Exploring Global Citizenship and Migratory Waterbirds: Insights from the EAAFP Special Lecture at Korea University Business School

Tony Garrett, Professor of Korea University Business School, introducing Jennifer George and EAAFP Secretariat to his students ©EAAFP Secretariat

On 8th April, 2024, the Korea University Business School hosted a special workshop that brought together a diverse group of students to explore conservation and global citizenship. With a history of 117 years, Korea University Business School is renowned for leading business administration education in the Republic of Korea. Among the invited speakers of the workshop was the EAAFP Secretariat. Professor Tony Garrett and about 30 international students from around the world welcomed the EAAFP, eager to delve into the topic.

The workshop began with Ms. Jennifer George, Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat, leading discussions on the crucial link between conservation efforts for biodiversity and the ecological value of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAA Flyway). Jennifer’s expertise was evident as she navigated topics such as wetlands and migratory waterbirds, stressing the need to understand ecosystems for effective conservation.

Jennifer George, Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat, giving a talk ©EAAFP Secretariat

Her presentation, titled “Global Citizenship & Migratory Waterbirds,” served as a thorough introduction to the theme. It highlighted the importance of wetlands as carbon sinks and emphasised the various facets of biodiversity: genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem diversity. The concept of biomimicry also emerged, urging us to draw inspiration from nature for scientific advancement.

Further exploration into migratory waterbirds focused on the main groups traversing the EAA Flyway, including cranes, shorebirds, anatids, and seabirds. The role of the EAAFP as a voluntary partnership, fostering collaboration among countries and international organisations to address shared environmental challenges, was central to the discourse. An introductory video of EAAFP encapsulated the essence of the partnership, emphasising its role in advancing global citizenship and conservation efforts.

Yoon Kyung Lee, External Relations Manager of EAAFP Secretariat, giving a talk ©EAAFP Secretariat

During the workshop, Ms. Yoon Kyung Lee, External Relations Manager of the EAAFP Secretariat, discussed the challenges of integrating conservation priorities into broader SDG agendas. She introduced an innovative conservation initiative, the Regional Flyway Initiative, launched in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and BirdLife International in 2021. This initiative aims to embed biodiversity conservation into national development strategies, demonstrating its economic benefits and alignment with national economic development goals. Yoon’s insights underscored the importance of engaging governments and fostering partnerships for meaningful change at the intersection of conservation and economic development.

The subsequent Q&A session facilitated thought-provoking inquiries, reflecting the audience’s interest in environmental stewardship and global dynamics. Discussions touched on corporate engagement, global collaboration across flyways, and the balance between addressing global hunger and preserving biodiversity. Jennifer’s responses provided insights into the challenges of forging partnerships with corporate entities while maintaining environmental integrity. She emphasised the importance of due diligence and long-term commitment to sustainable alliances. The dialogue also addressed fostering collaboration across geopolitical boundaries, highlighting the significance of diplomatic engagement and grassroots partnerships in conservation efforts.

A group photo featuring participants of the workshop ©EAAFP Secretariat

As the workshop concluded, students expressed gratitude for the enlightening discussions and were encouraged to further engage with the provided materials, fostering a spirit of ongoing collaboration and knowledge exchange. In conclusion, the workshop exemplified the power of collective action in addressing pressing environmental challenges. Through informed dialogue and collaboration, the younger generation can pave the way for a sustainable future, embodying the principles of global citizenship and biodiversity conservation.

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