East Asia coastal wetlands in ecological crisis
East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership
Date and Time
10 October 2012 18:15 - 19:45
Recognizing the crucial need for improving marine habitats protection, the CBD approved at its COP4 the Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Programmes of Work, adopting the ecosystem approach as key for its implementation and recognizing the implication of the water cycle in sediment levels and ecosystem services it underpins, specifically to coastal areas. This side event will showcase the ecological crisis the intertidal habitats along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are facing, including the consequences increased habitat loss is posing over bird species populations – as concludes an independent situation analysis commissioned by IUCN. The rapid and radical habitat changes in the region are contributing to the collapse of fisheries and vital ecological services and to increasing ecological disasters, with resulting impacts on human livelihoods. Migratory waterbird species along the flyway are showing exceptionally rapid declines. These declines are linked mainly to the disappearance and degradation of migratory staging posts, rather than problems on the breeding or wintering grounds. The analysis identified 16 key areas along the flyway, with six of these in the Yellow Sea (including the Bohai Sea). There, the most pressing threat is the fast pace of coastal land reclamation (defined as conversion of natural wetland into dry land and artificial wetland by mechanical means). Between 2000 and 2010 alone, more than 41 % of the tidal flat area was reclaimed within the six key areas in the Yellow Sea. Losses of such magnitude are likely the key drivers of declines in biodiversity and ecosystem services in the intertidal zone of the region. The area at stake is shared by 22 countries, meaning that a strong international cooperation must be thought, with involvement of governments, NGOs, local communities and businesses to find the best possible solution to revert this situation. This side event will be an opportunity to present and discuss with the participants development alternatives in the region and ways that countries can cooperatively contribute to prevent extinction of waterbird species and contribute to the achievement of Aichi Target 12.