A new website launched by Wetlands International, BirdLife International and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) reveals major gaps in the protection of many critical sites used by migratory waterbirds across Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia. 

The new 'Critical Site Network (CSN)' Tool (www.wingsoverwetlands.org/csntool) provides comprehensive information on 294 waterbird species from 3,020 sites bringing together information held in four databases used for international waterbird and wetland conservation. It is designed to make information easily available on the most important sites for migratory waterbirds.

The CSN Tool also identifies sites and populations that need protection at a national level. A staggering one-third of the critical sites (representing over 1,000 individual sites within the network) are entirely unprotected, putting the future of many migratory waterbirds at risk.

Such information is now publicly available online, and will not only significantly help conservation efforts, but also facilitate national implementation of international environment agreements, such as AEWA and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.