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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Jonathan Eames gets New Year Honour Award

Jonathan Eames has been awarded an OBE in the British New Year Honours List. Jonathan was a great friend of mine when I first became obsessed with twitching in the mid 1970's but as we both grew up, Jonathan got more and more involved with Oriental Birding and took a different ornithological route. I am delighted that all of his hard work and energies have been reflected in this award - he is one great guy.

Jonathan Eames, programme manager for BirdLife International in Indochina, has been awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the British New Year's Honours List. The award has been given for services to biodiversity, conservation and civil society development in Vietnam.

"This is a great recognition of the work of Jonathan and the entire Indochina Programme, acknowledging the impact that BirdLife is having in the region", said Dr Marco Lambertini, BirdLife's Chief Executive.

ames first went to Vietnam in 1988 and then 1990 on expeditions when access to the country was very limited for foreigners. In 1993, he set up BirdLife's Vietnam Programme which has not only grown within Vietnam but has expanded to a region wide programme including work in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

"In the early days a major conservation success was being able to play a leading role in the formulation of the biodiversity action plan. At that time we worked with the Ministry of Forestry with the focus on increasing the size of the protected areas system and eventually succeeded in getting first one then finally about 12 new protected areas gazetted. Despite resourcing and enforcement issues several of these sites have developed, thanks to the Vietnam government's commitment and with continued BirdLife support, into established protected areas. For example the size of Yok Don NP was doubled in part because of BirdLife lobbying", said Jonathan Eames.

Eames and the staff of the Indochina programme's work and knowledge of the avifauna of the region has also led to the discovery of four new bird species (Black-crowned Barwing Actinodura sodangorum, Golden-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax ngoclinhensis, Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush Garrulax konkakinhensis and Limestone Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus calciatilis
BirdLife in Indochina is also the Regional Implementor for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund http://www.cepf.net/">http://www.cepf.net in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand which has provided civil society in the region with US $ 8.5 million over the last two years.

"The conservation challenges in the region are still huge. Protected areas and wildlife management laws need better enforcement in order to avoid encroachment and eradicate poaching of wildlife and trees", said Eames.

OBEs are given for distinguished regional or county-wide roles in any field, through achievement or service to the community.The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world. It has evolved over 650 years as the country has found alternative means of recognising merit, gallantry and service.