37th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

18/06/2008
CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
37th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 2-6 June 2008

Decisions of the 37th meeting of the Standing Committee

Agenda item 5.1: Establishment of an MWG Transition Committee (DOC SC37-1)

Decision SC37-1:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the establishment and operations of an MWG Transition Committee, as amended.

Agenda item 5.2: The legal status of the Secretariat (DOCs SC37-2 and SC37-2 add.1)

Decision SC37-2:The Standing Committee instructed the Secretariat to continue more focused discussions on all three options to the extent possible as far as funding is available. (See also Decision SC37-16 below.)

Agenda item 5.2: Facilitating the work of the Secretariat (DOC. SC37-3 rev. 1)

Decision SC37-3: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on facilitating the operations of the Secretariat, as amended.

Agenda item 5.3: Frequency and timing of the COPs (DOC. SC37-4)

Decision SC37-4:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the frequency and timing of COPs and SC meeting venues, as amended, and it requested the Secretariat and Austria to further develop the background part of DOC. SC37-4 as a COP information paper.

Decision SC37-5: The Standing Committee decided that the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties should take place in the first half of 2012, 3 ½ years following COP10, and instructed the Secretariat to adjust budget proposals and other time-delimited documents for COP10 to take account of this decision.

Agenda item 5.4: Future Secretariat structure and staffing (DOC. SC37-5).

See Decision SC37-17 below.

Agenda item 6: Financial matters

Decision SC37-6:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the four proposed budget options, as amended and with the requested recalculations and explanations.

Agenda item 6.3: Regional initiatives (DOC. SC37-8 rev. 1)

Decision SC37-7:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on regional initiatives and its annex, as amended, and requested the Secretariat to prepare a new version of the explanatory background portions of DOC. SC37-8 as an Information Paper for COP10.

Agenda item 6.4: The Small Grants Fund (DOC. SC37-9 rev.1)

See Decision SC37-40 below.

Agenda item 7.1: Strategic Plan 2009-2014 (DOC. SC37-10)

Decision SC37-8:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the draft Strategic Plan 2009-2014, subject to resolution of language on “wise use”. (See also Decision SC37-20 below.)

Agenda item 7.2: The CEPA Programme 2009-2014 (DOC. SC37-11)

Decision SC37-9:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the draft CEPA Programme 2009-2014.

Decision SC37-10:The Standing Committee noted the progress of the Advisory Board on Capacity Building for the Ramsar Convention, encouraged the Board to pursue its proposed course of action, and noted its activities in the period 2005-2007.

Agenda item 7.3: The STRP modus operandi (DOC. SC37-12)

Decision SC37-11:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the refinements to the modus operandi of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP).

Agenda item 7.4: Partnerships and synergies with MEAs and others (DOC. SC37-13)

Decision SC37-12:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the partnerships and synergies with other organizations, as amended.

Agenda item 7.5: Status of Ramsar sites (DOC. SC37-14)

Decision SC37-13:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the status of Ramsar sites.

Agenda item 7.6: The Changwon Declaration (DOC. SC37-15)

Decision SC37-14:The Standing Committee endorsed the proposed way forward in the preparation of the draft Changwon Declaration for consideration by the COP Conference Committee and the COP.

Agenda item 7.7: Wetlands and extractive industries (DOC. SC37-16 add.1)

Decision SC37-15:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on wetlands and extractive industries, taking account of suggestions for revision.

Agenda item 5.2: The legal status of the Secretariat (continued) – financial implications

Decision SC37-16:The Standing Committee requested the Secretariat to discuss opportunities with those Parties and others who might be in a position to make a voluntary contribution to facilitate work prior to COP10 concerning the issue of the legal status of the Secretariat, recognizing that:

a)      the Secretariat may need further independent legal advice and financial analysis in relation to further discussions with IUCN and Switzerland about Option 1;
b)      Option 2 appears to require an amendment to the text of the Convention and would have funding implications; and
c)      in the light of the further information received from UNEP during SC37 concerning Option 3 on acquiring UN-related status.

The Standing Committee further requests the Secretariat to keep these matters under review and to report to COP10 if there may be a need to budget for further expert advice.

Agenda item 5.4: Future Secretariat structure and staffing (continued)

Decision SC37-17:The Standing Committee requested the Secretary General to 1) review the proposed staff structure for 2009-2011, bearing in mind the need to address the burden on the Deputy Secretary General and not to create a new mid-management level; 2) propose a redistribution of responsibilities, especially regarding the coordination of the scientific & communication unit, the regional teams, and the proposed partnership unit; and 3) add one position to each regional team to increase their capacity. The SC requested the Secretary General to report to the Standing Committee the results of that review by 10 July 2008 at the latest and indicate the financial implications of those results.

Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards

The Chair announced that the Standing Committee in closed session has chosen the winners of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards. The laureate for science is Dave Pritchard; for management, Denis Landenbergue; for education, Sansanee Choowaew; and a Recognition of Excellence has been bestowed upon Jan Květ.

Agenda item 7.8: Review of past COP decisions (DOC. SC37-17)

Decision SC37-18:The Standing Committee noted the progress so far in reviewing the past COP decisions and the STRP’s planned work in taking this project forward.

Agenda item 7.9: Framework for partnerships with the business sector (DOC. SC37-34)

Decision SC37-19: The Standing Committee requested the Secretariat to prepare a brief draft Resolution on partnerships with the business sector, articulating the basic principles of such partnerships, and to revise the draft guidelines for circulation as an information paper for COP10.

Agenda item 7.1: Strategic Plan 2009-2014 (continued)

Dave Pritchard explained that in discussions about the draft Strategic Plan, the Secretariat, the STRP, and Brazil have reached agreement that for “wise use principle” substitute texts referring, for example, to “the wise use provisions of the Convention” will be used.

Decision SC37-20:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the draft Strategic Plan 2009-2014, as amended. (See also Decision SC37-8.)

Agenda item 8.15: Wetlands and poverty reduction (DOC. SC37-32)

Decision SC37-21:The Standing Committee approved in principle the draft Resolution on wetlands and poverty reduction for transmittal to COP10, subject to revisions suggested by the STRP and the Secretariat.

Agenda item 8.1: Ramsar data and information needs (DOC. SC37-18)

Decision SC37-22: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the data and information needs of the Convention, subject to further revisions especially with regard to Key Result Areas.

Agenda item 8.2: Describing wetland ecological character (DOC. SC37-19)

Decision SC37-23: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on describing the ecological character of wetlands, with the revisions indicated and additional language to show that it is intended only to provide guidance.

Agenda item 8.3: Detecting, reporting, and responding to change in ecological character (DOC. SC37-20)

Decision SC37-24: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on detecting and reporting on change in the ecological character of wetlands, without Flow Chart F.

Agenda item 8.4: Indicators of effectiveness (DOC. SC37-21)

Decision SC37-25: The Standing Committee noted the progress on the development of indicators of the Convention’s effectiveness and encouraged the STRP to continue its work, noting too that information products on this matter will be prepared for COP10.

Agenda item 8.5: CBD guidelines on EIA (DOC. SC37-22)

Decision SC37-26: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the CBD’s guidelines on impact assessment, as amended.

Agenda item 8.6: Application of response options from the MA (DOC. SC37-23)

Decision SC37-27: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the application of Ramsar-related Millennium Ecosystem Assessment response options, subject to the amendment noted.

Agenda item 8.7: Wetlands and river basin management (DOC. SC37-24)

Decision SC37-28: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on river basin management, with Switzerland’s amendment and some additional comments from the STRP.

Agenda item 8.8: Biogeographic regionalization schemes (DOC. SC37-25)

Decision SC37-29: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on biogeographic regionalization schemes, with those amendments.

Agenda item 8.9: Wetlands and human health (DOC. SC37-26)

Decision SC37-30: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on wetlands and human health, with the indicated revisions and the comments from the STRP.

Agenda item 8.10: Climate change and wetlands (DOC. SC37-27)

Decision SC37-31: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on climate change and wetlands, as amended by the meeting and STRP comments and taking account of the CBD COP9 decisions in square brackets.

Agenda item 8.11: Wetlands and biofuels (DOC. SC37-28)

Decision SC37-32: The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on wetlands and biofuels, as amended by the meeting and STRP comments.

Agenda item 8.12: Conservation of waterbird flyways (DOC. SC37-29)

Decision SC37-33:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on cooperation for the conservation of waterbird flyways, with the suggested revisions.

Agenda item 8.13: Future implementation of scientific and technical aspects of the Convention (DOC. SC37-30)

Decision SC37-34:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on implementation of the scientific and technical aspects of the Convention, with the suggested revisions and updating.

Agenda item 8.14: Conservation and management of urban wetlands (DOC. SC37-31)

Decision SC37-35:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on urban wetlands, with the suggested revisions.

Agenda item 9.1: Additional guidelines for the national implementing agencies (DOC. SC37-35), submitted by France

Decision SC37-36:The Standing Committee welcomed France’s initiative in bringing forward the draft Resolution on implementing the Convention and approved it for transmittal to the COP, subject to inclusion of the suggested improvements by the SC and STRP as far as possible.

Agenda item 9.2: Small Island Developing States and the Convention (DOC. SC37-36), submitted by Bahamas for the Caribbean Parties

Decision SC37-37:The Standing Committee welcomed Bahama’s initiative in bringing forward the draft Resolution on the Small Island Developing States and approved it for transmittal to the COP, subject to the revisions proposed by the SC and STRP.

Agenda item 9.3: Danube Delta (DOC. SC37-37), submitted by Romania.

Decision SC37-38:The Standing Committee instructed the Secretariat to work with the Parties concerned to ensure that all ecological character Ramsar site issues are transmitted to the COP through the Article 8.2 report and omnibus status of sites draft Resolution, and requested the Secretariat to provide the COP with an Information Paper containing the latest possible information on these issues.

Agenda item 9.4: Enhancing biodiversity in rice paddies (DOC. SC37-38), submitted by the Republic of Korea and Japan

Decision SC37-39:The Standing Committee encouraged Japan and the Republic of Korea to work with the Secretariat and STRP to take account of the issues and amendments raised and transmit the revised draft Resolution on rice paddies to the COP.

Agenda item 6.4: The Small Grants Fund, continued (DOC. SC37-9 rev.2)

Decision SC37-40:The Standing Committee approved for transmittal to the COP the draft Resolution on the Small Grants Fund, DOC. SC37-9 revision 2.

Agenda item 12: Any Other Business

Decision SC37-41:The Standing Committee approved that up to a maximum of 13% of the expenditure in each year’s core budget can be spent on service charges for Administration, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Financial Services.

Decision SC37-42:The Standing Committee determined that the theme for World Wetlands Day 2010 will be “Wetlands, Biodiversity, and Climate Change” and the theme for 2011, subject to confirmation, will be “Wetlands and Forests”.

Decision SC37-43:The Standing Committee approved amendments for a Rev. 1 of the COP10 draft Agenda.

Decision SC37-44:The Standing Committee approved the proposed amendments to the COP Rules of Procedure concerning Heads of Delegations and deadlines for submission of draft Resolutions, and looked forward to an update on resolving the credential problems of the Central Asian states.

Agenda item 13: Adoption of the Report of the meeting

Decision SC37-45: The Standing Committee adopted the report of the first three days of the meeting, as amended, and empowered the Chair to approve the fourth day on its behalf.

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