Farewell to Programme Assistant, Yoo Jung Kwon

In the words of Yoo Jung Kwon

I started off my journey at the EAAFP Secretariat with growing excitement that I was working for the environment, not specifically for migratory waterbirds. It was not long into my internship when my understanding of biodiversity began to change. I was given a valuable opportunity to go birdwatching just before the sunrise, with birdwatchers and experts. I recall myself being at peace while blinded by the beauty of Hooded Cranes in Suncheon Bay. Following my first birdwatching experience, migratory waterbirds began to have a bigger part in my whys’ of working at the EAAFP Secretariat.

Birdwatching at Oido Island ©Waterbird Network

Throughout my one-year internship, I recall myself at awe each time I left a meeting room or an event. The energy brought out by the people filled the room, where ambitions were supported by efforts to foresee a future where nature and biodiversity coexists with the people and society. Moreover, I understood that it was my role to ensure the energy felt in the room was shared upon my generation and to my community. My trip to Goyang City Forum taught me the valuable lesson that it is rather simply to communicate with your audience the value and passion we share through genuine connection. Thanks to the endless support of my programme team, I challenged myself to pioneer youth engagement opportunities, introducing our Secretariat and birdwatching to GCF Independent Evaluation Unit interns and SDSN Youth Korea.

Presenting during SDSN Youth Korea visit ©Hyoin Kim/EAAFP

Birdwatching with GCF IEU interns ©Dong-koo Yun/EAAFP

As the Partnership is formed to conserve the important wetland sites for the migratory waterbirds and livelihoods, political differences and language are neutralized for ‘biodiversity.’ Thus, I learned the principles of coordinating effective and inclusive dialogue among our Partners ranging from National Governments, International Organizations, and local communities. Further witnessing trilateral cooperation between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, RO Korea and China to safeguard our Flyway under a shared vision.

During Local Forum at Goyang City Forum ©Goyang City

Although I disclose my journey in 2022, I will continue to await the returns of our migratory birds each year. For the sites they return to, reminds us of the hard work our Partnership aims to wisely use, and sustainably manage along the Flyway. Birds are the indicators of our achievements, how far we came, and the hard work we continue to accomplish. Endless dialogues, endless meetings, and endless reports all build up to the present where we can share the beauty of the migratory birds and their habitat to our generation, and our future generation.

My last words are I ended up falling in love with our migratory waterbirds, as they became my biggest motivation to excel in my work at the Secretariat. And in response, I was presented with so many remarkable and inspiring people on the way, learning that people are our why’s to continue to hope, believe, and encourage ourselves that our work is meaningful, valuable, and crucial. Thanks to our lovely Partners, my colleagues, and especially our migratory birds I learned to fly, soar and sing enjoying the journey with EAAFP.

During Goyang City Forum ©Goyang City

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