By signing up to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) countries are demonstrating a commitment to improving their national and global environmental conditions. Most countries have ratified multiple MEAs. For biodiversity-related conventions, these include CBD, Ramsar, CMS and CITES. Although the goals of these conventions are in a way quite discrete, the interconnectedness of ecological processes means that these goals, and the approaches used to achieve them are often complementary. For some time now, building synergies and improving coordination and efficiency among implementing agencies of MEAs has been recognized as a significant challenge but also as an evolving opportunity. In some cases, the location of national implementing agencies offices in separate departments or even ministries poses an institutional communication and coordination challenge. A recent report uses the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Targets as the basis for mapping MEAs to identify potential areas of synergy and improved efficiency. It looks at decisions, guidance and other tools from different biodiversity-related MEAs to highlight opportunities and gaps. Some of the opportunities focus around reporting (often cited as an onerous task, especially if one office has to report on multiple agreements), awareness-raising and capacity building (http://wcmc.io/MEA_matrix_leaflet).
EAAFP counts several inter-governmental organizations among its Partners, including the Secretariats of CBD, CMS and Ramsar among global agreements, and CAFF and ACB as regional agreements for the Arctic and ASEAN countries, respectively. Identifying areas for facilitating improvement in collaboration for conserving migratory waterbirds and their habitats is part of the rationale for including these organizations as Partners. Already, several initiatives have been undertaken. These include, for example
For CBD, information sharing and guidance to include the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats in national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), capacity building for incorporation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in Aichi targets 11 and 12, as well as Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) and promoting Caring for Coasts as a coastal wetland restoration initiative;
For Ramsar, capacity building for site managers, awareness-raising and technical guidance, as well as nomination and reporting on Flyway Network sites;
For CMS, integration into the Flyways Program of Work, technical input into proposals for concerted and cooperative actions for threatened species, and implementation of single species action plans.
While inter-governmental Partners often work closely together at international level to promote awareness, significant opportunities for improved coordination still remain at national level, and especially site-level. Here capacity building, CEPA, information sharing and developing approaches, methodologies and tools to achieve common goals are all areas where EAAFP Partners can strengthen cooperation, such as through national partnerships.