[EAAFP 10th anniversary event – Conference Sketch Part II] Highlighting the involvement of the local people in the conservation of migratory birds and their habitat in the EAAF

The second session was about case studies on local people in the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the EAAF, in connection to the theme of EAAFP raised during the 10th Meeting of Partners (MOP 10) – “Flyway – Connecting People and Migratory Birds”.

Mr. Pete Probasco (U.S.A/EAAFP Chair)
“Local people in the conservation of wetlands and migratory birds in EAAF – Case studies in Alaska”

 the first speaker of the session was Mr. Pete Probasco, the Chair of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, with the topic “Local people in the conservation of wetlands and migratory birds in EAAF – Case studies in Alaska”.  He presented case studies in Alaska USA and introduced the effective methodology used in Alaska for local engagement.

Mr. Probasco introduced that about 60% of Alaska’s land is dedicated to National Forests, National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, which plays a crucial and significant role in conserving wild plants, fish, animals and their habitats in the rapidly changing world. As very few people are living in Alaska, a lot of the habitat is intact, providing significant habitat for reproduction and for nesting birds. Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge and Qupaluk Flyway Network Site are the examples which provide important habitats to the migratory waterbirds.

He emphasized the involvement of local people in the conservation of wetlands by introducing three successful methods in Alaska, which are enhancing community awareness, community engagement, outreach and education activities. In terms of community awareness, including children and using fun and knowledgeable methods are also crucial to involve local people.

Community engagement helps to address issues impacting the well-being of community groups. The State and federal government are working with indigenous tribes who involved in the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council aiming to conserve migratory birds through the development of recommendations for the subsistence harvest in Alaska. Lastly, outreach and education are important resource management tools to broaden public awareness and promote public involvement in migratory bird conservation.

Mr. Pete Probasco, the Chair of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (Photo© EAAFP Secretariat)

Ministry of Environment and Student representatives from Incheon BFS network and Int’l Crane School of Cheorwon
“Local people and the conservation of wetlands and migratory birds in RO Korea”

Ms. Hye Lim Won from the Ministry of Environment of Korea (MOEK) was the second speaker. She introduced Korean policies to protect migratory birds and wetlands, the overall status of migratory birds and wetland conservation in Korea.MOEK is actively promoting a wetland conservation master plan through integrative projects on the purpose of advancing wetland investigation, reinforcement of wetland conservation and management, the establishment of a system for the wise use of wetlands and stronger international cooperation. They are also planning to expand the protected land areas following the Aichi Target 11.

Ms. Won further explained that since 2002, Biodiversity Management Contract has been implemented to provide suitable habitats and food source for migratory birds in winter. A successful case is in the Suncheon Bay, the number of Hooded Cranes is continuously increasing, with the synergy created by regional conservation projects and community involvement by giving them economic incentives and raises public awareness on migratory bird conservation among local people.

Ms. Hye Lim Won from the Ministry of Environment of Korea (MOEK) (Photo© EAAFP Secretariat)

 After the second half of the presentation was the voice of the youth. Two students, Soyoung Kim from Cheorwon Crane school and Seong Jin Kim from Incheon Black-faced Spoonbill Network respectively, shared their experiences of the environmental education programme they attended. After joining the activity, they realized how ecologically important it is to conserve wetlands and monitoring are. They also said they got to love nature more and would like to participate in other activities and to learn more about nature.

Presentation by Ms. Soyoung Kim from Cheorwon Crane school  (Photo© EAAFP Secretariat)

Dr. Zeng Qing (Science Officer, Science Unit, EAAFP Secretariat)
Local people and the conservation of wetland and migratory birds in China

The next speaker, Dr. Zeng Qing from the Science Unit of the EAAFP Secretariat introduced Chinese traditional culture with birds and local activities to promote the conservation of wetland and migratory birds in China. She firstly illustrated the long history of interactions between people and birds reflected in Chinese culture and art.

Dr. Zeng then illustrated how birdwatching activity in China was developed. In 1996, there were less than 100 birdwatchers. However, birdwatching society quickly became larger and larger. Public engagement has been actively promoted by encouraging people to participate in the waterbird census, survey, China Coastal Wetland Conservation Network, and other alliances for better knowledge of conservation status and threats that the birds are facing.

Exemplary community involvement activities are held in Liao River Delta and Zhangjiangkou. Liao River Delta is famous for its colorful landscape and about 80,000 people are depending on these coastal wetlands. Thus, they developed eco-tourism in this area to positively support the intertidal flat conservation via community involvement. In Zhangjiangkou, the community was engaged to control the invasion of Spartina in their ecosystem. Dr. Qing finished the speech expressing further communication and cooperation for the conservation of migratory bird and their habitats in the future.

Dr. Zeng Qing, Science Officer, Science Unit, EAAFP Secretariat (Photo© EAAFP Secretariat)

Mr. Ian McConville (Deputy Head, Australian Embassy)
Local people and the conservation of wetlands and migratory birds in Australia

 The last speaker of the session, Mr. Ian McConville, Deputy Head of Australian Embassy provided details about Australia’s efforts on the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. He highlighted the role of not only internal but also external coordination and cooperation, with all countries hosting the global travelers on their migration journey.

Formal bilateral agreements on migratory birds are one form of the cooperation that Australia is focusing on. Throughout the agreements, the Australian Government works closely with the Governments of Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea to take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment of migratory birds. They also exchange research data and publications and encourage the formulation of joint research programs for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. He particularly thanked the Republic of Korea for its ongoing commitment to the conservation and contributions to host the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership Secretariat for a further five years.

He introduced the Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds of the Australian Government, which covers 35 species of migratory shorebird, outlining a national framework identifying the research and management actions necessary to protect migratory shorebirds in Australia. Implementing actions in this plan will also benefit two critically endangered shorebirds, the eastern curlew and great knot.

At the request of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), the Australian Government also took a lead role in the conservation of eastern curlew by facilitating the development and implementation of an International Single Species Action Plan for Eastern Curlew. This single species action plan was adopted at the 9th Meeting of Partners of the EAAFP, and the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). Australia hopes to nominate additional sites to the network in coming years and to support local communities to conserve their local environments, and to have closer collaboration with Ro Korea to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats.

Mr. Ian McConville, Deputy Head, Australian Embassy (Photo© EAAFP Secretariat)


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