On the 12th and 13th of November 2019, “Shinan International Symposium on Conservation Strategy for Migratory Birds and Their Habitats in the Yellow Sea” was held in Shinan, RO Korea, followed by 3rd Meeting of the Trilateral Yellow Sea Working Group on 11th Nov (click for more details), under the host of Shinan County, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) and Ministry of Environment (MOE). Various international organizations and NGOs including East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat, and Eco-Horizon Institute showed their support as co-organizers of the event as IUCN Asian Regional Office and Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia (RRC-EA) did as supporters with approximately 150 participants.
The main objectives of the event were: 1. To promote international research exchange and cooperation for the protection of intertidal wetlands and migratory birds in the Yellow Sea and 2. To establish and international network for sustainable conservation of intertidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea, a key habitat for migratory birds.
The event started with video “Tidal Flat in Korea (link)” followed by several welcoming remarks from the hosts and organizers of the event: Shinan County, MOF, MOE and EAAFP. Afterwards, distinguished guests from Shinan County Council, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, Korea National Park Research Institute and the Korean Society of Phycology also join celebrating the opening by giving a congratulatory speech in the opening ceremony.
In addition to the speeches, EAAFP and Shinan County celebrated designating Shinan Aphaedo Tidal Flat as a new FNS (EAAF146) through EAAFP Flyway Network Site Certification Ceremony where Mr. Doug Watkins, Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat handed the site certification with recognition to Mr. Woo-Ryang Park, Mayor of Shinan County. (click for more details)
Session I: Conservation Strategies on the Intertidal Wetlands in the Yellow Sea
Speakers: Mr. Doug Watkins (EAAFP Secretariat), Mr. Raphael Glemet (IUCN Asian Regional Office), Prof. Kyung-Sik Woo (World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat & Kangwon National University), Mr. Bernard Naerends (Common Wadden Sea Secretariat)
The first session, moderated by the Chair Mr. Seung Oh Suh from RRC-EA, was opened with a presentation from Mr. Watkins, Chief Executive, EAAFP Secretariat on Importance of EAAF and International Cooperation for Conservation of Migratory Waterbirds and Their Habitats. During his presentation, he emphasized the importance of conservation in the EAAF by briefly mentioning the waterbirds migration and threats that they are currently facing in the EAAF. In addition, to discuss conservation strategies on the intertidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea, he enlightened the audiences of the cooperation we would need for wetland conservation, management, education and awareness.
Supporting Mr. Watkin’s presentation on wetland conservation management, Mr. Raphael Glemet, Senior Programme Officer in IUCN Asian Regional Office, shared Yellow Sea/West Sea Working Group Management Status and Future Plan for YS Tidal Flat Conservation. While he informed the audiences of the current status, he also emphasized the necessary importance of join workshops and activities for future projects as conservation strategies on the intertidal wetlands conservation.
Along with the previous presenters, Professor Kyung-Sik Woo shared the significant heritage values of Yellow Sea by focusing on the dynamics and diversity wetlands themselves hold, which also links to the geodiversity and biodiversity in wetlands. Lastly, Mr. Bernard Baerends from Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) showed his support by sharing CWSS’ own experience and strategies on tidal flat conservation with trilateral cooperation in the Wadden Sea.
Session II: Current Situation and Effort on the Conservation of Tidal Flat and Migratory Birds in RO Korea
Speakers: Prof. Seoung-Soo Chun (Chonman National University and Eco-Horizon Institution), Prof. Hyun-Sig Lim (Mokpo National University), Ms. Sun Young Chaeh (Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation), Ms. Hyerim Won (Ministry of Environment), Dr. Hwang Bo Yeon (Korea National Park Services)
The second session, led by the Chair Professor Kyung-Sik Woo, World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal flat, was opened with a presentation from two professors sharing justifications of Korean Tidal Flat for UNESCO World Heritage. While Prof. Seoung-Soo Chun from Chonman National University and Eco-Horizon Institution shared criteria viii, Prof. Hyun-Sig Lim from Mokpo National University focused on criteria ix and x. Prof. Chun paid special attention to the diversity of Korean Tidal Flat due to various geological and geomorphological characteristics of Korean tidal flats. On the other hand, Prof. Lim focused on geodiversity, biodiversity and ecological process as he states wetlands are “the unique and most complex ongoing hydrological process and the coastal landforms in the world with high biodiversity and outstanding ecological system” (Lim, 2019).
Followed by the two professors, two representatives of Korean Government: MOF and MOE also shared their current status on the conservation of tidal flat and migratory birds in RO Korea. Ms. Sun Young Chae, KOEM on behalf of Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), firstly informed the status of tidal flat along with legal system and policies that are currently recognized in the nation including Wetlands Conservation Act, Martine Ecosystem Act and Tidal Flat Act. In addition, she emphasized the importance of monitoring in conservation as she explained the National Marine Ecosystem Monitoring system managed by MOF.
Ms. Hyerim Won from MOE also shared the current status and policies on migratory birds protection on the other hand. She shared an interesting case study done by MOE on a biodiversity management contract for a 4-month period, which increased the number of migratory birds in winter, public awareness and participation in conservation activities. Lastly, Dr. Hwang Bo Yeon from Korea National Park Services presented the current status of the endangered birds species of tidal flat on the Yellow Sea of Korea, which included Chinese Egret and Saunders’ Gull. He enlightened the audiences of various activities for expanding breeding sites including recovery activities in the past years starting 2002.
Session III: Current Situation on the Tidal Flat and Migratory Birds in PR China and DPR Korea
Speakers: Dr. Lu Cai (EAAFP Science Unit), Ms. Xiao Hong (NFGA), Mr. Alex Zhang (Eco Forum Global), Ms. Vivian Fu (EAAFP Secretariat)
The third session, led by the Chair Mr. Jens Enemark, former Executive Secretary of CWSS, was opened with presentations from three Chinese delegates: Ms. Xiao Hong from National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Dr. Lu Cai from EAAFP Science Unit and Mr. Alex Zhang from Eco Forum Global. While Ms. Xiao Hong shared the current status and policies on migratory birds protection in PR China, Dr. Lu Cai focused on Tidal Flat conservation in PR China. As Ms. Hong and Dr. Lu Cai both discussed the policies in PR China, they emphasized the newly revised legislation in 2017 – Wildlife Protection Law, with the promise of the ongoing commitment of conservation activities in PR China. Following that, Mr. Zhang shared the 5-year progress of World Heritage Inscription of Chinese nomination with the focus on the importance and values of Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China. He ended his presentation with hopeful promise of commitment to the Phase II of World Heritage.
Last but not the least, Ms. Vivian Fu, Communication Officer from EAAFP Secretariat shared Current Status and Efforts on Conserving Migratory Birds and Their Habitats in DPR Korea, on behalf of DPR Korea and EAAFP Partners working in DPRKalong with the video of the Flyway Network Sites from DPRK, “Wetlands of Korea, the treasure house of biodiversity”. Afterwards, Ms. Fu mainly shared her first-hand experiences of her recent trips to DPRK including the trip she recently went in march and October 2019. On behalf of DPR Korea, she enlightened the audiences of various conservation activities including CEPA activities with local teachers and students and festivals (click for more details) held in the community.
Session IV: Discussion
After all the presentations from remarkable speakers, the event was concluded after a discussion with five panels: Mr. Bernard Baerends from CWSS, Dr. Lu Cai from EAAFP Science Unit, Mr. Raphael Glemet from IUCN Asia Regional Office, Mr. Doug Watkins from EAAFP Secretariat and Mr. Moon Kyung Oh from World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat. The session was led by Dr. Hee Young Chae from the Korean Society of Phycology as the Chair. For one of the questions that was asked during the discussion “What’s needed for Yellow Seacountries to cooperate for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitat who is migrating through the flyway?” Mr. Watkins and Mr. Glemet stated that more dialogue among the three countries is needed the most for cooperation. In addition, perceiving more scientific aspect of the question, Dr. Lu raised the importance of scientific and academic approaches among the three countries. Furthermore, reflecting the Wadden Sea experience, Mr. Baerends suggested creating a common instrument for cooperation while Mr. Moon emphasized the necessity of integrated management in democratic governance form from the perspective of residents living in the potential sites for World Heritage nomination.
13 Nov – EAAFP Korea Flyway Network Site Managers Workshop and Field Trip
The following day on the 13th, EAAFP held 2019 Korea Flyway Network Site Managers Workshop followed by a field trip. After a brief introduction among the site managers and EAAFP Secretariat, Ms. Hyeseon Do, Programme Officer from EAAFP Secretariat shared essential information on EAAFP Flyway Network Site (FNS) Nomination Status to inform the site managers on the process of nominating a site as EAAFP FNS and proper management after the nomination.
Afterwards, Ms. Vivian Fu, Communication Officer, EAAFP Secretariat raised the importance of CEPA (Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness) relating to site managers’ work. She also shared her CEPA experience on World Migratory Bird Day overseas of the EAAFP partners. She ended up the talk by informing resources and supports from the Secretariat. Lastly, Ms. Seulki Suh from Korea National Park Research Institute informed the current status and their work on tagged migratory birds in RO Korea. She also shared an interesting tool, an online tracking website, which anyone could easily access and record in case of spotting tagged migratory birds.
Field Trip – Jeungdo Island for Domestic Participants
The field trip was divided into two groups – domestic participants and international participants with two different venues. Domestic participants including Korean Site Mangers went to Jeungdo Island in Shinan for the field trip. The first destination was Huado Noru-gil Restoration Industry Area. As part of the potential UNESCO World Heritage Site, the World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat introduced to the participants about the tidal flat. restoration projects in Shinan.
Afterwards, the group visited an observatory where all the salt ponds in Jeungdo Island could be seen. With refreshing moments and memories, the group finally went to the last destination – Taepyung Halophyte Garden to see various Halophytes including mudskippers and plants.
Field Trip – Seondo Island for International Participants
International participants were heading to Seon-do Isalnd in Shinan county, a part of the potential UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was a showcasing island for the inspection. According to the team, among 1,004 islands in Shinan as well as other tidal flats in RO Korea, Seon-do is regarded as one of the best islands to show geographical characteristics of Korean Tidal Flat overall. The participants can see the landscape once climbing up a mountain called Beomdeok(145m). Shinan county officers and other domestic experts explained brief information on this island. Not only the biological providing, but it also supports approximately 200 residents relying on its fishery and aquaculture. Interestingly, the residents are self-regulating sustainably in terms of the seasons and the amounts of fisheries. Additionally, the county is holding an annual Daffodil festival on this island, so that they try to promote eco-tourism on this island in the long term.
More photos of the event can be found at EAAFP Secretariat’s Flickr.