General Requirements for and Indicative Costs of Holding an Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention


[Document INFO 6.5 from the Brisbane COP, 1996; updated January 2002]

General Requirements for and Indicative Costs of Holding an Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention

1. About the Conference

a. Nature of the event: an intergovernmental conference with its own Rules of Procedure. Only the duly accredited delegates of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention have the right to vote. So far, the Ramsar COP does not include a "ministerial segment" during its meetings.

b. Number of participants: 1500 to 2000, of which some 400 are from the host country and the rest come from abroad, including delegates of some 140 countries (Contracting Parties and Observer States), and observers from international organizations, scientific bodies, and national and international NGOs.

c. Timing: between March and June in 2002, 2005, etc.

d. Duration of the meeting: 9 days.

e. Venue: ideally the host city will have:

  • a suitable Conference Centre;
  • a range of accommodation facilities (from five star to two star hotels ), preferably close to the Conference Centre;
  • easy access to an international airport;
  • and if possible be close to sites suitable for field excursions (preferably Ramsar sites).

2. Draft Programme

Preceding Day

  • Registration
  • Evening - possible welcome reception hosted by Ramsar Bureau

Day One

  • Ramsar Standing Committee meeting
  • Registration continues
  • Opening ceremony attended by high officials and dignitaries, followed by first Plenary Session
  • Evening - welcome reception offered by host government

Day Two

  • Plenary Sessions
  • Evening - free for informal (regional) consultations

Day Three

  • Plenary Sessions
  • Evening - Conference dinner (optional)

Day Four

  • Technical Sessions
  • Evening - free for informal consultations

Day Five

  • Technical Sessions
  • Evening - free for informal consultations

Day Six (Sunday)

  • Technical Sessions
  • Evening - free for informal consultations

Day Seven [preparation of final documents]

  • Field excursions

Day Eight

  • Plenary Sessions
  • Evening - Farewell party

Day Nine

  • Adoption of Conference report and decisions
  • Participants depart or go on post-Conference tours.

3. Conference Centre Requirements

a. Plenary Sessions:

  • Plenary Hall to seat the full number of participants (ca. 1500) in comfort at tables, with microphones
  • facilities for audio-visual presentations with modern technologies
  • facilities for simultaneous interpretation into three languages (English, Spanish and French), including earphones for each participant, sound-proof rooms or cubicles for the interpreters
  • equipment for the recording of all debates

b. Meeting facilities, with audiovisual equipment, for four (depending on the programme) concurrent Technical Sessions on Days 4, 5 and 6. (One of the Sessions is normally held in the Plenary Hall with simultaneous interpretation; at least two other Session should also have simultaneous interpretation in the three official languages)

c. Other meeting rooms:

  • meeting room for Ramsar Standing Committee (by then Conference Committee, with up to 50 people) which can meet concurrently with other sessions (No formal interpretation facilities needed.)
  • up to 5 rooms or designated areas for regional consultations and other meetings
  • an NGO room

d. Exhibition area:

  • a large area for exhibition of materials, including posters, publications, videos

e. Secretariat offices:

  • up to 20 offices or partitioned workstations, equipped with telecommunication facilities and computers, for the Conference Officers and Conference/Ramsar Bureau staff, including:
  • one office for Conference Chair
  • one office for Secretary General
  • one office for Conference Coordinator
  • two offices for translators
  • office for travel arrangements and per diem disbursements to sponsored delegates
  • one or two large rooms equipped with 2 high volume (industrial type) photocopiers and large tables for document collation

f.     Media Centre:

  • one large room for journalists, with computers and printers
  • one room suitable for press conferences
  • one/two smaller rooms for press interviews
  • if possible, telecommunications facilities for exclusive use of journalists (otherwise the facilities at the Business Centre could be used)

g. Delegates' room, equipped with computers and printers

h. Registration area:

  • suitable to accommodate large registration and document distribution counter, equipped with computers for logging registration

i. Business Centre (for services on a paid basis):

  • telecommunications facilities: telephones, fax machines and e-mail facility
  • minimum banking facilities
  • typing and photocopying service
  • post office
  • travel agency
  • souvenir shop

j. Other facilities:

  • relaxation area for delegates (bar or lounge)
  • cafeteria and restaurant
  • first aid room

4. Social Events:

a. Official functions:

  • possible welcoming reception by Ramsar Bureau
  • welcoming reception by host country
  • possible official Conference dinner hosted by the Chair of the Conference
  • possible cultural event
  • farewell party

b. Early morning bird/nature walks

c. Partners' programme:

  • Many of the participants are accompanied by their partners and consideration should be given to arranging a programme of cultural and sightseeing excursions for days when the Conference is dealing with business matters. Partners will usually accompany the delegates on the Conference excursions and to dinners, receptions, etc.

5. Accommodation/Travel Assistance:

a. Hotel accommodation:

  • The venue should have available a full range of accommodation from five star to backpackers within reasonable, preferably walking, distance of the Conference Centre; otherwise a special transportation system should be established between main hotels and the Conference Centre .

b. Airport facilities:

  • The venue should be near an international airport or if not, have efficient domestic transport available. It is expected that the organizers will arrange for participants to be met at the airport upon arrival and assisted with travel to their hotels; similar return arrangements should be made.

c. Visas:

  • The host country has to guarantee free entry to all invited delegates and observers. Assistance is likely to be needed regarding entry visas for the participants.

6. Promotion/Merchandising:

a. Promotion logo:

  • To promote the Conference consideration should be given to developing a Conference logo.

b. Merchandising/keepsakes:

  • It is now customary for the host country to develop a range of salable merchandise (ties, mugs, caps, tie clips, etc.) to promote the Conference and as keepsakes
  • The host country is also expected to provide items such as note pads, pencils, and document bags for delegates.

7. Costs

7A) List of items to be provided by the host country which need costing according to the local situation:

a. Rental of Conference Centre

b. Simultaneous interpretation equipment:

  • microphones, headsets, soundproof rooms (up to 4 each for the Plenary Hall and technical Session hall)
  • management system
  • technical expert readily available.

c. Office equipment for Ramsar Bureau staff/translators:

  • 2 high speed/volume (industrial type) photocopiers
  • one smaller standard machine
  • photocopying paper (approx. 500,000 sheets - recycled)
  • computer word processing and basic data processing system (English, French, and Spanish keyboards): up to 20 required with 5 printers; must be compatible with Ramsar Bureau's system, with electronic networking installed
  • 24-hour expert service required for the above for the 9 days of the Conference, less for the week preceding
  • typewriters with international keyboards (2)
  • desks/work stations for the Bureau
  • office supplies and stationery

d. Telecommunications for Bureau/organizers:

  • telephones - 10 with external lines for Conference Chair, Secretary General, Conference Coordinator, Press Officer, International Travel Desk, Information Desk, Registration Desk, General enquiries/messages
  • 3 fax machines
  • access to e-mail communications in at least three computers

e. Installation of Business Centre (see 3.i above)

f. Delegates room

  • computers/printer and typewriters for delegates to do their own typing

g. Installation of the Media Centre (see 3.f above)

h. Airport welcome stand(s)

i. Staff and administrative costs of the local organizing team (to start with a core team one year in advance and augmented nearer to the date of the Conference)

j. Cost of local staff during the Conference:

  • Conference Centre personnel, including technicians for all audiovisual and office equipment (some of them on 24 hours shifts)
  • 4 local staff at Registration Desk, if possible speaking the Ramsar official languages
  • Reception/information multilingual staff
  • 4 secretaries capable of typing in one or more of the official languages
  • 6 Plenary Hall/Technical Sessions assistants
  • Airport reception staff

k. Excursions: all or some of them could be free of charge, or all of them could be on a paid basis. They could be organized by a private company to no cost to the host government.

l. Hospitality:

  • morning and afternoon teas/coffees, biscuits (8 days) (they could be on a paid basis)
  • meals during the Conference (participants pay)
  • welcoming reception by host government
  • official dinner - host country (optional)
  • multi-cultural food festival - host city/State, local businesses, etc. (optional)
  • farewell party (cost shared by Ramsar Bureau)l
  • special hospitality for VIPs


  • public transport guide/support
  • shopping guides
  • partners' programme
  • early morning bird walks
  • childcare facility

m. Promotional materials (optional):

  • welcome brochure
  • conference logo design
  • gifts to delegates
  • document folders, etc. for delegates

n. Public relations (optional)

  • media campaign before and during the Conference
  • other public relations initiative at the national and local level
  • public awareness campaign on wetland issues

o. Accommodation:

  • Delegates meet their own accommodation costs. The host country is responsible for negotiating the best agreement with hotels and other suitable accommodation facilities and to ensure an efficient hotel bookings system.

p. Transportation:

  • to and from the hotels and the Conference Centre (if required; could be provided on a paid basis)
  • for the Conference Secretariat (if required)
  • from and to the airport (could be provided on a paid basis)

q. Security:

  • 24-hour security personnel/arrangements desirable at Conference Centre during the meeting (as Conference staff work all day and night in shifts)

r. Mid-Conference and post-Conference excursions:

  • Costs would depend on what the host country is able to offer and on the degree of involvement of the private sector

s. Contingency.

7B) Costs incurred by the Ramsar Bureau, heretofore always covered by the host country (in Swiss francs) [cost estimates as of January 2002]

Costs before Conference:

1. Translators: English/French/Spanish 120,000

2. Temporary support staff 30,000

3. Pre-Conference communications/documentation by Consultants/experts 65,000

4. Reproduction of documentation 40,000

5. Distribution of documentation 20,000

Costs during the Conference:

6. Interpretation services hired by the Bureau: English/French/Spanish (1 coordinator + 12 interpreters) 65,000

7. Translation services hired by the Bureau: English/French/Spanish (12 translators) 80,000

8. Return air ticket (economy class) for Bureau staff, translators and Interpreters to the Conference (cost will vary according to distance From Geneva) (approx 40 air fares) 80,000

Per diems (80% of UN) for 40 persons for 12 days @ 417 CHF) 200,160
Bureau staff (approx 21 persons) plus temporary staff:
Secretary General's office (2 persons)
Technical staff and their support staff (8) / Rapporteurs (2)
Conference secretaries/typists (6): English/French/Spanish
Registration desk (1 coordinator + 2 international staff, excluding local staff)
Finance Officers (2)
Documentation Officers (2)
Press Officer
Conference Coordinator

9. Reproduction of documentation during the Conference 20,000

10. Miscellaneous 30,000

Post-Conference costs

11. Conference Proceedings: preparation, translation and publication in three languages (two/three volumes with some 1,500 A4 pages) 250,000


TOTAL BUREAU COSTS 1,000,160 Swiss francs [cost estimates as of January 2002]

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