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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

7 December 2006

Australia leads partnerships for migratory waterbirds


Two million migrating birds from the Republic of Korea will be further protected under a new agreement between the Republic of Korea and Australia, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.

The signing of the Republic of Korea – Australia Migratory Bird Agreement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Alexander Downer and the President of the Republic of Korea, Roh Moo-hyun highlights the two countries’ commitment to conserve migratory birds.

“This is Australia’s third bilateral agreement for migratory bird protection in the Asia Pacific region, joining agreements with China and Japan,” Senator Campbell said.

“This consolidates the Australian Government’s commitment to protect and conserve the world’s environment.

“It also strengthens the International Migratory Waterbird Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which was officially launched in Indonesia on 6 November 2006.

“Nine countries and six non-government organisations (NGOs) endorsed the partnership, which paves the way for coordinated monitoring of waterbird populations and awareness of the importance of conserving them.”

Senator Campbell said he was pleased to see so many countries and NGOs in the region committed to protecting the millions of waterbirds that migrate from their breeding grounds in Arctic to as far south as Australia and New Zealand.

The birds can travel up to 13,000 kilometres on these annual migrations.

“All countries that share these birds need to cooperate to conserve their wetland habitats and find coordinated solutions to protect them from their increasing threats,” Senator Campbell said.

“The Australian Government has been leading the development of the Migratory Waterbird Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway since 2002 – committing $990,000 from its $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust to protect migratory waterbirds through conservation activities.

“Australia looks forward to working closely with Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, the Phillipines, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore and the USA to protect the habitats of migratory birds.”

For more information on migratory waterbirds, visit http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/migratory/waterbirds/index.html

Media contacts:
Rhiannon Keen on (02) 6277 7640 or 0438 316 505

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