Eunjin Yu, EAAFP Intern
Incheon-Gyeonggi Ecoregion Task Force held a meeting at the EAAFP office in Incheon, Republic of Korea on 8 March 2016, to talk about what they have done so far and discuss their work plan for year 2016.
Incheon and Gyeonggi region in the Republic of Korea is adjacent to Yellow Sea where its intertidal zone holds huge importance as the habitat of migratory waterbirds. Its importance has been proven in many studies; however the habitat in this area has severely declined in the last fifteen years. In order to secure remaining habitats by promoting the conservation of migratory waterbirds, the Incheon-Gyeonggi Ecoregion Task Force was created in 2014, as a part of EAAFP Yellow Sea Task Force and was approved at the Eighth Meetings of Partners (MoP8). This task force consists of local officials, experts on waterbirds, mudflat, policy and urban planning and civil society. For this meeting, Ganghwa People’s Network, Incheon Black-faced Spoonbill Network, Green United Incheon, Incheon Birding Association, Incheon City Government, voluntary individual experts and Gyeonggi Sea Grant participated.
The meeting started off with encouragement from Spike Millington, EAAFP’s Chief Executive. After showing appreciation towards all task force members for being so enthusiastic about conservation of migratory waterbirds, he explained why this meeting is so important. “Other task forces are having these-review and planning-meetings right now as well. This meeting will help you find gaps and improve your work.” Then he emphasised the importance of cooperation and urged the members to work together. “As you are representing different organisations and have diverse backgrounds, working together will be even more challenging. But please be aware of the fact that collaboration is important as we protect waterbirds and their habitats.”
Soon-Rae Kim, the Chair of the task force mentioned that voluntary framework is challenging. Although it has passionate individual members who are committed to migratory waterbird conservation, the interrelationship between these members as a group was not strong enough. In order to strengthen the network, members agreed to hold meetings once every other month and to share their information openly with each other. Sharing their works may bring them opportunities for joint projects. Each member gave a brief introduction of their organisation and its main projects.
After three hours of lively discussion, members of task force agreed that task force should;
- be a network hub to share information on local and national matters
- have discussion on pending issues within Incheon-Gyeonggi area to come up with ideas and develop strategies
- share on-going projects of each member’s organisations and propose joint projects
- support individual member to develop conservation-based actions (budget and network should be reinforced beforehand)
- give advice on environmental policies for local and national policy makers (guide direction, suggest intermediate-term target)
The next meeting will be scheduled soon to share detailed workplan from each member. The task force is seeking an opportunity to engage wide stakeholders for conservation of Incheon and Gyeonggi region.