KODOMO: Children exchange views for sustainable development in Thailand

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Report by Reiko Nakamura, Secretary-General, Ramsar Center Japan (RCJ)

Children from Thailand and Japan met in January to learn about the conservation of their wetlands. The event, held from 10 to 12 January at Mahidol University in Thailand, was part of an exchange programme entitled "KODOMO Ramsar for ESD (Education for Sustainable Development): International Wetland Exchange in Lower Chao Phraya River, Thailand". KODOMO means children in Japanese.

Opening of the KOMODO Ramsar

The three-day event was organized by the Ramsar Center Japan (RCJ) as part of a three-year education programme that focuses on the wetland along the Chao Phraya River, one of the main rivers in Thailand. The programme started in 2012 with an event in Chiang Mai, a city on the upper stretch of the River; the 2013 event was held in Nakhon Sawan Province, in the middle stretch of the river system; and this third event was in Nakhon Pathom Province, in the lower part of the river basin.

A total of 113 children have participated in the programme, including 74 Thai and 39 Japanese children. This year’s event was attended by 41 children representing nine Ramsar Sites in Thailand and Japan, as well as 17 teachers.

At the opening ceremony of this year’s event, Dr. Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, provided a welcome message by video. Then during the course of the event, the children presented their experiences of wetland conservation activities in their hometowns, and participated in field trips to observe the mangrove forests, tidal flats and biodiversity along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. They also held discussions to identify the ‘treasures’ provided by the coastal wetlands which they visited. After identifying the top six wetland treasures, they drew pictures of the treasures and made a poster with a slogan to call for the conservation of the wetland.

Poster on wetlands treasures

The event was organized in partnerships involving, among others, UNESCO, UNESCAP, UNEP-ROAP, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning/Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (ONEP/MNRE), Chiang Mai University, Mahidol University, the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, and the Meeting of Japanese Municipalities Involved with Wetlands Designated under the Ramsar Convention.

Discussion on identification of wetlands treasures

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