Ramsar Regional Centre-East Asia hosts meetings

Ramsar Regional Centre-East Asia hosts meetings

8 December 2009

Report on the Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia’s 1st Steering Committee meeting and the Changwon Declaration Network Meeting

After its opening in July 2009, the Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia (RRC-EA) held its first Steering Committee meeting in Changwon City on 17 November 2009. It was attended by representatives from the Ramsar Administrative Authorities from China, Japan, Korea and Thailand, as well as from the Ministry of Environment (government of South Korea) and Gyeongnam Provincial government, the Ramsar Secretariat and the Director and staff from the RRC-EA. A number of partner organizations also attended the meeting as observers.

The meeting discussed and endorsed the Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee as well as for the Chair of the Committee. In addition, the Committee received a report on the projects that the RRC-EA has conducted during 2009, with generous financial support from the governments of Changwon City and Gyeongnam Province, as well as the South Korean Ministry of Environment. These projects included:

  • Setting up a website for the centre which is now being completed;
  • Establishing a ‘RRC-EA Wetland Fund’ which will provide financial support for projects that will help in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in East and South-east Asia. The two projects chosen for support in 2009 are a) the conservation management of habitat for cranes in Anbyong, North Korea and b) a community-based wetland ecosystem management project at the Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur Ramsar site in Mongolia;
  • Organizing a workshop and training program for twenty Asian wetlands managers in September 2009;
  • Holding a ‘Changwon Declaration meeting’ on 18-20 November 2009 following the Steering Committee meeting.

The meeting went onto discuss and approve a range of projects that the RRC-EA will conduct in 2009. These include continuing with the RRC-EA Wetland Fund; organizing a second training program for Asian wetland site managers; as well as holding a workshop for Ramsar CEPA National Focal Points and an international symposium on migratory birds.

On the 18-19 November, the RRC-EA organized a ‘Changwon Declaration Network Meeting’ to review the dissemination and uptake of the Changwon Declaration that was adopted during Ramsar’s 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, or COP10, in Resolution X.3.

This meeting was attended by 58 people from 16 countries, including a selection of Ramsar Contracting Parties (i.e., Cameroon, China, Croatia, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea, Romania and Thailand), Ramsar IOPs (i.e. BirdLife International, IWMI and Wetlands International), and Ramsar Regional Centres (i.e., CREHO, RRC-Central and West Asia, and RRC-East Asia). There were also observers representing NGOs and other organizations from South Korea and elsewhere in Asia.

The first day of the meeting focused on presentations concerning the promotion and implementation of the Changwon Declaration by various parties. This began with a presentation by the government of Korea which had agreed during COP10 to champion the Declaration, followed by presentations from the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, the Ramsar Regional Centres, and then the Ramsar IOPs. These presentations showed the range of projects already being undertaken to implement the Convention and a few of them also addressed the main aim of the Changwon Declaration, which was to transmit the key ‘Ramsar messages’ to the many stakeholders and decision-makers outside of the usual Ramsar community, who also play important roles in the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

The second day of the meeting was spent discussing how to further promote the Declaration and encourage its implementation. Representatives from a number of Ramsar Contracting Parties stated that their countries had effective cross-sectoral National Wetland Committees and these were very good mechanisms to bring the message of the Changwon Declaration across to other government ministries and departments that had a role in wetland wise use in the country. Another result of the discussions was the need to showcase actual examples of the Changwon Declaration being implemented and the benefits that this can bring, so that others can learn from the example.

In 2010, the RRC-EA will be planning a second Changwon Declaration Network Meeting which will further review the dissemination and uptake of the Declaration based on the discussions at this meeting.


    The Changwon Declaration meeting in progress

    Mr. Kim Chan-Woo (Chair, Ramsar Standing Committee) speaking at the opening of the Changwon Declaration Network Meeting

    Meeting participants with the Korean volunteers who gave an extra welcoming and friendly atmosphere to the meeting

    Meeting participants enjoyed a beautiful performance one evening, by a Korean musician playing a saw

    Participants at the Changwon Declaration Network Meeting’