Strengthening partnerships for wetlands conservation in Indo-Burma, three Ramsar Regional Initiatives sign Memoranda of Understanding

On 31 July 2020, the Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative (IBRRI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia (RRC-EA). The signing of an MOU between IBRRI and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) followed on 25 September 2020. The agreements formalise plans for the three Ramsar Regional Initiatives (RRIs) to work closely to support the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam in achieving their wetlands conservation goals.

Acknowledging RRC-EA’s experience in communication, capacity building, education, participation and awareness (CEPA) for wetlands, the agreement with IBRRI focuses on optimising communications, particularly on the development of National CEPA Action Plans in the five IBRRI countries. Awareness raising is an essential component of effective wetlands conservation, and is often overlooked in national conservation planning. Developing strategic national plans for communication on wetlands will bolster the development and enforcement of effective conservation policy.

“The Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia is proud to have been working with the Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative for the past four years. The signing of the MOU formalises an existing partnership that will further strengthen cooperation on wetland conservation in the Indo-Burma region. The RRC-EA will remain committed to contributing to the mission of the IBRRI Secretariat for the benefit of common Member Countries, specifically, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam,” said Mr. Suh Seung Oh, Executive Director, Ramsar Regional Center- East Asia.

IBRRI also signed an MOU with the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), aiming to support the designation and management of Flyway Network Sites (FNS) and Ramsar Sites in the region. The EAAFP works with stakeholders throughout the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats, which often include Ramsar Sites. The two RRIs will work together to support national governments in designating new FNS and Ramsar Sites to provide a network of wetlands that support biodiversity.

Doug Watkins, Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat said, “At the IBBRI Meeting in early 2020 in Cambodia, I found tremendous enthusiasm and engagement of participants. It is so powerful when government officers can see that they face similar challenges, but are all able to contribute to delivering stronger outcomes for migratory waterbirds and their habitats across the region. The EAAFP Secretariat looks forward to collaborating with IBBRI, to have new nominations to the EAA Flyway Site Network and to support capacity building to maintain these sites for waterbirds and the local people that depend on the ecosystem services that wetlands provide.”

The three RRIs have previously organised various events and co-hosted meetings on wetlands conservation, such as the Regional Dialogue on Wetlands Policies in the Lower Mekong Region, hosted by IBRRI and RRC-EA. The MOUs provide further opportunities to build these partnerships, potentially applying for grants and funding for project implementation.

“The jurisdictions of the three Ramsar Regional Initiatives overlap in the five Indo-Burma countries. This provides a unique opportunity for the parties to coordinate our actions to maximise the conservation benefits for wetlands. By providing technical and financial support to national governments, we all hope to achieve our shared goals of strengthening wetlands and biodiversity conservation in the region,” concluded Raphael Glemet, Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative Secretariat.

IUCN Article