Resolution VII.19: Guidelines for international cooperation under the Ramsar Convention
"People and Wetlands: The Vital Link"
7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971),
San José, Costa Rica, 10-18 May 1999
1. RECALLING Article 5 of the Convention which obliges Contracting Parties to "consult each other about implementing obligations arising from the Convention especially in the case of wetlands extending over the territories of more than one Contracting Party or where the water system is shared by Contracting Parties. They shall at the same time endeavour to coordinate and support present and future policies and regulations concerning the conservation of wetlands and their flora and fauna";[note]
2. AWARE of the previous Resolutions and Recommendations relating to international cooperation adopted by previous Conferences of the Contracting Parties, and most notably, Resolutions 4.4, VI.9 and VI.10 and Recommendations 1.2, 3.4, 3.5, 4.11, 4.12, 4.13, 5.4, 5.5, 6.4 and 6.16;
3. RECOGNISING that the Strategic Plan of the Convention 1997-2002, through General Objective 7, prescribes a range of priority actions relating to international cooperation;
4. RECOGNISING IN PARTICULAR Action 7.3.4 of the Strategic Plan of the Convention which directs that the Standing Committee and the Ramsar Bureau should "develop, for consideration at a Technical Session of the 7th COP (1999), guidelines for Contracting Parties on how to carry out their obligations in the field of international cooperation, particularly as regards obligations concerning national funding agencies which provide assistance that may affect wetlands in developing countries";
5. EXPRESSING thanks to those Contracting Parties and others that contributed to the development of the Guidelines for international cooperation under the Ramsar Convention and, in particular, the Global Environment Network for the preparation of the resource paper on development assistance presented to Technical Session V of this Conference;
6. NOTING WITH APPROVAL the success of the internship programme within the Ramsar Bureau as an illustration of international cooperation and training initiatives;
7. ACKNOWLEDGING the achievements of the Small Grants Fund (Resolution VII.5), yet EXPRESSING CONCERN that this significant mechanism for international cooperation under the Convention is unable to support all of the suitable projects submitted by eligible Contracting Parties each year; and
8. NOTING that the Guidelines for international cooperation under the Ramsar Convention are closely linked to a number of the other decisions of this Conference and in particular to the following: partnerships with international organizations (Resolution VII.3); partnerships and cooperation with other conventions, including harmonised information management infrastructures (Resolution VII.4); the Ramsar Convention’s Outreach Programme (Resolution VII.9); integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management (Resolution VII.18); and multilateral cooperation on the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the Asia-Pacific region (Recommendation 7.3);
THE CONFERENCE OF THE CONTRACTING PARTIES
9. RECOMMENDS the Guidelines for international cooperation under the Ramsar Convention (as annexed) and URGES all Contracting Parties to consider their implementation, adapting them as necessary to suit national situations;
10. CALLS UPON Contracting Parties in their implementation of these Guidelines to give special attention to:
i. identifying shared wetlands, river basins and wetland-dependent species and supporting initiatives directed at the management of these in cooperation with other Contracting Parties and organizations, as appropriate (Guidelines, Section A, 1-3, and Section B, 1-4);
ii. harmonising the implementation of the Ramsar Convention with that of other appropriate regional and international environmental conventions and working cooperatively with international programmes and organizations in pursuing the actions recommended in these Guidelines (Guidelines, Section C, 1-2);
iii. intensifying efforts, especially the application of site twinning arrangements, which are designed to share expertise and information and provide training for those people directly involved with wetland conservation and wise use activities (Guidelines, Section D, 1-4);
iv. undertaking the range of actions recommended in the Guidelines to raise the level and effectiveness of international development assistance programmes directed at the long term conservation and sustainable use of wetlands (Guidelines, Section E, 1-15), in accordance with national plans and priorities;
v. reviewing all aspects of international trade in wetland-derived products and taking any actions needed to ensure that such harvesting is sustainable (Guidelines, Section F, 1-7), taking into account discussions in more relevant fora;
vi. ensuring that all foreign investment activities relating to wetlands within the country are subject to impact assessments, promoting Codes of Conduct for the business sector in this regard and considering the introduction of measures which will permit resources derived from wetland-related development activities to contribute to the long-term management of the resource (Guidelines, Section G, 1-3).
11. ENCOURAGES Contracting Parties to consider as part of their established, or evolving, policy and legal frameworks relating to wetlands these Guidelines and the issues they address, in full (Resolutions VII.6 and VII.7);
12. INVITES Contracting Parties to provide the resources needed to expand the internship programme of the Ramsar Bureau as a high-priority training tool for the citizens of developing countries and those with economies in transition;
13. URGES Contracting Parties, international organizations, and the business sector to escalate their efforts to provide the resources needed in terms of the amounts pledged and commitment over a longer period, for instance a triennium, to allow the Ramsar Small Grants Fund to support all of the many worthy projects which are submitted each year; and
14. REQUESTS the Ramsar Bureau, with assistance from Contracting Parties and the Convention’s International Organization Partners, to gather and disseminate model Codes of Conduct for the business sector undertaking activities in association with wetlands.
Implementing Article 5 of the Convention
Note to Resolution VII.19: Turkey registered a reservation concerning the content of the last part of paragraph 8 of the preamble of the Resolution and of sections 1.1(b), 2.1.1, 2.1.2 and items A2 and A3, together with the title, of the box containing Section A, of the Guidelines. Turkey declared that, consequently, it will not consider that Resolution VII.19 is a legally binding document, as far as the above-mentioned points are concerned. The full text of the declaration by the Turkish Delegation appears in paragraph 135 of the Conference Report.