35th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

14/12/2006
CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
35th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 14-16 February 2007
Agenda item 14
DOC. SC35-12


COP9 outputs requiring review by SC35:
Review of COP Decisions (Resolution IX.17)

Action requested: The Standing Committee is invited:
- to note the work done on this issue to date;
- to approve the general direction being followed; and
- to comment on the issues arising and the options for types of action that could be taken as next steps and at COP10.

Note from the Ramsar Secretariat. The paper below has been prepared for Standing Committee consideration by Dave Pritchard (RSPB/BirdLife International), as agreed by the Standing Committee at its 34th meeting. This major analysis has been undertaken as part of Mr. Pritchard's periods of secondment in the Secretariat during 2006, with the generous agreement and support of the RSPB (UK).

Contents

- Background, and agreement on the scope of work
- Links to work of the Ramsar Scientific & Technical Review Panel
- Experience of other conventions
- Systematic analysis of Ramsar's 253 COP Decisions to date
- Results of first analysis
- Some discussion issues arising
- Options for action, including for COP10
- Lessons and other thoughts for future Ramsar decision-making

- Annex 1 - Terms of Reference and timelines for Review of COP Decisions (Resolution IX.17), as circulated in August 2006 and agreed by the Standing Committee
- Annex 2 - STRP work programme tasks involving reviews of previous guidance / Resolutions, etc., which need to link with the Resolution IX.17 work on review of COP decisions
- Annex 3 - Resolution IX.17 - Review of the decisions of the Conference of Parties: Thematic tabulation of findings, and suggestions for possible actions

Background, and agreement on the scope of work

1. Resolution IX.17 on Review of the decisions of the Conference of the Contracting Parties asked (para 5) for "a review of the decisions taken since the first Conference of the Parties with a view to identifying specific areas of conflicting advice or policy, redundancy, and differing interpretation or conflict".

2. In discussing this issue, the Standing Committee at its 34th meeting, on 10-13 April 2006, decided as follows:

Decision SC34-10: The Standing Committee welcomed the offer of RSPB to provide time for David Pritchard to undertake, with Secretariat help, an analysis of all Ramsar COP decisions with a view to identifying conflicting advice or policy, redundancies, and superseded mandates, reporting these to the STRP for evaluation, perhaps to IUCN's Environmental Law Centre for legal review, and to the SC for proposal to COP10. This decision is conditional upon the SC's out-of-session agreement on Terms of Reference and a time line for the completion of this task.

3. The proposed Terms of Reference and timeline were circulated to Standing Committee members on 15 August 2006, together with a background document by Mr Pritchard entitled Implementation of Res IX.17 (Review of the decisions of the Conference of Parties) - the emerging approach which discussed aspects of the way forward. Responses were received from a small number of Committee members which offered constructive comments, and there was no disagreement with the Terms of Reference and timeline, which are therefore reproduced as Annex 1 to the present document.

Links to work of the Ramsar Scientific & Technical Review Panel

4. In the current cycle, the work programme of the STRP (see Resolution IX.2) includes a number of items concerning reviews of previous/extant guidance and related technical decision material. In taking forward the present work deriving from Resolution IX.17, care will be taken to make specific linkages with those STRP tasks that may cover related ground. Annex 2 to the present paper identifies the tasks concerned.

Experience of other conventions

5. As part of the work being undertaken, some regard has been had to the approach and experience of other conventions. A useful meeting was held in June 2006 with the responsible staff member in the CITES Secretariat, where consolidation and retiral of decisions is a routine process. CITES' approach in the main is staff-led and quite pragmatic, rather than being heavily legalistic or politicised. The Convention on Biological Diversity, on the other hand, has turned away from consolidation, and after some cycles of retirals, seems uncertain about its way forward on those, too.

6. This research has been useful also for preparing (at a later stage) to consider best approaches to future decision-making in Ramsar (see "Lessons and other thoughts for future Ramsar decision-making" below).

Systematic analysis of Ramsar's 253 COP Decisions to date

7. The working document constructed as the primary tool for the analysis is presented as Annex 3 to the present paper. To compile this, every paragraph of every Ramsar Decision since COP1 (Resolutions and Recommendations, including their appended guidelines and other annexes) has been compared with all subsequent elements in other Decisions, and an opinion then recorded (with reasoning) as to whether the individual element concerned, or the entire section, or the entire decision, could be subject to one of the following actions:

  • retiral, where either (a) the same point is made in a later decision, or (b) the element relates to something time-expired; or
  • consolidation, where now two or more linked decisions exist, with all or (especially) part/s of their content still valid, where the issue concerned would be more coherently comprehended if the valid parts were edited together (and accompanying redundant elements could be retired); or
  • retention, as still valid and not a particular candidate for consolidation.

8. In some cases, two or more decisions on the same topic appear to create a conflict - where this is the case it is identified, and a decision will need to be taken in some appropriate way as to which view should prevail.

9. In addition, in some cases the best course of action may depend on a qualified opinion as to the legal implications of making any change, and in such cases the need for possible legal advice is flagged.

Results of first analysis

10. Across the several hundred decision sub-elements (usually = paragraphs) that have been reviewed, possibilities for retiral have been noted in 158 instances, for consolidation in 75 instances, for conflict in 9 instances and for legal advice in 11 instances (though note that the total number of "instances" of consolidation, conflict or legal advice relate to a smaller total number of issues, i.e., some issues appear in more than one decision). Retention is the default option for any other decision-elements not assigned to one of these categories.

11. Some of the findings of the work so far are only provisional at this stage and/or require more time for more in-depth checking.

12. The description of categories of situation in paras 6-8 is a huge oversimplification. In practice many instances are not as clear-cut as this. Comparison of decisions is complicated by things that appear alike not necessarily being so - for example, different decisions may purport to address the same issue, but one (e.g., the earlier) is couched in more general terms and another, couched in more specific terms, may or may not cover the whole of the scope of what the earlier one contemplated.

13. A number of decisions have requested actions to be completed by the time of a specified meeting of the Conference of Parties. In some of the cases where such completion did not happen and the action is not carried forward by a subsequent decision, this can not necessarily be read as meaning that the decision has lapsed (or alternatively that the deadline can be regarded as implicitly rolled forward), because the true position may be set out elsewhere in the system. Examples include decisions taken by the STRP or Standing Committee to the effect that later events render the original COP mandate no longer appropriate, and that it should be amended or not proceeded with. Hence the present analysis has had to investigate not only COP decisions but also the record of STRP and Standing Committee decisions. The formal reports of COPs have also been researched, as well as reports tabled to COP, e.g., by the Secretary General, since in some cases these reveal an outcome or a change of direction that is not revealed by the sequence of Recommendations and Resolutions alone.

14. The instances of potential conflict identified include the following:

  • both COP3 and COP4 took decisions to "approve" the creation of a permanent Secretariat, when it would seem to be possible to take such a formal mandating decision (for a "permanent" body) only once;
  • both COP3 and COP4 took decisions to establish the Standing Committee, when it would seem to be possible to take such a formal mandating decision (for a "permanent" body) only once;
  • COP4 recommended that countries be regarded as full Parties if they accede and designate a site even if they have not provided a site map, whereas COP6, without rescinding the COP4 decision, decided that a boundary map is required;
  • two different definitions of "monitoring" have been adopted in decisions of COP5 and COP8, without the later one being expressed to replace the earlier one as other "definition" decisions have done;
  • COP1 and COP6 called for the Ramsar Criteria to be kept under review, while COP4 recommended that future changes to the Criteria be minimized (these might express two valid imperatives to be kept in balance, but some potential for conflict is also there).

15. The instances identified where legal advice might potentially be useful include:

  • several cases where the content of a decision has been taken forward into other material, or the action required has been taken (e.g., institutional reforms), and the question would be whether the historical first formal mandate for it may need to remain "on the books" or alternatively can be retired;
  • the issue concerning site maps and accession requirements referred to in paragraph 14 above;
  • an issue concerning the relationship between COP Decisions and the COP Rules of Procedure (see paragraphs 31-37 below);
  • whether a decision-element described as "pursuant to" some adopted framework which is time-expired, should itself be regarded as time-expired solely by virtue of that fact, if in other respects it could be regarded as having some continuing validity (one example cited from COP7);
  • when a decision is repeated in two or more places, and the only difference between them is a (not necessarily intended) use of different operative verbs ("urging", "requesting" and "calling upon" Parties to act, for example), whether these otherwise duplicatory texts are significantly legally different for that reason and must each be retained, or alternatively the earlier duplicates could be retired (this has not been comprehensively analysed across the hundreds of decision-elements; but one example cited concerns elements of a COP3 decision which appear again in decisions of COPs 4, 6, 7 and 8).

16. In just one or two cases already in the Convention's history, decisions have explicitly been retired. There has been no particular pattern either to the circumstances in which this has been done or the manner in which it has been done. The examples are Resolution VII.2 (on the STRP) which explains that it "replaces" Resolution VI.7, and Resolution IX.13 (on the question of an endowment fund) which "rescinds" either part or all (it is not quite clear which) of Resolution VIII.29.

17. As a qualitative comment on the analysis overall, there seems to have been a slightly greater preponderance of dilemmas, ambiguities and apparent mismatches arising from the corpus of decisions relating to governance and institutional matters than from those relating to scientific and technical matters. It is possible that the scientific and technical processes of the Convention have allowed a more active "cast-back" and "roll-forward" dimension in the drafting of guidance, etc., than has been possible in relation to administrative or more "political" matters. There is no basis for saying anything more than this from the analysis done here; but it may be an interesting dimension to bear in mind in future.

Some discussion issues arising

18. The issues highlighted above concerning potential conflicts and scope for legal advice might be a first priority area for discussion. Some examples of other matters which have arisen, and on which an orientation may need deciding, are mentioned below. In many of these cases, the choice of an approach to take will be a matter of preference rather than of technical considerations. One of the Standing Committee autumn 2006 consultation respondents suggested that development of principles and policy guidance in this area could be beneficial (see "Lessons and other thoughts for future Ramsar decision-making" below).

19. Issue (a). One such question, which may have a legal dimension but equally is probably a matter of what policy the Parties wish to adopt, concerns how punctilious to be in general in judging that a phrase or a sentiment in a decision is the same as or different from a phrase or sentiment in another decision. Some language approximations occur, to a degree, through official translation of decision texts. In addition, in some cases it would probably be common ground that different wordings have been used within one language but at different times, for things where clearly the same meaning was intended. On the other hand, there are occasions where a precise choice of a particular word embodies a deliberate balance and negotiation of some kind, and it should not be interpreted in an "approximate" way when comparing texts.

20. Experience and knowledge of which of these scenarios is likely to be the case in a given instance is critical for this whole process. External legal or other assistance may be required at some stage to complete the task defined by Resolution IX.17, but it will be important to integrate it with "inside knowledge" on this kind of dimension.

21. In the analysis conducted so far, a degree of pragmatism has been applied to this, using an awareness of where one or other of these attitudes seems most relevant. On the whole the tendency has been to err in favour of caution, since a more liberal approach could be applied to the results later, but it would be harder to make a correction in the reverse direction. A key methodological safeguard in this regard has been to analyse decisions according to quite finely-divided sub-elements.

22. Issue (b). A similar kind of "inside knowledge" will be important for any decisions about retiral of preambular elements. Some approaches elsewhere regard preambles of historical decisions as more or less dispensable in later years. This is true for many Ramsar COP decisions, too, but there are also instances where a preamble contains a fundamental statement of principle or captures a policy turning-point, which may not be apparent except to those with a political understanding of the inner working of the Convention, and these should be retained. (In a few instances there are also preambular statements which should perhaps more properly have been included in operative paragraphs, and vice versa - this is an issue for "lessons learned" on effective approaches to decision drafting, dealt with later in this paper below).

23. Issue (c). Reference has been made above to instances where the outcome of an issue is to be discovered not in a COP decision but in a decision of another Convention body, usually the Standing Committee or STRP. This produces situations where an earlier COP decision is not expressly superseded by a later one, but logically should be treated as having either de facto lapsed or de facto been rolled forward beyond its original time-limit. In general, in the case of lapsing, whether such a scenario is a sufficient basis for deciding that a decision is no longer valid and can be retired, may merit some discussion. (For an example, see the entry in Annex 3 relating to Resolution VII.10).

24. Issue (d). In relation to one particular kind of decision, namely those relating to issues at specific sites, the following comment is made in the analysis document: "A general decision should be taken about what approach to take to these 'specific sites' Resolutions/Recommendations. Many of the specific concerns and requested actions will be no longer current; but discovering the true situation in that regard will depend to a large extent on materials such as National Reports to subsequent COPs, Advisory Mission reports and general correspondence, etc., rather than necessarily being contained in subsequent COP decision texts. Some elements, such as expressions of concern about a particular instance of damage or loss, or approval of positive steps that have been taken, remain as a valid record of the COP's view of past events. Some sites or cases feature in several successive COP decisions as a long-running story advances, but the 'audit trail' of that story may be useful to retain, even if some messages are repeated. An option would therefore be to propose leaving such Resolutions/Recommendations 'on the books' in their original form." Again an attitude should probably be struck on the principle of this.

25. Issue (e). Potential for consolidation of decision-elements has been identified in a considerable number of instances, not surprisingly. Some options for ways of taking this forward are presented in paragraph 41 below. First of all, though, it could be useful to clarify a general view on the overall scale of consolidation that might be desirable.

26. Parties in the past have had some understandable hesitation about this, and the previous call for consolidation (Resolution VI.11) was never implemented. A paper tabled at COP7 in 1999 (COP7 DOC 13.1) later picked up the issue (at a time when there were only 120 adopted decisions in place, compared to the 253 in place now). The paper reported on the establishment instead of a "key concepts index", maintained on the Ramsar Web site (http://ramsar.org/index_keyword.htm). Although no specific decision was taken by COP7, it accepted the index as a helpful step.

27. Some of the comments received from Standing Committee members in relation to the present exercise (during the consultation round in August-September 2006) have advocated such an indexing/cross-referencing tool (though not necessarily as an alternative to other measures), and it is possible that awareness of the existing indexes (http://ramsar.org/index_keyword.htm and http://www.ramsar.org/index_global.htm) could be better promoted. Maintenance of such tools of course requires time and resources, and a caveat is required on the present index that it is not fully up to date (post COP9) and has some other gaps. It should be noted that the Ramsar Wise Use Handbooks have also collated thematically linked decisions in a way which also contributes to the general aim expressed in Resolution VI.11.

28. Work on proper consolidation would obviously also have resource implications. On the other hand, a full statement of the potential benefits has never been provided, and something of this kind could be well worth drawing up. Examples of such benefits would include:

  • better comprehension of the COP's decisions;
  • considerable streamlining (shortening) of the decision material that Parties would have to have regard to, as being currently in effect;
  • clearer awareness of some important historical decisions which are still in effect but may have lacked visibility in recent years.

29. Issue (f). One type of decision that technically could be regarded as time-limited, but where there may be a "political" judgement to make about what approach to take, is the type that expresses thanks, e.g., to a host country for hosting a COP. As noted in the analysis table, on the one hand Parties are no less thankful at a later date than they were at the time of adopting the Resolution, so such decisions are not "redundant" in that sense; but on the other hand these decisions have no real relevance to ongoing implementation of the Convention. (In some cases they are mixed together with more substantive issues, but that is a different matter and the action to take in respect of those issues should be considered on the merits of each case.)

30. A similar case relates to a specific decision of thanks to a departing Secretary General. Although of only historical interest and with no operative parts, there may be a wish to retain it, and again a decision about the best political course of action might be desirable. (For an example, see Resolution VI.8.) There has not been consistent treatment of this kind of issue over the years - retiral would render that fact irrelevant, but retention would raise an issue about deciding what (consistent) approach to take in future to such decisions.

31. Issue (g). The Resolution IX.17 review is analyzing Resolutions and Recommendations. COPs also adopt other decisions, for example to agree the agenda, set up committees, accept credentials, etc. These are properly beyond the scope of the Resolution IX.17 exercise, and properly not adopted as Resolutions or Recommendations, because they have effect only for the duration of the individual COP and expire automatically at the end of that COP.

32. One such decision-type is different, however, namely the decision which agrees Rules of Procedure for the COP. There are three respects in which this is more akin to a Resolution/Recommendation:

i) It has effect after the COP in being the intersessional source of operating principles for the Standing Committee, since the SC follows the COP Rules mutatis mutandis;

ii) In practice each COP does not originate its Rules de novo, but starts from the text of the preceding COP's Rules and makes any amendments felt necessary (in effect the Parties are agreeing Rules for COPs in general, which can be amended later if required);

iii) Resolutions and Recommendations have been adopted which relate to issues within the scope of the Rules of Procedure (e.g., Recommendatioin 5.15, Resolution VI.15).

33. In relation to point (ii) above, Rule 1 of the Rules sets them up to be adopted by each COP at the start of the meeting - it reads as follows:

"These rules of procedure shall apply to any meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) convened in accordance with article 6 of the Convention, subject to their adoption by consensus at the start of each meeting of the Conference of the Parties."

34. As a result of point (iii) above, an analysis of redundancies and duplications, etc., in COP decisions, such as the current Resolution IX.17 work, must embrace Rules of Procedure decisions as well as Resolutions and Recommendations.

35. Point (ii)/para 3 above is not too dissimilar to the situation with adoption of decisions such as that setting out the modus operandi for the STRP, which continues in effect until such time as a subsequent COP may wish to amend it - yet that particular decision is effected through a Resolution.

36. These considerations thus raise a question as to whether Rules of Procedure decisions might more logically be adopted as Resolutions in future.

37. Incidentally, irrespective of the view taken on this, the general point made in para 31 above is an enduring reason why it is valid in Ramsar to speak about "decisions", "Resolutions", and "Recommendations" as distinct terms with specific meanings ("decision" perhaps being best seen as a generic term which includes the other two plus those other decisions made by COP which are neither of these two types).

38. Issue (h). Although the original analysis reported here was done according to a chronological method, the results in Annex 3 present COP decisions in thematic groupings. The topic categories were chosen as those which have been the most helpful and logical for seeing the picture that emerges and the actions that might be appropriate; but it may be worth explicitly confirming that this works well for new readers before advancing with it as the structure for future work.

39. The principle of thematic listings, both through the key concepts index (see above) and Annex 3 to the present paper, was welcomed by one of the Standing Committee autumn 2006 consultation respondents, with the suggestion that this part of the current work could be a useful resource in its own right.

Options for action, including for COP10

40. A number of possible action steps (and in some cases options for choices to make) are now apparent, and these are given below. There may of course be others, and the Standing Committee's suggestions will be welcome. Note that highlighted possibilities in Annex 3 for retiral and consolidation, etc., relate in most cases to specific sections of a decision, since rarely do the same considerations apply to every element of a decision unless it is one of the Resolutions or Recommendations that are very brief.

41. Actions could be taken to:

  • obtain legal advice on the issues highlighted as possibly needing it, or on any others recommended by the Standing Committee;
  • decide an attitude of principle concerning some of the issues of principle outlined in the present paper;
  • promote the thematically-grouped listing of decisions in Annex 3 to the present paper more widely, referring also to the Ramsar Web site's Key Concepts Index and to the content of the Wise Use Handbooks series;
  • draw up a list or index of decision elements regarded as currently still in effect (i.e., the inverse of the list of retiral possibilities, without actually effecting any formal retirals);
  • decide on and implement a process for possible retirals of decisions or "decision-elements", which could for example consist of:

    o presenting for COP approval a list of proposed retirals (the individual texts of which would be retained in an archive) - with attention to any consequential amendments required for comprehension in the retained portions of the decisions concerned);
    o processing such retirals for a selected block of decisions at one time (for manageability/feasibility reasons) - e.g., at COP10 deal with those arising from COPs 1-3, at COP11 deal with those arising from COPs 4-7, and so on; OR
    o attempting to achieve as much of a "clean sweep" as possible across the history of the Convention on the first occasion;

  • decide on and implement a process for possible consolidation of decisions or "decision-elements", which could for example consist of:

    o proceeding opportunistically, using the occasion of any new Resolution on a relevant topic to enact the recommended consolidation of previous material on that topic, expressly retiring the "old" material, and dealing with such old material in ways suggested below; OR
    o proceeding more proactively, presenting for COP approval a set of Resolutions which would be consolidations of those texts which merit it;
    o retiring (to an archive) the texts from which the new consolidations were derived;
    o appending an "audit trail" of cross-references to the source-passages in each case;
    o progressing with a feasible block of material at each future COP (if enacting all the consolidations identified here constitutes more work than would be feasible for COP10), dealing with particular subject-areas/clusters at a time (as opposed to particular time-periods at a time, cf. the suggestion for retirals above); OR
    o attempting to achieve as much of a "clean sweep" as possible across the history of the Convention in a package of consolidations developed for presentation to COP11;

  • distil lessons emerging from the work done under Resolution IX.17 into suggestions for "good practice" in decision-making under the Ramsar Convention in future (see below).

Lessons and other thoughts for future Ramsar decision-making

42. In the course of the present work, some perspective has been gained on which approaches to crafting COP decisions are more likely or less likely to lead to difficulties in future when considering which elements have continuing effect and which have been overtaken. Similarly, benefits and disbenefits can be identified among different approaches to decision-crafting in areas that have already been the subject of many previous decisions.

43. Examples of more helpful practice include:

  • not mixing together items which are time-limited with items that are more enduring or open-ended, especially not in the same paragraph;
  • being very explicit about when a decision is designed to supersede an earlier one;
  • treating consistently from one period to another the types of decision that are bound to recur (e.g., budget adoption, issues at specific sites, thanks to hosts, etc.);
  • observing a consistent and logical rationale for deciding which items should be preambular and which should be substantive;
  • ensuring that "audit-trails" for actions mandated by COP decisions come back to the COP and do not end in other more hard-to-discover places;
  • having a systematic process during drafting phases (prior to and during COPs) for checking compatibility of elements across decisions, both "sideways" within the different proposals for one COP and "backwards" to decisions of previous COPs.

44. Further experience from other conventions, and aspects of Ramsar's own deliberations under the process instituted by Resolution VIII.45, will also be relevant to these lines of thinking.

45. The comments above are intended only to introduce this dimension, and it has not been possible at this stage to present any fuller treatment of it. It is however seen as an integral and highly important part of the issue, and the intention would be for an additional paper on this to be developed and circulated to the Standing Committee for comment later in 2007. It is hoped that Dave Pritchard would be willing and able to assist with this as a continuation of his work on this issue so far. A possible culmination of this might be that some "principles of good practice for effective decision-making" could be presented for consideration by COP10.


Annex 1

Terms of Reference and timelines for Review of COP Decisions (Resolution IX.17), as circulated in August 2006 and agreed by the Standing Committee

1. Ensuring discussion at the STRP, to flag potential linkages with tasks in the Panel's work programme involving reviews of aspects of scientific & technical guidance (to identify duplications, conflicts, scope for consolidation etc) - completed, at STRP 13 meeting.

2. Scoping discussions with Secretariat Communications Officer D Peck, including researching history of the action taken by the Secretariat in response to Resolution VI.11 on consolidation of Recommendations and Resolutions of the Conference of Parties - June 2006 (completed).

3. Researching approaches taken by other relevant MEAs to similar mandates from their COPs, as appropriate - June 2006, including meetings with relevant staff of other MEA Secretariats as appropriate, from then on (partly undertaken).

4. Research and establish links, where relevant, with other information management initiatives such as the UNEP Issue-based Modules and other MEA knowledge management projects - June - August 2006, including attendance at the UNEP KM series of meetings in June 2006 (largely completed but aspects on-going).

5. Research and analysis, indexing and drafting of recommendations* - during 2006 and 2007, using in particular D E Pritchard secondment phases in June 2006 and October 2006 (and possibilities for 2007 to be explored).

*Note: It is anticipated that recommendations will indicate decisions that could be taken at COP10 to retire Resolutions/Recommendations (or parts thereof) that are clearly redundant. Concerning the separate issue of possibilities for consolidation, recommendations will be made concerning possible ways forward, illustrated with examples. There may also be recommendations to make concerning approaches to future COP decision-making which would help to minimize redundancies and duplications.

6. Progress report to SC35, February 2007 - including confirmation of the methodology .

7. Commissioning and incorporation of external legal advice if required and requested by SC, mid-2007.

8. Integration of findings as appropriate with relevant guidance review tasks of STRP, as mentioned in (2) above, as per timelines in STRP work plan.

9. Final report and recommendations to Standing Committee 36 and COP 10, 2008.


Annex 2

STRP work programme tasks involving reviews of previous guidance/Resolutions etc, which need to link with the Resolution IX.17 work on review of COP decisions

(Once the post-STRP 13 Work Programme is in circulation, more detail should be added to some of what is given below, including identifying responsible individuals in relation to each task with whom liaison will be established to ensure coordination as appropriate).

The order in which these items are presented reflects some logical linkages, and does not imply anything in respect of the sequence and timing of work.

Task 5: Review the range of existing Ramsar guidance (in conjunction with actions requested in Resolution IX.17), with a view inter alia to identifying gaps (including by reference to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Conceptual Framework), repackaging older guidance into updated documents, retiring or withdrawing outdated documents (including Recommendation 4.10 and Resolution 5.6), and make recommendations in this regard to COP10. (STRP12, Resolution IX.1 Annex A, COP9 DOC 16) STRP 2006-2008 high priority

Task 1: Review and comment on proposals from Parties for COP Resolutions with technical content, and provide this advice to the Standing Committee and COP. (Standing Committee Subgroup on COP9)

Task 15: Further review the harmonization of definitions and terms related to ecosystem benefits/services (with reference to Resolution VIII.7 paragraph 15 and COP9 DOC. 16, and taking into account the usage of such terms in other international fora), and report to COP10. (Resolution IX.1 Annex A). STRP 2006-2008 high priority

(NOTE: could be relevant to "identification of conflicts" part of Res IX.17).

Task 52(i): Conduct a review of data and information needs for Ramsar sites and of the implications for official reporting, the further development of the Ramsar Sites Information Service, and the scope for harmonizing such reporting with the needs of other multilateral environmental agreements.

(NOTE: Res IX.17 review could be relevant in tracking information requirements specified in COP decisions. See also list of such items identified in IOP site monitoring proposal paper tabled at STRP 13).

Task 54: Prepare further consolidated guidance on the overall process of detecting, reporting and responding to change in ecological character, including guidelines for determining when such a change is too trivial to require reporting, having regard to the reasons why a given site is important and the conservation objectives set for it. (Resolution VIII.8, STRP 2003-2005 work plan) STRP 2006-2008 high priority

(NOTE: the "consolidation" aspect of this should be related where possible with the Res IX.17 work).

(Task 83(i): Prepare a consolidation of Ramsar guidance on river basin management, to bring together Wise Use Handbook 4 and the COP9 guidance in Resolution IX1 Annex Ci, (STRP12).

(NOTE: Here for completeness only - this task does NOT have implications for the Res IX.17 work, since the "consolidation" referred to is between a single COP decision and other material, not between COP decisions).

Task 107: Review the suite of existing guidance for selection of Ramsar sites of specific wetland types and examine its usefulness to Parties in the light of their experience of its application; assess the need for additional guidance on these or other wetland types, in the context inter alia of a response to the request of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Decision VII/4) to elaborate additional site selection guidelines and related issues. (STRP12) STRP 2006-2008 high priority

(NOTE: relevance to Res IX.17 work is probably limited only to identification of any conflicts in guidance that would affect its "usefulness to Parties").

Task 161: Review and as necessary develop an overall strategy and framework for sector-based guidance under the Convention. (STRP12)

(NOTE: Scope for dovetailing any conclusions about approaches to future COP decision-making).


Annex 3

Resolution IX.17 - Review of the decisions of the Conference of Parties:
Thematic tabulation of findings, and suggestions for possible actions

Note: The classification of theme categories here is pragmatic, taking into account the structure of other categorizations in use, e.g., the Ramsar Wise Use Handbooks series. It would be possible to debate this indefinitely, since trends in definition of issues have changed over time, and there are many COP decisions that combine elements from several of these headings. The latter will be the case however the headings are structured, and a decision assigned here to one category may relate also to several other categories. Irrespective of this, each decision is assigned only to one category (e.g., Wetlands for the Future in finance rather than capacity-building; CEPA oversight panel in governance rather than CEPA).

To minimize difficulties arising from this, the number of categories has been kept to a minimum. There would be many possible subdivisions of each of them, but subdividing would compound the problem. Within each category, decisions are arranged in chronological order.

COP9 decisions are included to show their titles and distribution among topics, since many are referred to in the analysis. They are included in the numbers totals given too.

NB numbering conventions have changed over the years, in terms of whether an Annex is counted separately or not.

Contents, and thematic categories used in this analysis

  No of decisions
1. Convention governance and administration 45
2. Regional issues 15
3. Strategic Plans, work plans and national reports 13
4. Finance and membership 20
5. Partnerships, coordination, synergy, and international cooperation (not development assistance) 16
6. Development assistance; poverty reduction 7
7. Wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring 17
8. Ecological character, responses to change, management and restoration 27
9. Listing of Ramsar sites (process, rather than specific sites) 21
10. Conservation of specific areas 24
11. Wise use (including peatlands, IWRM, ICZM, national planning and public participation, etc.) 33
12. Water 9
13. Communication, education, public awareness and capacity-building 6
(Total) 253

1. Convention governance and administration

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 1.7

Proposed protocol on amendment procedures

This was all later embodied in the Paris Protocol, so can presumably be retired, unless the mandate for the Protocol needs to remain “on the books” – possible question for legal advice?

Rec 1.8

Proposed amendments to the Convention

This can probably be retired in large part at least – some of its detail may not actually be embodied in the Regina amendments plus other decisions taken by the Regina conference, eg recommendations about functions of the Secretariat may still uniquely exist only in Rec 1.8 – need to check.

Rec 1.9

Meetings of the Conference of the Parties

This is now redundant and should be retired.

Rec 1.10

A permanent secretariat

This is now redundant and should be retired.

Rec 1.11

Thanks to the Italian hosts

What do we do about “thanks to hosts” Resolutions? Retire them? We are no less thankful than we were, so they are not “redundant” in that sense; but equally they have no relevance to on-going implementation of the Convention. Except that this one has an operative para about ecological character of Sardinian Ramsar sites…!

Rec 2.2

Amendment of the Convention

In theory if future amendments are made, this Recommendation would still apply.

Rec 2.10

Thanks to the government of the Netherlands and appreciation of wetland conservation measures taken in the Netherlands

See note above about “thanks” decisions – retire?. This one also has other operative parts, but which are almost certainly defunct (need to confirm the position re “Markermeer” story).

Res 3.1

Secretariat Matters

This is superseded by the (un-numbered) Resolution adopted by COP 4 as an Annex to Doc C.4.15. The text of the COP 4 decision covers the same elements but with some minor technical amendments. Res 3.3 could be entirely retired.

There might be seen to be a technical conflict between these two Resolutions, since they both “approve” the provision of a permanent Secretariat, and such a decision would seem to be possible to take only once.

Res 3.3

Establishment of a Standing Committee

All of the specific elements of this have been re-enacted by the (un-numbered) Resolution forming an Annex to Document C.4.14 at COP4, which also added a couple of small additional ones. There might be seen to be a technical conflict between these two Resolutions, since they both “decide to establish” the Committee, and such a decision (given that the Committee is permanent) can only be taken once.

The Resolution is then also re-enacted, virtually completely, in Res VII.1, with a couple of necessary updatings. Only two elements have not been explicitly re-enacted – one, 1(g), a catch-all “perform any other functions entrusted to it by the COP”, may have been dropped due to being regarded as covered already by 1(a) on carrying out “such interim activity on behalf of the COP as may be necessary”, or possibly because it is picked up elsewhere. The other, 2(g) on the Secretary for the SC being provided by the Bureau, may have been dropped because it is by now obvious, or because it is made obvious by the application of the Rules of Procedure of the COP as Rules for the SC. It is also made fairly clear by the (un-numbered) Resolution from COP 4 on the Framework for the implementation of the Convention and priorities for attention, 1991-1993, which was adopted as an annex to DOC. C.4.12 (see its attachment 1, section 4(I)(b)).

If these explanations are satisfactory, this Resolution should be retired. The only remaining question is that this Resolution (and the COP 4 one) “decides to establish” a Standing Committee, and while Res VII.1 recalls that decision, it does not itself re-enact a decision that a Standing Committee is necessary. Whether or not it is necessary to keep such a decision (ie para 1 chapeau of Res 3.3, and/or the COP 4 one) alive & “on the books”, is a question that could be put to legal advice.

Res 3.4

Provisional Implementation of the Amendments to the Convention

This was relevant only until the coming into force of the Regina amendments, which duly occurred in 1994. It is thus time-limited, the time has expired and it can thus be retired.

Rec 3.11

Recommendation of Thanks [to the Canadians]

See note above about “thanks” decisions – retire?. This one has no other operative parts requiring action.

Res 4.1

Interpretation of Article 10 bis Paragraph 6 of the Convention

Remains valid.

Res 4.2

Working languages of the Conference of the Contracting Parties

Remains valid, as legal authority for Spanish being a working language.

Res 4.5

Accession requirements

A possible conflict: Res 4.5 (needing to read both preamble and operative section together) recommends that countries be regarded as full Parties if they accede and designate a site even if they have not provided a site map; whereas Res VI.16 “decides”, “notwithstanding” Res 4.5, that a boundary map is required (but without clearly saying accession is incomplete without it; which is something that is perhaps legally impossible to say). This may be a case on which legal advice would be helpful.

Other parts of the Resolution on prompt voluntary provision of maps remain valid, but could be consolidated with Res VI.16.

Un-numbered Resolution, as Annex to DOC.C.4.14

Resolution on the Standing Committee

Virtually all of the specific elements of this have been re-enacted by Res VII.1, with a couple of necessary updatings. Only two elements have not been explicitly re-enacted – one, 1(h), a catch-all “perform any other functions entrusted to it by the COP”, may have been dropped due to being regarded as covered already by 1(a) on carrying out “such interim activity on behalf of the COP as may be necessary”, or possibly because it is picked up elsewhere. The other, 2(h) on the Secretary for the SC being provided by the Bureau, may have been dropped because it is by now obvious, or because it is made obvious by the application of the Rules of Procedure of the COP as Rules for the SC. It is also made fairly clear by the (un-numbered) Resolution from COP 4 on the Framework for the implementation of the Convention and priorities for attention, 1991-1993, which was adopted as an annex to DOC. C.4.12 (see its attachment 1, section 4(I)(b)).

If these explanations are satisfactory, this Resolution should be retired. The only remaining question is that this Resolution (and Res 3.3 – see above) “decides to establish” a Standing Committee, and while Res VII.1 recalls that decision, it does not itself re-enact a decision that a Standing Committee is necessary. Whether or not it is necessary to keep such a decision (ie para 1 chapeau of Res 3.3, and/or the COP 4 one) alive & “on the books”, is a question that could be put to legal advice.

There might be seen to be a technical conflict between these two (COP3 and COP4) Resolutions, since they both “decide to establish” the Committee, and such a decision (given that the Committee is permanent) can only be taken once.

Un-numbered Resolution, as Annex to DOC.C.4.15

Secretariat matters

This remains the main effective mandate for the existence of the Secretariat hosted by IUCN.

As mentioned above under Res 3.1, There might be seen to be a technical conflict between the present Resolution and that one, since they both “approve” the provision of a permanent Secretariat, and such a decision would seem to be possible to take only once.

The Attachment to the Resolution is an MoA between IUCN (as host of Convention Bureau) and IWRB. This has been superseded by later MoUs (between the Secretariat and Wetlands International, the successor to IWRB), and this Attachment can be retired.

Rec 4.14

Thanks to the host [Switzerland]

See note above about “thanks” decisions – retire?. This one has no other operative parts requiring action.

Res 5.5

Establishment of a Scientific and Technical Review Panel

This Resolution was amended by Res VI.7 and Res VII.2, and then overtaken more thoroughly by Res VIII.28, itself superseded by Res IX.11. The Res 5.5 examples of review tasks for the Panel might appear relevant to retain, but in fact they are more appropriately re-cast elsewhere, in particular in Res IX.2, and so are also best regarded as redundant. The whole Resolution could therefore be retired, subject however to any legal advice (see comments on analogous situations elsewhere above) on whether or not it is necessary to retain the formal decision (1st operative para of Res 5.5) that initially created the Panel.

Rec 5.6

The role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Ramsar Convention

This Recommendation remains valid. A suggestion is made later below that there could be a consolidation of it with paras 20-21 of Res VIII.26.

Rec 5.7

National Committees

This Recommendation remains valid.

Rec 5.11

The new Bureau headquarters in Switzerland

This is a “thanks” decision. See notes above about “thanks” decisions in general – retire?

Rec 5.12

Thanks to the Japanese hosts

See note above about “thanks” decisions – retire?. This one has no other operative parts requiring action.

Rec 5.15

Working languages of the Conference of the Contracting Parties

The issue of languages at COPs is addressed in the Rules of Procedure adopted by each COP (hence comprising a COP decision, though not a Resolution – a suggestion on that issue will be made separately). Although technically the Rules are now more definitive on the issue addressed by Rec 5.15, since it expresses views on the importance of Arabic (not yet a working language of the Convention), it would be politically inadvisable to do anything other than retain it.

Res VI.7

The Scientific and Technical Review Panel

This Resolution has been superseded by an evolution of decisions in Resolutions VII.2, VIII.28, and IX.11. The element on membership (para 10) was time-limited in any case. The whole Resolution should be retired. In fact, unusually, the COP has already done this, by para 7 of Res VII.2 which “repeals Resolution VI.7”.

Res VI.8

Secretary General matters

This Resolution consists of thanks and “welcomes”. Comments on “thanks” Resolutions in general above has suggested they might be retired. However although this one is of historical interest and has no other operative parts, there might be a stronger reason to retain it than with the equivalents concerning eg COP hosts. This would perhaps be a matter on which to seek a political steer from within the Convention. The implication of retention would be an expectation of consistent treatment of such matters by the COP in future, which has in fact not happened thus far.

Res VI.11

Consolidation of Recommendations and Resolutions of the Conference of the Contracting Parties

Action in response to the request and suggestions in this Resolution concerning consolidation of decisions was reported to COP7, in DOC 13.1, following consideration by the Standing committee. Although no specific decision was taken by the COP, it accepted the situation whereby instead of consolidation per se, a “key concepts index” had been constructed. Subsequently the Ramsar Wise Use Handbooks collate thematically linked decisions in a way which also contributes to the general aim expressed.

The Resolution was in any event defining a time-limited review exercise.

In addition more recently Res IX.17 has re-defined the question, and a related task is defined in Res IX.2 (para 5).

Res VIII.45 is also partly relevant.

In light of these developments it is considered that Res VI.11 can be retired.

Res VI.15

Amendment of the Rules of Procedure as of the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties

One of the three operative paras (para 4) is time-expired and can be retired.

The other two paras are amendments to the Rules. The Rules have subsequently been adopted in toto by a COP decision but not a Resolution. A decision about what to do with these Paras of Res VI.15 would be subject to the separate discussion, which has been prompted by the present review, on the relationship between resolutions and “Rules-adoption” decisions (and which could possibly be included in the scope of any legal advice to be sought).

Res VI.16

Accession procedures

As commented for Res 4.5 above, there may be a possible conflict here: Res 4.5 (needing to read both preamble and operative section together) recommends that countries be regarded as full Parties if they accede and designate a site even if they have not provided a site map; whereas Res VI.16 “decides”, “notwithstanding” Res 4.5, that a boundary map is required (but without clearly saying accession is incomplete without it; which is something that is perhaps legally impossible to say). This may be a case on which legal advice would be helpful.

Para 6 of Res VI.16 asks that site boundaries be precisely described AND delineated on a map. The aspect relating to maps has been superseded by para 17 and Annex II of Res VIII.13. While Res VIII.21 recognises that description of the boundary has also been requested, the RIS and guidance that is currently in effect do not seem to ask for a precise description of the boundary (they ask only for a description of the type of boundary, ie what considerations have determined the way it was applied). On one view, all this later guidance should take precedence – but since the Res VIII.21 para 12 request is now re-cast in Res IX.2 as a future task, it could be retained for now as the mandate for that task.

Paras 7-8 remain relevant. They might be consolidated with Res VIII.13, but there could also be an argument for retaining them here in a context of accession instead.

Res VI.18

Establishment of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award

Apart from the final paragraph, which is time-limited and can be retired, this Resolution remains valid.

Res VI.20

Thanks to the people and governments of Australia

See note above about “thanks” decisions – retire?. This one has no other operative parts requiring action. Para 7 acknowledging contributors to the anniversary pledging initiative may be of archival interest, although this is covered more fully in the official report of the COP, which may stand as an appropriate “live” record if this Resolution is retired.

Res VI.22

Consideration of overall cost reduction and in particular of possible relocation of the Ramsar Bureau and its operations

This Resolution is time-limited and could be retired.

Res VII.1

Regional categorization of countries under the Convention, and composition, roles and responsibilities of the Standing Committee, including tasks of Standing Committee members

This Resolution remains valid. It should be read together with para 14 of Res IX.11, Res IX.18 and Res IX.24 on establishment of subsidiary bodies that report to the Committee.

Res VII.2

Composition and modus operandi of the Conventions Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)

The STRP modus operandi has been completely replaced twice since this Resolution, by Resolutions VIII.28 and IX.11.

This is the decision which established the principle of regional representation on the STRP mirroring that for the Standing Committee; but this provision is described in the later Resolutions, which cite the present one as the source, so its retention is probably not necessary.

All the other preambular and operative paras of Res VII.2 have either been repeated or superseded by the later Resolutions. In the case of para 14 this appears to have been overtaken only by implication, rather than a specific provision superseding it, so in theory there may be a question about whether it remains in force.

Legally, it is perhaps necessary for para 7 also to remain, as the decision which “repealed” Res VI.7, but only perhaps until such time as recommendations of the present review in respect of that Resolution (various retirals and consolidations) are enacted.

If these two paras (7 and 14) remain necessary/valid then they could be consolidated with Res IX.11, otherwise the rest of the Resolution, or alternatively the whole of it, could be retired.

Res VII.29

Thanks to the host country

See note above about “thanks” decisions – retire?. This one has no other operative parts requiring action.

Res VII.30

Status of Yugoslavia in the Ramsar Convention

This Resolution is time-expired: the actions requested were completed by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in July 2001 and by Bosnia-Herzegovia in Sept 2001. Doc 5 for COP8 records that “the issue raised in Resolution VII.30 should be considered resolved”. The 3rd preambular paragraph might appear to be a useful recognition by Ramsar of a principle, but it is in any case a principle in general acceptance. Overall therefore this Resolution should be entirely retired.

Res VIII.24

UNEP’s Guidelines for enhancing compliance with multilateral environmental agreements, and Guidelines for national enforcement, and international cooperation in combating violations, of laws implementing multilateral environmental agreements

Reference in para 5 to “countries with economies in transition” is out of date, but otherwise this Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.28

Modus operandi of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)

Para 9 has been partly amended, but the element which establishes the support functions in principle remains valid, and should therefore perhaps be consolidated in an adapted way with Res IX.11.

The sentiments in paras 10, 11 and 13 remain valid, but these have been repeated in paras 17, 18 and 20 of Res IX.11 respectively, so these paras (10, 11 and 13) can be retired.

The remainder of the Resolution and its Annex have been superseded by Res IX.11 and can be retired.

Res VIII.45

Operation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties and the effectiveness of Ramsar Convention Resolutions and Recommendations

Paras 12-13 are fairly clearly time-limited, and imply that paras 10-11 similarly expired at COP9; although the issue they address is also to some extent still in play.

Para 14 is ambiguous in that “next COP” could mean COP9, in which case this para is time-expired; or could mean “each successive COP” in which case it has continuing effect.

Para 17 (and more generally para 16) may be regarded as having been dealt with (in a slightly different way to that suggested in the para) by the change to Rule 5 of the COP Rules of Procedure agreed at COP9, and thus to have been superseded (see comments under Res VI.15 above) about the relationship between Resolutions and the Rules). This may need some discussion.

Para 18 has been partly delivered but again the issue it addresses is also to some extent still in play.

Para 19 remains valid.

Hence parts of this Resolution may have expired and could be retired, but there are several ambiguities and these would merit discussion (and ideally a new updating replacement Resolution).

Res VIII.46

Thanks to the people and governments of Spain

Para 10 is largely out of date, and reference to countries in transition in para 8 is out of date. In regard to “thanks” Resolutions in general, see comments on Rec 1.11 above – retire?

Res IX.10

Use of the term and status of the “Ramsar Secretariat”

 

Res IX.11

Revised modus operandi of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)

 

Res IX.17

Review of the decisions of the Conference of the Contracting Parties

 

Res IX.18

Establishment of an Oversight Panel for the CEPA activities of the Convention

 

Res IX.24

Improving management of the Ramsar Convention

 

Res IX.25

Thanks to the host country

 

2. Regional issues

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 5.13

Promotion and strengthening of the Ramsar Neotropical Region

While it could be argued that much of what is desired by this Recommendation has subsequently been taking place, strictly speaking as a decision it has not been specifically superseded and there would be no technical reason to retire it. The element concerning trade of natural products obtained from the wise use of wetlands should in any case be retained, as it probably appears in no other decision.

Rec 5.14

Collaboration for Mediterranean Wetlands

This welcoming of MedWet and encouragement of support for it is probably of archival interest only, given how extensively the issue has moved on subsequently. The Recommendation could therefore be retired.

Rec 6.6

Appointment of regionally-based Ramsar liaison officers

Although in one sense partly enacted, and in another sense attitudes may have moved on, formally this Recommendation has not been amended by later decisions, and so remains in effect.

Rec 6.11

Continuing collaboration for Mediterranean wetlands

Para 12 is time-limited and can be retired.

The remaining operative paras, with one exception, have been superseded either by events or mainly by Res VII.22 and could also be retired.

The one exception is para 13 which urges designation of Ramsar sites in the region. This may be regarded as so synonymous with other expressions of COP opinion that is could be allowed to fall if the rest of the Recommendation is retired, or a place could be found for it to be consolidated with another decision, or there may be those who would wish it to stand.

Rec 6.18

Conservation and wise use of wetlands in the Pacific Islands region

This Recommendation remains valid. There is a link with Rec 7.2, but no strong reason for these two decisions not to remain distinct.

Res VII.22

Collaborative structure for Mediterranean wetlands

This Resolution remains largely valid. It could be consolidated with Resolutions VIII.30 and IX.7, although there is no hugely pressing need to do so.

Res VII.26

Creation of a Regional Ramsar Centre for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere

Most of this Resolution concerns a proposal for future creation of a Centre. The Centre now exists, but that in itself does not invalidate these expressions of COP support for it. There might be an argument for retiring it, even though it has been overtaken by events rather than by subsequent COP decisions. Alternatively it could be consolidated with Resolutions VIII.30 and IX.7, with necessary adaptations being made to the tense-context etc of its various clauses.

Res VIII.30

Regional initiatives for the further implementation of the Convention

Paras 11, 13 - 14 and Annex II are time-expired and can be retired.

Para 12 is partly time-expired and otherwise is repeated in para 15 of Res IX.12, and so can also be retired.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.39

High Andean wetlands as strategic ecosystems

This Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.41

Establishment of a Regional Ramsar Centre for Training and Research on Wetlands in Western and Central Asia

This Resolution remains valid. It should be read together with Res IX.7, and there may even be scope for consolidating the two decisions.

Res VIII.42

Small Island Developing States in the Oceania Region

This Resolution remains valid. Rec 6.18 addresses the Pacific islands and Rec 7.2 addresses small islands, but the scope of all three decisions is not the same, and it may be best for now for them to remain distinct.

Res VIII.43

A subregional strategy of the Ramsar Convention for South America

Although not taken forward as it might perhaps have been expected to in Res IX.7, this Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.44

New Partnership for Africa´s Development (NEPAD) and implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Africa

This Resolution remains valid.

Res IX.7

Regional initiatives in the framework of the Ramsar Convention

 

Res IX.19

The importance of regional wetland symposia in effectively implementing the Ramsar Convention

 

3. Strategic Plans, work plans and national reports

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 2.1

Submission of National Reports

The requirement to submit reports is still valid.

The recommendation for a questionnaire/format can be retired.

The remainder of the Recommendation could be consolidated with Rec 4.3.

Rec 2.3

Action points for priority attention

The action points include a couple that have been done and can be retired (1 & 2), some that have received attention but the action is framed broadly enough to act as a mandate for more work, and one (7) that has an element that has not really been done and is still valid.

Rec 2.3 Annex

Framework for implementing the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance

Most of this has probably been superseded by Strategic Plans and wise use guidelines, but the individual specifics will need to be checked.

Un-numbered Resolution, as Annex to DOC.C.4.12

Resolution on the Framework for the implementation of the Convention and priorities for attention 1991-1993

This Resolution and its Attachments are all time-expired and should be entirely retired. The Attachments contain some more general principles too, but these have almost certainly been completely updated and more fully expressed in later strategy documents and mission statements etc - but this may be worth checking.

Rec 4.3

National reports

The preambular elements are either redundant or are reiterations, apart from a point about the usefulness of Secretariat-produced syntheses of reports. The operative part is a single sentence only, exactly reiterating the call in Rec 2.1 for Parties to submit reports in time. This recommendation could be retired, but is perhaps best viewed as suitable for consolidation with Rec 2.1.

Res 5.1

The Kushiro Statement and the framework for the implementation of the Convention

Overall, this package of measures is time-limited and could most probably be retired. This is certainly the case with Annex 3 which is a Bureau programme up to 1996. Annex 1 has some descriptive context but probably none of which is either critical or not repeated elsewhere, and the majority of its is priorities only for the next triennium. Annex 2 is in effect a forerunner of what later became Strategic Plans for the Convention (also time-limited), despite not being clearly described as such in later materials, and has thus been superseded. The operative parts of the Resolution itself are similarly time-limited. Res VI.14 (para 6) purports to quote Res 5.1, as instructing the Standing Committee to “prepare strategic plans for the following two triennia for presentation at the 6th Meeting of the Conference of Contracting Parties”, which might appear to be the origin of a mandate that might have continuing value - but this is an error and those words are in fact from Res 5.2. The preamble of Res 5.1 contains perhaps two paras that may have continuing value (the 2nd, on the CBD, and the 5th, on the nature of the partnership between organs of the Convention), and an opportunity might perhaps be sought to consolidate those with a relevant later decision.

Rec 5.10

The 25th anniversary wetland campaign for 1996

This is a time-expired Recommendation and can be retired.

Res VI.14

The Ramsar 25th Anniversary Statement, the Strategic Plan 1997-2002, and the Bureau Work Programme 1997-1999

Of the four single-line operative paras, two (13 and 15) relate to adopting other time-limited (now expired) documents, and they can thus be retired.

Para 12 and the Anniversary statement which it adopts, remains in effect.

Para 14 (renaming the Monitoring Procedure) has been superseded by para 39 of Res VI.12 (which changed the name again), so this para can be retired.

Res VII.27

The Convention Work Plan 2000-2002

Subsequent practice in relation to adoption of work programmes followed a different approach, so it is not a simple matter of one COP’s work programme decision being overtaken by the next. However much of this Resolution is obviously time-expired, including several elements which express sentiments that could relate to more than the triennium at hand, and yet are specifically linked to the triennium 2000-2002.

Of those elements which are not time-expired:

- Para 15 remains valid, though it contains nothing more than is already in Rec 5.7 and the (then) Strategic Plan adopted by Res VI.14.

- Para 17 remains valid in principle although it is expressed as “pursuant to” the Strategic Plan for the triennium, so might alternatively be regarded as time-expired. (The view to take on such a situation might be a subject for legal advice, for clarity in future).

- Para 19 remains valid, though it echoes at least parts of some other decisions.

- Para 20 is potentially valid, although the “so that” conjunction may render it all time-expired.

Each of these is sufficiently imprecise for there to be a good pragmatic argument in favour of retiring the whole Resolution. Failing that, solutions would need to be found for the few residual matters that may have continuing validity.

Res VIII.25

The Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008

This Resolution remains valid. However it must now be read together with Res IX.8 which describes itself as “streamlining”, “refining” and “helping to interpret” the Strategic Plan. Since these two decisions must be read so closely together there may be a case for consolidating them.

Res VIII.26

The implementation of the Strategic Plan 2003-2008 during the triennium 2003-2005 and National Reports for Ramsar COP9

Much of this Resolution concerns targets and work plans for the period 2003-2005, or national reporting for COP9. Although many of the targets were not achieved and the Annex is an important archive of agreed specifics, they are in principle time-expired, and a different approach to this has been taken at the subsequent COP (see Res IX.8).

Para 16 has archival value as a set of ideas that could be relevant to national reporting in general, but since it is expressed as relating only to the COP9 reports it is technically time-expired too.

Similarly para 22 is time-expired but has archival value as the decision which delegated prioritization decisions to the Standing Committee for the STRP’s work programme.

Para 23 has some ambiguity as to how time-limited it is (ie part of it may continue to 2008), but in practice has been superseded by Res IX.8.

Overall therefore operative paras 9-15, 17, 22-23, the final clause of 24 and all of the Annex could be retired.

Para 18 is not time-limited, but could possibly be included in the consolidation of Resolutions VII.4, VIII.5 and IX.5 suggested above.

The mandate in para 19 has been amended and rolled forward beyond COP9, so the terms of this para need to be understood in an amended way. It remains in effect as the source of the mandate for the indicators work, but could perhaps be consolidated with Res IX.1 Annex D.

Paras 20-21 remain valid, and the request to produce a review, although expressed as “as soon as possible” was not delivered during the 2003-2005 triennium and remains in effect. These two paras could potentially be consolidated with Rec 5.6.

Para 24 has a final clause that is effectively time-limited, but the remainder of it remains valid. If the suggestions made above are followed it would be the only remaining operative para, and there is a case for consolidating it perhaps with Res IX.14.

Res IX.2

Future implementation of scientific and technical aspects of the Convention

 

Res IX.8

Streamlining the implementation of the Strategic Plan of the Convention 2003-2008

 

4. Finance and membership

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 1.1

Expanding the Convention’s membership

One preambular fact is out of date; otherwise the Recommendation is all still valid. Look for possible consolidation with:

- getting members in Africa ( Rec 3.6), - in Neotropics (Rec 3.7), - in Asia (Rec 3.10), - in states with coral reefs (Rec 6.7).

Rec 2.4

Possibilities of financial or other support for the Interim Secretariat

Asking Parties to find funds to “support the Secretariat” is of course still valid, but could be regarded as covered nowadays in sufficient other ways no longer to need this general Recommendation; which could therefore be retired.

Res 3.2

Financial and Budgetary Matters

This Resolution was mostly time-limited and contains nothing else of substance that has not been re-enacted elsewhere, so can be entirely retired.

Attachment 3

Terms of Reference for the financial administration of the Convention

This was time-limited and replaced by subsequent versions, so can be entirely retired.

Rec 3.6

Further Contracting Parties in Africa

This encourages accession by 8 countries, all of which except for Ivory Coast have now joined the Convention. The Recommendation is also directed at “other African states” in general. All these elements are in a single paragraph, so unless Ivory Coast and “other African states” are covered by a later decision (need to check), retiral of this Recommendation does not seem to be an option, though consolidation may be (depending on what it could be consolidated with – still to be checked).

Rec 3.7

Further Contracting Parties in Central America, the Caribbean and South America

This is directed at “interested states of the Western Hemisphere that are not already Contracting Parties”. There are still 6 countries to which this could apply (Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines); so although the reference in the Recommendation to those countries which were Parties at the time is out of date, its main message remains valid.

Rec 3.10

Further Contracting Parties in Asia and the Pacific

The list of Parties in the preamble is out of date, but otherwise this Recommendation remains valid.

Res 4.3

A Wetland Conservation Fund

Remains valid as the authority for establishing the Fund; but the operating details specified have been amended subsequently, and this Res could usefully be consolidated with Res VI.6, VII.5 and IX.13 (though not VIII.29, which should probably be entirely retired - see later) with individual superseded paragraphs of all these being retired.

Un-numbered Resolution, as Annex to DOC.C.4.13

Resolution on financial and budgetary matters

The approval of the triennium’s budget and scale of contributions was time-limited and has expired. The same applies to the terms of reference for administration of the budget, which were also time-limited and have been superseded by subsequent budget Resolutions. The same applies to the elements concerning prompt payment, additional voluntary contributions (from Parties and non-Parties), and instructing the Secretary General to seek external sources of support. The element concerning staffing levels for the Bureau was also time-limited. The only other element was a reminder of previous decisions (which should in any case probably have been a preambular paragraph instead). Hence this Resolution could be entirely retired.

Res 5.2

Financial and budgetary matters

Most of this Resolution no longer applies, and can be retired. A key exception is Annex 3 containing terms of reference for administering the Convention’s finances, and para 4 which is the instruction to apply it. This Annex has been reaffirmed at each succeeding COP, without amendment (except for rolling it forward, since the original text has a time-limit). Other exceptions are para 10 which instructs the Secretary General to seek additional external funding, and paras 7 and 9 which seek additional voluntary contributions from Parties and others. There is a strong case for consolidating these elements that remain current with those parts of other financial decisions that also remain current.

Para 11 is the original mandate for preparation of Strategic Plans for the Convention, but relating only to two triennia (now past); so although of some historical value is strictly time-limited and could be retired; although it may be worth including consideration of this in any legal advice concerning preservation of mandates (see other instances already identified above).

Res 5.8

Future funding and operation of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Fund

It would seem that all elements of this Resolution have been either superseded or carried forward by subsequent decisions (including by preambular citing of some of the specific elements), and that this Resolution can thus be entirely retired.

Res VI.6

The Wetland Conservation Fund

Much of this remains valid, but as suggested earlier, there could usefully be a consolidation of this Resolution with Resolutions 4.3, VII.5 and IX.13 (though not VIII.29, which should probably be entirely retired - see later), and individual superseded paragraphs of all these could be retired.

Res VI.17

Financial and budgetary matters

Of the 6 operative paras and two annexes, only two paras are not time-limited, so the remainder (paras 6, 7, 8, 9, Annexes I and II) can be retired. Para 10 (establishing a Reserve Fund) and para 11 (establishing the Sub-Group on Finance and defining its purposes) remain valid (the latter in particular has been expressly reaffirmed at successive COPs, not in such a way as to supersede this Resolution but instead referring back to the detail of it).

Res VII.5

Critical evaluation of the Convention’s Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF) and its future operations

Much of this remains valid, but as suggested earlier, there could usefully be a consolidation of this Resolution with Resolutions 4.3, VI.6 and IX.13 (though not VIII.29, which should probably be entirely retired - see later), and individual superseded paragraphs of all these could be retired.

Res VII.28

Financial and budgetary matters

Para 15, although it mainly recalls previous decisions on the SGF target issue, reinforces those decisions by “urging” Parties and others to help realize the target; and so could be regarded as remaining validly distinct.

Para 18 on creating a fund for the CEPA programme remains in effect, although the fund itself has never been funded and activated, and if a future decision were adopted that defined a revised way of encouraging funding for the CEPA programme, this para could be retired. (See also comments on Rec 5.8 above).

Para 19 is in two parts, and at least the second part appears to remain valid.

Paras 21-24 appear to remain valid.

The remainder of this Resolution relates only to the 2000-2002 triennium (or in the case of para 14 is a task mandate that was delivered by the time of COP8), is therefore time-expired and can be retired.

Rec 7.4

The Wetlands for the Future Initiative

This Recommendation remains valid.

Res VIII.27

Financial and budgetary matters

This Resolution relates to the 2003-2005 triennium and can now be retired.

Paras 9 and 12 are expressed in a more enduring way but in fact have been repeated subsequently in Res IX.12, and so they too can be retired.

Res VIII.29

Evaluation of the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF) and establishment of a Ramsar Endowment Fund

Unusually, a retiral decision has been taken by the COP, which in para 8 of Res IX.13 “rescinds its decision in Res VIII.29” to establish an endowment fund. There is some ambiguity as to how much of Res VIII.29 has been “rescinded” – ie specific paras or the whole Resolution. However of the paras which are not those specifically establishing the fund, one (para 10) is time-limited, one (para 11) has an out of date element (reference to the SAEDC) and the remainder (paras 8, 9 and parts of 11) are largely covered by earlier decisions (and in the case of 8 and 9 are essentially preambular in character). Some consolidation of these latter parts with Res IX.13 could be an option; alternatively it would probably be justified to retire the whole Resolution.

Res IX.12

Financial and budgetary matters

 

Res IX.13

Evaluation of the Ramsar Endowment Fund as a mechanism to resource the Small Grants Fund

 

5. Partnerships, coordination, synergy, and international cooperation

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Res 3.1 Annex

Memo of Agreement between IUCN and IWRB

This was superseded by the Annex to the (un-numbered) Resolution adopted by COP 4 as an Annex to Doc C.4.15, referred to above. (This has in turn been superseded –see comments on the COP 4 decision below). It can therefore be retired.

Res 4.4

Implementation of Article 5 of the Convention

Parts could be consolidated with Rec 4.12 and the rest with Res VII.19.

Rec 4.11

Cooperation with international organizations

Regarding the single clause concerning the OECD, this remains valid, but given the other comments on this Rec, it might be usefully consolidated eg with Res VIII.5.

Regarding the single clause concerning the European Commission, cooperation with the EC is included as an action (part of 7.4.3) in the Strategic Plan adopted by Res VI.14 and in the later Plan (action 13.1.5) adopted by Res VIII 25. These are slightly less specific than this Recommendation, but the difference could be regarded as sufficiently insignificant for this element to be retired; unless the historical fact of its first adoption at COP4 should be retained (this is not repeated in any of the later materials), in which case that one small element could be consolidated with eg Res VIII.5.

The remaining few lines of the Recommendation serve no particular current purpose, and could be retired.

Rec 4.12

Cooperation between Contracting Parties for the management of migratory species

The various elements of this Recommendation are either now redundant or have been superseded by Res 5.9, Res VII.11 and Res VIII.38 in particular, and it could be entirely retired.

Rec 5.4

The relationship between the Ramsar Convention, the Global Environment Facility and the Convention on Biological Diversity

A combination of elements of Resolutions VI.9, VI.10, VII.4, VIII.5 and IX.5 take forward the elements in this Recommendation and render it redundant, so it could now be retired.

Res VI.9

Cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity

Paras 10 and 13 (which encourage action by Parties), although perhaps implied in later decisions, have not been specifically re-cast, and would probably be best consolidated with Resolutions VII.4, VIII.5 and IX.5. The remainder of Res VI.9 can be retired, since one part of it is time-limited and the rest have been superseded.

Res VI.10

Cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its implementing agencies: the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP

Although some details would need updating (eg reference to a superseded Strategic Plan), much of this Resolution remains valid. Ideally however it would be perhaps best consolidated with the GEF-related elements of Resolutions VII.4 and VIII.5.

Rec 6.4

The “Brisbane Initiative” on the establishment of a network of listed sites along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway

This Recommendation remains valid, although there would be a strong case for consolidating it with Rec 7.3 and Res VIII.37.

Res VII.3

Partnerships with international organizations

The annexed Rules for conferring IOP status remain in effect, but other parts of this Resolution are slightly out of date, or repeated in Res IX.16, or overlap partially with parts of that later Resolution. The best course therefore would be to consolidate these two decisions.

Res VII.4

Partnerships and cooperation with other Conventions, including harmonized information management infrastructures

A complex set of interrelated issues, some time-specific and some updated or superseded, are covered by Resolutions VII.4, VIII.5 and IX.5. These have not been systematically reviewed here; but such a review would be desirable and there would appear to be a good case for seeking consolidation of all three decisions.

Res VII.19

Guidelines for international cooperation under the Ramsar Convention

This resolution remains valid. Links with other Resolutions are highlighted above; but notwithstanding these it may be more appropriate to let this Resolution remain distinct.

Rec 7.3

Multilateral cooperation on the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the Asia-Pacific region

This Recommendation remains valid, although as noted above there would be a strong case for consolidating it with Rec 6.4 and Res VIII.37.

Res VIII.5

Partnerships and synergies with Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other institutions

As noted above, a complex set of interrelated issues, some time-specific and some updated or superseded, are covered by Resolutions VII.4, VIII.5 and IX.5. These have not been systematically reviewed here; but such a review would be desirable and there would appear to be a good case for seeking consolidation of all three decisions.

Res VIII.37

International cooperation on conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the Asia-Pacific region

Paras 13 and 15 expressed in a way which makes them effectively time-limited; but since the strategy to which they refer has carried forward, the implication would be that they remain in effect. This Resolution as a whole remains valid, although as noted above there would be a strong case for consolidating it with Recommendations 6.4 and 7.3.

Res IX.5

Synergies with other international organizations dealing with biological diversity; including collaboration on, and harmonization of, national reporting among biodiversity-related conventions and agreements

 

Res IX.16

The Convention’s International Organization Partners (IOPs)

 

6. Development assistance; poverty reduction

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 1.2

Developing countries in the Convention

This Recommendation remains valid.

Rec 3.4

Responsibility of development agencies toward wetlands

Rec 3.4 and 3.5 are separate only because they target different actors. Rec 4.13 repeats nearly all of 3.4, but in a preamble, and its first substantive para is a renewed call to implement 3.4. Rec 5.5, Res VI.10 and VII.19cover similar issues. (Rec 6.16 also does, but the proposal will probably be to retire that one – see below). There is a strong case to consolidate this set of decisions (although perhaps VII.19 should remain distinct).

Rec 3.5

Tasks of the Bureau in respect to development agencies

See comments on Rec 3.4 above – expect this can be consolidated.

Rec 4.13

Responsibility of multilateral development banks (MDBs) towards wetlands

Rec 5.5, Res VI.10 and VII.19 cover similar issues. (Rec 6.16 also does, but the proposal will probably be to retire that one – see below). There is a strong case to consolidate this set of decisions (together with Rec 3.4, see above), although perhaps VII.19 should remain distinct.

Rec 5.5

Inclusion of conservation and wise use of wetlands in multilateral and bilateral development cooperation programmes

Recs 3.4, 4.13 and Res VI.10 cover similar issues. (Rec 6.16 also does, but the proposal will probably be to retire that one – see below). There is a strong case to consolidate this set of decisions.

Rec 6.16

Conservation and wise use of wetlands in bilateral and multilateral development cooperation programmes

This Recommendation is effectively time-limited, and the work it requested fed ultimately into the adoption of Res VII.19 and its annexed guidelines. Unless it is deemed important to retain the preambular paragraph which welcomed the presentation of OECD guidelines, this Recommendation could be retired.

(Note also that comments elsewhere in this review on Recommendations 3.4, 3.5 4.13 and 5.5 and Resolutions VII.10 and VII.19, which cover related issues, suggest possible consolidation of those decisions, although possibly leaving Res VII.19 to remain distinct).

Res IX.14

Wetlands and poverty reduction

 

7. Wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 1.5

National Wetland Inventories

The call to prepare inventories of wetlands is repeated in Rec 4.6 and Res 5.3, Res VIII.6 and again, this time repeating also the element of wetland resources, in Res VII.20.

The element of the value of inventories as a basis for National Wetland Policies is reflected partly in para 11 of Res VII.20 and more fully in para 16 of Res VIII.6. The useful fact that the call dates from COP1 is reflected in the preamble of Res VII.20. Given all this, this Recommendation could be retired.

Rec 1.6

Assessment of wetland values

Check - may be recalled in preambles of later ones but not taken forward as operative decisions, so could be consolidated into any consolidation of Rec 6.2 and/or Resolutions VII.16 and VIII.9.

Rec 3.2

Need for further studies of flyways

Some of this relates to research in response to “recent declines”, but the basic content of other parts (and even of that aspect) remains broadly valid, although it is rather general and later COP decisions (eg VIII.38) develop some relevant issues in more specific depth. Perhaps check scope for consolidation.

Rec 4.6

Establishment of national scientific inventories of potential Ramsar sites

The call to prepare inventories of wetlands is repeated in Rec Res 5.3 (which includes again a reference to technical assistance from other bodies), Res VII.20 and Res VIII.6. The element of identifying candidate sites for listing is not exactly repeated but is picked sufficiently clearly in Res 5.3 and Res VI.12, and reinforced by implication in Res VII.20. The element relating to assistance to Parties from the Bureau is not repeated but could be regarded as having been made more specific by later decisions eg Res VIII.6 (and in practice is partly delivered by the production of later guidance material). This Recommendation could therefore probably be retired.

Res VI.12

National Wetland Inventories and candidate sites for listing

Of the two single-line operative paras, para 4 is by implication subsumed within para 11 of Res VII.20 and para 16 of Res VIII.6, and could thus be retired; and para 5, while it remains valid, could be consolidated with Resolutions VII.20 and/or VIII.6.

Res VI.21

Assessment and reporting on the status of wetlands

Para 2(a) is time-limited and can be retired.

Para 2 (b) may be regarded as having been overtaken by later decisions, such as Resolutions VIII.7. VIII.8, IX.1 Annex D and IX.1 Annex E. On the other hand it is couched in such general terms that it may not be completely superseded by the sum of all of these. Nevertheless in practice the issue has been and is being addressed in various ways in respect of such parts of the generality that can be addressed, and there may be little practical utility now in retaining the paragraph. It is curious in any event that the request is addressed to the Bureau and not to the STRP. The best course in respect of this para may be arguable, but on balance it seems most appropriate for it to be retired.

Para 3 bears no necessary relation to the title of this Resolution! It is probably best regarded as duplicatory of what was adopted already in Rec 5.6 (in respect of NGOs) and subsequently in Res VII.8 (in respect of local communities), and could therefore be retired.

These are the only operative parts of Res VI.21 so subject perhaps to any discussion perhaps about para 2 (b) as outlined above, the Resolution as a whole could be retired.

Rec 6.2

Environmental Impact Assessment

Para 7 has been overtaken by Resolutions VII.16 and VIII.9 and could be retired.

Other parts of the Resolution remain valid, although the Annex could be updated, and there may be a case for consolidation with Resolutions VII.16 and VIII.9

Res VII.10

Wetland Risk Assessment Framework

Para 11 (on ecological character definitions) has been superseded by paras 15-21 of Res IX.1 Annex A and should be retired.

The “report” requested by para 14 was not specifically produced, but it seems from the report of STRP to COP8 (paras 44-47) that the STRP considered it had completed this task in other ways. That would make this para a time-expired element of the Resolution, and on that basis it could be retired. (In general, whether such a “de facto lapsing” scenario is a sufficient basis for deciding a decision is no longer valid may be merit some discussion, but on this occasion retiral seems on balance an appropriate outcome to recommend).

The remainder of the Resolution and its Annex remain valid.

Res VII.16

The Ramsar Convention and impact assessment: strategic, environmental and social

This Resolution largely remains valid, though it overlaps with Rec 6.2 (see comments on this Recommendation above) and Res VIII.9, and it might be most appropriate for these three decisions to be consolidated.

Res VII.20

Priorities for wetland inventory

Parts of this Resolution have been more or less repeated (paras 11 and 18) or superseded (paras 13, 15, and part of 17) by Res VIII.6, and could be retired.

Other parts remain valid (paras 4, 6, 12, 14, part of 17 and 19), and para 16 has also not been superseded although emphasis nowadays is probably being put more on metadata. There is a strong case for consolidating these valid elements with Res VIII.6.

Res VII.25

Measuring environmental quality in wetlands

This Resolution remains valid. There are links with other decisions, but it is probably appropriate for this one to remain distinct.

Res VIII.6

A Ramsar Framework for Wetland Inventory

Para 21, although it refers to reporting to COP9, could be read as having other more open-ended elements. In any event the request was not achieved by COP9 and has (in modified form) been rolled-forward in Res IX.2. Given that the para thus has at least some continuing currency, although partly out of date it may be wisest to retain it.

Para 22 is time-limited, and although the product was not completed by COP9 (it will now be produced in the Technical Reports series), technically, information on progress was available to COP9 – the mandate could therefore be regarded as discharged, and this para retired.

The remainder of this Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.7

Gaps in and harmonization of Ramsar guidance on wetland ecological character, inventory, assessment, and monitoring

Paras 15-17 have been in principle delivered by COP9 products, mainly in Res IX.1 Annexes A and E. Some consequential issues have been taken forward as future tasks in Res IX.2. It may be worth double-checking the details of this, but it appears that these three paras could be retired.

Para 18 is repeated in Res IX.2 and could be retired.

The first part of para 19 has occurred and is in principle time-expired, and if retiral of part-paragraphs is contemplated, this part could be retired (the rest remains valid).

Para 21 has occurred – there is ambiguity as to whether a “make available” request is satisfied by a single action, or by an on-going facility: Instincts may suggest that his para should be retired, but this may merit discussion.

The remainder of this Resolution remains valid. (Note that these remaining parts bear much less relationship to the Resolution’s title than those which are redundant).

Res VIII.9

‘Guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into environmental impact assessment legislation and/or processes and in strategic environmental assessment’ adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and their relevance to the Ramsar Convention

Although no substantive report was provided to COP9 on para 14 (mainly because of a paucity of case studies), the request is of no less validity now, and might be best be retained on an understanding that it stands as rolled-forward beyond COP9.

Some other tasks for STRP have been repeated in Res IX.2, but as a whole this Resolution remains valid.

Res IX.1 Annex D

Ecological “outcome-oriented” indicators for assessing the implementation effectiveness of the Ramsar Convention

 

Res IX.1 Annex E

An Integrated Framework for wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring (IF-WIAM)

 

Res IX.1 Annex Ei

Guidelines for the rapid assessment of inland, coastal and marine wetland biodiversity

 

8. Ecological character, responses to change, management and restoration

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 3.9

Change in ecological character of Ramsar sites

The element of this which “urges” Parties to “take swift and effective action to prevent any further degradation of sites” is effectively repeated in Rec 4.8 (though in the latter this is just “requested”). Also, para 20 of Res VIII.8 “calls upon” Parties “to maintain or restore the ecological character of their Ramsar sites”. The element of Rec 3.9 urging Parties to “to restore, as far as possible, the value of damaged sites” is effectively carried forward by Rec 6.15, para 10 of which “urges” Parties “to take steps to restore, as far as possible, habitat quality in all sites identified as in need of restoration”; and by Res VII.17, which “urges” Parties “to implement and evaluate projects and programmes as a means of promoting ecologically, economically and socially sustainable restoration of degraded sites”, and which amplifies the restoration issue in general at some length; and by Res VIII.8 quoted above. Res VII.24 is also relevant, where para 24 “urges” Parties to take all practicable measures for compensating any loss of wetland functions, attributes and values, both in quality and surface area, caused by human activities”.

The other part of this Recommendation, asking for action reports from Parties on sites listed in a COP document, appears to have been fairly fully discharged, judging for example by DOC. C.4.18 at COP4.

Provided therefore that there is no significant issue (especially given that the action is implied anyway in the Convention text) over the difference between “urging”, “requesting” and “calling upon” Parties to prevent degradation of sites (a subject for possible legal advice?), then Rec 3.9 could be retired.

Rec 4.1

Wetland restoration

Some parts superseded by Rec 6.15 and Resolutions VII.17 and VIII.16; but the statement of principle in the fifth para of the preamble and some operative elements (part (b) of the first para, and aspects of the third para), have not been carried forward specifically into these later decisions. There is a case for consolidating all four decisions.

Rec 4.4

Establishment of wetland reserves

The element which urges Parties to compile national wetland inventories is repeated in several other decisions, including even Rec 4.6 from the same COP; and the element relating to the IVth World Parks Congress is time-limited and now expired: so these two elements could be retired. There is a subsequent decision (Rec 5.3) that addresses reserves. It tackles different subject-matter and covers wider issues too – so while these two decisions could be consolidated if there were a strong wish to condense texts; this is not a pressing need in terms of legal logic.

Rec 4.7

Mechanisms for improved application of the Ramsar Convention

Although the name of the Monitoring Procedure was changed by decisions in Res VI.14 and again in Res VII.12, the mandate and description of the process remain defined by this COP4 Recommendation. Given the retiral of the remainder of this Recommendation suggested below, a consolidation of this element could be sought, if desired, with another appropriate decision such as Res VIII.8.

The element defining and adopting the Ramsar Information Sheet has been superseded by Res VIII.13 and further specific amendments made by Res IX.1 Annex B, IX.6, IX.21 and IX. 22; so this element could be retired.

The element defining and adopting the Ramsar Classification system for wetland type has been superseded by Res VII.11, so this element could be retired.

The element requesting the Standing Committee to oversee the application of the Monitoring Procedure and the use of the database and classification system for wetland type could be regarded now as redundant since it is regular practice, is covered by the defined role of the SC in general, and/or is echoed elsewhere; so this element could be retired.

The element requesting an investigation of the need for a Convention Scientific Committee is expired following the establishment of the STRP, and the record of this request is retained in the preamble of Res 5.5; so this element too could be retired.

Rec 4.8

Change in ecological character of Ramsar sites [and establishment of the Montreux Record]

The preambular passage which emphasises “the fundamental importance of maintaining the ecological character of listed sites” is reflected in para 20 of Res VIII.8 which “calls upon” Parties “to maintain or restore the ecological character of their Ramsar sites”; although the “fundamental importance point” is not re-made. The remainder of the preamble however is redundant.

The operative request to Parties to take action in relation to sites facing change is also taken forward in para 20 of Res VIII.8, in different but equivalent language.

The establishment of (what later became known as) the Montreux Record, and initial points about its operation, have been incorporated in subsequent decisions developing the operation of the Record; though the instruction to give priority to MR cases in applying (what is now) the Ramsar Advisory Missions process may remain in its strongest form in this Rec. Nonetheless the Rec could potentially be retired, or if necessary this one point consolidated with Res V.4, VI.1 or VIII.8 as appropriate; subject however to the question of whether the historical mandate for establishing the MR is sufficiently embodied in its being recalled in the preamble to Res 5.4, or needs to remain “on the books” in its original manifestation. (As identified in other contexts above, this last point is a question for possible legal advice).

Res 5.4

The record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur (“Montreux Record”)

There would be a strong case for consolidating the decisions relating to the Montreux Record, viz the original mandate in Rec 4.8 (though see comment under 4.8 above about whether retention of that is necessary or not), Res 5.4 (and its Annex), section 3 of the Annex to Res VI.1, and paras 21-23 of Res VIII.8.

Res 5.7

Management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands

The appended guidelines were replaced by the “New Guidelines” adopted by Res VIII.14. The elements of Resolution text itself have been carried forward elsewhere (including in Rec VI.13) or superseded. A possible exception is the final operative para that urges funding to be found for management plans, but its generality is covered by other Ramsar decisions, and it would thus seem appropriate for the whole of Res 5.7 to be retired.

Rec 5.2

Guidelines for interpretation of Article 3 (“ecological character” and “change in ecological character”)

This Recommendation simply asks for studies on the issue of “ecological character” and “change in ecological character” to be brought to COP6. This was duly done, and a number of decisions on these issues have subsequently been taken. This Recommendation can therefore be entirely retired.

Rec 5.3

The essential character of wetlands and the need for zonation related to wetland reserves

In the context of management planning, some issues on zonation are covered in the annex to Res VIII.14, but overall Rec 5.3 remains valid.

Res VI.1

Working definitions of ecological character, guidelines for describing and maintaining the ecological character of listed sites, and guidelines for operation of the Montreux Record

Para 9 of the Resolution and section 1 of the Annex (on definitions) have been replaced by Res VII.10 and Res IX.1 Annex A and should be retired.

Para 10 and section 3 of the Annex (on the Montreux Record) remain in effect; though as noted under Res 5.4 above, there would be a strong case for consolidating the decisions relating to the Montreux Record, viz the original mandate in Rec 4.8 (though see comment under 4.8 above about whether retention of that is necessary or not), Res 5.4 (and its Annex), section 3 of the Annex to Res VI.1, and paras 21-23 of Res VIII.8.

Para 11 (on early warning systems) is largely but not totally superseded by Res VII.10, and given the conclusions on the rest of the analysis of Res VI.1 here, should perhaps be consolidated with that Resolution, or could even be regarded as an insignificant loss if it were retired.

Para 12 is time-limited and can be retired.

Paras 2.1-2.8 of the Annex (on describing and maintaining ecological character) remain in effect. Thinking in the Convention on this however has advanced, if not yet embodied in a new decision; and this text should probably be a candidate for consolidation or retiral in light of whatever is in due course adopted by COP as a result of the work requested of STRP under Res VIII.8 to “prepare further consolidated guidance on the overall process of detecting, reporting and responding to change in ecological character”.

Section 2.9 of the Annex (on the RIS) has been superseded, mainly by Res VIII.13, and can be retired. A consolidated version of the RIS and its guidance, taking account also of relevant elements in Resolutions IX.1 Annex B, IX.6, IX.21 and IX. 22, is posted on the Ramsar website.

Section 2.10 of the Annex (on a framework for monitoring) is reproduced almost in its entirety in Res IX.1 Annex E, although the latter does not make this clear and implies that the COP6 text may hold more additional material than in fact it does. There are one or two sentences of the VI.1 Annex (in paras 2.10.2-3) that may not appear elsewhere (on monitoring not needing to be sophisticated), but which would be an insignificant loss if this were retired; or they could be consolidated with the COP9 Annex. Para 2.10.1 cites the definition of monitoring in the Annex to Res 5.6, which may be in conflict with the definition in Res VIII.6, which is also cited in Res IX.1 Annex D. (This later one should prevail, which supports the option of retiring section 2.10 of Res VI.1).

There are no other operative sections of this Resolution.

Rec 6.13

Guidelines on management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands

Para 9 is time-limited and can be retired.

The only other operative parts of the Recommendation, namely the two lines of paras 7-8 which encourage management planning, could be regarded as taken over and further developed by Resolutions VII.12 (especially para 19) and VIII.14, and hence the whole Recommendation could be retired.

Rec 6.15

Restoration of wetlands

Aspects of this are subsumed into Resolutions VII.17 and VIII.16, while others are expired – but there are others which may remain additional such as the concept of a list of sites in need of restoration (para 9), and aspects of the reference to habitat quality (para 10), plus one or two preambular elements. As noted therefore in comments on Rec 4.1 above, there is a case for consolidating all four of these decisions.

Res VII.17

Restoration as an element of national planning for wetland conservation and wise use

A detailed analysis (not done here) should be undertaken of whether all of the elements of this Resolution have been subsumed into Res VIII.16. As noted in comments on Recommendations 4.1 and 6.15 above, there is a case for consolidating all four of these decisions.

Res VII.23

Issues concerning the boundary definitions of Ramsar sites and compensation of wetland habitats

This Resolution has some time-limited elements. The remainder of it has been superseded by a combination of Resolutions VIII.20, VIII.21, VIII 22 and IX. It is possible that preambular paragraphs 3 and 5 remain useful and should perhaps be consolidated with one of the other decisions referred to; but with those possible exceptions, this Resolution could be retired.

Res VII.24

Compensation for lost wetland habitats and other functions

Para 13 is time-expired, has been taken over (only partly, but as a conscious decision by the COP about the COP7 mandate) by Res VIII.20 and can be retired.

The remainder of the Resolution (three operative lines) remains valid, but could usefully be consolidated with Res VIII.20.

Res VIII.3

Climate change and wetlands: impacts, adaptation, and mitigation

Although there is a slight ambiguity in para 19, the most logical interpretation is that it is only the second part which is time-limited to reporting to COP9, and the best course is probably to retain the para.

Para 23 is directed at COP9 but leaves open an interpretation of a longer timescale. In practice delivery to COP9 did not occur, a view has developed that the task is not achievable in the form specified (reference report of STRP 13th meeting), and no replacement task has been adopted in the STRP’s work programme (Res IX.2). It would be incorrect to view the para as continuing with the validity it had at COP8. Although there is no COP decision specifically superseding it, one approach might be to consider that Res IX.2 does so by implication, and hence that para 23 could be retired. This may need discussion.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.8

Assessing and reporting the status and trends of wetlands, and the implementation of Article 3.2 of the Convention

This Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.14

New Guidelines for management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands

Para 15 is a one-off task that has probably been completed (need to check) and so this para can probably be retired.

The remainder of this Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.15

The ‘San José Record’ for the promotion of wetland management

Although thinking on this issue has evolved and the initiative may be regarded as dormant, the Resolution has not been rescinded and until such time as it is (a possibility which might be examined, perhaps in conjunction with any potential for one of the Res IX.1 Annex D indicators to address related issues), this Resolution remains in effect.

Para 13 is time-expired, but by implication might be assumed to roll forward to (a) future COP(s).

Res VIII.16

Principles and guidelines for wetland restoration

The time-limited aspect of the second part of para 22 could be read as a progress-report to COP9 rather than completion of the tasks by the time of COP9. The latter part of this has been been rolled forward in Res IX.2. It is perhaps for discussion whether that now represents the COP view on these matters and thus that this para should be retired; or whether it should be retained.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid.

As noted in comments above on Recommendations 4.1 and 6.15, and Res VII.17, there is a case for consolidating all four of these decisions.

Res VIII.18

Invasive species and wetlands

This Resolution remains valid. As noted in the comments on Res VII.14 above, there are overlaps between the two decisions, and it might be most appropriate for them to be consolidated.

Res VIII.20

General guidance for interpreting “urgent national interests” under Article 2.5 of the Convention and considering compensation under Article 4.2

This Resolution remains valid. There is a link, though one of complementarity rather than overlap, between this Resolution and Res IX.6 – the two should be read together but can remain distinct.

Res VIII.22

Issues concerning Ramsar sites that cease to fulfil or never fulfilled the Criteria for designation as Wetlands of International Importance

This Resolution is time-limited, and the request it makes has been entirely delivered by Res IX.6 (in the preamble of which it is also recalled as the source of the mandate). It can thus be entirely retired.

Res VIII.35

The impact of natural disasters, particularly drought, on wetland ecosystems

This Resolution remains valid. There would be a case for consolidating it with Res IX.9

Res IX.6

Guidance for addressing Ramsar sites or parts of sites which no longer meet the Criteria for designation

 

Res IX.9

The role of the Ramsar Convention in the prevention and mitigation of impacts associated with natural phenomena, including those induced or exacerbated by human activities

 

Res IX.23

Highly pathogenic avian influenza and its consequences for wetland and waterbird conservation and wise use

 

9. Listing of Ramsar sites (process, rather than specific sites)

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 1.3

Designating more wetlands for the Ramsar List

Preambular facts are out of date, but this Recommendation remains valid. Look for possible consolidation with pledges etc in Res VII.2, and with Res VIII.11.

Rec 1.4

Criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance

The recommendation to use the Cagliari criteria could be retired.

The call for guidelines could be retired.

The recommendation to keep criteria under review appears in the Strategic Plan approved by Res IV.14 and so could be retired.

The recommendation for a global shadow list of qualifying sites should be kept? (But not necessarily in a text devoted to “criteria” per se).

Look to consolidate anything that persists, into the consolidations proposed below surrounding Res VII.11.

Rec 3.1

Criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance and guidelines on their use

This has been entirely superseded; first by Rec 4.2 and then by other decisions, and can thus be entirely retired.

Rec 4.2

Criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance

The preamble refers only to the history of work that produced criteria, and contains no principles. The appended criteria were amended by Res VI.2, then completely replaced by Res VII.11 and amended further by subsequent Resolutions. There is an operative para recommending that future changes to criteria be minimized, which on one hand could be read as still a valid view of the Parties which has not been re-stated in later Resolutions – but on the other hand could be read as in conflict with Action 6.3.1 of the Strategic Plan approved by Res IV.14 which calls for the criteria to be kept under review (as indeed did Rec 1.4). Annex II, on action subsequent to designation, contains three rather general sections. Of these, section 1’s main message on legal status is carried forward by para 41 of the Strategic Framework and guidelines for the Ramsar List adopted under Res VII.11; though the illustrative expansion of the point given in the Annex is not repeated in subsequent decisions. Section 2 has been superseded by eg the Strategic Plan (Res VI.14) and Res VIII.8. The key message of section 3 has been repeated in the preamble of Res 5.7, except for a useful comment about the role of traditional practices, which while not repeated precisely elsewhere, has its general sense reflected in places like preambular para 4 of Res VII.8, preambular par 6 of Rec 6.3, and preambular paras 4 and 7 of Res VIII.19.

This Recommendation could therefore be retired, assuming that the desired way to resolve the small conflict identified above would be in favour of the later decision, and that either the loss of the illustrative expansion of the point about legal status of sites is not problematic, or that an opportunity could be found to include it in an appropriate future text.

Res 5.3

Procedure for initial designation of sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance

Much of this Resolution remains valid, although it should be read with other related decisions, and some technical updates need to be assumed eg to the number of the Resolution cited as the source of the Ramsar criteria. The details of the 2nd operative para are out of date and its generality is recalled in the preamble of Res VIII.13, so this para should be retired. The 5th operative para and the Annex should now be read together with Res IX.6, into which parts have also been subsumed, and so Resolutions 5.3 and IX.6 could potentially be consolidated.

Res 5.9

Application of the Ramsar Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance

This Resolution has been superseded by later ones. It contains the original request for regular submission to COPs of updates to IWRB/Wetlands International’s waterbird population estimates; but this is cited later in the preamble to Res VI.4 (and developed further in that Resolution). A similar request relating to IUCN SSC data is effectively overtaken by Res IX.1 Annex B. This Resolution can therefore be retired.

Rec 5.9

Establishment of Ramsar guidelines on Wetlands of International Importance as fish habitat

The criteria and guidelines called for by this Recommendation were duly adopted by Res VI.2, the preamble of which also recalls this COP5 mandate – so Rec 5.9 could be retired.

Res VI.2

Adoption of specific criteria based on fish for identifying Wetlands of International Importance

The criteria and guidelines adopted by this Resolution have been entirely subsumed in later decisions, principally Res VII.11 (which recalls VI.2 in its preamble), and given that there are no other substantive elements to this Resolution it can be retired.

Res VI.3

Review of the Ramsar Criteria for identifying Wetlands of International Importance and the accompanying guidelines

This is essentially a time-limited mandate for STRP to revise the criteria and guidelines, which they duly did and which resulted in the adoption at COP7 of Res VII.11. The specific clause relating to attention to hydrological functions has been incorporated in the Res VII.13 guidance on applying criterion 1. Res VI.3 can therefore be entirely retired.

Res VI.4

Adoption of population estimates for operation of the specific criteria based on waterfowl

This remains valid, but overlaps with Res VIII.38, with which it should ideally be consolidated.

Res VI.5

Inclusion of subterranean karst wetlands as a wetland type under the Ramsar Classification System

The decision to add karst systems to the Classification has been effected by the incorporation of the classification, so revised, in the Strategic Framework for the Ramsar List adopted by Res VII.13. The second element, encouraging Parties to consider such sites for listing, is supported by specific emphasis given in the guidelines in the Framework. Unless there is a strong political desire to retain this encouragement in a standalone one-line Resolution, logically Res VI.5 should probably be entirely retired.

Res VI.13

Submission of information on sites designated for the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

There are three operative paras.

Para 7 has one part which is time-limited, and another part which remains in effect as the origin of the request for RIS updates to be made by Parties at six-year intervals.

Para 8 has two parts which urge implementation of an existing Convention Article and an existing Resolution – in the former case this has been repeated in Res VIII.8 and in the latter case this has been reaffirmed in Resolutions VI.16 and VII.12 – this para could therefore be retired.

Para 9 may have been partly overtaken by Res IX.1 Annex D, but to some extent at least, it probably has continuing effect.

Res VII.11

Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance

The annexed Strategic Framework has been subsequently amended by Resolutions VII.13, VIII.11, VIII.33, IX.1, IX.1 Annex A and IX.1 Annex B. A consolidated text of the Framework, incorporating all these amendments, is published on the Ramsar website, but has not yet been adopted as a COP decision. There would be a strong case for a new Resolution to consolidate the operative & “political” parts of all these adopting decisions and annexing the consolidated framework. A few elements that are already redundant (time-limited ones), or which would be rendered redundant by the consolidation (those simply effecting amendments) could be retired.

Res VII.13

Guidelines for identifying and designating karst and other subterranean hydrological systems as Wetlands of International Importance

See comments as for Res VII.11 above.

Res VIII.10

Improving implementation of the Strategic Framework and Vision for the List of Wetlands of International Importance

Paras 30-31 have been overtaken by several COP9 decisions, and can be retired.

In respect of paras 34-37, 40, 42, the Annex and large parts of the preamble, see comments as for Rec 4.9 above.

Remaining paras (27-29, 32-33, 38 and 41) remain valid.

Res VIII.11

Additional guidance for identifying and designating under-represented wetland types as Wetlands of International Importance

Paras 7-8 have been completed or are time-expired and can be retired.

Para 9, although time-limited, was not completed by the time of COP9, and has been rolled-forward in Res IX.2. Although the latter is a slight paraphrase, it could be regarded as now superseding the original time-limited request, and so it might be possible to retire para 9.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid. However the Strategic Framework for the Ramsar List, which this amends, has also been amended (since it was adopted in Res VII.11) by Resolutions VII.13, VIII.33, IX.1, IX.1 Annex A and IX.1 Annex B. A consolidated text of the Framework, incorporating all these amendments, is published on the Ramsar website, but has not yet been adopted as a COP decision. There would be a strong case for a new Resolution to consolidate the operative & “political” parts of all these adopting decisions, and annexing the consolidated framework.

Res VIII.13

Enhancing the information on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)

Para 9 remains an important approval (of the annex) which should remain in effect; but the Annex itself has been amended by parts of Resolutions VIII.13, IX.1 Annex B, IX.6, IX.21 and IX. 22. A full revised and up to date version has not yet been annexed to a COP decision, but has been published on the Ramsar website. While the annex to Res VIII.13 therefore probably cannot yet be formally retired, the understanding should be that it has in practice been superseded by this web version.

Para 10 has been superseded by para 28 of Res IX.15 and should be retired.

The remainder of this Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.21

Defining Ramsar site boundaries more accurately in Ramsar Information Sheets

This Resolution remains valid. As for Res VIII.above, there is a link, though one of complementarity rather than overlap, between this Resolution and Res IX.6 – the two should be read together but can remain distinct.

Concerning para 12, as noted in comments on Res VI.16 above, although Res VIII.21 makes a request again (without specifically referring to the earlier one) for a description of site boundaries, the RIS and guidance that is currently in effect (taking account of various COP8 and COP9 decisions) do not seem to ask for a precise description of the boundary (they ask only for a description of the type of boundary, ie what considerations have determined the way it was applied). On one view, all this later guidance should take precedence – but since the Res VIII.21 para 12 request is now re-cast in Res IX.2 as a future task, it could be retained for now as the mandate for that task.

Res VIII.33

Guidance for identifying, sustainably managing, and designating temporary pools as Wetlands of International Importance

This Resolution remains valid (but see comments under Resolutions VII.11 and VIII.11 above re some consolidation potential). (Such consolidation could however probably not accommodate para 12 of Res VIII.33).

Res VIII.38

Waterbird population estimates and the identification and designation of Wetlands of International Importance

Para 13 is expressed in a way which makes it effectively time-limited. In practice, although there is no COP decision rolling it forward, it continues to describe the approach being followed, with reference to the appropriate volume of WPE being assumed. It could either be retained on that understanding; or retired on the basis that the issue is covered clearly in the Strategic Framework adopted by Res VII.11 (ie in para 87 of the consolidated version published on the Ramsar website).

The Resolution otherwise remains valid, but as noted above it overlaps with Res VI.4, with which it should ideally be consolidated.

Res IX.1 Annex B

Revised Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance

 

10. Conservation of specific areas

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 2.5

Designation of the Wadden Sea for the List of Wetlands of International Importance

The Recommendation asks for the designation of “the whole” of the parts of the Wadden Sea controlled by Germany and Denmark. In the Danish case the designation which duly took place covers the whole of the relevant territory, but in the German case the five Waddensee Ramsar sites may still not cover all relevant territory, and this needs to be checked. Even if the action has now taken place, the Recommendation could be left to stand as a useful statement by the Parties of the importance of protecting the area – but on balance it may be better to retire it (subject to the clarification re Germany) and flag some information (eg dates) about the completion of the action.

Rec 2.6

Conservation and management of Sahel Wetlands

Will need to check whether the “plan to conserve and manage Sahel wetlands” called for was established”, and if so could retire the Recommendation; if not, the reference to “CILSS” may now be out of date.

Rec 2.7

Conservation of Djoudj National Bird Park, Senegal

Although actions have been taken, and other Ramsar processes (eg SC, and a RAM) refer to this site, it appears that the general exhortation to take rapid measures has not technically been superseded by any later COP decision.

Rec 2.8

Establishment of a protected area in the River Senegal basin in Mauritania

Need to check whether “an area including an artificial estuary” in Senegal has been “protected” – if so, this Recommendation could be retired, with a flag noting the action taken (and the date thereof).

Rec 2.9

Conservation action and protection of wetlands not designated for the List of Wetlands of International Importance

At least some of the sites for which designation is requested will have been designated. To verify whether all have been will require cross-checking against Document C.2.6 (hard copy only). Even if all have been, the Recommendation also asks for conservation measures in wider terms; and in its second section the sites named are only examples. So, apart from a portion that is undoubtedly out of date, the Recommendation otherwise remains valid. See also comments on Rec 4.9 below.

Rec 3.8

Conservation of Azraq Ramsar site

This has been amplified by Rec 4.9.3 and 6.17.3, which appear to supersede the content of Rec 3.8. The Rec 3.8 call for a long-term water resources plan is carried forward only in the preamble of Rec 4.9.3; but that is probably adequate (and need to check anyway, eg from COP Inf docs, whether such a plan has been put in place), and hence Rec 3.8 could be retired.

Rec 4.9

Ramsar sites in the territories of specific Contracting Parties

A general decision should be taken about what approach to take to these “specific sites” Resolutions/Recommendations. Many of the specific concerns and requested actions will be no longer current; but discovering the true situation in that regard will depend to a large extent on materials such as National Reports to subsequent COPs, Advisory Mission reports and general correspondence etc, rather than necessarily being contained in subsequent COP decision texts. Some elements, such as expressions of concern about a particular instance of damage or loss, or approval of positive steps that have been taken, remain as a valid record of the COP’s view of past events.

Some sites or cases feature in several successive COP decisions as a long-running story advances; but the “audit-trail” of that story may be useful to retain, even if some messages are repeated.

An option would therefore be to propose leaving such Resolutions/Recommendations “on the books” in their original form.

Rec 4.9.1

Doñana National Park, Spain

References appear in other texts, but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 4.9.2

Everglades National Park, USA

References appear in other texts, but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 4.9.3

Azraq Oasis, Jordan

References appear in other texts, including a further specific decision (Rec 6.17.3), but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 4.9.4

Conservation of the Leybucht, Federal Republic of Germany

References appear in other texts, but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 4.9.5

Greek Ramsar sites

References appear in other texts, including further specific decisions (Rec 5.1.1, Rec 6.17.1, Res VII.12.1), but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 5.1

Ramsar sites in the territories of specific Contracting Parties

See comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 5.1.1

Greek Ramsar sites

References appear in other texts, including other specific decisions (Rec 4.9.5, Rec 6.17.1, Res VII.12.1), but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 5.1.2

Cuare, Venezuela

See comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 5.1.3

Lower Danube Basin

References appear in other texts, including the specific decision Rec 6.17.5, but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 6.17

Ramsar sites in the territories of specific Contracting Parties

See comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 6.17.1

Greek Ramsar sites

References appear in other texts, including Resolutions VII.12.1 and IX.15, but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 6.17.2

National Reserve of Paracas and the national strategy for the conservation of wetlands in Peru

Reference is also made in Res IX.15, but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 6.17.3

Azraq Oasis, Jordan

See comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 6.17.4

Australian Ramsar sites

See comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Rec 6.17.5

The Lower Danube Basin

References appear in other texts, including Resolutions VII.12.1 and IX.15, but see comments for Rec 4.9 above.

Res VII.12

Sites in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance: official descriptions, conservation status, and management plans, including the situation of particular sites in the territories of specific Contracting Parties

In respect of the parts of this Resolution (the majority) that concern specific countries or specific sites, see comments as for Rec 4.9 above.

Other parts of this Resolution concern more general matters: comments on these are given below.

Para 19 in a sense is time-limited, but since the target was not met, it might perhaps be regarded as still in effect.

Para 20 has effectively been superseded by Res VIII.14 (para 14).

Para 21 is time-expired and can be retired.

Para 22 would remain valid if its reference to management planning guidelines is taken to be to the latest (COP8) version and not the version then in effect.

Para 34, on the San Jose Record, has been superseded by Res VIII.15, and to the extent that it has significance as the original mandate for developing the concept, this is recalled in full in the preamble to that later decision – so this para can be retired.

Para 38, apart from the title of what is now the Ramsar Advisory Missions being out of date, otherwise remains valid. Para 39 is the source of the Advisory Missions name-change – the amended name has since been operating in effect, but some may consider the COP decision on this should remain (the original decision to create the Missions procedure was taken by the Standing Committee, later endorsed by the COP in Rec 4.7). Para 40 remains valid. There would be a good case for consolidating these three paras with Res VIII.8.

Res IX.15

The status of sites in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

 

11. Wise use (including peatlands, IWRM, ICZM, national planning and public participation etc)

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 3.3

Wise use of wetlands

This has been entirely superseded, first by Rec 4.10 and then by other decisions. This includes the element from the Recommendation concerning taking immediate action to stimulate wise use while detailed policies are being established, which in Rec 4.10 appears in the appended guidelines rather than the Rec (but in both cases is “recommended”). Rec 3.3 can thus be entirely retired.

Rec 4.10

Guidelines for the implementation of the wise use concept

The preamble is nearly all about the history of establishment of a working group and the delivery of its work, and is now redundant; and the remainder of it is also redundant.

By Res 5.6, the Wise Use Working Group was ended and its work transferred to the STRP.

Concerning the appended wise use guidelines, the position is described in Resolution IX.1 Annex A para 14, which states that all aspects of the guidelines in Rec 4.10 have now been superseded by the suite of elaborated guidelines adopted by subsequent COPs.

This entire Recommendation can therefore be retired.

Res 5.6

The wise use of wetlands

Most aspects of this Resolution are redundant, and concerning its Annex, Resolution IX.1 Annex A para 14 states that “most aspects of the Additional guidance for the implementation of the wise use concept adopted by Resolution 5.6 have now been superseded by the suite of elaborated guidelines adopted by subsequent COPs. However, three aspects of the COP5 guidance have not been further developed, those concerning ‘Research’, ‘Training’ and ‘Technical issues’ of sustainable technologies”. There might be a case for consolidating these three sections with Res IX.1 Annex A, at which point the rest of Res 5.6 could be retired.

See also comments under Res VI.1 below concerning a conflict in definitions of monitoring; which also supports retiral of this Resolution.

Rec 6.1

Conservation of peatlands

Operative para 9 has been repeated by para 8 of Rec 7.1 and could be retired. Other parts of the text remain valid to varying extents, but interrelate with elements of Rec 7.1 and Resolutions VIII.11, VIII.17 and could perhaps best be consolidated with these other peat texts as appropriate. (This is not to imply a consolidation of all of these decisions into one – that might be contemplated with some of them, but Res VIII.11, at least, probably needs to remain distinct).

Rec 6.3

Involving local and indigenous people in the management of Ramsar wetlands

Para 13 is time-limited and can be retired.

The remainder of the Recommendation has probably been subsumed into Res VII.8 and its appended guidelines. This question has not yet been analysed – such an analysis would be desirable, and it is anticipated that Rec 6.3 could probably then either be retired or consolidated with the later text.

Rec 6.7

Conservation and wise use of coral reefs and associated ecosystems

Although some details may be slightly out of date, in principle this Recommendation remains valid.

Rec 6.8

Strategic planning in coastal zones

This Recommendation is partly re-quoted, otherwise superseded and considerably elaborated by Res VIII.4 and its annexed “Principles & Guidelines, and can therefore be retired.

Rec 6.9

Framework for National Wetland Policy development and implementation

This Recommendation entirely concerns the brief for work which was subsequently delivered as Res VII.6 and its Annex, so the Recommendation can therefore be retired.

Rec 6.10

Promotion of cooperation on the economic valuation of wetlands

While much of what this Recommendation seeks has been delivered through a Ramsar Technical Series report, as a COP decision it remains valid.

Rec 6.12

Conservation and wise use in private and public funded activities

This Recommendation remains valid.

Rec 6.14

Toxic chemicals

Para 8 is time-limited and can be retired. The remainder of this Recommendation remains valid. There are links with Res VII.25, but the latter is wider in scope, and there may be merit in these two decisions remaining distinct.

Res VII.6

Guidelines for developing and implementing National Wetland Policies

Apart from specific cross-references to other Resolutions in para 12 being out of date, this Resolution remains valid.

Res VII.7

Guidelines for reviewing laws and institutions to promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands

Apart from specific cross-references to other Resolutions in para 9 being out of date, this Resolution remains valid.

Res VII.8

Guidelines for establishing and strengthening local communities’ and indigenous people’s participation in the management of wetlands

Paras 24 and 25 are time-expired and could be retired; otherwise the remainder of this Resolution remains valid.

Res VII.14

Invasive species and wetlands

Para 16 (tasks for STRP) was not implemented fully in the way described, but reasons for this were rehearsed at COP8 and decisions at that COP reflect the evolution of Parties’ views on the matter. The para is therefore probably best regarded as time-expired and could therefore be retired.

Most of the rest of this Resolution remains valid, although there are overlaps with Res VIII.18, and it might be most appropriate for the two decisions to be consolidated.

Res VII.15

Incentive measures to encourage the application of the wise use principle

Para 15-16 are time-limited (para 15 not in its text, but by virtue of the fact that conclusions were brought to COP8), and could be retired.

The remainder of the Resolution broadly remains valid but overlaps with Res VIII.23, and it might be most appropriate for the two decisions to be consolidated.

Res VII.18

Guidelines for integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management

Paras 15 and 19 are time-expired and could be retired. (Para 20 is not, although it refers to COP8).

The remainder of this Resolution remains valid. It links with Res IX.1 Annex Ci. Res IX.2 (para 83) has already mandated an STRP task to consolidate the guidance which comprises the majority of these two decisions, and the “political” clauses could sensibly be included in any such consolidation.

Res VII.21

Enhancing the conservation and wise use of intertidal wetlands

There are links with Res VIII.4, but the more specific focus here on intertidal habitats is intended, and hence this Resolution remains valid.

Rec 7.1

A global action plan for the wise use and management of peatlands

The annexed “Draft Global Action Plan” was intended to be brought back as a final version for adoption at COP8 for adoption. In fact by COP8 thinking had evolved somewhat, and what was adopted (in Res VIII.17), although it grew from Rec 7.1, was instead an annex on “Global Guidelines for Action”. Whether therefore the annex to Rec 7.1 is regarded as a superseded draft of what was adopted in Res VIII.17, or alternatively is a separate expression of COP views and should remain “on the books”, will need clarifying. (Res VIII.17 in turn has now asked for an “implementation plan for global action”, and again it would be worth clarifying whether and to what extent it is considered that this will supersede the earlier two documents).

Regarding the text of the Resolution itself, some parts are time-limited, and for the remainder, as noted under Rec 6.1 above, there are interrelations between Recommendations 6.1, 7.1, Res VIII.11 and Res VIII.17, and some consolidation among these peat texts would probably be appropriate (though this is not to imply a consolidation of all of these decisions into one – that might be contemplated with some of them, but Res VIII.11, at least, probably needs to remain distinct).

Rec 7.2

Small Island Developing States, island wetland ecosystems, and the Ramsar Convention

Para 16 is time-expired (the Standing Committee completed the review requested), and could be retired - although retention would help comprehension of para 17, which refers to it (or the latter could be slightly amended to cover this point).

Paras 14 and 17 are hybrids of time-limited actions and more open-ended requests, so are partly out of date but not completely.

Some other cross-references etc are technically out of date; but otherwise in general the Recommendation remains valid. There is a link with Rec 6.18, but no strong reason for these two decisions not to remain distinct.

Res VIII.4

Principles and guidelines for incorporating wetland issues into Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)

Only part of para 17 is time-limited to COP9 reports, and the best course is probably to retain it.

Para 19 asks STRP to “consider” bringing some guidance to COP9. Preliminary attention to the issue was given at one STRP meeting but no subsequent work was done. The task has not been rolled-forward into Res IX.2, so one conclusion might be that the “consideration” has been completed and this para could be retired. This may need discussion.

The task requested by para 20 was delivered by what COP9 adopted as Res IX.1 Annex Ei – although specific separate attention is not given in that Resolution’s guidelines to the “protected areas” part of the request, it may be regarded as covered by the generality of them. This para could therefore be retired.

Probably the correct interpretation of para 21 is that only part of it is time-limited to reporting to COP9, and the best course is probably to retain it.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.12

Enhancing the wise use and conservation of mountain wetlands

The second part of para 15 and the first part of para 19 are time-limited can be retired. (In the case of the latter, although proposals were not brought to COP9, thinking in the STRP has evolved and this task has not been rolled forward. Lack of discussion on this at COP9 might be taken as acceptance of this by Parties, but it may be worth double-checking any political sensitivities attached to the recommendation here to retire this clause).

The remainder of this Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.17

Guidelines for Global Action on Peatlands

The action requested in the first part of para 18 has been completed, but it is probably appropriate to retain it as the on-going mandate for the Committee.

Para 21 is time-expired and could be retired.

The Resolution otherwise remains valid.

As noted under Rec 6.1 above, there are interrelations between Recommendations 6.1, 7.1, Res VIII.11 and Res VIII.17, and some consolidation among these peat texts would probably be appropriate (though this is not to imply a consolidation of all of these decisions into one – that might be contemplated with some of them, but Res VIII.11, at least, probably needs to remain distinct).

Res VIII.19

Guiding principles for taking into account the cultural values of wetlands for the effective management of sites

This Resolution remains valid; but it overlaps with Res IX.21, and these two decisions could usefully be consolidated (proposals for doing so are currently being considered as part of work to implement Res IX.21).

Res VIII.23

Incentive measures as tools for achieving the wise use of wetlands

Part of para 11 is time-limited (report to COP9), but the activity described does not need to be limited to that timeframe.

Para 12 is more strictly time-limited. The task described was not delivered by the time of COP9, but it has been rolled forward into Res IX.2 and so could be retired.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid. As noted in comments on Res VII.15 above, there are overlaps between these two decisions, and it might be most appropriate for them to be consolidated.

Res VIII.32

Conservation, integrated management, and sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems and their resources

This Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.36

Participatory Environmental Management (PEM) as a tool for management and wise use of wetlands

Para 16 is a time-limited request for action by the time of COP9. The action as specified was not completed, and the decision has not technically been superseded by a subsequent decision. However the STRP debated options for completing the work, some suggestions were advanced but it has not been carried forward in Res IX.2 and the conclusion now would probably be that in practical terms it has not proved feasible to deliver this task. A pragmatic course would be to retire the paragraph; but this may need some discussion.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid.

Res IX.1

Additional scientific and technical guidance for implementing the Ramsar wise use concept

 

Res IX.1 Annex A

A Conceptual Framework for the wise use of wetlands and the maintenance of their ecological character

 

Res IX.4

The Ramsar Convention and conservation, production and sustainable use of fisheries resources

 

Res IX.20

Integrated, cross-biome planning and management of wetlands, especially in small island developing states

 

Res IX.21

Taking into account the cultural values of wetlands

 

Res IX.22

Ramsar sites and systems of protected areas

 

12. Water

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Res VI.23

Ramsar and water

While aspects of this Resolution have been developed further in later decisions, it remains valid.

Res VIII.1

Guidelines for the allocation and management of water for maintaining the ecological functions of wetlands

Para 19 is time-limited and has been take over by Res IX1 Annex Cii, and can thus be retired.

Para 21 is time-expired and can also be retired.

The final clause of para 24 (relating toCOPP9) is tie-expired, but the rest of the para remains valid.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.2

The Report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) and its relevance to the Ramsar Convention

Although para 16 is directed at reporting certain information to COP9, aspects of the work intended to benefit from this is continuing beyond COP9, and so it would seem premature to retire the para on this basis.

Para 17 is time-expired and can re retired.

Para 18, although an STRP task, was not specified as time-limited to delivery by COP9, and has been rolled-forward in Res IX.2. Although the task is in this later Resolution, the origin of the COP mandate for it is in Res VIII.2, and so the para should probably be retained for now.

Para 20 is ambiguous, but the most logical interpretation is that it is only the second part which is time-limited to COP9 reports, and the best course is probably to retain the para.

The remainder of the Resolution remains valid.

Res VIII.34

Agriculture, wetlands and water resource management

Para 25(b) may appear time-limited but in fact has been rolled forward by Res IX.2. The whole of Res VIII.34 therefore remains valid.

Res VIII.40

Guidelines for rendering the use of groundwater compatible with the conservation of wetlands

The second part of para 15 is time-limited, has been dealt with/taken forward through Res IX Annex Cii and para 90 of Res IX.2, and so could be retired.

The remainder of the Resolution appears to remain valid, but should be checked in detail against Res IX.1 Annex Cii (not done here) for the scope for further possible retirals or consolidation.

Res IX.1 Annex C

An Integrated Framework for the Ramsar Convention’s water-related guidance

 

Res IX.1 Annex Ci

River basin management: additional guidance and a framework for the analysis of case studies

 

Res IX.1 Annex Cii

Guidelines for the management of groundwater to maintain wetland ecological character

 

Res IX.3

Engagement of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in ongoing multilateral processes dealing with water

 

13. Communication, education, public awareness and capacity-building

Res/Rec

Title

Comments

Rec 4.5

Education and training

Rec 6.5 also covers training, though there is no duplication between the two decisions. In any case though, in relation both to training and to education, it is likely (still need to check) that the content of both of these decisions (and others, identified below) is taken over by the CEPA programmes adopted by Res VII.9 and Res VIII.31, and if so they could be retired.

Rec 5.8

Measures to promote public awareness of wetland values in wetland reserves

There are only three operative lines in this recommendation. Reference in the first and second to measures in respect of wetland “reserves” is not precisely picked up in relevant later decisions, but those later decisions (eg adopting a CEPA programme) go much wider and in greater depth, and by implication should cover the point, in a modernised way (ie by having emphasis on more than just reserves).

Reference in the second line to international coordination is picked up to a degree in para 18 of Res VIII.13, and is probably adequately served by implication in other decisions including by the adoption of successive CEPA programmes.

The third line refers to use of what is now the SGF for education & awareness initiatives. The introduction by Res VII.28 of a separate Fund dedicated to CEPA was not expressed to be a replacement for this provision, and the two seem both to remain in effect. In practice the Res VII.28 Fund has never been funded and activated. In light of subsequent elements in Resolutions VI.19, VII.9, VIII.31 and IX.18 the best recommendation would probably be to retire Rec 5.8 if a new decision can be adopted that defines a revised way of encouraging funding.

Res VI.19

Education and public awareness

The programme requested by this Resolution was duly adopted by Res VII.9, and hence para 7 can be retired, together with para 10 which is at least implied in later CEPA decisions.

Paras 8-9, on the role of the WI Specialist Group and similar networks, remain valid.

Rec 6.5

Establishment of further wetland manager training programmes

As mentioned in comments under Rec 4.5 above, it is likely (still need to check) that the content of both of these decisions (and others, identified below) is taken over by the CEPA programmes adopted by Res VII.9 and Res VIII.31, and if so they could be retired.

Res VII.9

The Convention’s Outreach Programme, 1999-2002

Res IX.31 replaced the programme annexed to this Resolution (revised and rolled it forward for a further period), and either repeated or superseded each of the 18 individual provisions in the Resolution itself, with three small exceptions.

One exception (from para 15) relates to use of World Wetlands Day – while it is not in the operative paras of Res IX.31, the sense of it is in the appended programme.

The other exceptions relate to provision of copies of national CEPA plans to the Secretariat (part of para 10) and preservation etc of traditional knowledge (part of para 18) – these appear neither in the main text of the later Resolution nor in its appended programme.

The best course is probably to retire the whole Resolution and consolidate the two passages referred to from Paras 10 and 18 (if they are still felt to be important) with Res IX.31.

Res VIII.31

The Convention’s Programme on communication, education and public awareness (CEPA) 2003-2008

This Resolution remains valid.

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