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Declarations

The Taiwan Declaration on Wetland Conservation

Taiwan, as an island with advantageous climatic conditions and geographic location, provides crucial resting points and natural habitats for a great numbers of migratory birds. The vast expanses of wetlands, estuaries, gulfs, deltas, and beaches interwoven along the coast, as well as swamps, ponds, paddy fields, canals, pools, basins, and the lakes which dot the island, are not only home to an abundance of wildlife but also have the potential to provide information on the biodiversity of many of the world’s species. These functions can be considered the most critical components of an open system.

In the past, natural wetlands were often regarded as worthless. Moreover, rapid development and construction caused irreparable damage to Taiwan’s entire ecosystem. Thus, conservation and rehabilitation of the wetlands is an urgent task and the most important step in retaining biodiversity while conforming to the ecological guidelines put forth in the Basic Environment Act of 2002.

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Implementation of “Wetland CRE” (Conservation, Restoration, and Education) requires cooperation between both the public and private sectors. “Wetland CRE” will require respective contributions from a set of precise policies, effective management, a long-term perspective, and sufficient sources of financial support. The consensus reached at the conference on National Park and Open Space Conservation (2007) consisted of the following seven principles:

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1. In line with the principles of sustainable development set forth in the Basic Environment Act, conservation of natural succession and prevention of interference from human activities should be realized. In addition, a collective understanding should be reached at each stage of economic development, and policies relevant to conservation and utilization of natural resource reexamined.
2. A mechanism of a “wetlands bank” should be established which adopts the methods of ecologic compensation and database manipulation to ensure that there is no loss of ecological resources.
3. The significance of wetlands across the island should be reassessed regularly in order to designate national conservation areas and develop ecological networks and wetland reserves.
4. The Three National Territory Acts (National Territory Planning Act, National Territory Restoration Act, and Coastline Act) should be promoted, at the same time, regulations regarding conservation issues should be amended, and thereupon a statutory system of wetland protection may be progressively established.
5. The “National Sustainable Development Action Plan” (by the Executive Yuan) should be reviewed and relevant programs revised; through this “Wetland CRE” can be implemented in the long term.
6. Community participation in “Wetland CRE” should be encouraged, and cooperation between local academic groups and non-governmental organizations should be enhanced in order to promote wetland restoration, management, evaluation, and ecological education. Furthermore, volunteers should be organized to help raise environmental awareness and foster respect for the environment.
7. International communication should similarly be encouraged on issues relevant to wetland conservation; through these international channels we should then exchange our experiences with other countries. This will provide opportunities to be actively involved in global affairs.
Surrounded by a sustainable environment, future generations will likewise be able to benefit from the abundant resources provided by the wetlands found throughout this beautiful island, Formosa.