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WCC 2016 Res 026 - Progress Report

General information
IUCN Constituencies implementing this Resolution
IUCN Members: 
Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water ( DCCEEW ) / Australia
Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Association ( BANCA ) / Myanmar
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ( AFCD ) / China
Shan Shui Conservation Center ( Shan Shui ) / China
Society of Entrepreneurs & Ecology ( SEE ) / China
China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation ( CBCGDF ) / China
China Mangrove Conservation Network (legal name: Putian Green Sprout Coastal Wetlands Research Center) ( CMCN/PGSCWRC ) / China
Eco Foundation Global ( EFG ) / China
Wild Bird Society of Japan ( WBSJ ) / Japan
Ministry of the Environment, Japan ( MOE ) / Japan
World Wide Fund for Nature - Japan ( WWF - Japan ) / Japan
Ramsar Network Japan ( RNJ ) / Japan
Nature Conservation Union of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( NCUK ) / Korea (DPRK)
Ministry of Land and Environment Protection ( MoLEP ) / Korea (DPRK)
Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea / Korea (RK)
Cultural Heritage Administration ( CHA ) / Korea (RK)
World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flats / Korea (RK)
Wetlands International / The Netherlands
Department of Conservation / New Zealand
BirdLife International / United Kingdom
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust ( WWT ) / United Kingdom
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds ( RSPB ) / United Kingdom
US Department of the Interior (National Park Service) / United States of America
Wildlife Conservation Society ( WCS ) / United States of America
International Crane Foundation, Inc. ( ICF ) / United States of America
IUCN Commissions: 
IUCN Secretariat: 
Other non-IUCN related organisations: 
Ramsar Regional Center for East Asia, Beijing Forestry University, Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Indicate which actions have been carried out to implement this Resolution : 
Convene stakeholders/Networking
Education/Communication/Raising awareness
Policy influencing/advocacy
Scientific/technical activities
Describe the results/achievements of the actions taken: 
The development of the outcomes of Beijing in 2016 (mentioned in Resolution 26, paragraph 4a as “Yellow Sea 2016”) acted as a regional technical framework and provided an additional mandate for IUCN secretariat, members and partners to act regionally and promote a coordinated and harmonized approach between the 3 countries.
• The three countries participated in a joint workshop at the INTECOL wetlands meeting in Changshu, China to discuss coastal wetland conservation in Sept 2017;
• The outcomes of Beijing were the main entry point for the development of a National Workshop on the Conservation and Management of the Intertidal Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds of the West Sea of Korea, in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), 12 June 2017 ensuring notably the involvement of the DPRK in the regional process.
• In December, the 2017 Yancheng International Symposium on the Conservation and Management of the Intertidal Wetlands of the Yellow and Bohai Seas, co-organised by IUCN (with attendance of IUCN President) and EFG with support from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China, Jiangsu Province and Yancheng Municipality was the first workshop of its kind. It gathered the 3 countries of the YS to discuss the outcomes of Beijing and issues related to intertidal wetlands management and conservation, flyway conservation and WH and Ramsar designation.
• The main result and achievement of this process was the agreement to create a Working Group for the Conservation of the Yellow/West Sea intertidal and associated coastal wetlands gathering representatives from the 3 National governments and international partners. The Group’s key objective is to facilitate international cooperation for improved conservation and sustainable use of the Yellow/West Sea intertidal and associated coastal Wetlands. This working group was recommended in the outcomes of Beijing and will now act as a regional technical platform ensuring coordination under facilitation from IUCN, EAAFP and RRC-EA.
Overall the 2017 Yancheng International Symposium was considered a key milestone in the process of ensuring regional coordination on conservation of intertidal wetlands and migratory birds in the Yellow/West and Bohai seas.

• Following ROK’s nomination of the SW Tidal flats for World Heritage designation, China nominated 14 Yellow Sea coastal sites (including Yancheng) to the World Heritage tentative list in February 2017
• Through the 2017 Yancheng International Symposium, countries gained an improved understanding on the benefits of WH designation (particularly relevant to DPRK which has no natural WH site yet) and on the benefits of a regional approach on designation.
• The Symposium’s technical participants from China and RoK demonstrated a willingness to cooperate on World Heritage nomination, but the exact modalities of this cooperation remain to be clarified.
• The representatives from DPRK requested additional information on the benefits of Natural WH nomination and the organisation of training on natural WH at national level.
• The symposium provided a set of recommendations which will be taken forward (see document attached). Key recommendations included a review of the boundaries of Yancheng Wetland nomination, as some important areas are currently not included, such as Tiaozini, Dongsha and other appropriate areas of the Radial Sand Ridges, Xioyangkou and Dongling. The boundary also needs to be large enough to account for the dynamic nature of the system.
• The Working Group for the Conservation of the Yellow/West Sea intertidal and associated coastal wetlands was also highlighted as a relevant platform to be created to continue facilitating the regional dialogue on WH designation in the Yellow/West and Bohai seas.

• During the Yancheng symposium, to which the Ramsar SG attended, recommendations called for PRC and RoK to support a draft Resolution to Ramsar COP12 in 2019, to establish a Global Coastal Forum under the CBD, Ramsar, Convention on Migratory Species and EAAFP, proposing that the Yellow Sea becomes a pilot area for the conservation of coastal ecosystems, combating habitat loss, and reducing pollution and invasive species.
• Under the leadership of the Government of the Philippines, a DR on Promoting conservation and wise use of inter-tidal wetlands and ecologically-associated habitats was developed at the CMS COP in October 2017 and will be discussed at the Ramsar Pre-Cop in Chilaw Sri Lanka on February 2017.
• Through activities related to the resolution 26, including the Yancheng symposium and the National Workshop on the Conservation and Management of the Intertidal Wetlands and Migratory Shorebirds of the Yellow Sea in Pyongyang, participants from DPRK could engage with representatives from the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, including the SG and Ramsar IOPs. As a result, DPRK will become the 170th and latest Contracting Party to the Convention, the convention will come into force in the country on 16 May. DPRK the proposed designation of Mundok Migratory Bird Reserve, large intertidal wetland on the Yellow/West sea as one of the 2 first Ramsar sites in the country. It is an important change and element of context which will enable IUCN and partners to better engage DPRK in regional dialogues. .

The need for upscaling of restoration activities focused on coastal wetlands under Caring for Coasts was promoted through a number of events by BirdLife International and other stakeholders, including one side event each at the Convention of Migratory Species COP12 (Manila) and CBD SBSTTA-21 (Montreal), and an EAAFP-organised workshop in South Korea. Preparatory work and lobbying facilitated by the Philippine government led to adoption of a resolution “Promoting conservation of critical intertidal and other coastal habitats for migratory species” at the COP12. At the SBSTTA-21 side-event, key stakeholders in coastal wetlands were brought together to update on progress and discuss implementation of the ‘Global Coastal Forum’. A consultation of CBD Parties and other interested stakeholders on coastal ecosystem restoration, facilitated by the CBD secretariat and BirdLife International was completed in December 2017 – respondents acknowledged the urgency of action to implement coastal wetland restoration, and priority areas to strengthen the global coastal wetland conservation agenda.

IUCN members and partners emphasized on the need to strengthen conservation of intertidal wetlands in the Yellow/West and Bohai seas with a focus on ensuring that reclamation was slowed down stopped and that its impacts were reversed. The recent policy change in China, strengthening the conservation of coastal ecosystems and aiming at severely limiting and reversing reclamation, is an important element of context which reflects the increased attention to this issue, in part as a result of international efforts, including Resolution 26 and its follow up.

In the Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar, one of the largest mudflats area regionally and key wintering area for the Spoon-billed sandpiper an area of 420 km2 of the Gulf of Mottama were designated as Ramsar site in May 2017 and a management plan for the Ramsar site and a larger area of the Gulf is being prepared under the leadership of Mon state and Bago region of Myanmar with support from SDC and implemented by IUCN, BANCA, HELEVETAS and NAG. BANCA facilitated the meeting of the Spoon-billed sandpiper task force meeting in the GoM area in January 2017 and is conducting yearly surveys on spoon billed sandpipers.
What challenges/obstacles have been encountered in the implementation of this Resolution and how were they overcome : 
• The political dimension of relationship between countries and the heavy geopolitical tensions in the region were challenges for the implementation of the Resolution 26 in the Yellow Sea countries. Limitation from IUCN side to implement activities in the DPRK, during the second half of the year, were overcome by inviting representatives from DPRK to regional events in China.
• The delay in accession of DPRK to the EAAFP is also a challenge which limits the involvement of the country in regional dialogue linked to the flyway.
• Inter-Ministerial coordination is also an issue as there are various ministries involved in Yellow/West and Bohai seas matters (linked to Ramsar, coastal management, fisheries, and biodiversity). It required important efforts of coordination at national level to ensure relevant and meaningful participation form countries.
• Regional World Heritage related dialogues are still sensitive as countries have concerns about going for a joint nomination at this moment in time. IUCN and partners focused on providing information, case studies and dialogue platforms to improve understanding of countries on WH without aiming for any agenda.
• Due to its global importance the Yellow/West sea region attracts a number of international organisations, leading to a risk of overlap. Coordination between initiatives was ensured through the development of organising committees for events, facilitated by IUCN and regular coordination calls involving EAAFP, RRC-EA, WI, Birdlife International and other partners. The large GEF funded Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem project is still one gap and close coordination will need to be established in 2018 and beyond.
• As the programme is growing and gaining momentum there is an urgent need to ensure and secure funding for the implementation of Resolution 26. At this stage IUCN has used up the funding provide from RoK through the framework funding 2012-2016. There is a need for IUCN council/secretariat to prioritize this programme and ensure its functioning.
Briefly describe what future actions are needed for the implementation of this Resolution: 
The programme is now benefiting from the recent accession of the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection (MoLEP), DPRK to IUCN membership and of DPRK government to Ramsar; those are important elements of context to build on.
The recent policy change in China is also a major shift in the Yellow/West and Bohai seas context which will ensure leverage for the implementation of Resolution 26 and possibly lead to similar impacts regionally.

The priorities for implementation of action include:
3.1 Support yearly meetings of a trilateral Working Group for the co-management of the Yellow Sea coast and the conservation of the EAAF.
The IUCN secretariat and EAAFP have now been tasked by the three countries with the initiation and development of a trilateral Working Group on the joint management of the Yellow Sea coast and the conservation of the EAAF. The working group would be comprised of relevant representatives from the three Yellow/West Sea countries, including ministries in charge of biodiversity conservation and protected areas, and ocean and fisheries as well as a number of national and international experts. The idea of the group was adopted, in principle, by the three countries at the Yancheng international symposium. This group would be facilitated by IUCN ARO and EAAFP. TOR are currently being drafted for circulation among relevant ministries and funds are sought to ensure at least a yearly meeting of the group in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
The main task of the group would be to ensure a regular technical dialogue between the three countries on the management of the Yellow/West Sea, including updates on current plans, joint definition of activities and triggering harmonized strategies (e.g. on Ramsar designation, management approaches).

3.2 Ensuring capacity building of key stakeholders on key issues related to wetlands management, protected areas and biodiversity conservation.
Capacity building was identified as a priority by partners. In order to support this, a yearly training event is proposed (three events in total between 2018 to 2020), covering topics such as: i) protected area designation in the context of the Yellow/West Sea, including Ramsar and WH designations; ii) Identification and valuation of ecosystem services of the intertidal wetlands of the Yellow/West sea; iii) Intertidal wetlands management, development of management plans, and assessment of management effectiveness. These trainings would be conducted using a three-day format, for around 30 participants from the three relevant countries and facilitated by IUCN and relevant partners. They would include presentations, case studies and field exercises/demonstration when relevant.

3.3 Yearly Regional workshop on the conservation of the Yellow/West Sea intertidal wetlands and the EAAF.
In order to follow up on the Yancheng symposium and to ensure relevant preparation for WCC 2020, another regional workshop is proposed. This would involve around 70 participants from the three countries as well as relevant international partners.

3.4 Support, as appropriate, to World Heritage designation in the three countries;

3.5 Support to Caring for Coasts and the promotion of the DR at the Ramsar COP;
Are these actions planned for yet: 
Status of implementation
Status of implementation for this Resolution: 
Underway: implementation well-advanced
Additional information