Regional initiatives in Europe

18/04/2012

Ramsar Regional Initiatives serviced by the European coordinator at the Secretariat:

Carpathian Wetland Initiative (CWI)
Nordic-Baltic Wetlands Initiative (NorBalWet)
Black Sea Coastal Wetlands Initiative (BlackSeaWet)
Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet)

Carpathian Wetland Initiative (CWI)

Why and what for?

Inspired by the Ramsar guidance provided in Res.VIII.30, the seven Carpathian countries Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine, supported by the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, DAPHNE and other NGOs, came together in April 2004 in Brezovica (Slovakia) to prepare a cooperative programme of work on wetlands in the Carpathian region. With support from the Danone-Evian Fund for Water, a strategic planning meeting was held in November 2006. This lead to the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Carpathian and Ramsar Convention secretaries in December 2006, in order to define mechanisms of cooperation and joint activities that are fully integrated in the work programmes of both conventions (see related article here).

A conference in November 2009 in Tatranska Strba (Slovakia) served to establish a common baseline understanding about the wetland resources throughout the Carpathian mountain range and existing national policies for their management and wise use. The Carpathian Convention Protocol on biodiversity and ecological corridors was identified as a useful framework for further wetland work and the EU Interreg funding resources as operational means. In September 2010, the initiative organised a specific workshop on wetlands and tourism in mountain areas at Rytro (Poland) in conjunction with a meeting to develop a Carpathian Convention Protocol on sustainable tourism. And since then the Carpathian countries meet regularly each year to focus on specific wetland issues.

Workshop in Tatranska Strba, Slovakia in 2009


How is the initiative recognised?

  • 2005: Res.IX.7 “recognized [it] as having the potential for operating within the framework of the Ramsar Convention, subject to acceptance by the Contracting Parties concerned and further development and consideration by COP10”
  • SC (2009) Decision SC40-18 “endorsed the [CWI] as fully meeting the Operational Guidelines and operating within the framework of the Convention in 2009-2012 and agreed that [it] may be eligible for funding in any year during that period”
  • Received Ramsar core budget funding in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.


Contact point:

Coordinator: Dr Jan Kadlecik

State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic
Tajovskeho 28B
974 01 Banska Bystrica
Slovakia
T +421 48 47 22 024
jan.kadlecik[at]sopsr.sk

Website: www.cwi.sk

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Nordic-Baltic Wetlands Initiative (NorBalWet)

Why and what for?

Based on the overview report and strategic analysis on “Nordic Wetland Conservation” published at the first Nordic-Baltic Wetland Conference in Oerland (Norway) in May 2004, Norway convened Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and the Russian regions of Leningrad, Kaliningrad and Karelia to a planning meeting in March 2005, which established the Nordic-Baltic Wetlands Initiative.

These partners, plus increasingly also International Organisation Partners (IOPs) and other NGOs, meet since regularly to exchange experiences and know-how during technical seminars which focused on the restoration of wet forests and mires (Hindaas, Sweden), restoration of rivers, floodplains, lakes and deltas (Randsfjorden, Norway), monitoring wetlands (Lepanina, Estonia) and twice on networking with wetland managers (Kempele and Turku, Finland). In April 2010, Norway invited for a second Nordic-Baltic Wetland Conference, again in Oerland, to take stock on progress with wetland conservation work, increasing wetland awareness and to identify the remaining challenges (cf. our regular news reports on each of these meetings - 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). This was also the occasion to introduce the new concept of “Norwegian Ramsar Municipalities” and to inaugurate the first “Ramsar suite” in the Brekstad Coast Hotel, where the conference took place.

A coordination group, composed of the Ramsar national focal points in the ten participating countries, is planning and overlooking the work of the initiative. It works through regular telephone conferences and physical meetings linked to the annual wetland conferences/seminars. The coordination group publishes written minutes of its meetings and decisions.

NorBalWet Seminar in Troms County, Norway (2011© G.Kjaerstad)

How is the initiative recognised?

  • 2005: Res.IX.7 “recognized [it] as having the potential for operating within the framework of the Ramsar Convention, subject to acceptance by the Contracting Parties concerned and further development and consideration by COP10”
  • 2009: Decision SC40-18 “endorsed [NorBalWet] as fully meeting the Operational Guidelines and operating within the framework of the Convention in 2009-2012 and agreed that [it] may be eligible for funding in any year during that period”
  • NorBalWet did not ask for Ramsar core budget support, as it receives such support from the Nordic Council.


Contact point

The coordination group has a rotating chair. Since 2005: Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Norway; Greenland in 2013.

Ms Inge Thaulow
inth[at]ghsdk.dk

Website: www.norbalwet.org

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Black Sea Coastal Wetlands Initiative (BlackSeaWet)

Why and what for?

Cooperation for the conservation and wise use of the many coastal wetlands around the Black and Azov Seas started in the late 1990s with support from the Danone-Evian Fund for Water. Since that time, the Kiyv office of Wetlands International, with financial support from the Netherlands, provides capacity building support to prepare a truly regional cooperation programme, outlined by the participants in more detail during a seminar in Odesa (Ukraine) in 2007. The initiative became operational in early 2010 with the constitution and the first meeting in Tulcea (Romania) of its management body composed of the national Ramsar authorities and specific wetland NGOs in Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine (see our web news here).

After having established its Terms of Reference and an outline work plan for 2010, the body met again in October 2010 in Tulcea to determine the technical focus of its work and to review the implementation plans of the national working groups to be established under the initiative. Since, only one meeting took place in Instambul in 2012. The initiative urgently needs inputs from dedicated individuals to progress with its planned programme of work. Contributions are expected from all seven countries concerned: Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.

First meeting of the management body in Tulcea, Romania (February 2010)


How is the initiative recognised?

  • 2005: Res.IX.7 noted among “the following additional regional initiatives announced by Contracting Parties during COP9 as being under development [the] Black Sea Coastal Wetlands Initiative”
  • 2009: Decision SC40-18 “endorsed the Black Sea Coast Initiative provisionally for one year (with eligibility for support) and urged [it] to submit a full proposal for SC41 and possible full endorsement for the rest of the COP cycle until 2012”
  • 2010: Decision SC41-23 “The Standing Committee noted the Secretariat’s report on Regional Initiatives and endorsed the new Black Sea Coast Initiative as operating under the framework of the Convention”
  • received Ramsar core budget funding in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.


Contact point

In addition, the Management Body established a Coordination Unit to operate between its annual meetings and to be composed of at least two persons, representing the Environment Ministry and a national NGO of the host country. Hosting of the Unit by one of the Black Sea range states should rotate periodically. Currently, the Unit is hosted by Romania, and the chair of the Management Body is Dr Grigore Baboianu.

Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority
Str. Portului 34A
C.P.32
820243 Tulcea
Romania
T : +40 240 518 945
gbaboianu[at]ddbra.ro

Website: www.blackseawet.org

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Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet)

Why and what for?

After a symposium in February 1991 in Grado (Italy), the idea for a structured programme of cooperation on Mediterranean wetlands took shape. In 1999, the positive results of the first years of cooperation convinced Ramsar COP7 to formally recognize the newly established Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (MedWet/Com), as the governing body for what became the first Ramsar Regional Initiative. The Committee is meeting regularly since 1998 in between and during Ramsar COPs and is composed of the Ramsar authorities of all 26 Mediterranean range states, the Palestinian Authority and a number of IOPs, NGOs, wetland organisations and intergovernmental agencies. Since the beginning of the MedWet Initiative, a coordinator, based in Athens, is driving its programme of work and exchanges of experiences and know-how.

Since 2001, the coordinator is supported by a small secretariat (or coordination unit), hosted by Greece from 2001 to 2013 and by France since 2014 with additional financial support from all MedWet countries, according to a contribution scheme mirroring the one established for the Ramsar core budget. The Secretariat facilitates the development of specific wetland projects for beneficiaries and executants in the MedWet countries. It identifies funding opportunities and acts as a facilitator and clearing house for the exchange of news, know-how and expertise in the Mediterranean region. In 2006 the MedWet Committee established a Steering Group to oversee the operational management of the Secretariat in between the meetings of the Committee, to be chaired by a member country (2006-2010: Italy, 2010-2014: France). The focus of MedWet’s work and its history and the lessons learnt during its many years of operation (starting in 1992) were published in book form on the occasion of Ramsar COP7 (1999) and COP9 (2005).

In May 2010, the MedWet Committee met for its 10th meeting in Corsica, holding for the first time a session open to the interested public and introducing exchanges on wetland conservation and management with an environmental class of a Corsican high school. Both events were considered highly valuable approaches that should be repeated and expanded in the future (see our web article here). In February 2012, a major Mediterranean conference on water and wetlands took place in Agadir, Morocco, to celebrate the progress achieved during the 20 years since the initial Grado conference, and to look forward to the next 20 years, cf. http://agadir2012.medwet.org

MedWet Group in Bonifacio, Corsica (May 2010)


How is the initiative recognised?

  • 1993: COP5 through Recommendation (Rec.5.14) “welcomes this regional collaboration activity and considers it to be a very promising approach to wetland conservation at an international level” providing some specific requests
  • 1996: COP6 provides specific recommendations (Rec.6.11) for the “Continuing collaboration for Mediterranean wetlands”
  • 1999: COP7 adopts a specific Res.VII.22 on the “Collaborative structure for Mediterranean wetlands”, thus formally recognizing its first regional initiative and approving the establishment of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee
  • 2002: COP8 adopts Res.VIII.30 on “Regional initiatives for the further implementation of the Convention” which is based on, and is expanding the MedWet experience to potential initiatives in other regions. The Resolution includes a first Annex with guidance for the development of other initiatives as well as a second Annex establishing a budget for the MedWet coordination unit (now called secretariat) for 2003-2005, composed of host country contributions, contributions by all MedWet countries and contributions from the Ramsar core budget.
  • MedWet received Ramsar core budget funding from 2003 to 2008, with steeply decreasing annual amounts during the second triennium.


Contact point

MedWet Coordinator: Mr Delmar Blasco

MedWet Secretariat
Tour du Valat
13200 Le Sambuc
France

Website: www.medwet.org

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