Resolution VIII.30: Regional initiatives for the further implementation of the Convention
|"Wetlands: water, life, and culture"|
8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002
1. RECOGNIZING the importance of regional initiatives in promoting the objectives of the Convention in general and in implementing the Ramsar Strategic Plan in particular, as they can build upon bio-geographic commonalities, shared wetland systems and wetland-dependent species, and solidly established common social and cultural links;
2. CONSIDERING that the Convention, through its provisions under Article 5 as elaborated by the Guidelines for international cooperation under the Ramsar Convention (Resolution VII.19), provides the appropriate framework for promoting international collaboration among Parties and other partners;
3 ACKNOWLEDGING the positive, catalytic, and decisive role of international collaboration in planning and providing technical and financial support for projects and activities with that aim;
4. RECOGNIZING in this context that a framework guidance on the development of and support for regional initiatives to implement the Convention will be useful;
5. RECALLING Resolution VII.22 on "Collaborative structure for Mediterranean wetlands" and COP Recommendations 5.14 and 6.11 on the Mediterranean Wetland Initiative (MedWet), and ACKNOWLEDGING that MedWet can be a model example of such regional initiatives;
6. TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that following Decision SC25-31 of the Standing Committee a Coordination Unit for MedWet has been established in Athens, Greece, in 2001 under the authority of the Secretary General of the Convention, with the financial support of the Greek Government; and
7. FURTHER TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that the Government of Greece has offered to continue hosting and contributing financially to the operation of the MedWet Coordination Unit in Athens for the triennium 2003-2005;
THE CONFERENCE OF THE CONTRACTING PARTIES
8. ENDORSES the Guidance for the development of Regional Initiatives in the framework of the Convention on Wetlands presented in Annex I to this Resolution;
9. CONSIDERS appropriate the inclusion of a budget line "Support to Regional Initiatives", when one or more regional initiatives are evaluated by the COP, in accordance with the above Guidance, as worthy for financial support from the Convention core budget;
10. CALLS UPON Contracting Parties to take into consideration the Guidance referred to in paragraph 8 when launching and developing a regional initiative;
11. APPROVES, within this context and for the years 2003-2005, the financial support from the Convention core budget to be provided to the MedWet Initiative as reflected in the MedWet Coordination Unit Budget 2003-2005, presented in Annex II of this Resolution;
12. RECOGNIZES the critical importance of financial and political support from Contracting Parties of the region to the MedWet Initiative, and especially from the host country of its Coordination Unit; EXPRESSES ITS SINCERE GRATITUDE to the Government of Greece for hosting the MedWet Unit in Athens, including the provision of adequate office space and financial resources to cover all other expenses during 2001 and 2002; and ACCEPTS the generous offer of the Government of Greece to continue providing office facilities and financial support during the triennium 2003-2005 for the same purpose;
13. APPROVES the budget of the MedWet Coordination Unit as contained in Annex II of this Resolution;
14. AUTHORIZES the Secretary General to conclude, taking due account of the Guidance and in consultation with the Chair of the Standing Committee, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Greek Government with regard to the specific financial and institutional arrangement of the MedWet Coordination Unit in Athens for the years 2003-2005, and DIRECTS the Secretary General to report to the Standing Committee on the conclusion and implementation of this MoU; and
15. REQUESTS the Secretary General to ensure that the experience of the MedWet Coordination Unit and its partners will be at the disposal of other regional initiatives as required and in the most appropriate form.
Guidance for the development of regional initiatives in the
framework of the Convention on Wetlands
1. The overall aim of regional initiatives should be to promote the objectives of the Convention in general and to implement the Ramsar Strategic Plan in particular, through regional and subregional cooperation on wetland-related issues of common concern.
2. Regional and subregional initiatives should be based on a bottom-up approach. As a matter of priority, the involvement of as many as possible Contracting Parties of the region or subregion(s) covered by the new initiative should be sought from the start.
3. Each initiative should entail the participation, from the start, not only of the Administrative Authorities responsible for the application of the Convention in the Contracting Parties involved, but also of all other relevant stakeholders with an interest in and directly or indirectly responsible for wetland issues, including the ministries responsible for the environment and water issues, intergovernmental bodies, NGOs, academia, and economic actors.
4. A regional initiative should base its operation on the development of networks of collaboration established upon clearly defined terms of reference, thus creating an enabling environment for the involvement of all stakeholders at all levels.
5. At an early stage, a regional initiative should seek collaboration with other intergovernmental or international partners operating in its region, by establishing complementary and non-duplicative activities.
6. The operation of a regional initiative should be based upon strong scientific and technical backing, provided by relevant institutions which should be recognized as partners in the initiative.
7. The strategic and operational targets of a regional initiative should be fully aligned with the Strategic Plan of the Convention by means of policy and site technical work and activities.
FINANCIAL AND OTHER SUPPORT
8. A regional initiative requires both political and financial support from Contracting Parties and other partners from the region. A substantial support from the host country is especially important if a regional office is to be established.
9. The launching of a regional or subregional initiative should rely upon secured start-up funding for planned activities and projects.
10. Financial support from the Convention's core budget, should the Conference of the Parties so decide, will be provided for a pre-determined period of time - in principle not more than three years. After such a period, the support should be phased out. A regional initiative should generate its own resources and should become financially self-sufficient in the long term. When deciding financial support from the Convention's core budget, geographically equitable distribution should be taken into account.
11. Regional initiatives should establish their own advisory mechanisms, involving all the stakeholders, in order to provide guidance and insight. The Conference of the Parties and the Standing Committee shall receive, through the Ramsar Bureau, reports on their activities and shall oversee their general policies relating to the implementation of the Convention.
12. Specific arrangements as to the coordination between a regional initiative and the Convention should be worked out by the Ramsar Bureau under the guidance of the Standing Committee, and such arrangements should ultimately be approved by the Conference of the Parties.
MedWet Coordination Unit Budget 2003-2005
1. Host country (
2. Ramsar core budget (budget line 3)
3. MedWet Countries
Notes on income
1. Contribution by the Host Country (Greece), as proposed in the letter of the Minister of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works to the Secretary General of the Convention, dated 17 July 2002.
2. Contribution from the Ramsar core budget for the triennium 2003-2005 (budget line 3 - Support to regional initiatives)
3. Additional annual contributions from the Contracting Parties participating in MedWet earmarked to cover the costs of the MedWet Unit (see table 1 with the list of contributions for 2003).
MedWet Coordination Unit Budget 2003-2005
Policy Officer (50%)
Programme development officer
Office administrative assistant
EXPERTS & CONSULTANTS
General expenses / utilities
Equipment purchase / maintenance
Notes on expenditure
1. Positions 1a and 1b are currently covered by the financial contribution of the host country (Greece).
2. Positions 1c and 1d are currently covered by the host country (Greece) through a secondment by the Greek Biotope Wetland Centre (EKBY).
3. A 4 3% annual increase in gross salaries is foreseen for cost of living and performance-related salary increases.
Table 1: Additional contributions earmarked for MedWet Unit costs
Name of Country
corrected for min CHF450
corrected for min CHF450
corrected for min CHF450
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Syrian Arab Republic
Note: This table is calculated using the UN scale of contributions for 2003. The calculations for 2004 and 2005 are only indicative; the exact numbers will be calculated on the basis of the UN scale for each year, when it is known. Minimum contribution is set to 450 Swiss Francs.