Memorandum of Cooperation between Ramsar and International Ocean Institute


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Memorandum of Cooperation


The Convention on Wetlands
(Ramsar, Iran, 1971)


The International Ocean Institute (IOI)


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 Ramsar Convention covers all types of wetlands from the mountains to the sea, including areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary; with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including near marine areas.

The Convention is founded on three pillars:

1. Promoting wise use of wetlands,
2. Developing international co-operation, and
3. 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.

The IOI is an international, non-government, non-profit organization consisting of a network of Operational Centres located all around the world committed to:

  • Implementing the Law of the Sea Convention, agenda 21, WSSD action plan, and achieving the MDGs through the good governance of the Ocean;
  • Monitoring implementation of international conventions and agreements so they relate to the Ocean;
  • Participating in and contributing to the evolving policy dialogue on the Ocean in the United Nations System and other international fora;
  • Raising awareness of the peaceful uses of the Ocean, its protection and conservation as well as the sustainable development of its resources;
  • Engaging in the dissemination of information, the sharing and transfer of knowledge and experience.

The Convention on Wetlands and the IOI recognize the fundamental role played by wetlands, particularly in coastal zones and near shore areas, 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 the IOI share similar conservation goals and have similar interests notably in research, training courses, and dissemination of information. They declare their interest in establishing cooperation between the two organizations and in establishing specific mechanisms for enhancing synergies and partnerships to achieve common goals, whilst avoiding duplication of effort, especially with reference to the Ramsar Convention Strategic Plan.

Therefore, the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands and the IOI agree the following:

Article 1. Mechanisms for Programme Cooperation

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

B - The Secretariats of the Convention on Wetlands and the IOI 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 the IOI are respectively the Secretary General and the Executive Director, 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 - The IOI and the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands will communicate agreement on common areas with their respective networks, and the IOI 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 the IOI 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 Co-operation.

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.

Dr Awni Behnam
International Ocean Institute

Dr Peter Bridgewater
Secretary General
Convention on Wetlands
(Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

Done at: Beijing

Date: [17 October 2006]


Joint activities in the framework of the operational objectives of the Strategic Plan, and of the of the operational objectives of the Strategic Plan as outlined in the strategies presented in Resolution IX.8 Streamlining the implementation of the Strategic Plan of the Convention 2003-08.

The activities listed below all contribute to one or more of the five operational objectives of the Ramsar Strategic Plan:

  • General Objective 1. The wise use of wetlands;
  • General Objective 2. Wetlands of International Importance;
  • General Objective 3. International co-operation;
  • General Objective 4. Implementation capacity;
  • General Objective 5. Membership.

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat and IOI will advocate compliance with and respect of the governance instruments and practices that contribute to the sustainable use and protection of coasts, wetlands and oceans and their resources.

IOI will integrate the work of its Operational Centres in support and management of Ramsar sites in relevant countries or regions.

The Ramsar Secretariat and IOI will regularly share information and outputs of their respective activities, including work programmes, newsletters, yearbooks, conferences and workshops proceedings. In order to enable the implementation of these actions, the parties agree to exchange their lists of distribution.

Ramsar and the IOI will mention the other organization in their respective web sites, and will include relevant links.

IOI and Ramsar will make use of the IOI training programmes on ocean governance by providing the IOI Ocean Learn mechanism to interested parties, on a cost sharing basis, in order to promote the objectives of the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention Secretariat will prepare an electronic training module to be added to IOI's "Ocean Learn" training module, which is being used by all IOI Centres around the world.

IOI and Ramsar will hold joint workshops and seminars, undertake co-sponsorship and co-organize meetings/training programmes for the promotion and enhancement of stakeholders' awareness, knowledge enrichment and extension of common fields of action.

IOI and Ramsar will undertake joint fundraising efforts to secure the funding required for Ramsar's effective participation in IOI's training courses.

IOI and Ramsar will publicize their cooperation at international meetings and events attended by both parties, consult each other on tasks and activities of common interest and, when so required, enter into special consultations with a view to determining the most appropriate ways and means of ensuring the highest effective co-operation.

The parties to this agreement will make use of the IOI Ocean Yearbook for publication of research papers relating to the interests of the Ramsar Convention.

The Ramsar Secretariat, in cooperation with its Regional Centre for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere (CREHO), will seek to identify possibilities of helping with the translation of the "Ocean Learn" training module into Spanish, in order to disseminate it to a wide Spanish-speaking audience.

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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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