Ambassadors for Nature: New Zealand Embassy and EAAFP Host Celebration for World Migratory Bird Day

On 16 May, the residence of the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul became a hub of environmental celebration as it hosted ‘Ambassadors for Nature’. This special occasion was organised to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, co-hosted by the New Zealand Embassy and the East Asian–Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP). The event featured speeches by Her Excellency Dawn Bennet, Ambassador of New Zealand, and Jennifer George, Chief Executive of EAAFP. The event drew many participants, including the ambassadors of Australia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea, representatives from organisations such as WWF Korea (World Wide Fund for Nature Korea), UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives), and the National Institute of Ecology, as well as corporate entities like KOEN (Korea South-East Power Company), KB Financial Group, and Fonterra.

(from left to right) Dawn Bennett, Ambassador of New Zealand; Deputy Ambassador Jeong Park; and Jennifer George, Chief Executive of EAAFP ©EAAFP Secretariat

The Ambassadors for Nature event was held to commemorate World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). World Migratory Bird Day is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need to conserve migratory birds and their habitats during their twice-yearly migrations in May and October. The Ambassadors for Nature event underscored the vital role that international cooperation plays in preserving these migratory waterbird species, which traverse thousands of kilometres across various flyways.

Dawn Bennett, Ambassador of New Zealand, giving a remark speech ©EAAFP Secretariat

The evening began with welcoming remarks from H.E. Dawn Bennet, Ambassador of New Zealand, who emphasised the importance of migratory birds and their incredible journeys. She detailed the significant threats faced by migratory birds, such as habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.

Ambassador Bennet highlighted the extraordinary migrations of various bird species, including the bar-tailed godwits (kuaka), which travel from New Zealand to Korea and then to western Alaska. She underscored the cultural and ecological significance of the kuaka, noting their role in illustrating the interconnectedness of global ecosystems and the necessity for international conservation efforts.

Ms. Jennifer George, Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat, giving a remark speech ©EAAFP Secretariat

The Chief Executive of the EAAFP, Jennifer George, emphasised the significance of Korea as a crucial stopover for migratory waterbirds travelling from various parts of the world to rest and refuel. She stressed the importance of global partnerships in mitigating these threats and safeguarding the critical habitats that migratory birds depend on.

Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day, she called for raising awareness and taking proactive steps, such as promoting bird-friendly practices like planting native insect-attracting species, eliminating pesticide use, and advocating for critical habitat protection, to bolster the conservation efforts for these birds.

“The purpose of World Migratory Bird Day is to raise awareness and inspire action. Even small efforts, such as promoting bird-friendly practices, can have a significant impact. We all have a role to play, whether as decision-makers, advocates, or community supporters.”

Participants of the event ©EAAFP

The event concluded with a renewed commitment to support and protect migratory birds and their habitats, emphasising that conservation is a shared responsibility across borders.

Many participants, particularly the KOEN sponsor Yeongheung Power Division, whose generous support enabled the successful hosting of ‘Ambassadors for Nature’ at the New Zealand Embassy’s residence in Seoul on 16 May, were acknowledged. This reception appreciated the commitment of all participants to environmental stewardship and conservation efforts for migratory birds, underscoring the essential collaborative spirit.

Group photo of the Ambassadors for Nature participants ©EAAFP

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