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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

28 August 2002

Japan, Australia Unite to Protect Migratory Birds

Japan and Australia joined forces at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg today to strengthen protection of migratory waterbirds of the Asia-Pacific.

Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Japan’s Minister of the Environment Mr Hiroshi Ohki, announced a partnership to expand a network of internationally important habitats as part of the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy.

The partnership provides a cooperative framework for the conservation of ducks, swans, geese, cranes, and shorebirds that rely on coastal wetland habitats from New Zealand in the south to the northern shores of the Russian Federation.

The Minister hailed the announcement as an example of a ‘Type 2’ partnership that would help translate the formal commitments of the World Summit into action.

Dr Kemp said the partnership reflects Australia’s strong commitment and international leadership in oceans management and conservation.

“Only 10 per cent of internationally important sites across the migratory flyways are covered by the site networks so far,” he said. “ We need to increase that coverage to at least 25 per cent to be effective.”

“Conservation of migratory birds’ habitat is one of the most critical issues within the Asia-Pacific region and should be given a higher priority,” said Mr Ohki.

“This is indicated in Japan’s New National Biodiversity Strategy and very relevant to several component of the Draft Plan of Implementation which will be adopted at WSSD. I am very pleased to launch this important partnership initiative in a timely manner.”

“Migratory shorebirds rely on an extraordinarily diverse range of wetland habitats,” Dr Kemp said. “For example the grey-tailed tattler flies each year from the Siberian coast to the shores of northern Australia.”

The partnership is guided by the conservation strategy and associated Action Plans for conservation of the birds. The network links important sites across country boundaries and provides for the exchange of information and training across the region.

Japan, Australia and Wetlands International will invite other governments from around the Asia-Pacific to join the partnership.

Media contacts:
Australia Peter Poggioli (Dr Kemp) +61 412 970 063
Japan Naohisa Okuda (Mr Ohki) 082 858 9717

Commonwealth of Australia