Ramsar signs Memo of Cooperation with Cartagena Convention


It will be recalled that Ramsar Resolutions VII.4, VII.18, and VII.27 (Action 7.2.8 of the Convention Work Plan) recognized the strategic importance of mutual cooperation between the Regional Seas Conventions and the Ramsar Bureau in the conservation and wise use of wetlands at the regional level, as well as of extending participation in the Ramsar Convention to the small island developing states.

In furtherance of that goal, at ceremonies yesterday (1 May 2000) at the International Environment House in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, and Mr Nelson Andrade, Regional Coordinator for the United Nation Environment Programme's Caribbean Action Plan, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation intended to help Contracting Parties to the Conventions to identify and strengthen conservation of those sites of international importance that are relevant to both Conventions.

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At the signing ceremony, Geneva, 1 May: Nelson Andrade, Caribbean Action Plan Regional Coordinator; Fritz Schlingemann, UNEP European Director; Delmar Blasco, Ramsar Secretary General (Photo: M. Katz)

The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, known as the Cartagena Convention from its place of adoption in Colombia in 1983, came into force in 1986 and, through its secretariat, serves to facilitate the direction and coordination of the legal implementation of the Caribbean Action Plan. Its SPAW Protocol (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife) provides for the protection of special coastal and marine areas and wildlife, and the LBS Protocol (on Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities) proposes to prevent, reduce, and control marine pollution in the Wider Caribbean Region (defined in the treaty as "the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the areas of the Atlantic Ocean adjacent thereto, south of 30 deg north latitude and within 200 nautical miles of the Atlantic coasts of States" [listed elsewhere] (article 2.1).

The new MOC contains a 'Statement of Work' which itemizes eight areas of intended cooperation and information sharing, all intended to assist in identifying potential wetlands for nomination as Ramsar sites or as protected areas under the SPAW Protocol, avoiding duplication of efforts and maximizing joint efforts where appropriate, and mutally supporting both Conventions amongst their Parties.

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The signing of the new Memorandum.

The text of the Memorandum of Cooperation.

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From left: Delmar Blasco; Margarita Astrálaga, Ramsar Regional Coordinator for the Americas, who was instrumental in guiding the text of the Memorandum to a successful conclusion; Nelson Andrade. (Photo: M. Katz, Ramsar)

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