The East-Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership,
Third Meeting of Partners November 6 - 7, 2008

Hosted by the National Institute of Biological Resources, Incheon.

Tiffany Inglis, Birds Korea, 11th November 2008.

The East-Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership ( Third Meeting of Partners was held in Incheon, November 6th-7th, and attended by approximately 65 people representing various governments and partner organisations. Some organisations (such as Birds Korea) attended as observers. The role of Chair was carried out by Australia and the Vice Chair was the Republic of Korea (ROK).

One of the major issues discussed at the meeting was the need for an alternative Partner to take on the role of Secretariat. To date, Australia has been the interim Secretariat, however after two years a more permanent capacity is being sought. China and the ROK advised of their interest in hosting the Secretariat for the Flyway Partnership. Both countries presented their proposals for the role. The Chair advised that a small task force, comprising of members from the Partnership, would develop a set of criteria to assist in making the selection. The selection would not be made for another six weeks from the date of the Flyway Partnership meeting.

Photo © Ken Gosbell

As the decision for a new Secretariat will not be made until mid-December 2008, the current management arrangement will continue until that time and then nominations for Chair and Vice Chair will be sought. If there are multiple nominations, a process will be needed to select the positions. Once the Secretariat and Chair are in place the roles and functions of both needs to be defined.

The meeting then discussed other business of the Flyway Partnership. This update provides information about the other matters discussed. Additional information can also be found at the Flyway Partnership website at:

Flyway Partnership Working Groups

The working groups of the Flyway Partnership – Crane, Shorebird, Anatidae, Seabirds and Avian Influenza, presented an update of activities that had been carried since the previous Meeting of Partners and are summarised below:

  • Crane
    • The last working group meeting was held in the ROK before the Ramsar COP 10. A new chair has been appointed for the group from China. The next Crane meeting will be held in China in 2009 to coincide with Global Environment Fund meeting.

  • Shorebird
    • The working group recently agreed on a Terms of Reference. There have been several initiatives and programmes carried out by individual partners. The working group is open to other shorebird experts within the EAAF.

  • Anatidae
    • Three new Anatidae network sites were nominated from the ROK.

  • Seabird
    • The position for chair will be filled in the next 4 to 6 weeks. Once appointed they will report to the Flyway Partnership.

  • Avian Influenza

This working group has been building a network of researchers who are interested in working together on Avian Influenza research, a special concern since the emergence of HPAI H5N1. The first meeting was held in China in November 2007. Wetlands International and FAO are members. The group provided input into resolutions for the Ramsar COP 10 and will do so for upcoming CBD COP 10 (Nagoya, Japan) in 2010.

The FAO has produced two guides which have been translated into several languages and are available on the FAO website. The working group agreed that their activities are:

  • To maintain an overview of avian influenza surveillance activities in wild birds.
  • To increase collaboration on avian influenza relevant waterbird migration research in the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on enhanced monitoring, marking and tracking.
  • Development of a strategic approach for avian influenza surveillance for wild birds in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ramsar COP 10 Update

An update on the 10th Ramsar Conference of Contracting Parties was made by several Partners. Feedback was provided on the Getbol (‘Tidal Flat’) Forum symposium (October 27th) and activities. The Flyway Partners involved included ROK, BirdLife International, The Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG), WWF and Wetlands International. From the Forum, a set of key conclusions were made that included reference to the Saemangeum Shorebird Monitoring 2006-2008 Report produced by Birds Korea and the AWSG.

These conclusions led to the development of Annex II of Draft Resolution X.22 - Promoting international cooperation for the conservation of waterbird flyways.

Other activities at the Ramsar COP 10 included:

  • Development and adoption of a resolution on the diversity of rice paddies.

  • Adoption of amendments to Draft Resolution X.21: Guidance on responding to the continued spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1

  • Adoption of amendments to Draft Resolution X.6: Regional initiatives 2009-2012 in the framework of the Ramsar Convention. The Flyway Partnership would benefit from writing to the Ramsar Secretariat to ensure it continues as an initiative under the Convention.

  • Launch of the Jan van de Kam’s book, the tri-lingual (Korean, English and Chinese) ‘Invisible Connections’, produced by WI and with significant input from Birds Korea (chapter on the Yellow Sea; additional images; and translation into Korean and proof-reading of all of the text)

Presentation from the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)

A presentation on the AEWA Flyway Partnership was made by Wetlands International. The aim of AEWA is to:

  1. To identify problems/threats migratory waterbirds are facing during migration

  2. To mitigate these problems

In total 255 species are covered by the partnership with 62 parties and 118 range states including the European Union as a signatory.

AEWA is in involved in the following activities:

  • Awareness raising

  • Promoting the agreement

  • Developing information material

  • Developing new projects<

  • Implementing the International Implementation Priorities

Ongoing activities:

  • World Migratory Bird Day

  • Single species action plans (SSAPs)

  • Wings over Wetlands (WOW)

  • International Scientific Taskforce

It was considered valuable to continue inviting AEWA to the EAA Flyway Partnership meetings to share the lessons learnt from this Flyway.

Discussion Groups

Meeting participants broke into five groups to discuss developing programs to achieve the Partnerships objectives and where current gaps lie in terms of information, tools and resources. The feedback provided from these group sessions will be compiled into a working report for the Partnership.

Other business and updates

The Partners discussed the work of the Secretariat and noted the value of translating partnership documents to ensure the information reaches those working at the site level. The role of the website was also discussed and the need to make it more user friendly to encourage information from other countries. This is important in raising awareness of activities on the ground.

Monitoring – brief updates were made on the following initiatives:

  • Asian Waterbird Census

  • Saemangeum Shorebird Monitoring Program 2006-2008

  • Shorebirds 2020

  • Monitoring 1000 site

Avian Influenza – The FAO International Wildlife Program links wildlife life with agriculture. Where an outbreak occurs, the role of the FAO is to pull together a team of scientists.

Capacity building – National workshops/meetings were held with Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia to:

  1. Inform key national organisations about the Flyway Partnership

  2. Identify activities


  1. A basis for establishing national partnerships

  2. Assist partners in using the Partners and Planning Template

  3. Strategic planning at a national scale

Further facilitated assistance is needed to:

  1. Identify opportunities under the Flyway Partnership

  2. Compile proposals

  3. Address limitations in resources for national meetings and capacity to implement new activities

  4. Strengthen links to the network of partners in the flyway partnership

  5. Engage local and national partners

It was noted at the meeting that there is a definite need to facilitate capacity building within Partner countries and to share tools to provide management assistance. Mention was made of the need to work more closely with Myanmar (Burma) as a key country in the Flyway. There is currently a lack of information in this country and a need for greater support and assistance.

Encouraging additional partners – There was discussion about building stronger partnerships with the private sector to encourage funding and increase awareness about the Flyway and its objectives. Several case studies were presented where private corporations have been involved in the management of wetlands and migratory bird habitats. It was decided a small informal working group would review options for working with business partners and develop an evolving document that would be placed on the website.

Development of Project Concepts/ Funding collaborative activities – The final topic discussed at the meeting was the progress on a list of project concepts that were developed after the previous Meeting of Parties. The Partnership decided to establish a group of interested parties to help promote these activities and it is likely that this group will include those involved in developing the initial list. One of the roles of this group will be to find funding options for the projects given their diversity.

Next meeting date: November or December 2009.

Photo © Ken Gosbell