Side event details

Advancing the Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI) in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway for the sustainable management of wetlands
Day and time
08.11.2022 19:45
Lead organization
BirdLife International
Partner organization(s)
East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat Asian Development Bank

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAFP) is the most important migratory corridor in Asia, supporting over 50 million migratory birds belonging to at least 250 different populations. The flyway encompasses 22 countries, whose wetlands provide beneficial ecosystem services that propel the livelihood, economies, disaster mitigation, and well-being of nearly 200 million people living near or adjacent to these wetlands. Unfortunately, many of these wetlands have suffered from unsustainable use and climate change impacts, resulting in a loss of habitat for migratory waterbirds and undermining ecological connectivity. At the same time, the degradation of wetlands also results in the loss of livelihood opportunities for local people, and reduces the resilience of these communities.

In 2021, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), BirdLife International, and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) unveiled a large-scale initiative that seeks to mobilize more than 3 billion USD through loans and grants to drive the sustainable management of 10 priority countries in Asia. The Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI) seeks to develop a long-term programme to protect and restore wetland ecosystems while providing economic and social capital to human communities. The RFI focuses on the delivery and integration of the following areas:

  1. conservation of migratory species and wetlands,
  2. deriving co-benefits from ecosystem services,
  3. nature-positive and resilient disaster recovery, and
  4. climate change adaptation.

The RFI aspires to become an innovative financing model that enables the delivery of nature-positive solutions toward wetland management, species conservation and sustainability through the principles of wise use, therefore contributing to country commitments to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Convention on Climate Change.

This side event aims to provide timely updates on the implementation of the RFI, showcase the process that the RFI coalition has advanced to identify and assess priority wetlands within the flyway, analyze capacity building for stakeholders, and present RFI’s framework for stakeholder engagement in the region.The side event is jointly organised BLI, EAAFP, and ADB. Representatives of selected RFI countries, all of which are Ramsar contracting parties, will share experiences in wetland management and protection, the sites and communities that may benefit from the RFI, and how this initiative can stimulate and upscale sustainable development in wetland landscapes identified to be of international importance for migratory species. There will be opportunities for broader (roundtable) discussion of the next steps and way forward for RFI partners.



Opening messages from Ramsar Convention Secretariat

Opening message from BirdLife International

Opening messages from EAAFP and introduction to EAAFP Flyway Sites and alignment with the Regional Flyway Initiative

Welcome and introduction to the Regional Flyway Initiative

Updates on RFI Development

Responses from Governments and Ramsar Contracting Parties

Statement from Wetlands International

Q&A and floor discussions

Closing comments by Asian Development Bank