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Summary of Outcomes of the 2010 Annual Meeting
Resumen de Resultados de la Reunión Anual de 2010
Session 1: Year in Review
The Chair reviewed the nature and key elements of the Council, specifically its vision, the focus/purpose, and composition, or nature of the membership. She then reviewed the results of the assessment conducted during 2009, specifically the recommendations regarding leadership, membership, purpose, operations and communications.
Members then provided short verbal reports highlighting their most significant activities over the past year relating to waterbird conservation. Presentations revealed an impressive breadth of efforts on behalf of waterbirds, but revealed also a lack of intra-Council communications.
Assessment and Recommendations to Guide Future Development of the Waterbird Conservation Council
Introduction by Chair - Rosa Montañez
Session 2: Selection of a Few Focus Areas for Council Action
Prior to the annual meeting, a group of individuals were tasked with assembling regional analysis tables from which a proposed list of short-term (1-2 years) priority areas for Council work was developed. The process and results were reviewed before the participants broke into regional groups to ensure agreement and understanding of the list.
When participants reconvened, feedback from the regional groups was shared and processed to finalize the list of priorities for discussion during the remainder of the annual meeting.
Selection of Priority Areas for Annual Meeting Discussion
Session 3:Waterbird Conservation and Climate Change -- Introduction
To ensure that discussions throughout the remainder of the meeting include recognition of the implications and uncertainty of climate change, an overview presentation on potential effects to waterbirds and waterbird habitat was provided.
Findings from U.S. State of the Birds Report – 2010: Climate Change - Paul Schmidt
Sessions 4, 5, 6 and7: Concurrent Working Group Discussions on Priority Focus Areas
Members and guests assembled into working groups to discuss activities related to the selected priorities. This was an opportunity for more in-depth sharing and exploration of ideas.
Results of the working group discussions were brought together to assemble an action plan for the Council that provides a coherent, unified picture of its work in the Americas. The action plan will be tracked and updated throughout 2010 and reviewed, evaluated and updated at the 2011 annual meeting.
Waterbird Conservation and Climate Change – Review and Information Sharing
Climate change considerations influenced the decisions about activities for the action plan. In this session, members and guests provided short reports on their organizations’ responses and to share documents or sources with useful information. Activities by the public and private organizations represented by meeting participants covered a wide range: climate change research and communicating findings; advocacy to engage civil society in governmental policy about climate change; outreach and education to raise awareness and understanding; development of action plans and policies to address mitigation and facilitate adaptation; and organizational re-structuring. However, some reported little or no activity by their organizations. For the benefit of waterbirds, it is incumbent upon Waterbird Conservation Council members to be informed about the potential negative effects of climate change on habitats and populations and advocate for appropriate engagement by their affiliated organizations.
Support for Bay of Panama Conservation
The annual meeting was scheduled so that participants could visibly support the local host organization, Panama Audubon Society (PAS), in recognizing World Wetlands Day (February 2, in commemoration of the signing of the Ramsar Treaty) and the anniversary of the inclusion of the Bay of Panama in Panama's National Protected Area System (February 3, 2009).
||The World Wetlands Day celebration was a reception to highlight the work of the national wetlands committee of Panama (Comité Nacional de Humedales de Panamá), comprised of PAS, other civil environmental organizations and the national government. This work includes a new national wetlands inventory (Inventario de los humedales continentals y costeros de Panamá) and steps towards a national wetlands policy.
The upper bay of Panama is one of the national wetlands committee’s highest priority sites and the February 3 event showcased its importance and continued threats. The upper portion of the Bay of Panama, upon which the capital city is located, is by far the most important single area for aquatic birds in Panama and has been designated as a global IBA and WHSRN site of hemispheric importance, as well as a Ramsar site. The bay’s mangroves and other biodiversity provide multiple environmental services including protection of local communities from adverse climatic conditions. Unfortunately, the bay, even the National Protected Area, is threatened by massive and rapid urban expansion. Panama’s capital city is one of the world’s fastest growing cities, and the new government in Panama is focused on economic growth. The Waterbird Conservation Council applauds the work of PAS and the national wetlands committee to protect Panama Bay.
Panama Audubon Society acted as the local host for the meeting. Financial support for meeting costs and travel grants was received from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Canadian Wildlife Service, WHSRN/Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, and J. Kushlan.
Arturo May provided simultaneous interpretation.