ASEAN Flyway Network – soaring to greater heights

The ASEAN Flyway Network (AFN) National Focal Points of various ASEAN Member States, site managers of existing or potential East Asian – Australasian Flyway (EAAF) sites, experts from Wetlands International, Japan Bird Research Association, and Ministry of Environment-Japan, and EAAFP Secretariat representatives flocked together from 13-15 May 2019 for obvious reasons – conservation of migratory waterbirds!

The 2nd AFN Meeting was held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia for a short 3-day, but agenda-packed session, including a visit to beautiful Bako Buntal Bay, EAAF Site 112. Kindly hosted by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), the meeting was organised by Singapore (Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, National Parks Board) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), generously supported by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

Group photo of The 2ndAFN Meeting was held in Kuching, Malaysia (Photo © Sarawak Forestry Corporation)

Recognising the imperative need for regional collaboration due to the interconnectedness and interdependency of migratory waterbirds and wetlands, the ASEAN Flyway Network was established in Mar 2017 with the endorsement from the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (AWGNCB). This is in line with the EAAF Southeast Asia network that was approved at the Ninth Meeting of the Partners (MOP9) of the EAAFP in Jan 2017. The objectives of this network are to help improve knowledge, increase capacity and enhance communication on wetlands and migratory birds in the ASEAN Member States.

To support the effective establishment and functioning of the network, a project named “Improving Biodiversity Conservation of Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds in the ASEAN Region” was conceived with Singapore as the country lead, supported by the ACB, with the funding from JAIF. The project comprises two phases, with Phase I focusing on a well-functioning network and improving knowledge of wetlands and migratory waterbirds through surveys of existing and potential EAAF sites. This resulted in a greater ASEAN representation to the Tenth Meeting of Partners (MOP10) of the EAAFP in Dec 2018, a successful site managers meeting in close partnership with EAAFP Secretariat and national planning workshops held for ASEAN Member States for national wetlands and waterbird conservation. AFN also congratulates Cambodia for their consequent success in the designation of their 1st Flyway Network Site, Anlung Pring Protected Landscape (EAAF 144).

Not resting on our laurels, the 2nd AFN meeting focused on sharing progress and challenges in implementing surveys in Phase I and our long-term vision in crafting Phase II of our project to support long term monitoring and conservation. This is envisioned to be achieved through capacity building training and CEPA (Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness) and the sustained efforts for the meeting of the AFN.

This network will endeavour to partner international initiatives as EAAFP and various organisations, to achieve the objectives. Singapore and ACB once again thank the AFN members, SFC, and all resource experts for their hard work and invaluable contributions thus far,  and look forward to further collaboration and collectively bringing our conservation goals in the flyway to greater heights!

Discussion during the 2ndAFN Meeting (Photo © Sarawak Forestry Corporation)

Photo © Eugene Cheah/EAAFP

Field Visit at Bako Buntal Bay and Bako National Park (Photo © ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity)

Field Visit at Bako Buntal Bay and Bako National Park (Photo © Sarawak Forestry Corporation)


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