Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

GS-3

3.ASIAN WATERBIRD CENSUS

The two-day Asian Waterbird Census-2020 has commenced in Andhra Pradesh under the aegis of experts from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  • Every January, thousands of volunteers across Asia and Australasia visit wetlands in their country and count waterbirds. This citizen scienceprogrammeis the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC).
  • The AWC is an integral part of the global waterbird monitoring programme, the International Waterbird Census (IWC), coordinated byWetlands International.
  • The IWC is a monito ring programme operating in 143 countries to collect information on the numbers of waterbirds at wetland sites.
  • Wetlands International is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands.
  • It runs in parallel with other regional programmesof the International Waterbird Census in Africa, Europe, West Asia, the Neotropicsand the Caribbean.

SCOPE:

  • It was initiated in 1987 in the Indian subcontinent and has grown rapidly to cover major regions of Asia, from Afghanistan eastwards to Japan, Southeast Asia and Australasia.
  • The census covers the entire East Asian – Australasian Flyway and a large part of the Central Asian Flyway.
  • The East Asia – Australasia Flyway extends from Arctic Russia and North America to the southern limits of Australia and New Zealand.
  • It encompasses large parts of East Asia, all of Southeast Asia and includeseastern India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The Central Asian Flyway (CAF) covers a large continental area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans and the associated islandchains.

BENEFITS:

  • The count not only gives an idea of the birds at the wetland but also the health of the wetland – a good number of waterbirds indicates that it has adequate feeding, resting, roosting and foraging spots.
  • The information collected helps to promote the designation and management of internationally important sites such as nationally protected areas, RamsarSites, East Asian – Australasian Flyway Network Sites, Important Bird andBiodiversity Areas (IBAs).
  • It also helps in implementation of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity‘s (CBD).

AWC IN INDIA:

  • The AWC is jointly coordinated by theBombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Wetlands International.
  • BNHS is a pan-India wildlife research organization, which has beenpromoting the cause of nature conservation since 1883.
  • A reference list of internationally important AWC sites and wetland IBAs in India has been prepared.
  • India has 42 Ramsar sites, the latest one included is Tso Kar Wetland Complex of Ladakh.
  • BirdLife’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Programmeidentifies, monitors and protects a global network of prioritysites for the conservation of birds and other wildlife. India has more than 450 sites.
  • The 13 Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMSCOP13) concluded in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in February 2020.
  • Ten new species were added to CMS Appendices at COP13. Seven species were added to Appendix I (provides the strictest protection) including the Asian Elephant, Jaguar, Great Indian Bustard,Bengal Florican, etc.
  • India submitted its Sixth National Report (NR6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)in December 2018.

SOURCE: PIB

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