Memorandum of Cooperation between Ramsar and Wetlands Link International


Memorandum of Cooperation


The Convention on Wetlands
(Ramsar, Iran, 1971)


The Wetland Link International (WLI) programme of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)


Since its inception in 1971, the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) has provided the single most important intergovernmental forum on wetland conservation issues. According to the Convention's mission statement, the Contracting Parties agree to "the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world".

The Convention is founded on the three pillars of:

  • promoting wise use of wetlands;
  • developing international cooperation; and
  • developing a network of Wetland sites of International Importance.

The conservation and wise management of wetlands through the designation of wetlands for the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, especially the obligation to maintain the ecological character of designated sites, deserves special recognition. This obligation recognizes the importance of wetlands for the maintenance of healthy and productive inland freshwater and coastal systems. In the context of water and wetlands, the Convention on Wetlands thus addresses issues which guide its Contracting Parties on ways to achieve sustainable development.

Within the general obligations set out by the treaty, Contracting Parties, meeting as the Conference of the Parties (COP), identify priorities for action through a Strategic Plan. Implementation of this Memorandum of Cooperation shall be through joint actions within the framework of the Strategic Plan, detailed in the attached annex.

Wetland Link International (WLI)

With regard to wetlands and water resources management,

The Wetland Link International (WLI) programme of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT- a UK-based charity dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and their biodiversity) is a global network of wetland education centres with the following aims:

To encourage and support the exchange of information and expertise internationally among all those involved in wetland education programmes, particularly those operating from wetland education centres, and similarly targeted sites such as field study centres, environmental education centres, zoological and botanical gardens, and aquaria.

To advocate for, and assist in, the development of new wetland education centres and their associated programmes throughout the world.

To improve the effectiveness of operations at wetland education centres through sharing, training and exchange of expertise.

To lobby for the greater inclusion of Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programmes within wetlands and related frameworks for subsequent implementation at national, regional and global levels.

Wetland centres are recognised by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, through Resolution VIII.31, the Ramsar CEPA Programme, 2003-08, as a principal means of delivering CEPA for wetland conservation and wise use. They are encouraged to participate in WLI (operational objective 3.3.3 of the CEPA Programme).

The Convention on Wetlands and The Wetland Link International (WLI) programme of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) recognize the fundamental role played by wetlands in regulating and providing water, in supporting maintenance of cultural and biological diversity, in ensuring high ecosystem productivity, and in providing services and benefits for people and the planet.

The Convention on Wetlands and WLI share similar conservation goals and the positive cooperation between the two institutions to date has been expressed through a range of collaborative activities. Turning to the future, it would be ideal to establish specific mechanisms for enhancing synergies and partnerships to achieve common goals, whilst avoiding duplication of effort, especially through implementation of the Ramsar Convention Strategic Plan.

Therefore, the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands and (the Secretariat of) WLI agree the following:

Article 1. Mechanisms for Programme Cooperation

A - The Secretariats of the Convention on Wetlands and WLI will develop a collaborative programme for sustainable wetland and water resource conservation and management by increasing current consultation and cooperation between them.

B - The Secretariats of the Convention on Wetlands and WLI will inform their focal points at regional and national levels of their cooperative activities. For general matters, the focal points for the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands and WLI are respectively the Secretary General and the WLI Coordinator, or their assigned delegates.

C - The focal points, or their assigned delegates, may meet from time to time to assess the implementation of this Memorandum, exchange documents and review ongoing activities.

Article 2. Joint Activities

A - Common areas for joint conservation activities, as identified in the annex to this Memorandum of Cooperation, relate clearly to the Ramsar Strategic Plan and Resolution VIII.31, the Ramsar CEPA Programme, currently in force, and will be reviewed annually or at the request of either party.

B - WLI and the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands will communicate agreement on common areas with their respective networks, and WLI will endeavour to mobilise the expertise available on wetlands and water resources within its organisation in support of these activities.

C - The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands and WLI will provide each other with details of their annual work programmes to ensure harmonisation of activities at global, regional and country levels.

D - The extent to which the collaborative programme and the joint conservation activities are implemented will be subject to the availability of resources.

Article 3. Obligation, Review and Termination

A - This Memorandum of Cooperation constitutes an expression of a shared objective and vision. However, each party's actions will be considered to be that party's sole and separate action, for all purposes, and neither party shall claim to be acting on behalf of, or as agent for the other party to this Memorandum of Cooperation.

B - The term for this Memorandum of Cooperation is six years. The agreement may be reviewed at the request of either party (usually annually) and may be terminated by either party subject to six months notice in writing.

Peter Bridgewater
Secretary General
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Martin Spray
Chief Executive
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust/WLI

Done at Kampala, Uganda
Date: the 12 November 2005


Joint activities under the operational objectives of the Strategic Plan, linking with the Ramsar CEPA Programme, collectively implementing:

General Objective 1, The Wise Use of Wetlands;
General Objective 3, International Cooperation; and
General Objective 4, Implementation capacity.

  • Parties will encourage the establishment of education centres at Ramsar and other wetland sites to provide focal points for local and national CEPA activities.
  • The Ramsar Secretariat, particularly through the Ramsar CEPA e-lists and other elements of the CEPA Programme, will continue to encourage existing and future wetland education centres to participate in the WLI network as a mechanism for gaining access to global and national expertise in CEPA.
  • Parties will promote and seek to resource the coordination of the WLI network to facilitate information exchange between wetland centres, with particular emphasis on information exchanges between developed and developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
  • Parties will promote and seek to resource the twinning of wetland education centres to encourage the exchange and transfer of information and expertise between centres, particularly between developed countries and those in developing countries and countries in transition.
  • Parties will encourage and assist existing wetland education centres, as resources permit, in reviewing the information they present and ensuring that it is serving to promote in suitable ways the Ramsar Convention and its wise use principle, and also encourage and assist centres to foster communication and, where appropriate, participation, among the local wetland management 'actors' and stakeholders.
  • The Ramsar Secretariat, particularly through the CEPA Programme, will encourage National CEPA Focal Points to collaborate with wetland and other education centres, and, as appropriate, include a representative of such centres on Ramsar Wetland CEPA Task Forces or other planning bodies.
  • Parties will seek to involve suitable places of learning, education and training (museums, zoos, aquaria, botanic gardens and related institutions) in national CEPA efforts; encourage the development of wetland-related interpretative exhibits and programmes at such venues, and also facilitate linkages with wetland-based centres.
  • WLI will encourage its network of centres to celebrate World Wetlands Day, and the Ramsar Secretariat will ensure that WWD themes and materials are made available to the WLI network.
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