Evian Project -- Memorandum of Understanding, 1998


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Action Programme for Water Resource and Water Quality Protection in Wetlands of International Importance

Memorandum of Understanding

Paris, 27 January 1998


The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (adopted at Ramsar, Iran in 1971), known as the Ramsar Convention, represented by its Secretary General, Mr. Delmar Blasco,


The Danone Group, represented by its Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. Franck Riboud

The Société des Eaux Minérales d'Evian, represented by its Managing Director, Mr. Yves Buchsenschutz,

With the cooperation of

The town of Evian, represented by its Mayor, Mr. Marc Francina, Conseiller Général of Haute Savoie,


The Conservatoire de l'Espace Littoral et des Rivages Lacustres, represented by its Director, Mr. François Letourneux, in the presence of Ms. Christine Lazerges, President,

With the support of

The Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial, as a measure to protect biodiversity,

And under the auspices of

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, representing France as a Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention,

The Minister for Physical Planning and the Environment.

Explanatory statement

The Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted at Ramsar in Iran in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty originally aimed at protecting wetlands of international importance, and in particular to provide habitat for waterfowl. Over the years, however, the aims have evolved and the Convention now focuses on the need to integrate biodiversity conservation in wetlands and preservation of their ecological functions, particularly those relating to water resources, with sustainable development - in the sense of wise use of resources - and also with considerations of public health and well-being.

In all parts of the world, people are confronted with difficulties of a social, economic and environmental nature that are primarily the result of the destruction and mismanagement of wetland-related natural resources. Examples abound. Recognizing the issues at stake and the importance of wetland conservation, over a hundred countries have acceded to the Ramsar Convention and have designated some 900 sites from the world over for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar List).

This was the new context in which the Conference of the Contracting Parties, at its sixth meeting in Brisbane, Australia, in March 1996, adopted the Strategic Plan 1997-2002.

Among the Plan's objectives, three merit special attention. They are:

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)The promotion of know-how in matters of wetland management and the transfer of such know-how through bilateral and multilateral technical exchanges;

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)Strengthening of capacity in terms of information, liaison and communication between wetland protection and management bodies, using up-to-date information technology and through the development of new methods of communication;

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)Raising of awareness among decision makers in the Contracting Parties so that operating regulatory frameworks are put into place at national level, together with wetland management mechanisms and tools, and that more attention is paid to problems of water and health, under the Ramsar Convention.

The Plan constitutes a challenge not only to the Contracting Parties and the Convention bodies, the Standing Committee, the Scientific and Technical Review Panel and the Bureau, but also to the wider constituency involved with the conservation and wise use of wetlands, especially the Ramsar site managers.

Active participation by all the Ramsar Convention partners is a precondition for success but it is clear that the Plan's objectives will not all be reachable unless substantial additional funding can be obtained over and above the contributions to the core Convention budget, particularly from supplementary public and private sources.

These are the reasons which prompted the Société des Eaux Minérales d'Evian and the Danone Group, the town of Evian and the Conservatoire de l'Espace Littoral et des Rivages Lacustres as technical partners, together with the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial, to join with the Ramsar Convention in carrying out an action programme for water resource and water quality conservation and management in wetland ecosystems of international importance.

The Ramsar Bureau is responsible for overall programme implementation.

1. Transfer of know-how

Establishment of experimental biogeographical networks of twinned Ramsar sites for the purposes of technical exchanges on the subject of water resources and water quality as a component of management plans;

Inland-sea delta network: Mediterranean, Black Sea and Caspian; programme coordinated by the Fondation Sansouire-Tour du Valat, Wetlands International and WWF International, as part of the MedWet initiative;

East Atlantic seaboard network, from Europe to West Africa; programme coordinated by the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, a member of Birdlife International.

 2. Training

Technical capacity-building for wetland managers, especially those who are technically and geographically isolated.

3. Water and health

Support for pilot projects involving the active participation of local communities in connection with the wise use of water and the maintenance of water quality for the health of the indigenous population.

4. The Evian meetings

Working sessions at Evian on wetland conservation policies with the aim of raising awareness among decision makers from countries located in priority conservation regions.

5. Support from Evian for Ramsar communications

Development of information technology tools in order to strengthen capacity and facilities for liaison through the Internet and electronic mail, for organizations that require them in Contracting Party countries.

Improvement of Convention capacity to produce the publications and technical documents distributed by the Bureau.

 6. Special Evian prize for the Ramsar Award

The Danone Group will offer prizes for three initiatives on the occasion of the 7th Conference of the Contracting Parties, to be held in Costa Rica in May 1999. The aim of the prizes is to identify, acknowledge, publicize and encourage wetland conservation and management initiatives throughout the world.

... and the Pré-Curieux information centre at Evian

As an added feature to the above programme, the Conservatoire du Littoral and the town of Evian propose:

The opening of an information and communication centre at Pré-Curieux (Evian-Publier), the location of the Conservatoire du Littoral, with the aim of enhancing and promoting the action programme.

Steering Committee

The programme will extend over three years, from 1998 to 2000. It may be amended or prolonged in the light of the results achieved, at the instigation of the Steering Committee established specifically to ensure follow-up.

Financial and technical provisions

The Danone Group will contribute the sum of 4 million francs to the action programme, and the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial 2.5 million francs, making a total of 6.5 million francs.

The town of Evian will provide the sum of 5.5 million francs net of tax and the Conservatoire de l'Espace Littoral et des Rivages Lacustres the sum of 1.5 million francs to finance installation of Ramsar çouse and the information centre at Evian.

The technical and financial conditions attaching to the programme are specified in the annex to this memorandum of understanding.

Obligations of the Parties

The obligations of the Parties are stated in the annexes and comprise essentially:

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)For the Ramsar Convention Bureau: overall project coordination, selection of the subject-matter and of participants and beneficiaries for training courses and meetings, organization of communication activities under the present action programme, organization of the presentation process for the special Evian prize for the Ramsar Award;

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)For the town of Evian, development of the Pré-Curieux site, establishment and management of the information centre;

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)For the Conservatoire de l'Espace Littoral et des Rivages Lacustres, provision of the Pré-Curieux site as site owner and technical support for implementation of the action programme, with its partners in the Eurosite network;

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)For the Danone Group and the Société des Eaux Minérales d'Evian, provision of funding for implementation of the programme and the scientific contribution on the subject of water resources;

dotgreen.gif (923 bytes)For the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial, provision of additional financing, particularly for capacity-building of Ramsar site managers. The financial agreement to be signed by the Ramsar Convention Bureau and the Caisse Française de Développement, which acts as secretariat for the Fonds, will specify the methods and conditions of disbursement.

Monsieur le Secrétaire Général de la Convention de Ramsar
Delmar Blasco
Monsieur le Président Directeui Général du Groupe Danone
Franck Riboud
Monsieur le Maire de la ville d'Evian-les-Bains, Conseiller Général de Haute-Savoie
Marc Francina
Monsieur le Directeur Général de la Société des Eaux Minérales d'Evian
Yves Buchsenschutz
Madame la Présidènte du Conservatoire de l'espace littoral et des rivages lacustres
Christine Lazerges
Monsieur le Directeur du Conservatoire de l'espace littoral et des rivages lacustres
François Letourneux

Pour Monsieur le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères,
Le Directeur des Affaires économiquws et financières,
Dominique Perreau

Madame la Ministre de l'Aménagement du Territoire et de l'Environnement
Dominique Voynet

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