by EAAFP Secretariat
The fifth Wetlands Link International-Asia Conference was held from 24 to 28 August 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was organized by the Ramsar Regional Center-East Asia, Wetlands Link International, Ramsar Convention, and EAAFP and hosted by the Ministry of the Environment, Korea and ONEP, Thailand. There were more than 50 participants from different wetland centres, central and local governments, international organisations and NGOs from 20 countries in Asia and Australia. Among the participants were also wetland center managers from EAAFP Flyway Network Sites.
The objective of the conference was to provide an opportunity for wetlands centre managers to share best practices, sustainable development strategies for wetlands centres and other relevant resources, including fundraising practices and programme evaluations.
Tomoko Ichikawa, Communication Officer of EAAFP gave presentations about the general functioning of EAAFP, its CEPA activities and the status of migratory waterbirds in the EAAF. She highlighted the urgent need for action in migratory species conservation and the importance of CEPA and capacity building at various levels and targets, in which wetland centres can play an important role. She introduced some of EAAF CEPA activities and called for the active participation of the visitor centres. Participants discussed and raised some activities that they can do at their centres including bird surveys, organising their own World Migratory Birds Day events, providing photographs of the sites and bird names in local languages, and so on. The overall message was to keep in focus the “big picture,” ie. the decline in waterbird numbers throughout the Flyway.
The continuous pressure on wetlands and the role of wetland centres were highlighted throughout the conference. Wetland centres are prime vehicles in raising awareness and involving stakeholders. Participants were all well aware of it and exchanged their opinions and experiences actively during the conference.