36th Meeting of the Ramsar

36th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 25-29 February 2008
Agenda item 15.3
DOC. SC36-23

Regional initiatives in the framework of the Convention

Action requested: The Standing Committee is invited to consider the information provided in the six progress reports, attached to this paper, by regional initiatives receiving financial support from the Ramsar core budget during this triennium. Based on this, Standing Committee is invited to agree and approve arrangements for the allocation of core funding from budget lines 3a and 3b for support to these regional initiatives in 2008.

1. This paper provides information on progress with regional initiatives operating within the framework of the Convention and receiving financial support from its core budget during the triennium 2006-2008. The paper responds to the requests made by Standing Committee during its latest meeting in February 2007 and provides the information necessary to make allocations for 2008 to the ongoing regional initiatives from the Convention's core budget. Standing Committee Decision SC35-7 included the following:

" ii) From the CHF 262,382 thus available from the core budget for 2007, the following allocations of funding to regional initiatives from the core budget are approved for 2007:

WacoWet: CHF 59,700
High Andean Initiative: CHF 22,000
MedWet (as approved by Resolution IX.7): CHF 15,499
CREHO (Panama): CHF 80,000
Ramsar Centre, Iran: CHF 44,745
Pacific Islands Initiative: CHF 40,438*
* for project proposals A and B as provided in DOC.SC35-11 Addendum Annex 4

iii) Henceforth six-monthly progress and financial reports must be provided to the Secretariat from each initiative which has received funding from the core budget, the first such report being required by 31 July 2007, and the SC will then review and reallocate funds between initiatives if appropriate, and a full report for 2007 by 15 January 2008 or a minimum of six weeks in advance of the 36th meeting of the Standing Committee (whichever is earlier); and

iv) In relation for Decision SC34-21, insufficient information is as yet available from all COP9-approved initiatives to determine core budget allocations for 2008, and such allocations should be considered either inter-sessionally or at SC36, taking into account satisfactory progress and reporting of each initiative, and with a deadline for requests for 2008 allocations of 31 July 2007."

2. All six regional initiatives (listed above) receiving financial support from the Ramsar core budget sent progress reports to the Secretariat in July 2007, as requested in paragraph iii) of Decision SC35-7 above. In August 2007, the Secretariat submitted a summary of their reports to Standing Committee in a paper entitled "Progress and financial status of Ramsar regional initiatives".

3. Furthermore, Decision SC35-7 requested "a full report for 2007 by 15 January 2008" (cf. above). Thus, in November 2007, the Secretariat sent all six regional initiatives a standard reporting form, based on Annex I of Resolution VIII.30, providing "Guidance for the development of regional initiatives in the framework of the Convention on Wetlands", as adopted by COP8 in 2002 (Valencia, Spain), asking them to report by the deadline indicated.

4. All six initiatives submitted their report by mid-January 2008. They are attached to this paper in Annexes A-F, covering the individual initiatives as listed in Decision SC35-7:

A) WacoWet
B) High Andean Initiative
C) MedWet
D) Pacific Islands Initiative
E) CREHO (Panama)
F) Ramsar Centre, Iran

5. The reports in Annexes A-F are provided in their original form and language, with only minor editorial modifications added by the Secretariat, to bring them in line for the ease of comparison. The questions addressed in the report form are included in grey shading, to ease the understanding and comparison of the responses.

6. The Secretariat believes that the attached reports provide a useful overview of the essential elements, objectives and progress since COP9 of these six regional initiatives. Where suitable, illustrative documents on their operational structure, governance and forward planning are attached. This may provide models or useful ideas to other initiatives working on the elaboration of similar documents. In some cases, additional information was submitted to the Secretariat. Such additional information can be obtained on request from the Senior Advisor in charge of the respective region at the Ramsar Secretariat.

7. In their first six-month progress report submitted in July 2007, all six initiatives requested financial support from the Ramsar core budget for 2008, having regard to paragraph iv) of Decision SC35-7 above. These requests for Ramsar core budget funding for 2008 were reiterated by all initiatives in the reports attached in Annexes A-F.

8. No detailed and audited accounts for 2007 were submitted by any of the regional initiatives so far. This is largely due to the early deadline of submitting progress reports by 15 January 2008 not permitting the closure and full auditing of 2007 annual accounts in time.

9. The table below is based on the provisional financial information provided in the reports attached. It summarizes for each initiative the 2007 expenditures, 2008 expenditure forecasts, and financial contributions requested from the Ramsar core budget for 2008. For the 2007 expenditures, amounts are listed in the currencies provided in the progress reports (in brackets), but for ease of comparison, these amounts are also shown in rounded equivalents in Swiss Francs (CHF). For the 2008 expenditure forecasts and the requests from the Ramsar budget, the transformation into Swiss Francs was done using the exchange rates of 23 January 2008 (indicated below), rounding the result to the nearest 100 CHF.


10. The table shows that five of the six initiatives did progress with their work during 2007 as planned and spent their budget accordingly. These initiatives are requesting Ramsar core budget contributions for their follow-up work in 2008, as they detail in the reports attached in Annexes A-F. The summary information in the table above provides an indication of the importance of the requested Ramsar contribution relative to the total expenditure forecast for 2008, i.e., the percentage of the expenditures to be covered by the Ramsar contribution (spanning roughly from 2% to 100%).

11. The report on the Pacific Islands Initiative (in Annex D) states that its Ramsar-funded Project B (Update of the 1993 Oceania Wetlands Directory) was delayed and that in 2007 only about 40% of the Ramsar contribution for this project (21,881 CHF) was disbursed. It states furthermore that the second project funded in 2007 by Ramsar (Project A: Oceania Ramsar Site Managers Workshop) had to be postponed to the first half of 2008 and requests that the Ramsar contribution (19,556 CHF) be carried forward to 2008. In addition, the report lists a number of new activities planned in 2008, for which new Ramsar core budget funding is requested in 2008.

12. COP9 increased the Ramsar core budget funding line (3.a) for support to regional networks in 2008 compared to the first two years of the triennium 2006-2008 (cf. Resolution IX.12). Despite this increase, the requests for Ramsar core budget funding in 2008 for regional networks for cooperation (230,949 CHF vs.179,190 CHF), as well as for regional centres for training and capacity building (160,000 CHF vs. 100,000 CHF), amount to substantially larger sums than those available in the Ramsar core budget.

13. Therefore, and in line with practice established during the 34th and 35th meetings of Standing Committee, the final allocations of available funds for 2008 will need to be decided during its 36th meeting, based on a careful analysis of the needs expressed by the initiatives in their progress reports attached.

Annexes (PDF)

A) WacoWet
B) High Andean Initiative
C) MedWet
D) Pacific Islands Initiative
E) CREHO (Panama)
F) Ramsar Centre, Iran

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