Group photo of EAAFP © EAAFP Secretariat
On 13th March, the 11th Meeting of Partners (MOP11) of the East - Australasian Asian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) officially kicked off in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, under the theme “We are all part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway!”. Co-hosted by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, Australian Government and BirdLife Australia, the meeting brought together over 150 participants from 18 national governments, inter-government organizations, international NGOs, site managers, experts and corporates. The delegates will lead discussion on the eleventh key Draft Decisions organize to find a solution and better direction to conserve migratory waterbirds, their habitats and livelihoods in the Flyway.
The meeting was opened with a traditional aboriginal Welcome to Country performance delivered by Tribal Experiences. The MOP11 was officially opened through welcome remarks by the co-hosts, Dr Ilse Kiessling, Assistant Secretary, Protected Species and Communities Branch, Biodiversity Conservation Division, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and Prof. Martine Maron, President of BirdLife Australia.
"We are thrilled to bring together our partners from across the Flyway to share knowledge, learn from one another, and plan for the future of migratory waterbird conservation," said Martine Maron, President of BirdLife Australia, co-host of MOP11. "This meeting is a critical opportunity to engage with a diverse group of stakeholders and strengthen our collective efforts to protect the flyway."
Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention also delivered a recorded congratulatory message to EAAFP MOP11. After, Mr. Robb Kaler, Chair of EAAFP gave opening remarks, followed by a memorial ceremony dedicated to Dr. Lew Young, former Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat, and Dr Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, former EAAFP Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force Chair and Focal Point of Russia.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Robb Kaler, Chair of EAAFP said “No single country can conserve all the migratory waterbirds, only if we collaborate and amplify our effort can the waterbirds be conserved and wetlands be sustainably managers, “highlighted Mr. Robb Kaler, Chair of EAAFP. “I hope that this MOP proves to bolster the effort of the Partnership to continue their tireless work of preservation of migratory birds and their habitats within our precious Flyway.”
Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention © EAAFP Secretariat
During the opening ceremony, the Partnership welcomed the two new Partners, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and Mangrove Foundation, and 11 new Flyway Network Sites from Australia, Cambodia, China, Japan, Myanmar and the Republic of Korea since the 10th Meeting of Partners (MOP10). Two Sister Sites agreements were celebrated between Incheon, Republic of Korea and Hong Kong S.A.R., China, as well as Saga City, Japan and Alaska, U.S.A.
Mr. Yat-tung Yu, Director of new Partner, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS), said, “Hong Kong lies in the middle of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Thousands of waterbirds including globally threatened Black-faced Spoonbill, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Saunders’s Gull utilise Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Flyway Site for wintering and passage. The HKBWS is privileged to join the EAAFP and eager to work with other partners for more collaborative and impactful conservation activities to protect waterbirds and their habitats with local, regional and global perspectives."
Dr. Baohua Yan, Secretary-general of new Partner, Mangrove Foundation (MCF), expressed “MCF is a leading wetland and biodiversity conservation charity in China, with the mission of living wetlands and sustainable future. It employs a social participation model for nature conservation through adaptive management of protected areas, CEPA (wetland education and public engagement), network building, grantmaking and international collaboration. It does this through strategic projects, such as Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpipers, Mangrove Conservation and Restoration, Active Wetland Management in Shenzhen Bay, and China Wetland Center Network.”
|Mr Yat Tung Yu, Director of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, New Partner to EAAFP © EAAFP Secretariat||Ms. Sun Lili, Founder, and Board Member, Mangrove Foundation, New Partner to EAAFP © EAAFP Secretariat|
Following the Ceremonies, Prof. Richard Fuller from the University of Queensland gave a keynote presentation, illustrating the critical situation that some shorebirds are declining, and how we can save the migratory waterbirds.
After the opening ceremony, two side events to introduce and discuss the revised CEPA Action Plan and the new Guidelines of National, Site and Sister Site Partnerships, as well as "Green Energy and Conservation of Migratory Birds" respectively. In the afternoon plenary session, the Partners adopted the Rules of Procedure and elected Australia as Chair and U.S.A. as Vice Chair to the MOP11. At the end of the first day, BirdLife Australia organized the opening performance, music played by Bowerbird Collective, with a song “Life on Land's Edge “, and the participants to MOP11 were treated to the opening reception hosted by the Australian Government and BirdLife Australia.
In the upcoming meeting, Partners and collaborators will contribute to discussing Document papers and 11 Decision papers, which will enhance efficiency in Partnership operation, including CEPA Action Plan, and establishing the new guidelines of national, site and Sister Site Partnerships, Population Estimates and Trends of Migratory Waterbird Populations.
There will also be 11 side events organized to foster collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and strengthening the Partnership in the future, and working towards synergizing the work of EAAFP with Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) and different regional conservation initiatives and mechanisms.