The Inner Gulf of Thailand has a 195 km-long section of the coastal zone from Laem Phak Bia in the west to Chonburi in the east and includes an estimated 23,500 ha of intertidal mudflats, extending over 2 km from the shoreline at low tide in places. Four major rivers, Mae Klong, Tha Chin, Chao Phraya and Bang Pakong, discharge into the Gulf of Thailand along this stretch of coastline, creating extensive areas of intertidal habitats. This site is one of the most important areas for migratory waterbirds, especially Spoon-billed Sandpiper, in the East Asian Australasian Flyway.
In June 2014, Minseon Kim, Program Officer of the EAAFP, travelled to Bangkok to meet with Government, NGO and other Thai stakeholder representatives about Flyway site nomination. Minseon, Nirawan and her colleagues from the Thai Government (Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, ONEP), Wicha and Jintana of Thai Wetland Foundation, Philip Round of Mahidol University and Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST) went on a field trip to the most important sites for the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other migratory shorebirds.
Nine sites have been identified including Khok Kham, Pak Thale, Lim Pak Bia and Bang Pu as globally important areas for wintering shorebirds.
All Thai stakeholders including ONEP agreed on the need of international recognition through EAAFP Flyway Network Site (FNS) designation and the importance of twinning sites across countries that share waterbird species and face similar difficulties to conserve their habitats. They also discussed improved site conservation and management after site nomination. Together with the Thai Wetland Technical Working Group, ONEP will lead and follow up with the necessary procedures, information gathering and site review, for FNS nomination in the coming months. These nine sites will be nominated as FNS. EAAFP and Thailand will start to develop a Thai website under the EAAFP website for information sharing and capacity building. Thailand (ONEP) will appoint a contact point from ONEP for Thai website development and maintenance.
Minseon also participated in the Ramsar Workshop on “Developing Management Criteria and a Management Effectiveness Process” during her trip in Bangkok. The workshop plans to produce a document “Guidance and Best Practices for the Management of Ramsar Sites” and to propose an internationally acceptable process for monitoring the management of Ramsar Sites. The output will contribute to the drafting of a guideline for effectiveness of management of Ramsar Sites and other wetlands.