18 Nov 2014

Conservation leaders look to the future at BirdLife Asia Partnership meeting

A packed agenda for conservation leaders at regional meeting
By Adrian Long
Leaders of the main national nature organisations from across Asia came together to work up plans for conserving biodiversity in their region at a recent meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand.
“Many of the conservation issues affecting biodiversity in our region are problems shared by all of us,” said  Professor Sarath Wimalabandara Kotagama from Sri Lankan NGO FOGLS (BirdLife in Sri Lanka) and Global Council member of BirdLife International. “BirdLife is made up of many individuals and organisations. It’s important that from time to time we get together. It’s good to listen to each other and have shared goals.” 
Round table discussions at the meeting included topics such as the Migratory Birds and Flyways Programme, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), businesses and conservation and capacity development. Other topics such as addressing the drivers of deforestation and a new regional programme to tackle illegal hunting were also discussed. With inspiration from the Netherlands, some Asia Partners have declared their interest in starting an Urban Birds and Citizens Science initiative in their own countries.
Flying in from 13 Asian countries, there were 26 BirdLife Partner representatives along with 6 guests from Australia, Denmark, Bhutan and Netherlands.
Acting CEO, Dr Hazell Thompson was heartened by the commitment and enthusiasm shown by the Asia Partners. “I feel it was highly significant that delegates from all the Asia BirdLife Partners plus several Asian organisations intending to join BirdLife paid for themselves to attend the meeting. It shows they are committed to working together to tackle the ever-increasing threats to biodiversity loss in the region.”