Tomoko Ichikawa, Communication Officer
The Ramsar Symposium was held in Yonago City, Tottori, Japan from 28 to 29 August 2016. It was jointly organized by a range of organisations including Wetlands International-Japan, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, Japan Wetland Society, Ramsar Center Japan, Nakaumi Waterbird International Fund Foundation, and local governments. The objectives of the symposium were to (1) review and overview the progress, current situation and issues on wetlands and the Ramsar Convention in Japan, (2) share experiences and skills, (3) implement Ramsar Resolution XII.9 especially on supporting site managers and networking wetland stakeholders, (4) promote the wise use of wetlands in Japan, and (5) contribute to discussion at the Ramsar COP13. Around 350 participants joined including mayors from Tottori and Shimane prefectures and prefectural assembly members.
At the opening, a special session was held to highlight two local Ramsar sites, Nakaumi (in Tottori Prefecture) and Shinji-ko (in Shimane Prefecture). These sites are connected along the prefecture border, and there are a many cooperative conservation efforts going on between these two prefectures. The session highlighted the benefit of wetlands for the local community development, the geological feature of the two wetlands, and the importance of thinking at the watershed scale.
The first session presented an overview of the situation regarding wetland conservation from the scientific and technical view point. This session reviewed the roles and contribution of the Ramsar Convention in the wetland conservation in Japan. The second session highlighted how wetlands can benefit local areas by generating income, enhancing collaborative work among stakeholders and providing opportunities for the younger generations to nurture their sense of ecological thinking. The third session discussed how to strengthen activities of stakeholders involved in the management of the wetland. Many cutting edge research activities and cooperative actions were showcased.
The EAAFP Communication Officer Tomoko Ichikawa gave a keynote speech for session 3 to introduce the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), an overview of migratory waterbirds in the EAAF, and the role of the wetland visitor centres for migratory waterbird conservation. She also introduced the World Migratory Bird Day initiative and encouraged the participation and the development of the scheme at the national level and the site level. Participants were interested in the status of the migratory waterbirds and how other country partners are dealing with the threats to them.