EAAFP Foundation 2022-2023 Small Grant Fund Reporting Workshop

Discussing a Potential Global Impact of Domestic Migratory Waterbird Conservation Efforts


On January 31st, the Reporting Workshop of the EAAFP Foundation’s Small Grant Program 2022–2023 was held at G-Tower in Songdo, Incheon. The EAAFP Foundation, established to support the East Asian–Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), collaborates with the EAAFP Secretariat.

During the workshop, seven out of eight organisations that were granted funds to conduct migratory waterbird conservation activities from October 2022 to March 2023 participated as implementers.

Discussions focused on sharing experiences of local conservation activities and enhancing engagement among participants. Notably, sponsors of the EAAFP Foundation’s Small Grant Program, such as Korea South-East Power Co., Ltd. Yeongheung Power Division, and Hanns Seidel Foundation, as well as the Incheon Metropolitan, contributed valuable insightful on the projects of grantees.

The EAAFP Foundation’s Small Grant Program has been ongoing since 2020 with continuous financial support from Korea South-East Power Co., Ltd. Yeongheung Power Headquarters. As of February 2024, a total of 32 organisations have received sponsorship, benefiting over 2,000 citizens and serving as a leading example of conservation projects in the Republic of Korea. In the 2022–23 programme, Hanns Seidel Foundation participated as a sponsor, continuing its collaboration as an EAAFP partner.

Ms. Jennifer George ©EAAFP

The workshop commenced with an opening speech by Ms. Jennifer George, the Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat and Chairperson of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Chairperson Jennifer George expressed gratitude to the grantees and sponsoring company and organisations, emphasising the importance of their projects. She particularly highlighted the potential for internationalisation of domestic projects as a means to conserve the interconnected habitats essential for migratory waterbirds.

Ms. Yeon-Hui Choi, Senior Manager of Korea Southern Power Co., Ltd. Yeongheung Power Division, reflected on the corporation’s cooperation and sponsorship of the Small Grant Program since 2020, recognizing itsvalue of their cooperation and hinting at possibilities for future collaboration.

Ms. Yeon-Hui Choi ©EAAFP

Dr. Bernhard Seliger, the representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea Office, delivered a speech expressing concerns about habitat destruction due to population density in the Republic of Korea. However, he conveyed a hopeful message about conservation possibilities and emphasized the importance of continuing the EAAFP Foundation’s Small Grant Program.

The presentation of results followed with Eco Korea, Ganghwa Citizen Network, CITIZEN’S MOVEMENT FOR NORTH ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, Birds Korea Yeoncheon, KFEM Incheon, BFS&Friends, and KFEM Hwaseong presenting their outcomes in that order.

Dr. Berhard Seliger ©EAAFP

Eco Korea ©EAAFP

The first presentation was given by Ms. Eun-jeong Kim, Monitoring Team Leader of Eco Korea, on “Monitoring of winter migratory birds in Janghang Wetland and monitoring of the habitat status of Swan Goose in the Han River Estuary.” The project, aimed at utilising cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea the conservation of the border-area bird ecosystem and Swan Goose, conducted a total of 28 monitoring sessions through winter waterbird monitoring in the Han River Estuary protected wetlands and citizen science monitoring of gulls. Additionally, a map of Swan Goose distribution on the Korean Peninsula was created and presented at the 11th Meeting of Partners (MoP11) of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP). Eco Korea hopes that the information collected through the project can be utilised as data for international collaborative research on gull habitat conservation and for exchange and cooperation activities among stakeholders of bird networks, such as the Han River Estuary and Janghang Wetland.

Next, the results of the “Regular Survey of Ganghwa Tidal flat (Natural Monument and Breeding Site of Black-faced Spoonbill) and Migratory Waterbirds Including Black-faced Spoonbill” project by the Ganghwa Citizen Network were presented. Mr. Soon-rae Kim, Chairperson of the Ganghwa Citizen Network, who also serves as the Chair of the Incheon-Gyeonggi Ecoregion Task Force under the EAAFP, presented the findings. The Ganghwa Citizen Network conducted monitoring based on the lack of research on the habitat and ecological environment of black-faced spoonbills, including their roosting sites and water sources. Through this, they obtained evidence of the number of black-faced spoonbill individuals arriving at Ganghwa tidal flats and built foundational data for regional economic revitalization through ecotourism, maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and sustainable development. The Ganghwa Citizen Network emphasised the international conservation effects of the project, highlighting the significance of Black-faced Spoonbills as indicators of biodiversity in Ganghwa tidal flats and the need for their inclusion in the World Natural Heritage. They also stressed the necessity of cooperation with NGOs from EAAFP government partner countries such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China, Mongolia, and Russian Federation for Black-faced Spoonbill conservation, as well as the importance of international exchanges such as visiting similar regions.

Ganghwa Citizen Network ©EAAFP


Following that, Ms. Lee Jeong Suk, the representative of CITIZEN’S MOVEMENT FOR NORTH ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, presented the “Monitoring activities for the designation of a protected area in the upper reaches of the Jungnang River for the Long-billed Plover”. This project is a case demonstrating the active participation of activists and local residents and cooperation with local governments. Through actual negotiations with local governments and discussions at the provincial, city, and central government levels, successful outcomes were achieved in providing safe breeding grounds for little terns and whiskered terns, away from predators. As a result, the project won second place in the Korean River Day Contest for Civil and Government Governance Cases and made a significant achievement by presenting at the Japanese River Day Contest on September 30th, 2023. The project by the CITIZEN’S MOVEMENT FOR NORTH ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE demonstrates the influence of citizen scientists’ monitoring activities on the decisions of local governments and the potential for international conservation activities. It proves that conservation activities can lead to tangible changes beyond mere activities.

Mr. Seung-gwang Baek, the representative of Birds Korea Yeoncheon, presented the results of the “Simultaneous Monitoring and Capacity Enhancement Project for the Scaly-sided Merganser” project, which included the production of a Korean translation of the EAAFP International Action Plan for the Conservation of the Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus), 2016–2025, capacity-building field training, and four rounds of simultaneous monitoring and report printing. The project aimed to enhance knowledge and information about the Scaly-sided Merganser, strengthen identification and monitoring capabilities through focused surveys, support conservation and civil-government governance, enhance research and monitoring activities, promote knowledge-building and information exchange, and cultivate the habitat and waterbird management capabilities of natural resource managers, policymakers, and local stakeholders. Especially, Yeoncheon County is pushing for being the Flyway Network Site (FNS) under the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, which makes this project supportive of that goal. Moreover, the project involved the direct participation of Jennifer George, the representative of the EAAFP Secretariat, and Secretariat staff in a symposium on Scaly-sided Merganser conservation in Yeoncheon, including visits to potential FNS candidate areas.

Birds Korea Yeoncheon ©EAAFP


The results of the “Birdwatching of Natural Monument Wintering site of the Red-crowned Crane” project by the KFEM Incheon, a non-profit organisation, were presented by Team Leader Ms. Da-hye Im. This project was conducted in the areas of Cheorwon county (Gangwon province), and Ganghwa county (Incheon Metropolitan City), with the aim of enhancing the ecological sensitivity of Incheon citizens and improving conservation awareness through ecological monitoring and education. The exploration activities were planned with the involvement of two experts, and 52 citizens of Incheon participated in the Cheorwon exploration in December, and the Ganghwa Island exploration in January. On February 16th, 2023, a total of 63 terns were observed, which was approximately 2.17 times higher than the 29 observed in 2021, confirming a significant increase over the past decade. According to the satisfaction survey of the exploration activities, the majority of Incheon citizens expressed interest in tern habitat conservation activities, showing high satisfaction levels, including a desire for a 1-night, 2-day exploration trip to observe tern roosting sites.

BFS&Friends ©EAAFP

KFEM Hwaseong ©EAAFP

Next, the project “Hey Kids, There’s BFS in Dad’s (Mom’s) Workplace!” by BFS&Friends was presented. Ms. Mi-eun Kim, the Secretary General of the organisation, mentioned that this project had evolved into a more enhanced programme by incorporating feedback from the project under the EAAFP Foundation’s Small Grant Program 2021–2022. A total of 84 citizens participated in six face-to-face educational sessions led by 12 instructors. The programme included creative activities for families, such as exploration, making dunlin mobiles, educational sessions on the functions of Incheon Songdo Tidal Flat and Namdong reservoir, as well as discussions on biodiversity. Feedback from participant satisfaction surveys was analysed to improve and develop the programme further, and there was an expressed intention to continue the programme through future applications for civil society support projects.

Lastly, the results of the project “Hwaseong Wetlands ‘Korea’s Tidal Flats’ World Heritage Listing Project Network” by the KFEM Hwaseong were presented by activist Mr. Jong-pil Kang. From October to November 2022, three citizen field trips were conducted, with 78 citizens of various ages and genders from 8 to 70 participating. Additionally, a panel discussion on the sustainable development plan for Hwaseong wetlands was held at the 2022 Gyeonggi Province Policy Debate Festival, attended by local members of the National Assembly, Gyeonggi Province lawmakers, and around 60 Hwaseong citizens. Following the discussion, it was noted that the understanding of the second stage listing of Hwaseong wetlands as a Korean tidal flat World Natural Heritage site had improved, contributing to the formation and launching of citizen supporters for the UNESCO World Natural Heritage listing of Hwaseong wetlands (EAAF142). The KFEM Hwaseong positively evaluated the increased interest from civil society and expressed a commitment to ongoing activities to achieve the planned outcomes.


After the presentation of results, a Questions and Answers session was provided for participants. Many grantees and citizen activists expressed their hope that data from local NGOs, such as monitoring data, would be more actively utilised in conservation efforts at both national and local levels.

Furthermore, they emphasised the need for opportunities to exchange with experts, NGOs, and government agencies from other regions domestically and internationally, facilitated through support from international organisations and governments. They hoped for strengthened capacities and collaboration for international conservation activities, such as joint investigations.

Following the participants’ feedback, the EAAFP Foundation expressed its intention to further develop its Small Grant programme to enable the international conservation effects of domestic NGO activities along the Flyway. Mr. Seok-dong Lee, in charge of environmental assessment and ecology at the Incheon Metropolitan City, reiterated the local government’s commitment to conservation efforts and cooperation with local NGOs, expressing gratitude once again for the active conservation efforts of grantees.

The EAAFP Foundation announced its plan to actively solicit opinions from the granted organisations and stakeholders to enhance the global impact of domestic conservation efforts through the EAAFP Foundation’s Small Grant. The project is scheduled to be open for applications in July.


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