Memorandum of Cooperation with the Global Nature Fund


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Memorandum of Cooperation


The Convention on Wetlands
(Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

and the

Global Nature Fund (GNF)


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 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.

Global Nature Fund is a leading international non-profit NGO focusing on conservation and protection of the natural resources, chiefly lakes and wetlands all over the world. Global Nature Fund is making an active contribution to the protection of shallow lake and wetland ecosystems, and the human communities that depend on them, by promoting the wise use of the wetland resources which constitute their life support system.

With regard to wetlands and water resources management, the launch of Global Nature Fund's Living Lakes network in 1998, created a global initiative for the restoration of the health of the world's lakes and wetlands. Through this partnership of more than 40 lake conservation organizations worldwide, an outstanding source of information and expertise for the conservation and wise use of freshwater environments has been established. It is clear that Global Nature Fund and the Convention on Wetlands share the common goal of the conservation and wise use of wetlands and freshwater ecosystems for people and nature, and that to meet this goal will require enhanced and concerted actions at all levels (international, national, local), and between all sectors (governmental, non-governmental, corporate, public and private).

The Convention on Wetlands and the Global Nature Fund 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 Global Nature Fund share similar conservation goals and the positive cooperation between the two institutions to date has been expressed through a range of conjoint 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 Global Nature Fund agree the following:

Article 1. Mechanisms for Programme Cooperation

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

B - The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands and Global Nature Fund 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 Global Nature Fund are respectively the Secretary General and the President, 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 on-going 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 currently in force and will be reviewed annually or at the request of either party.

B - Global Nature Fund and the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands will communicate agreement on common areas with their respective networks, and Global Nature Fund 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 Global Nature Fund 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)
Marion Hammel-Resch
Global Nature Fund

[29 September 2004]


Joint activities in the framework of the operational objectives of the Strategic Plan

General Objective 1. The wise use of wetlands:
The Parties agree to collaborate in order to promote the knowledgeable management, conservation, and wise use of wetlands.

General Objective 2. Wetlands of International Importance:
Where sites within the sphere of influence of the Global Nature Fund are not Wetlands of International Importance, but have the potential so to be, the Global Nature Fund shall work with the Contracting Party and the Secretariat to achieve the listing of such sites.

General Objective 3. International cooperation:
Through its Living Lakes programme, the Global Nature Fund shall help to promote the objectives of the Convention on Wetlands, as far as is compatible between the objectives of both organizations.

General Objective 4. Implementation capacity:
The Parties agree to establish appropriate links between their Web sites.
Both Parties agree to seek opportunities to develop and support programmes, projects, and publications of mutual interest.
The Global Nature Fund shall endeavour to support the Ramsar Contracting Parties in their work, i.e. through dissemination of information and technical materials, promoting the Convention in appropriate forums and promoting the wise use of Ramsar Guidelines as well as raising awareness of wetlands and their values, including the promotion of the World Wetland Day.

General Objective 5. Membership:
The Global Nature Fund shall work with the Convention Secretariat where it seems appropriate to encourage membership of the Convention from non-party states which are active within the Living Lakes programme.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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