EAAFP engagement at the ADB 56th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors

Panel Discussion at the side event “The Steps for Making the Regional Flyway Initiative a Reality” ⓒ EAAFP Secretariat

The 56th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB), hosted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea, was held in Songdo, Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 2nd to 5th May 2023. The theme of the 56th ADB Annual Meeting is “Rebounding Asia: Recover, Reconnect, and Reform”. About 5,000 people, including finance ministers and central bank governors from ADB members, and representatives from the government and private sectors, local and international organizations, and the press participated in meetings, seminars, and side events to discuss various topics regarding development in Asia. A side event on the Regional Flyway Initiative, co-organized by ADB, BirdLife International and EAAFP was held on 2nd May.

Regional Flyway Initiative Side event

During the side event entitled “The Steps for Making the Regional Flyway Initiative a Reality” (link) held on 2nd May, panelists discussed the ongoing process since the launch of the RFI and to underline actions needed to facilitate its progress from the development phase into the implementation phase.

ⓒ Asian Development Bank

The event was moderated by Ms. Patricia Zurita, Chief Executive Officer of BirdLife International. Ambassador Chantale Yok-Min Wong, (United States Ambassador toADB) gave an opening remark emphasizing the need for the long-term commitment and cooperation between ADB and the US. Following was the panel discussion. Our Senior Programme Officer, Ms. Hyeseon Do, participated as a panelist, together with Mr. Weihua Liu (People’s Republic of China Executive Director, ADB), Ahmed Saeed (Vice-President for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, ADB) Ms. Elisea G. Gozun (Chair of Compliance Review Panel, ADB)  to discuss how to make the RFI feasible. They all highlighted that the national/international cooperation among people including ADB Board members and organizations, as well as wetlands conservation, is crucial to successfully implement the RFI.

After the discussion, Mr. Jae Young Shin, Director of the Maritime Policy Office, Maritime Ecology Division of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Republic of Korea, gave a message of future support by highlighting future conservation cooperation between the ADB and Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and Ms. Dawn Bennet, Ambassador to Republic of Korea, New Zealand Government, delivered a closing remarks to encourage transboundary conservation efforts.

Engaging at ADB 56th Annual Meeting events

The EAAFP staff participated in several side events and seminars, such as a program called “Civic Engagement and Multi-Stakeholder Partnership for SDGs in Asia”, a side event called “Digital, Climate, and Resilience”, “The Green Transition, Needs a Green Workforce: The Role of Skills Development for a Just Transition”, etc. From the side events, a key lesson learned was that the engagement of multi stakeholders including civil society and youths is crucial to the implementation of projects related to SDGs. In line with the EAAFP’s mission, cooperation among various sectors is highly significant to conservation activities. One of the key agendas discussed during side events was the role of climate finance in the funding of projects and initiatives related to climate change mitigation. They provided information regarding future investments as well as how organizations may access these funds. This knowledge may prove valuable if the EAAFP or its Partners were to seek funding for projects in the future.

A booth of the Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI) and the Jiangsu Yancheng Wetlands Protection Project prepared by the ADB-PRC Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative (RKSI) was presented. The booth also had a virtual reality (VR) activity where with the VR headset people can look around several Flyway Network Sites and tablets where people could scan each picture on the booth wall regarding the investment in the RFI, RFI areas, and Asia and the Pacific’s climate risk, and receive information relevant to the picture. The tablets also showed a map of migratory birds’ flyways and the information about each site so people visiting the booth could learn about the importance of conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.

The EAAFP staff also visited several other booths form the Incheon City, various corporates and organizations where people could do various activities, participated in the activities to introduce the EAAFP and RFI, and learn about the other institutions’ work.

Booth at the meeting ⓒ EAAFP Secretariat

EAAFP Secretariat also contributed to a 1-minute interview video with ADB to promote the RFI (Twitter, Instagram). Ms. Hyeseon Do mentioned that we should take immediate action to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats, to fight against ecosystem degradation by humans and mitigate climate change. Also, together with ADB and Birdlife International, EAAFP will try to develop the RFI and scale up nature-based solutions to combat environmental challenges by conserving the wetlands in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

ⓒ EAAFP Secretariat

Guided by staff from the Secretariat before the meeting, the RFI organizers team from BirdLife International and ADB visited several migratory birds’ habitats in Incheon, such as Songdo Flyway Network Site and Ramsar Site, Ganghwa Island, and Namdong Reservoir (breeding site for Black-faced Spoonbill) and Sorae Wetland Park.

Ms. Patricia Zurita (CEO), Mr. Vinayagan Dharmarajah (Regional Director for Asia), Mr. Gary Allport (Senior Adviser to the CEO) from BirdLife International, and Mr. Duncan Lang (Senior Environment Specialist) from ADB visited the EAAFP Secretariat after the RFI side event on the 2nd May.

Group photo with Ms. Patricia Zurita, Mr. Vinayagan Dharmarajah, Mr. Gary Allport from BirdLife International, and Mr. Duncan Lang from ADB visited EAAFP Secretariat © EAAFP Secretariat

Left to right: Mr. Duncan Lang and Mr. Warren Evans from Mr. Gary Allport © EAAFP Secretariat

About Regional Flyway Initiative

Launched in October 2021 at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI) is a large-scale long-term financing initiative by the ADB, EAAFP, and BirdLife International to support the conservation, restoration, and efficient management of wetlands in the EAA Flyway. A partnership of multiple stakeholders will collaborate to develop the RFI program, scaling up the Flyway-wide conservation efforts to protect wetlands and the migratory waterbirds and the lives of the people who are dependent on them. The initiative aim to build and protect an ecological network of at least 50 priority sites over the next 10 years.

For more information on RFI, click here.

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