Central Asian Flyway (CAF) – UPSC GS3

  • A flyway is a geographical region within which a single or a group of migratory species completes its annual cycle i.e. breeding, moulting, staging and non-breeding.
  • According to India’s “National Action Plan (NAP) for Conservation of Migratory birds”, at least 370 species of migratory bird from 3 flyways (CAF, East Asian Australasian Flyway and Asian East African Flyway) are reported to visit the Indian sub-continent during their annual cycle.

Central Asian Flyway (CAF):
  • Central Asian Flyway (CAF) covers a large area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans. It is one of the nine most important flyways of migratory birds around the world.
  • Including India, there are 30 countries under the Central Asian Flyway.
  • It extends from the northernmost breeding grounds in the Russian Federation (Siberia) to the southernmost non-breeding (wintering) grounds in West and South Asia, the Maldives and British Indian Ocean Territory.
Why do the countries need to protect Flyways? 
  • Approximately one in five of the world’s 11,000 bird species migrate, some covering enormous distances. Conserving migratory birds requires cooperation and coordination along the entire flyway between countries and across national boundaries.
  • Safeguarding flyways means protecting the birds from poachers, rejuvenating wetlands among others. Saving the wetlands, terrestrial habitats help in fulfilling the bigger purpose of saving an ecosystem.
What is the treaty dealing with migratory birds and their habitats? 
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention: It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of UNEP. It was signed in 1979 in Bonn, Germany, and entered into force in 1983. It is the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes.
  • Prime Minister of India during the opening ceremony of the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the CMS, held at Gandhinagar in February 2020, had noted that India was keen to take the conservation of migratory birds to a new paradigm with active cooperation of all the Central Asian Flyway Range Countries.
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