Dr. Bernhard Seliger, Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea, 11-15 January 2017
Approximately 90% of Korean bird species are migratory; therefore, the protection of habitat along the migratory routes to the north and south of Korea and on the whole of the Korean Peninsula is of utmost importance for the survival of Korean birds. The Korean Peninsula is indeed a bottleneck on a flyway (dubbed the East Asian – Australasian flyway) reaching from Alaska and Siberia in the north to Australia and New Zealand in the south. To protect the East Asian – Australasian flyway, in 2006 the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), adopted in the list of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as a Type II initiative – an informal and voluntary initiative, was launched with the aim to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitats and the livelihoods of people who are dependent upon them. The EAAFP provides a flyway-wide framework to promote dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between a range of stakeholders to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats. Stakeholders include all levels of governments, site managers, multilateral environment agreements, technical institutions, UN agencies, development agencies, industrial and private sector, academe, non-government organisations, community groups and local people.
In the 2017 (bi-annual) Meeting of the Partners in January 2017 in Singapore Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea, an active partner of Birds Korea in a number of projects in the Southern and Northern provinces of Korea, was formally welcomed as the 35th partner of the flyway partnership. Currently, 17 of the partners are governments from around the flyway, and a membership application by the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) is still pending.
For Korean participants, MOP 9 brought a number of important meetings and networking opportunities. Among others, working groups and Task Forces on the Black-faced Spoonbill, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Arctic waterbirds, Yellow Sea Ecoregion and others met and discussed future activities. A stronger focus on research and collaboration with the Northern provinces of Korea, which provide important, relatively unspoilt habitats as stopover places during migration in the Yellow Sea region, compared with the Southern part of the Korean Peninsula as well as the Chinese coastline with its intense development pressure, was urged by Dr. Bernhard Seliger of Hanns Seidel Foundation and echoed by many participants.
The meeting also through a field trip brought an excellent opportunity for experiencing the wonderfully managed Sungei Buloh wetland, part of the National Parks of Singapore, where an excellent, but unobtrusive infrastructure compares highly favorable to the sometimes overwhelming construction at South Korean wetlands.
Hopefully, in two years the next MOP will see an even stronger participation from Korea, in particular from Birds Korea!
Report by Dr. Bernhard Seliger, Representative of Hanns-Seidel-Foundation in Korea and Birds Korea member, on bird conservation challenges in DPRK (North Korea) © Bernhard Seliger
Reporting on the work of the EAAFP Secretariat by Spike Millington, Chief Executive Officer of EAAFP
Sungei Buloh Reserve: inconspicuous wooden structures allow for superb bird-watching © Bernhard Seliger
Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve – it wouldn’t be Singapore if there weren’t lots of good advice how to behave… © Bernhard Seliger
And, finally, birds… here the Milky Stork (Mycteria cinereal) © Bernhard Seliger