From a global perspective, a flyway is the entire range of a migratory bird species (or groups of related species or distinct populations) through which birds move annually/regularly from the breeding grounds to non-breeding areas, including stop over sites for resting and feeding places, as well as the area where birds stay to let winter pass. There are nine major migratory flyways around the world. One of these is the East Asian-Australian Flyway (EAAF) which extends from within the Arctic Circle, through East Asia and Southeast Asia, stretching across 22 countries including the Philippines. EAAF is home to over 50 million migratory waterbirds, including shorebirds, egrets, ducks, geese, swans and cranes — from over 250 different populations, including 28 globally threatened species.

At present, there are currently 700 wetland sites recognized as internationally important to migratory waterbirds along the EAAF and a number of these are located adjacent to human settlement and are vulberable to pressures arising from rapid social and economic development. Thus, international cooperation is needed to address these threats and stem the loss of waterbirds.

Conservation and management of migratory waterbirds are always challenging because their migratory route takes them across international borders to perpetuate their kind. A periodic conference among researchers, conservationists, environment managers, policymakers, and those from academia is needed to address common flyway issues and concerns in order to increase knowledge and raise awareness about the values of migratory birds along the flyway and to effectively protect the birds and their habitats.

This is in line with EAAFP’s objective of promoting flyway wide exchange of information generated through research and development in order to develop strategies for the conservation and management of migratory waterbirds and their wetland habitats. The Congress aims to provide a forum for the exchange of information, updates, concerns, and status on the research and development of migratory waterbirds and wetlands within EAAF and among others, as well as to promote and pave the way for the serious implementation of rehabilitation and restoration strategies for wetlands management using science-based methods and appropriate indigenous knowledge systems.

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