| Prepared by:
Bishnu B. Bhandari
Workshop on Wetland Conservation for Regional Cooperation (2 February 2016)
1. A one-day workshop titled "Commemorating the World Wetlands Day 2016" was held on 2 February 2016 in Moeyungyii Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary, the first Ramsar site of Myanmar. Its theme was "Wetland Conservation for Regional Cooperation". The workshop was jointly organized by Forest Department, Ramsar Center Japan, and Fauna & Flora International Myanmar. It was opened by U Win Tun, Union Minister, Minister of Environmental Conservation and Forests (MOECAF). A welcome remark was given by the Chief Minister of Bago Region. The announcement of the Indawgyii Lake Wildlife Sanctuary as the second Ramsar site was made by the Minister on this occasion. Reiko Nakamura, Secretary-General of Ramsar Center Japan (RCJ) and Yoshihiro Natori, President of Wetlands International Japan (WIJ) also gave their remarks to the Opening session. The workshop divided into two sessions made seven presentations, followed by the question and answer session at each session. The workshop was declared as successful by the Master of Ceremony.
Training Program for Wetland Managers (3 February 2016)
2. The second leg of the mission is the organization of the "Training Program for Wetland Managers" in the same venue. Its objectives were to sensitize the participants about recent issues, trends & priorities in wetland conservation and help participants further build their capacity in the wise use of wetlands and their resources. There were some 30 participants from some wildlife sanctuaries of Myanmar plus some representatives from NGOs. Seven international experts gave training to wetland managers on different aspects of wetland conservation and management. The workshop was jointly organized by Forest Department, Ramsar Center Japan and Fauna and Flora International Myanmar. After each presentation, floor was opened for participants to raise the issue for discussion.
Symposium on the Bay of Bengal ( February 2016)
3. The third leg of the mission was to organize a Symposium on the Bay of Bengal. It was held at Yangon on the morning of the 4th Feb. The theme of the symposium was the Assessment of Environmental Problems. The Symposium was chaired by Reiko Nakamura and moderated by Bishnu B. Bhandari. The Symposium began with short introduction from Bishnu Bhandari and followed by his presentation titled "The Bay of Bengal: A Forgotten Sea". The other two papers were from Sanowar Hossain and Durga P. Dash on Bangladesh and India respectively. The list of the presentations is given below.
Floor discussion ensued after the presentations, a brief summary of which is divided into two parts; observations and suggested actions.
1.1. The nature of the issues, problems and livelihood are similar in the coastal area of the Bay. Only it varies in magnitude.
2.2. The ultimate goal should be to make the Bay of Bengal a healthy ecosystem. And we need to develop a catchy title for the purpose of procuring funds.
3.3. In the first stage only the coastal countries -- Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka & Thailand -- should be targeted. Upon the assessment, the second stage should be launched to include countries like Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and China.
4.4. Bringing all the countries and stakeholders under the same platform of the Bay of Bengal should be the goal of our future initiative.
5.5. Trans-boundary issues should be taken into consideration while embarking on the study of the Bay of Bengal. The study should adopt a human-centered approach.
6.6. In the future, it would be realistic to organize the future workshop in Sri Lanka or Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The following are the action suggested for initiating studies and works in the Bay of Bengal.
1.1.Compile the papers and put it in the RCJ Website
1.2.As much as possible conduct action research on major issues facing the Bay of Bengal.
1.3.Document all the available literature, along with an annotated bibliography
1.4.Prepare an inventory (directory) of major wetlands, Ramsar sites, experts, NGOs, CBOs, universities and research institutions
1.5.Conduct action research on biological diversity of the Bay area
1.6.Undertake participatory action research on life and livelihood of communities and developing their capacity and community resilience
1.7.Focus on biological diversities, particularly fisheries, birds, turtle and endemic flora and fauna
1.8.Develop a mechanism of establishing an informal network of Ramsar sites which are at or near the coastal area of the Bay of Bengal
1.9.Raise the profile of the Bay of Bengal through awareness raising and capacity building of local people, especially the wetland dependant community.
4. Update on the 8th AWS
The second session on the 4th Feb was chaired by Mr. Yoshihiro Natori, President of Wetlands International Japan (WIJ). The summary discussion is given below.
1. 8th Asian Wetland Symposium
1.1. Mr. Natori briefed about the first meeting held in Nov 2, 2015 saying that the 8th meeting which would be the 25th anniversary of the AWS will be held in Saga city, Saga Prefecture of Kyushu island, Japan in sometime late September and early October in 2017.
1.2. The Ministry of Environment Japan would be the organizer and Ramsar Center Japan, Wetlands International Japan, and Japan Wetlands Society will be the co-organizers.
1.3. RCJ and WIJ have already contacted the Ministry of Environment, Japan about the idea.
1.4. The meeting gave full authority to Ms. Reiko Nakamura and Mr. Yoshihiro Natori to form a small Steering Committee to conceptualize, plan and carry out the symposium proposal. It was suggested that the youth would involved and the committee should be as small as possible.
1.5. It was suggested that on this occasion RCJ should prepare a special souvenir for the 8th AWS. One suggestion is that RCJ should publish a monograph on wetlands of different countries highlighting their successes, failures, cultural values and indigenous techniques which should serve as lessons for others to promote the wise use and conservation of wetlands and their resources.
2. Bishnu Bhandari gave information on the proposed symposium on Wetland & Culture: The Role of Living Culture in Wetland Conservation. The symposium will be held in Korea any time. All those who are interested in the symposium should think of writing a paper. All will be informed of any new developments related to this matter. The guidelines for the paper, which was adopted for the Myanmar workshop should be followed while preparing the paper. Once the concept is materialized, then those wishing to contribute papers will be informed with detailed information.
3. The meeting was adjourned by the Chairperson at 11:45.
List of Participants
1. Mr. Sanowar Hossain, President, Bangladesh POUSH
2. Mr. Tapas R Chakraborty, OXFAM
3. Mr. Durga Prasad Dash, Secretary, Pallishree
4. Dr. Onrizal, University of Sumatera Utara
5. Ms. Reiko Nakamura, Secretary-General, RCJ
6. Mr. Tamotsu Kameyama, Vice President, RCJ
7. Mr. Takayuki Musha. Vice President, RCJ
8. Mr.Yoshihiro Natori , President, WIJ
9. Ms. Emiko Nagakura, WIJ
10. Dr. Shimpei Iwasaki, Fukuoka Women’s University
11. Mr.Simba Chan, Birdlife International Tokyo
12. Ms. Misato Ohara, INTEM Consulting
13. Mr. Hidetsugu Nakamura, EnVision
14. Mr. Atsushi Tanabe, Graduate student, Kumamoto University
15. Ms. Ryoka Ago, student, Ritsumeikan University
16. Prof. Mashhor Mansor, University of Science
17. Mr. Htun Paw Oo, MFA
18. Mr Than Zin Htun , FFI Myanmar
19. Dr. Bishnu Bhandari, President, Nepal Wetland Society
20. Amb. Amado Tolentino, Consultant, Environmental Law
21. Dr. Ms.Sansanee Choowaew, Mahidol University