April 23, 2007

Important Bird Areas in Mongolia

If the degradation and loss of natural ecosystems in Asia are to be halted, and the essential services and products they provide are to be maintained, it is vital that the negative impacts of economic development on biodiversity are mitigated, and that proactive measures are taken to conserve the region’s highest priority sites. The Important Bird Area (IBA) Programme of BirdLife International is a contribution towards these goals. The programme aims to identify and protect a network of critical sites for the world’s birds. It began in Europe in 1985, and was adopted as a global initiative by BirdLife International in 1994. In Mongolia, work on an IBA inventory began in 1999. Results were published in 2004 in the milestone publication Important Bird Areas in Asia: Key Sites for Conservation.

The Asian IBA Programme has five long-term objectives: (i) to provide a basis for the development of national conservation strategies and protected areas programmes; (ii) to highlight areas that should be safeguarded through wise land-use planning, national policies and regulations, and the grant-giving and lending programmes of international banks and development agencies; (iii) to provide a focus for the conservation efforts of civil society, including national and regional NGO networks; (iv) to highlight sites that are threatened or inadequately protected, so that urgent remedial measures can be taken; and (v) to guide the implementation of global conservation conventions and migratory bird agreements.

A workshop "Towards the identification and safeguarding of important areas of natural habitat in Monglia" was held in Ulaanbaatar from 19 to 20 April 2007. The workshop was organized in recognition of Mongolia's global importance for biodiversity and its rich natural habitats, and the increasing need to conserve these resources alongside Mongolia's economic development. The workshop was organized by BirdLife International and the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center, on behalf of the Ministry of Nature and Environment and The World Bank, and with the support of the National University of Mongolia, the Institute of Biology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, WWF Mongolia and the Wildlife Conservation Society Mongolia Programme Office.

During the two-day workshop about 40 specialists from Mongolia, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, the UK and the USA discussed options for the protection of IBA, threats and pressures on IBA and how to mitigate them, and compiled new information on existing and potential new IBA. A new Mongolian IBA inventory was drafted. In addition to the 41 existing IBA, 37 potential new IBA were identified.

The 41 existing IBA in Mongolia.

37 potential new IBA were identified during the workshop.

For further information and contributions to the IBA Programme in Mongolia please contact Mr. Nyambayar Batbayar from the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center in Ulaanbaatar. E-mail: bnyamba@magicnet.mn

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