Reprint of the Yueyang Declaration

26/12/1998

The Sixth Northeast Asia and North Pacific Environmental Forum

YUEYANG DECLARATION

The Sixth Northeast Asia and North Pacific Environmental Forum was held in Yueyang City, Hunan Province, China from 17-20 December 1998. It was attended by 92 representatives from governmental and non-governmental organisations, and environmental experts from China, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United States, and also from international organisations. The meeting was organised by Wetlands International – China Programme, the China Environmental Protection Foundation and the Asia Foundation, with the endorsement of the Chinese government. Funding was provided by the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund and Asia Foundation-Japan Office.

The Forum:

Thanks the organisers and funders, the City of Yueyang, and the East Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve for the excellent arrangements that were made for the meeting.

Notes the considerable progress made by the Forum in enhancing awareness and strengthening cooperation in the region over the past 6 years, especially in the area of stimulating cross boundary cooperation on environmental issues.

Commends the government of the Russian Federation for rapidly taking action to implement the recommendations of the previous Forum meeting in Khabarovsk, and, in particular, for designating the new Norski Nature Reserve.

Recognises, however, that the pressures on the natural environment are continuing to increase rapidly, leading to continued degradation and severe impacts on the livelihood of the local populations of humans as well as wildlife, and most notably to the growing incidence of environmental disasters, such as the 1998 flooding of the Yangtze Valley and greater Amur Basin, the massive forest fires and land degradation in recent years in Mongolia, Russia, and China, and the major contamination of rivers.

Is aware that there are insufficient human and financial resources for environmental management in the region, especially in the government sectors, and hence acknowledges the need for the NGO and private sectors to assist.

THE FORUM CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENTS, NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS AND PEOPLE OF THE NORTHEAST ASIA AND NORTH PACIFIC REGION TO WORK IN PARTNERSHIP TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT CLEAR ACTION-PLANS TO PROTECT NATURAL RESOURCES AND SOLVE MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS IN THE REGION.

The Forum further encourages all countries in the region to take the following actions:

Participate in and fully implement their obligations under international environmental conventions and agreements, including the development of integrated plans and strategies to provide the basis for cooperation and action at regional and national levels.

Enhance the capacity of governmental and non-governmental agencies throughout the region, so that they may cooperate and exchange information through improved electronic communication capability, through regular forums, personnel exchanges, regional newsletters, information centres and web sites, and through the provision of training.

Promote better awareness at community, agency and decision-making levels, about the critical environmental issues in the region, their potential impacts and solutions, and establish a concerted programme, involving partnership between NGOs, educators, media and government agencies that draw on the successes from different countries in the region.

Strengthen existing tranboundary protected areas (such as Lake Khanka/Xingkai, or Daurski/Mongol Dagur/Hulun Lake) through regular exchanges, training, and communication at the local level, and through provision of extra resources; and explore the opportunity of creating new protected areas (notably in the Tumen River Region, Sanjiang Plains, & the Demilitarised Zone of the Korean Peninsula).

Build on the recent experiences of major floods and pollution problems in rivers, and initiate integrated management of river basins according to an ecosystems approach which uses the natural functions of wetlands and floodplains, forest protection and restoration, improved land management, and the allocation of sufficient water resources for maintaining wetlands.

Take action to enhance the protection of migratory bird species in the region, including: enhanced cooperation and exchange between each country in the region; the full implementation of the Asia Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy; and the strengthening of the Shorebird, Crane, and proposed Anatidae Site Networks

Enhance the protection and sustainable management of biodiversity in the region by: developing and implementing new and innovative approaches for inventory, ecosystem management, and priority setting; establishing new protected areas and harmonising species protection laws; demonstrating sustainable multiple use management techniques; and developing collaborative projects to share best practices.

Strengthen collaboration between relevant research institutions in the region (including the exchange of information, training, and project collaboration) to enhance their ability to undertake inventory, research, and monitoring activities on issues of regional environmental importance.

In order to advance the above issues, the Forum resolved to rapidly strengthen the work of our organization, and actively support the implementation of priority actions and resolutions. The Forum also agreed on:

The immediate establishment of an Executive Committee comprising representatives of the countries and supporting agencies, assisted by a Secretariat which is housed at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Japan.

The rapid development of a clear strategy and timetable to implement the above actions.

The development of clear linkages and working relations with other relevant organisations in the region.

The Forum strongly encourages funding organisations active in the Northeast Asia and North Pacific Region, as well as international funding agencies (especially the GEF and UN agencies, the US-Japan Common Agenda, bilateral donors) to provide assistance in a coordinated manner to support the outcomes of the meeting.

-- text provided for reprinting here by Faizal Parish and
by Chen Kelin, Coordinator, Wetlands International-China Programme
(Secretariat of Yueyang Workshop)

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