On 30 November 2021, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth Korea visited the EAAFP Secretariat. Following the last youth engagement with GCF IEU interns, the second visit followed with the locals based in ROK. The aim was to strengthen local engagements with youth organizations to ensure biodiversity, especially migratory waterbirds are recognized by the future generation.
The visit started with a brief introduction of our Partnership’s key objectives and mission. Ms. Hyeseon Do, the Programme Officer of EAAFP Secretariat, shared the background and the importance of EAAFP as the Flyway encompasses 22 countries and habitats over 50 million migratory waterbirds, including 36 globally threatened species. Ms. Yoo Jung Kwon, the Programme Assistant of EAAFP Secretariat, shared how the missions relate to the SDGs, especially SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals. Since without partnership and cooperation, the Flyway cannot be conserved, preserved, and sustained for the migratory species. Followed was a brief discussion time on how youth can influence the missions underlying the EAAFP as we stand in an era of extreme climate change, biodiversity loss as well as fighting the global pandemic.
We continued the visit by heading to the Namdong Reservoir, to learn more about the endangered species Black-faced Spoonbill (BFS). Director Yun from EAAFP Foundation invited us to the BFS Ecology Learning Centre. According to the 2021 international Black-faced Spoonbill winter census a total of 5,222 BFS have been recorded, and currently around 80% of the total BFS population breeds in Incheon. Therefore, Director Yun shared many efforts Incheon City makes at the domestic and international level, such as signing the MOU between Incheon Songdo Tidal Flat and Hong Kong Mai Po Inner Deep Bay. He further shared relevant events organized for the BFS such as the BFS Birthday Party held around May-June annually, attaching satellite-tracking, citizen monitoring etc. We then had the opportunity to do bird watching, sharing the experience on the beauty of observing birds at a distance.
The visit concluded by highlighting potential synergies with local youth organizations, engaging more of the locals to visit the breeding and stop over sites located in ROK, and understanding the works and mission of the EAAFP. As the 17SDGs portray that under the umbrella term of ‘sustainability’ our works are all interconnected to ensure a safe, sustainable and fair future for our people, environment and planet.
After thoughts shared by the SDSN Youth Korea:
Ms. Han Ji- Wan, Chief Facilitator of SDSN Youth Korea, said “It was a valuable time to think about the importance of the BFS, the role of Incheon City, and what our young people can do! I didn’t get to see the BFS in person as it’s winter yet seeing it through videos it is a very attractive and cute bird. The saying that migratory birds have no borders really touched me as countries despite their political conflicts gather peacefully to discuss about migratory birds, and how their ecosystem connects as a transboundary habitat for the migratory birds. I thought that migratory birds are the animals that truly represent one earth and one world! Thank you very much for this opportunity 😄”
Ms. Min Kyeong Kim, Chief Facilitator of SDSN Youth Korea, said “It was fun to talk to the staff and interns within the EAAFP Secretariat. Although this is an unfamiliar field to me, the introduction of the EAAFP and the BFS lecture was very informative and interesting. It was especially meaningful because I got the impression that the EAAFP is opened to initiate more collaborations and activities with the youth in the future.”
Ms. Nam Hyun-hee, Senior Facilitator of SDSN Youth Korea, said “Our visit to the EAAFP Secretariat shared with us the importance of protecting migratory birds in many ways. In particular, I was impressed by the fact that countries must cooperate to protect migratory birds, and at the same time, migratory birds act as a medium to open a forum for dialogue.”
SDSN Youth Korea is hosted by the OJEong Resilience Institute in Korea University. The network focuses on solidifying youth organizations related to SDGs, Post-2020, and GCED and increasing the impact of their activities through connecting with IGOs, NGO and CSR-CSVs. (Homepage link)