well as delivering on ecosystem services and supporting local livelihoods.” stated Woochong Um, Managing Director General of ADB.

” The restoration and maintenance of ecological connectivity in the Flyway are essential for migratory waterbirds as it plays a functional role in the completion of their migratory cycles and ultimately in their survival. The Initiative will support the scaling up of conservation efforts by our Partners for the conservation of wetlands by mainstreaming the Flyway approach in regional and national agenda”. Robb Kaler, Chair of EAAFP said in his closing remarks.

Robb Kaler, Chair of EAAFP

In next two years, a consortium led by BirdLife International will work to identify over 50 wetland sites of international importance on ecosystem services, supporting livelihoods of local communities, and protecting migratory waterbirds through consultation with EAAFP Partners and stakeholders.

Message on the Launching of Regional Flyway Initiative Watch a full video: Subforum 2: Ecological Civilization and Biodiversity Mainstreaming

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership is a network of 39 Partners within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The EAAFP aims to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitat, and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them. Partners include 18 National Governments, 6 Inter-Governmental Organizations, 13 International Non-governmental Organizations, one International Organization, and one International Private Enterprise.

BirdLife International is the planet’s oldest and largest conservation partnership – present in over 115 countries. Known for its unique partnership structure and seminal bird and habitat science, it works to protect and restore nature and birds for people.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

Read also: 

ADB news release:

RFI Communique can be downloaded here


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