35th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

35th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 14-16 February 2007

Report of the Subgroup on COP10

Monday, 12 February 2007, 10:00-11:50

Chair: Republic of Korea (Mr SHIN Boo-nam)
Members: Austria (absent), El Salvador, Kenya, Samoa, Switzerland, Thailand, USA, Wetlands International (representing the IOPs)

1. Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Republic of Korea

The Subgroup acknowledged that the Memorandum, signed in December 2006 and reproduced in DOC. SC35/SG COP10-1, covers all relevant points to successfully prepare for and to hold COP10.

During the discussion, it was confirmed that the conference venue will have sufficient flexibility to accommodate meeting rooms for possible contact groups, although this was not specifically addressed in the Memorandum.

It was furthermore suggested that the Korean organizers and Secretariat look seriously into the possibility of addressing environmentally friendly standards for holding the conference, such as reducing local environmental impacts and (paper) waste.

2. Report of preparations by the ROK (verbal) / Themes for COP10

Preparations: The Republic of Korea made a PowerPoint presentation on the preparations for COP10, to be held from 28 October to 4 November 2008 in the Changwon Exhibition Convention Center (CECO) in Changwon City. Korea has allocated a budget of USD 3.1 million for the preparation of meeting and side events and awareness raising. Two publicity ambassadors will play an important role in awareness activities. A specific COP10 website will be created. Sufficient hotel accommodation will be available in the vicinity of the conference centre. The conference venue has simultaneous interpretation facilities for six languages. Korea plans to provide interpretation into Ramsar's three official languages (organized by the Secretariat) and Korean. As from October 2007, the national preparatory committee will be supplemented by a COP10 Task Force, guided by the Vice Minister of Environment.

Logo: The Subgroup thanked the Republic of Korea for hosting COP10 and its preparations so far. It was stressed that, once the theme for COP10 has been chosen (cf. below), during the coming months, Korea would elaborate proposals for a COP10 logo and circulate them to Standing Committee out of session for selection and approval. It was suggested that specific uses for this COP logo, before and after the COP, should be identified, possibly in conjunction with the Ramsar logo.

NGOs and business sector: A specific two-day NGO conference will be organized in Korea immediately prior to COP10. Several NGOs are already providing advice and input to the national preparation committee. The business sector will be encouraged to contribute to the success of the conference, notably through active participation in its preparation and the COP10 exhibition.

COP10 Theme: There was substantial discussion on the three themes for COP10 outlined in DOC. SC35/SG COP10-3. The Subgroup concluded that the COP theme needs to provide a simple message that can be translated into action. It should not repeat earlier themes, but show perceptional progress between the themes of succeeding COPs. Of the three theme proposed, the Subgroup considered it most pertinent to underline the link between wetlands and human health. It therefore proposes to SC35 to adopt one of following slogans:

Wetland benefits for human health and wellbeing
Living in harmony with wetlands
Humans and wetland ecosystems: a beneficial coexistence

3. Ramsar Award/Evian Special Prize

The Secretary General stated that the criteria and procedures for the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award outlined in DOC. SC35/SG COP10-2 remained unchanged since COP9. The Subgroup agreed to keep them like this and stressed that former laureates should be involved in future award-related activities.

Specific success stories of earlier winners could form part of the call for the 2005 nominations. Laureates could also be asked to nominate possible candidates, or to form an alumni club, supporting the award programme. It is important to spread the call for nominations widely, specifically through existing wetland scientist networks, notably for the science award.

4. Regional meetings (verbal)

The Secretary General explained that it was preferable to hold regional meetings in late 2007 because of likely time collisions with other international meetings (of CBD, CMS, IUCN, etc.) in 2008 in the run up to COP10. Also, it may be easier to obtain voluntary financial donations to support the costs of regional meetings in 2007, rather than in 2008, when there will be competing demands to finance specific costs of COP10. .

It was agreed that during the week of SC35, based on soundings from regional delegates, an overview on the timings, regional settings and host countries of regional meetings prior to COP10 should be achieved, in order that the Secretariat can prepare, together with the host countries, detailed programmes and undertake coordinated fundraising efforts starting rapidly after SC35.

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