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Dr. Nikita G. Solomonov, distinguished scientific expert and Advisor of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Photo by Crawford Prentice

Dr Nikolai I. Germogenov, member of the conference organizing committee. Photo by Crawford Prentice

Conference participants from the United States, Moscow and Yakutia. Photo by Crawford Prentice

Lena Pillars National Park. Photo by Crawford Prentice

 

Third Conference on Migratory Birds of the North Pacific Region
Yakutsk, Republic of Sakha, Russian Federation
8-13 August 2007

The Third Conference on Migratory Birds of the North Pacific Region was held in Yakutsk on August 8-13, 2007 within the framework of the International Forum on the Study and Conservation of Arctic Wildlife, convened by the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) on the celebration of the 375th anniversary of the entry of Yakutia into the Russian State and founding of the City of Yakutsk. The Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone hosted the meeting, in cooperation with the Yakut Scientific Centre of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yakut State University, and the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha.

Ninety biologists, ornithologists and conservation experts from four countries participated in the conference. Although there was strong participation from Russia and a small delegation from the United States of America, no other North Pacific countries were represented. There was therefore a strong focus on issues within the Russian part of the Pacific region.

Mr Ayal I. Stepanov, Vice Chairman of the Government of the Sakha Republic, opening the Conference. Photo by Crawford Prentice

The Conference opened with a grand ceremony for the International Forum on the Study and Conservation of Arctic Wildlife at the Russian Pushkin Drama Theatre in Yakutsk. This was presided over by Ayal I. Stepanov, Vice Chairman of the Government of the Sakha Republic, joined by Vladimir A. Grigoryev Minister for Nature Protection of the Sakha Republic, Afanasy V. Migalkin, Director of the Department on Indigenous People’s Affairs and Federative Relations of SR, Prof. Dr. Nikita G. Solomonov, Advisor of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Dr. A.A. Alekseyev, Chair of Archaeology and History at Yakut State University, Dr Nikolai Germogenov (Institute for Biological Problems of the Cryolithozone (RAS) and representatives of US Fish & Wildlife Service, International Crane Foundation and Kazakhstan Institute of Zoology.

A traditional blessing ceremony reminded the participants of the spiritual connection between man and nature, followed by a stunning performance by a selection of local artistes that demonstrated Yakutia’s vibrant culture and arts. After the opening session, the participants boarded the MV Mechanic Kubilin for the workshop sessions while en route up the mighty Lena River to the famous Lena Pillars National Park. The relaxed surroundings and close confinement were ideal for the exchange of ideas and experiences, and the discussions were very productive overall. Participants were able to climb to the top of the pillars for a wonderful view of the Lena River at this most sacred spot for local people.


Conference blessing ceremony at the Russian Pushkin Drama Theatre in Yakutsk. Photo by Claire Mirande

The Conference consisted of seven sessions, covering: fauna and populations of birds, bird migration, bird ecology, conservation of rare and endangered bird species, diseases and parasites, use of bird resources, and wetlands of international importance, key ornithological sites and specially protected habitats of rare cranes in NE Asia.

In general, the Conference discussed the results and plans for international, regional, and inter-regional scientific cooperation on nature conservation, especially research on the preservation and use of migratory birds and their habitats in the northern Asia-Pacific Region. It also reviewed progress on implementing the decisions of the Second Conference, priorities for the UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetlands Project in NE Asia, integration of research on conservation of migratory birds and their habitats, cooperation between GEF projects in Yakutia, and proposed items for inclusion in the next conference.

The workshop sessions were held on the MV Mechanic Kubilin on the Lena River. Photo by Dr Zoya Ivanova


Conference Conclusions and Recommendations

The conclusions and recommendations of the conference are given in the Conference Resolutions (click on the links below to download the full text documents in Russian and English), which are mainly addressed to various governmental authorities. The issues discussed included the following:

Conference Resolutions.pdf (English)

Conference Resolutions.pdf (Russian)

  • The need for a more environmentally sustainable approach to economic development planning in Yakutia and other Russian territories

  • Recognition of the impacts of climate change on ecosystems in the Arctic and the need for measures to mitigate global warming in economic planning

  • Renewal of effective protection of federal zakazniks especially for habitats of the Siberian crane and other rare and endangered species in West Siberia, and strengthening of protected area networks in Kamchatka Krai and Irkutsk Oblast and Republic of Buryatia

  • Organization of an All-Russian conference on “Problems  of Conservation of Rare Animals” in 2008 to address scientific and practical aspects of harmonizing the Red Data Books at national and regional levels

  • Nomination of staging areas for Siberian Cranes and other migratory waterbirds for the site network under the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership, and giving international status to Kytalyk through Ramsar nomination. There was general support for strengthened cooperation through this flyway partnership

  • Organization of an international expedition to Yunnan (China) to investigate the causes of mortality of the Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga and other birds during the northern winter period

  • Support for proposals of the Olonkho Association and Ivan Gogolev Museum to develop a combined cultural - ecological education program in collaboration with UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetland Project and other interested organizations

  • The potential danger of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza dispersal for rare bird populations and people, and the need to build capacity for the surveillance of avian influenza viruses and other locally and globally hazardous diseases in Yakutia, bearing in mind the huge waterbird resources and different flyways that meet in this region

  • The widespread condemnation of attempts to control avian influenza by culling wild birds as contradicting the interests of nature conservation and as an ineffective approach

  • The publication and distribution of guidelines to reduce the risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza spreading on wetlands of key importance for migratory bird species under the UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetlands Project together with other concerned organizations

  • The location for the fourth meeting is to be reviewed, with interest expressed for China or Mongolia. Technical themes should include radiation and pollution impacts on migratory birds


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