World Migratory Bird Day 2023 will focus on the topic of water and its importance for migratory birds. It is celebrated on the second Saturday in May and then in October.
Majority of migratory birds rely on aquatic ecosystems during their life cycles. Inland and coastal wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, and ponds are all vital for feeding, drinking, or nesting, and also as places to rest and refuel during their long journeys.
Unfortunately, aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly threatened around the world and so are the migratory birds that depend on them. The increasing human demand for water, as well as pollution and climate change, are having a direct impact on the availability of clean water and the conservation status of many migratory birds.
By protecting aquatic ecosystems, we can protect both the quantity and quality of water for all species, especially in light of all the uncertainty we face from the impacts of climate change.
World Migratory Bird Day is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.
It is organized by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties - the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA).
The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention is an international agreement that aims to conserve migratory species throughout their ranges. The agreement was signed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and is concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.
It was signed in 1979 in Bonn, West Germany and entered into force in 1983. As an environmental treaty of the United Nations, CMS provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. India is a signatory to the CMS. India hosted the CMS CoP-13 (in 2020) at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat.
India has also launched the National Action Plan for the conservation of migratory species under the Central Asian Flyway. India is a temporary home to several migratory animals and birds. The important among these include Amur Falcons, Bar-headed Geese, Black-necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpback Whales, etc.
The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans.