Taiwan bird conservation group removed from global partnership

09/15/2020 06:55 PM
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A mikado pheasant, which is endemic to Taiwan, is spotted during a 2014 event held by the Chinese Wild Bird Federation (CWBF). File photo courtesy of the CWBF
A mikado pheasant, which is endemic to Taiwan, is spotted during a 2014 event held by the Chinese Wild Bird Federation (CWBF). File photo courtesy of the CWBF

Update: Sept. 25-Bird group adds 'Taiwan' to name after removal from global partnership

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) The Chinese Wild Bird Federation (CWBF), a bird conservation group in Taiwan, said on Tuesday that it had been forced out of an international partnership after being deemed a "risk" due to its name in Chinese.

The CWBF, which has a legally registered Chinese name as the "Republic of China Wild Bird Federation," had been partners with BirdLife International since 1996, according to the CWBF.

In December last year, BirdLife approached the CWBF about changing its Chinese name, saying that it posed a risk, the CWBF said in a statement released on Turesday.

The CWBF, however, did not elaborate on what BirdLife meant by the "risk" it supposedly posed.

In the statement, the CWBF said it was willing to discuss the matter, as it had previously changed its English name three times at the behest of BirdLife.

At its inception in 1988, the group's English name was the "Wild Bird Society of the Republic of China." BirdLife requested that it be changed to the "Chinese Wild Bird Federation" in 1994, then to the "Wild Bird Federation Taiwan" in 1999, according to the CWBF.

In 2007, BirdLife told the group to change its name back to the "Chinese Wild Bird Federation," which remained the group's English name since that time.

Although they were open to the name change, the CWBF said it could not agree to yet another demand by BirdLife, which was to "sign a document formally committing to not promote or advocate the legitimacy of the Republic of China or the independence of Taiwan from China."

"As an apolitical organization," the CWBF felt it would be "inappropriate" to sign such a document and refused, the group said.

BirdLife also notified the CWBF that it would no longer participate in any event associated with Taiwan's government, or permit BirdLife's name or logo to be used in any document or at any event displaying the ROC flag or emblem.

BirdLife said this was necessary, since it would be "odd" for BirdLife to distance itself from the "independence agenda" of the ROC but to also benefit financially from its government.

Even if the CWBF were to agree to all of the changes, the group was told it might still be barred due to the "risk" it poses, the group said.

The CWBF said it did its best to communicate with BirdLife regarding the demands and held numerous meetings on the matter. They had also planned to discuss the issue at a general assembly meeting this week.

Before that could happen, however, BirdLife voted to remove the CWBF from their partnership on Sept. 7, saying that the organization had failed to address the risks.

The CWBF condemned the move in Tuesday's statement, saying that it "seems to be an example of politics getting in the way of good conservation."

Despite its removal, the CWBF said it will continue its conservation work in Taiwan, such as protecting species including the black-faced spoonbill and the Chinese crested tern.

"We look forward to continuing to work with partners at home and abroad to address a real risk, the risk of extinction faced by countless species worldwide. Birds don't know borders," the group said.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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