Resolution VII.9: The Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002

COP7's logo"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

Actions to promote communication, education and public awareness to support implementation of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

1. RECALLING Resolution VI.19 which called for a concerted programme of education and public awareness “to increase the knowledge and understanding of wetland values and benefits and so develop action towards the conservation and sustainable management of wetland resources”;

2. NOTING General Objective 3 of the Strategic Plan 1997-2002 of the Convention which describes a range of actions designed to allow the Convention “to raise awareness of wetland values and functions throughout the world and at all levels”;

3. RECOGNISING the importance of communication, education and public awareness as central elements of implementing the Ramsar Convention and its Strategic Plan;

4. EXPRESSING THANKS to the participants in the workshop convened by the Ramsar Bureau in September 1998 as follows: Commission on Communication and Education of IUCN - The World Conservation Union; Ghana Wildlife Society; Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN); Water Planet; Water Watch Asia; Watercourse and Project WET; Waterwatch Australia; Wetlands International Specialist Group on Education and Public Awareness; Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust; and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), who contributed significantly to the development of the Convention’s Outreach Programme;

5. FURTHER NOTING that this Conference, in Technical Session III, has considered and discussed in detail the Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002;


6. ADOPTS the Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002 as annexed to this Resolution to provide guidance to Contracting Parties, the Ramsar Bureau, the Convention’s International Organization Partners, local stakeholders and others in the development of appropriate communication, education and public awareness actions to support the implementation of the Convention at the international, regional, national and local levels;

7. REQUESTS all Contracting Parties, in accordance with the Outreach Programme, to nominate, by 31 December 1999, suitable Government and Non-government Focal Points for Wetland Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) to undertake the functions therein specified;

8. FURTHER REQUESTS that the names and contact details for these Focal Points be provided to the Ramsar Bureau as soon as possible in order to create a global network of experts in this field to advance the sharing of knowledge, expertise and resources;

9. URGES, as suggested in the Outreach Programme, that each Contracting Party establish appropriately constituted Task Forces, where no mechanism exists for this purpose (e.g. National Ramsar Committees), to undertake a review of national needs, capacities and opportunities in the field of wetland CEPA, and based on this to formulate their National Wetland CEPA Action Plans for priority activities which consider the international, regional, national and local needs;

10. ENCOURAGES Contracting Parties to seek to have their National Wetland CEPA Action Plans in place by 31 December 2000, and to provide copies of these to the Ramsar Bureau to make available to other Contracting Parties and interested organizations and persons;

11. STRONGLY URGES each Contracting Party to seek to develop and implement their National Wetland CEPA Action Plans as integrated components of their broader environment, biodiversity, wetland and water management policy instruments and programmes, to ensure that communication, education and community awareness are recognised as underpinning the effective delivery of these activities;

12. WARMLY INVITES relevant global programmes which fill the criteria for official International Organization Partners of the Ramsar Convention as per Resolution VII.3 to facilitate future working partnerships and cooperation in advancing implementation of this Outreach Programme;

13. DIRECTS the Ramsar Bureau, as funds and human resources allow, using information and materials provided to it by the national Focal Points for Wetland CEPA in each Contracting Party, to establish as part of the Convention’s Web site a clearing-house for information relating to wetland CEPA;

14. NOTES and ENDORSES the targets set by the Outreach Programme in terms of using the full potential of the Internet and e-mail to assist with wetland CEPA activities and general implementation of the Ramsar Convention, namely that by the year 2000 every Administrative Authority of the Convention should have Internet access and e-mail facilities and then to progressively link these Administrative Authorities with Ramsar site managers, the National Wetland CEPA Focal Points and those facilities dedicated to promoting environmental and wetland education and awareness raising;

15. WELCOMES the growing celebration of World Wetlands Day and Week in a large number of countries, and URGES Contracting Parties to continue, or to begin to use this occasion to bring attention to their achievements and continuing challenges in wetland conservation and wise use;

16. DRAWS ATTENTION to the section of the Outreach Programme which considers formal education and training initiatives, and ENCOURAGES the Administrative Authorities in each Contracting Party to review this in partnership with the relevant Ministry, and to seek participation on their Wetland CEPA Task Forces of a representative from this Ministry and other appropriate expert bodies and organizations;

17. REITERATES ITS STRONG SUPPORT for the Wetlands Link International initiative, a cornerstone of the Outreach Programme, EXPRESSES CONCERN for the lack of significant support for this Programme in the past, and URGES Contracting Parties, International Organization Partners of the Convention, regional and national NGOs, and potential sponsors to reassess their priorities in an effort to mobilise resources to see this initiative fulfil its potential;

18. CALLS UPON multilateral and bilateral donors, and private sector sponsors to recognise the value and importance of supporting activities directed at promoting enhanced communication, education and public awareness, and the recovery, preservation and dissemination, where appropriate, of traditional knowledge and skills relating to wetlands, and to allocate funds specifically for the preparation of National Wetland CEPA Action Plans.[*]

[* In this context, also note paragraph 18 of Resolution VII.28 on Financial and Budgetary Matters, which reads: “DECIDES to establish a Voluntary Fund for the Convention’s Outreach Programme, REQUESTS the Standing Committee to prepare and adopt the Terms of Reference for the Fund at its annual meeting in 1999; and INVITES Contracting Parties, NGOs, foundations, the private sector and other institutions to contribute to the Fund.” ]


The Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002

Actions to promote communication, education and public awareness to support implementation of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

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