36th Meeting of the Ramsar -- Decisions

36th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 25-29 February 2008

Decisions of the 36th meeting of the Standing Committee

Agenda item 4.2: Preparation of draft Resolutions (DOC. SC36-6)

Decision SC36-1: The Standing Committee noted the document deadlines indicated in DOC. SC36-6 and endorsed the procedures and principles on draft Resolutions included in the annex to that paper.

Agenda item 6: Report of the Chair of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)

Decision SC36-2: The Standing Committee welcomed the report of the Chair of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel and looked forward to considering the products of the Panel's work at SC37.

Agenda item 8: Report of the Culture Working Group (DOC. SC36-5)

Decision SC36-3: The Standing Committee decided that there should be no draft Resolution bringing the cultural guidelines forward to the COP. The SC invited all Parties with concerns about the current draft to provide specific advice and suggested text to the Cultural Working Group by 31 March 2008, and it requested the STRP to review the revised document and determine how best to make it available. The Committee confirmed that the work of the Culture Working Group should continue in future, after COP10, in order to help inform the operations of the Parties in implementing the Convention and in helping the STRP to focus on issues that require a cultural perspective and understanding.

Agenda item 9: Draft Strategic Plan 2009-2014

Decision SC36-4: The Standing Committee requested all Parties with specific comments to submit suggested text to the rapporteur now or in the next week and instructed the Secretariat to take those comments into account in redrafting the Strategic Plan, in light of the Subgroup's recommendations, for consideration by SC37.

Agenda item 10: Report of the Subgroup on Finance

Decision SC36-5: The Standing Committee approved the 2008 core budget allocations as presented in DOC. SC36/SG Finance-02.

Agenda item 11: Report of the Management Working Group

Decision SC36-6: The Standing Committee requested the Secretariat, working with the Chair of the Management Working Group, to prepare a COP10 draft Resolution for consideration by the 37th meeting of the Standing Committee, which inter alia establishes a Transition Committee in line with Decision SC35-10, including estimates of the financial implications of such a committee, and revises paragraphs 7-9 of Resolution IX.24 in order to remove time-limited aspects; and requested the Secretariat, working with the Chair of the Management Working Group, to prepare a COP10 Information Paper reporting, as requested in Resolution IX.24, paragraphs 7 and 9, on aspects of the work of the Management Working Group.

Decision SC36-7: The Standing Committee agreed that the Secretary General's performance assessment for 2007 will be undertaken using the form developed and used by the Executive Team for the SG's probation period, and that the Executive Team will complete that performance assessment by the end of March 2008; and that in line with Swiss legal requirements, approvals for travel by the Secretary General will be made by the Chair of Standing Committee, following submission by the Secretary General of travel requests, including identification of purpose and related costs.

Decision SC36-8: The Standing Committee agreed a clarification to Decision SC35-12, whereby staff issues arising will be addressed in the first instance through established IUCN staff procedures, and the SC Chair will act as ombudsman if and when a staff issue arises which is not covered by IUCN staff rules and procedures.

Agenda item 15.2: Financial and budgetary matters

Decision SC36-9: The Standing Committee requested the Secretariat to prepare for SC37 consideration, in addition to refining the budget options in DOC. SC36-22 Annexes I and II, budget proposals for "zero nominal growth" and "zero real growth" budgets. The Committee also requested the Secretariat to prepare for SC37 an analysis of the implications of those zero-growth budget options for the core budget and Secretariat operations, including an estimate of what Secretariat work would not be capable of being delivered if one of them were to be adopted.

Agenda item 15.5: Status of Ramsar sites

Decision SC36-10: The Standing Committee noted the information on Ramsar site problems included in DOC. SC36-25 and thanked the Parties that offered additional information; it urged the other Parties listed in the document to provide updated information by 15 April 2008 for consideration at SC37.

Agenda item 15.6: Review of COP decisions

Decision SC36-11: The Standing Committee noted the current state of progress on the review of COP decisions and requested the Secretariat to discuss with Dave Pritchard the options for providing information to COP10, and to report to SC37 on progress in that regard.

Agenda item 13.1: Legal status of the Secretariat

Decision SC36-12: The Standing Committee noted the work in progress regarding the legal status of the Convention and urged continued dialogue with Switzerland, IUCN, UNEP, and UNESCO - the Committee requested the Secretariat to provide additional information on the three options, including financial implications, that will permit SC37 to make a recommendation to COP10 on this matter.

Agenda item 15.3: Regional initiatives

Decision SC36-13: The Standing Committee approved the following 2008 core budget allocations for regional initiatives:

WacoWetCHF 68,000
High Andean InitiativeCHF 22,000
MedWetCHF 10,849
Iran CentreCHF 70,000
Pacific Islands InitiativeCHF 28,341

clarified that the Pacific Islands allocation for 2008 does not include the unused funds from 2007, which will be brought forward; and requested the Secretariat to discuss with the Pacific Island Initiative to which of its proposed projects the 2008 approved funds would be allocated.

Agenda item 15.4: Small Grants Fund and future operations

Decision 36-14: The Standing Committee took note of the proposals for the SGP portfolio and Signature Initiative and encouraged further discussions to be held at SC37 with regard to their functioning and their relationship with the Small Grants Fund.

Agenda item 13.2: Future Secretariat structure and staffing

Decision SC36-15: The Standing Committee

1) endorsed the interim Secretariat staff structure for 2008;
2) recognized that the SG's review and proposals for a 2009-2011 staffing and structure are appropriate in a general sense to consider as a realistic vision for a future Secretariat structure to deliver the aspirations and development of the Convention;
3) endorsed this staffing and structure, subject to its amendment with the simplified senior management structure, noting that nothing in this decision relates to issues concerning core budget matters to be considered further by SC37 and COP10 in relation to any core funding allocations for additional posts indicated; and
4) requested the SG to revise and update, as necessary, the post descriptions and Terms of Reference of Secretariat staff posts in the light of the discussion, and to provide further information to SC37 a) on what options exist for additional staffing other than from core budget allocations; b) on Secretariat current work overloads, and c) on what un-resourced priorities that have been set by COP Resolutions cannot be delivered by current Secretariat resourcing and staffing.

Agenda item 14: CEPA issues for COP10

Decision SC36-16: The Standing Committee noted the report of the CEPA Oversight Panel and agreed that the Panel membership should be amended to include two government and two NGO national focal points. The Standing Committee approved the list of the Panel's future priorities:

  • Review of CEPA implementation demonstrated through the National Reports submitted to COP 10.
  • Review of Ramsar regional initiative reports to clarify the role they play in delivering objectives under the CEPA programme.
  • Identification of changing priorities and associated issues for the Ramsar CEPA Programme, using the two reviews above in conjunction with the priorities identified by the STRP.
  • Response to any additional advice following the response from Standing Committee and COP10 to the draft CEPA programme.
  • Continuation of work with the Advisory Board on identifying priorities for capacity building for wetland management.

Agenda item 14.3: Draft CEPA Programme

Decision SC36-17: The Standing Committee thanked the CEPA Oversight Panel for its work on the draft CEPA Programme 2009-2014 and requested the Panel to prepare a final draft for consideration by SC37.

Agenda item 14.4: Review of World Wetlands Day

Decision SC36-18: The Standing Committee adopted "wetlands and river basin management" as the suggested theme for World Wetlands Day 2009. The Committee provisionally accepted "wetlands, biodiversity, and climate change" for WWD 2010 and "forests" and the Convention's 40th anniversary for WWD 2011, subject to confirmation by SC37.

Agenda item 15.3: Regional initiatives

Decision SC36-19: The Standing Committee requested the Management Working Group, working with the Secretariat, to prepare a proposal on "umbrella" regional initiatives to be considered at SC37.

Agenda item 12.8: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Decision SC36-20: The Standing Committee approved the STRP's guidance on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza for finalizing, editing, and translation, taking into account the present discussion, for transmittal to COP10.

Agenda item 12.2: Wetlands and human health

Decision SC36-21: The Standing Committee urged the STRP to develop its work on wetlands and human health further, for consideration by SC37.

Agenda item 12.3: Wetlands and poverty reduction

Decision SC36-22: The Standing Committee requested Wetlands International, representing the STRP, to work with Benin, Ghana, Mali, and any other interested Parties and the Senior Regional Advisor for Africa to develop a draft Resolution on wetlands and poverty reduction for consideration by SC37.

Agenda item 12.4: Wetlands and agriculture

Decision SC36-23: The Standing Committee noted the progress of the STRP's work on wetlands and agriculture and endorsed the STRP's proposal not to bring a draft Resolution to COP10, but rather to continue to work on guidance for consideration by COP11. The SC urged Parties to consider helping to find resources to continue the work of the GAWI project beyond 2008.

Agenda item 12.5: Wetlands and climate change

Decision SC36-24: The Standing Committee noted the progress of the STRP's work on wetlands and climate change, encouraged the Panel to take the SC's comments into account and develop a draft Resolution for consideration by SC37, and requested the Panel to consider how best to reflect 'biofuel' issues in this or a separate draft Resolution.

Agenda item 12.6: Wetlands and extractive industries

Decision SC36-25: The Standing Committee affirmed the need for a COP10 draft Resolution on wetlands and extractive industries but recognized that the STRP is not presently in a position to take on additional tasks. The Committee expressed its interest in employing the mechanism of bringing an "emerging issues DR" directly to the COP; it recognized the STRP and its Chair for their rapid response on this issue and invited the STRP Chair to prepare an outline of a DR for SC37 consideration.

Agenda item 17: Adoption of the report of the meeting

Decision SC36-26: The Standing Committee approved the first two days' reports of the meeting and empowered the Chair of the Standing Committee to approve the third day on its behalf.

Agenda item 18: Any other business

Decision SC36-27: The Standing Committee welcomed Austria's suggestion of changing from a 3-year to a 4-cycle in meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties and encouraged Austria and the Secretariat to develop for SC37 a draft Resolution on the matter, and to provide further analysis of financial implications and any potential disadvantages as well as advantages of the concept. The SC requested the Secretariat to provide an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of moving back to a northern spring scheduling of COPs, for consideration by SC37.

Decision SC36-28: The Standing Committee welcomed the STRP's offer to host a training session at COP10 on the use of Environmental Impact Assessments in dealing with the extractive industries and requested the Chair of the STRP and the Secretariat to develop the idea further and report to SC37.
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