AWSG states that Song Do development is not consistent
with the goals of the EAAF Partnership

May 7th, 2009

In a recent letter to the Chair of the EAAF Partnership the Chair of the AWSG, Mr Ken Gosbell, expressed concern that the proposed additional reclamation of the Song Do tidal flats was not consistent with the goal of the Partnership and undertakings given by the Republic of Korea (RoK) at Ramsar CoP10 (Resolution X.22).

He stated that approval of this development is not consistent with the Partnership Goal that: “Migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the East Asian - Australasian Flyway are recognised and conserved for the benefit of people and biodiversity”. The work the AWSG has conducted in partnership with Birds Korea, has shown that the reclamation area and the immediate adjacent tidal flats supports over 18 000 shorebirds during northward migration, including 8000 Great Knots from Australia. The reclamation site is of international importance for migratory waterbirds and WILL be important in maintaining some of the populations that spend their non-breeding period in Australia (e.g. Great Knot).

Mr. Ken Gosbell, Chair of the AWSG, stated further that, “While we are encouraged by the RoK’s support for the Yellow Sea Ecoregion program we remain disappointed at its lack of attention to the loss of tidal areas. We consider that any of the available documentation in regard to this project provides a totally inadequate basis to conclude that the reclamation is consistent with the goal of the Flyway Partnership and with the undertaking made by Korea at Ramsar CoP 10 (Resolution X.22).

We believe that as the new Secretariat of the Partnership is established in the RoK it will be essential that the Partnership shows strong leadership and stimulates best practice in sustainable development in relation to the coastal habitats in RoK. Furthermore any future proposals on the acceptability of the destruction of sites of international importance for migratory waterbirds should be based on scientifically sound documentation on how such action constitutes ‘sustainable development’ ”.