On 6th October, the EAAFP Secretariat organized a webinar for EAAFP Government Focal Points on the Asian Development Bank’s Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI). The purpose of the webinar was to provide RFI eligible EAAFP country Partners with more information on the Initiative and introduce the implementation plan of the Technical Assistance project for next 2 years. More than 30 people attended, including EAAFP government representatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Mongolia, Singapore plus a special delegation from Laos, EAAFP focal points from Ramsar Secretariat, ASEAN Biodiversity Centre, IUCN, and RFI team from Asian Development Bank and BirdLife International.
The Regional Flyway Initiative is a Asian Development Bank’s long-term program to make financing available to conserve and restore internationally important wetlands for migratory birds and local communities in East and Southeast Asia, working in cooperation with EAAFP Secretariat and BirdLife International. It aims to build and develop the wetlands and livelihoods that depends on these wetlands. RFI was introduced to EAAF Partners last year in an international webinar on 16 October 2020 to initiate dialogue (replay the webinar). In July 2021, a call for tenders for Technical Assistance was open on ADB website (see the RFI TA report).The RFI will be officially launched at the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) on 14th October in China.
To kick start with the webinar, Mr. Doug Watkins, Chief Executive of EAAFP delivered a welcome remarks. He stated “EAAFP Partners have been strongly fostering conservation efforts for the past 20 years…The Partnership is now able to take another bold step to safeguard our Flyway with the upcoming launch of the ADB Regional Flyway Initiative which will be available to support nature-positive approaches and green development.”
Following that were two presentations and a Q&A session. The main presentation was Introduction of Regional Flyway Initiative, was presented jointly by Mr. Duncan Lang (Senior Environment Specialist and RFI project lead) from Asian Development Bank and Mr. Vina Dharmarajah (Regional Director for Asia) from BirdLife International. The two speakers introduced objectives, key outputs, and delivery schedule of the Regional Flyway Initiative. Criteria for prioritizing sites and co-benefits for economic and climate values were further emphasized. They concluded the presentation with further engagement plans for EAAFP focal points.
The next presentation was by Mr. Doug Watkins, Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat on Securing Internationally Important Wetlands for Migratory Waterbirds and Local Communities. Starting with five objectives of the EAAFP Strategic Plans a strong message was delivered on how the RFI can contribute to EAAFP’s work. He moved on to key challenges facing the EAAFP including building network sites, increasing awareness about ecosystem services that wetlands provide and technical skills and capacity resources to manage the wetlands. Lastly, Mr. Watkins acknowledged the key opportunities that will be provided by the Regional Flyway Initiative.
Following a quick group photo, a discussion and Q&A session proceeded, to give opportunity to governments and other participants to ask questions about the RFI. Many questions were addressed: about selection of focus countries, how to link with existing flyway projects, site selection criteria, and more. The 90 minutes long webinar came to an end with appreciation from the EAAFP Secretariat for the active participation and quality feedback from the Partners.
 The provisional RFI country list includes Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, PR China, Thailand and Vietnam
If you would like to get access to particular presentation material(s), please contact Ms. Yoon Lee, External Relational Manager at EAAFP Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org).