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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

05 June 2002

Australia and Korea to Protect Migrating Birds

Australia and the Republic of Korea will work together to protect birds that migrate between their two countries, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, confirmed today.

Dr Kemp met with Dr Kim Myung-ja, Minister of Environment in the Republic of Korea during his attendance at the first APEC Oceans-Related Ministerial Meeting in Seoul in April.

"Dr Kim and I agreed that Australia and Korea can take active measures to protect and conserve migratory birds, particularly migratory shorebirds, that use sites in Australia and Korea during their annual migration north and south," Dr Kemp said.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway extends from the Arctic through Asia to Australia and New Zealand. Birds fly through this route twice a year from north to south and back, travelling up to 25,000 kilometres per year. Millions of wading birds, like the Eastern Curlew make this journey, stopping at wetlands in Korea and Australia along the way.

"Our officials will explore the development of an agreement for migratory birds as a priority matter, and we hope we may be able to announce a draft agreement at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa in August this year," Dr Kemp stated.

"This would be a major step in the Federal Government's leadership of international efforts in East Asia in raising the importance of conserving migratory shorebirds and their habitats. Korea and Australia both have sites of major importance to these birds and we need to take actions that ensure their protection.

"Australia already has bilateral agreements with Japan and the Peoples Republic of China - the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA), signed in 1974 and the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA), signed in 1986. An agreement with Korea would give us a solid base to pursue collaborative efforts for conservation outcomes with all three countries.

"The future of migratory birds can only be assured if action is taken in all countries along the migratory route.

"The Government is proud of the efforts that have been taken in Australia to protect migratory birds, particularly migratory shorebirds. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 provides a protective mechanism for migratory birds and through the Natural Heritage Trust we have funded a wide range of community efforts to conserve and protect seabird and shorebird habitats in Australia," Dr Kemp said.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia