Contributions to the Ramsar Convention Strategic Plan during 1996 and 1997

This document, which has been prepared for the 19th meeting of the Ramsar Convention Standing Committee, summarises the actions undertaken by Wetlands International in 1996 or to be undertaken in 1997 in support of the objectives of the Ramsar Convention Strategic Plan 1997-2002.


Key developments that have occurred within Wetlands International during this period have been:

  • the formal launch of Wetlands International, following the integration of AWB/IWRB/WA
  • the establishment of new subregional programmes and offices
  • the relocation of the Africa, Europe, Middle East headquarters and International Coordination Unit from Slimbridge (UK) to Wageningen (The Netherlands).

A Memorandum of Agreement has recently been drafted between Wetlands International and the Ramsar Bureau, with the aim of intensifying synergies and cooperation in the light of the new opportunities brought about by the creation of Wetlands International and the adoption of the Convention's Strategic Plan.

The structure of this document follows that of the Convention's Strategic Plan.


GENERAL OBJECTIVE 1:
TO PROGRESS TOWARD UNIVERSAL MEMBERSHIP OF THE CONVENTION

Operational Objective 1.1: To endeavour to secure at least 120 Contracting Parties to the Convention by 2002.

  • Regular promotion of Ramsar to non-Contracting Parties from our 13 subregional and project offices, in all appropriate media (newsletters, presentations, workshops, training courses).
  • Promotion of the Convention (talks, distribution of materials, etc.) at two pan-African wetland workshops (Senegal, February 1996; Ghana, December 1996), and through special activities in the Oceania region (including support to proposed visit by Secretary General).

GENERAL OBJECTIVE 2:
TO ACHIEVE THE WISE USE OF WETLANDS BY IMPLEMENTING AND FURTHER DEVELOPING THE RAMSAR WISE USE GUIDELINES

Operational Objective 2.1: To review and, if necessary, amend national or supra-national (e.g., European Community) legislation, institutions and practices in all Contracting Parties, to ensure that the Wise Use Guidelines are applied.

  • Publish review of national policies and legislation for wetlands for all countries of South America.
  • Stimulate and assist development of national wetland policies and action plans in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russian Federation, in Mediterranean countries through the MedWet initiative, and review needs and opportunities in Africa.

Operational Objective 2.2: To integrate conservation and wise use of wetlands in all Contracting Parties into national, provincial and local planning and decision-making on land use, groundwater management, catchment/river basin and coastal zone planning , and all other environmental planning and management

  • Publish the proceedings of the International Conference on Wetlands and Development

Operational Objective 2.3: To expand the Guidelines and Additional Guidance to provide advice to Contracting Parties on specific issues not hitherto covered, and examples of best current practice.

  • Publication of MedWet manuals and guidelines on undertaking wetland inventories, designing monitoring programmes for wetlands.

Operational Objective 2.4: To provide economic evaluations of the benefits and functions of wetlands for environmental planning purposes.

Operational Objective 2.5: To carry out environmental impact assessments (EIAs) at wetlands, particularly of proposed developments or changes in land/water use which have potential to affect them, notably at Ramsar sites, whose ecological character "is l ikely to change as the result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference" (Article 3.2 of the Convention).

  • Encourage CPs to carry out effective EIAs at threatened Ramsar sites and other wetlands by responding to information received on threats (copy letters to the Ramsar Bureau).
  • Assist studies of the value and management of Deep Bay, Hong Kong.
  • Assist the Province of Santa Fe (Argentina) to undertake an EIA on hydrological plans.

Operational Objective 2.6: To identify wetlands in need of restoration and rehabilitation, and to implement the necessary measures.

  • Translate manuals on restoration of lakes and streams into Czech, Latvian and Russian languages.
  • Organise training courses on wetland restoration.
  • Design restoration plan for large area of degraded tropical peatswamp forest near to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as basis for creation of Wetland Sanctuary.
  • Publish (with the Association of State Wetland Managers) a Bibliography on Shallow Water Wetlands Restoration and Creation in North America
  • Further develop structure of Wetland Restoration Specialist Group and strengthen support role to Ramsar Convention.
  • Support wetland restoration projects for Lake Engure and Kaive Hunter's Pond, Latvia.

Operational Objective 2.7: To encourage active and informed participation of local communities, including indigenous people, and in particular women, in the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

  • Ensure that community participation is included strongly in national policy development initiatives.
  • Carry out community participation project in mangrove forest management and rehabilitation in Southern Thailand.
  • Assist conservation and sustainable use programme for old-growth mangroves in Micronesia.
  • Seek good case studies on management of wetlands by indigenous people in Pacific Islands.

Operational Objective 2.8: To encourage involvement of the private sector in the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

  • Organise reception for corporate sector representatives in the Netherlands.
  • Develop linkages with wetland-related multinational corporations from North America, Europe and SoutheastAsia, to establish a global corporate partners group for wetlands.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE 3:
TO RAISE AWARENESS OF WETLAND VALUES AND FUNCTIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AND AT ALL LEVELS

Operational Objective 3.1: To support and assist in implementing, in cooperation with partners and other institutions, an international programme of education and public awareness (EPA) on wetlands, their functions and values, designed to promote nationa l EPA programmes.

  • Seek funding support for the Wetlands International EPA Specialist Group.
  • Prepare promotional poster on the Wetlands of the World.
  • Further develop World Wide Web sites on wetlands, particularly the interactive WetNet site as a resource for students and teachers.
  • Prepare monthly Special Supplement on Wetland Wonders for the New Sunday Times, Malaysia.
  • Publish the biannual Wetlands International newsletter, Wetlands.
  • Produce local newsletter materials in Arabic, Indonesian and Russian languages.
  • Support the development of World Wetland Week through announcements and special activities (Malaysia, Oceania).
  • Organise EPA training workshop in China.

Operational Objective 3.2: To develop and encourage national programmes of EPA on wetlands, targeted at a wide range of people, including key decision makers, people living in and around wetlands, other wetland users and the public at large.

  • Develop a Wetland Sanctuary / Visitor Centre nearKuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Organise a wetlands awareness workshop for government officials in Malaysia.
  • Translation of wetland awareness documents into the Thai language.
  • Promote the conservation values and wise use of mangroves in Micronesia.

Operational Objective 3.3: To improve the Ramsar Bureau's communication activities and to develop a Convention Communications Strategy, capable of further promoting the Convention and its wider application, and of raising awareness of wetland values and functions.

  • Continue to include one page per issue on the Ramsar Convention in the Wetlands International newsletter, Wetlands.
  • Enable access to Ramsar Database materials on the World Wide Web.
  • Prepare special materials on the value of the Convention to small island states.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE 4:
TO REINFORCE THE CAPACITY OF INSTITUTIONS IN EACH CONTRACTING PARTY TO ACHIEVE CONSERVATION AND WISE USE OF WETLANDS

Operational Objective 4.1: To develop the capacity of institutions in Contracting Parties, particularly in developing countries, to achieve conservation and wise use of wetlands.

  • Complete development of a global network of sub-regional offices to assist countries and institutions to achieve the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
  • Seek funding to assist the Government of Papua New Guinea to monitor and manage crocodile populations.

Operational Objective 4.2: To identify the training needs of institutions and individuals concerned with the conservation and wise use of wetlands, particularly in developing countries, and to implement follow-up actions.

  • Collaborate with training institutions in the Netherlands (RIZA-WATC, IHE, Wageningen University) to develop international training programmes in wetland management.
  • Develop regional wetland training centres in the Czech Republic and Ukraine.
  • Hold training course on sustainable management of wetlands and integrated land-use planning (Sumava NP, Czech Republic, May 1996).
  • Organise training course in management planning for managers of Russian wetlands/Ramsar sites (1997).
  • Organise exchange visit on wetland management for Ukrainian experts to Western Europe.
  • Continue long-term intensive training programme on wetland management for Indonesian wetland managers in Indonesia and UK.
  • Assist training workshops in Malaysia on shorebirds and mangroves.
  • Continue to liaise with the Australian Government to develop Australia-based training programme for Asia Pacific wetland managers.
  • Organise training workshop in Kenya, on the use of Wetland Database.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE 5:
TO ENSURE THE CONSERVATION OF ALL SITES INCLUDED IN THE LIST OF WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE (THE RAMSAR LIST)

Operational Objective 5.1: To maintain the ecological character of Ramsar sites.

  • Publish MedWet manual on monitoring Mediterranean wetlands (French and English), and promote its implementation.

Operational Objective 5.2: To develop and implement management plans for all Ramsar sites, consistent with the Convention's Guidelines on Management Planning and emphasising the involvement of local communities and other stakeholders.

  • Assist the preparation of integrated management plans at key Ramsar sites (particular emphasis currently on Tasek Bera (Malaysia), Tonda (PNG), Bigi Pan (Suriname)).

Operational Objective 5.3: To obtain regularly updated information on wetlands of international importance, in accordance with the approved standard format.

  • Maintain, manage and improve the Ramsar Database, and publish regular outputs (reports, World Wide Web, CD-Rom).
  • Publish An Overview of the World's Ramsar Sites (English, French, Spanish) for the 6th Conference of the Contracting Parties in Brisbane.
  • Publish Ramsar Directory of Wetlands of International Importance--an Update for the 6th CoP.
  • Prepare draft Ramsar Information Sheets for approval by the relevant CPs concerning those Ramsar sites for which Information Sheets are missing from the Ramsar Database.
  • Circulate copies of current data holdings from the Ramsar Database for all Ramsar sites in 1997, for updating by each CP by 1998.

Operational Objective 5.4: To keep under review the content and structure, as well as the hardware and software, of the Ramsar Database, in order to ensure that it retains its relevance in light of evolving information and communication technology.

  • Upgrade the hardware used for the maintenance of the Ramsar Database (enabled with the office relocation to the Netherlands in 1996)
  • Explore with Dutch Agencies (RIZA and DLO) the opportunities for establishing GIS facilities for displaying Ramsar sites/site maps.
  • Support the establishment of national wetland databases through the publication and distribution of Wetland Database and MedWet Database software and manuals. Particular emphasis will initially be given to Indonesia, Malaysia, all Mediterranean countries and Kenya.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE 6:
TO DESIGNATE FOR THE RAMSAR LIST THOSE WETLANDS WHICH MEET THE CONVENTION'S CRITERIA, ESPECIALLY WETLAND TYPES STILL UNDER-REPRESENTED IN THE LIST AND TRANSFRONTIER WETLANDS

Operational Objective 6.1: To identify those wetlands that meet the Ramsar Criteria, and to give due consideration to their designation for the List.

  • Publish methodological manuals on undertaking a national wetland inventory (MedWet).
  • Publish a Wetlands Assessment for South America, identifying the major wetlands of the continent.
  • Prepare with RIZA (Netherlands) a project to establish a regional wetland database/overview for Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Assist the publication and dissemination of national wetland inventories (particular assistance to Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and all Mediterranean countries).
  • Publish global overview paper on wetland loss from Brisbane Conference workshop.
  • Develop proposal to prepare a global overview of wetland resources.
  • Publish updated version of Waterfowl Population Estimates for identifying wetlands meeting Ramsar criterion 3(c).
  • Publish an Atlas of Anatidae in Africa and Western Eurasia, identifying more than 2,000 wetlands which meet criterion 3(c) for the Anatidae.

Operational Objective 6.2: To increase the area of wetland designated for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, particularly for wetland types that are under-represented either at global or national level.

  • Promote the results of the wetland inventories (above) as a tool for listing further wetlands.
  • Provide financial and technical assistance for the preparation of site designation documents.
  • Assist Papua New Guinea to designate a second Ramsar site, comprising corals and mangroves

Operational Objective 6.3: To keep under review the Ramsar Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance (Resolution VI.3).

  • Assist the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) with their work in reviewing the Ramsar criteria.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE 7:
TO PROMOTE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND MOBILISE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR WETLAND CONSERVATION AND WISE USE IN COLLABORATION WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS AND AGENCIES, BOTH GOVERNMENTAL AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL

Operational Objective 7.1: To identify international and/or regional needs for managing shared wetlands and shared catchments, and develop and implement common approaches.

Operational Objective 7.2: To strengthen and formalise linkages between Ramsar and other international and/or regional environmental conventions and agencies, so as to advance the achievement of shared goals and objectives relating to wetland species or issues.

  • Preparation of MoUs with Ramsar Bureau, Bonn Convention Secretariat and CBD Secretariat to ensure that the technical support of Wetlands International to each of these instruments assists with the technical harmonisation of their application.
  • Preparation of joint funding proposals with the Ramsar Bureau to promote activities of mutual interest.
  • Contribute technical documents to enhance the effectiveness of the Convention in dealing with the conservation of migratory waterbirds, including:
    • an Atlas of Anatidae in Africa and Western Eurasia
    • Waterfowl Population Estimates (update)
    • African Waterfowl Census 1996
    • Asian Waterfowl Census 1995 and 1996
    • Neotropical Waterfowl Census report 1996
    • Western Palearctic and SW Asia Waterfowl Census report 1995 and 1996
    • Proceedings of workshop on the African Waterfowl Census - priorities and needs
  • Provide technical support to the Agreement on the Conservation of African Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (CMS/Bonn), ensuring technical compatibility with the Ramsar Convention.
  • Continue to support and develop the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) including the designation of new sites (Boundary Bay, San Antonio Oeste)
  • Launch and promote the East Asian/Australasian Shorebird Reserve Network and seek funds for and assist with network site management and training of site managers.
  • Develop and support a high-level Migratory Waterbird Committee to oversee implementation of the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy 1996-2000, as a step towards achieving a multilateral agreement on migratory waterbirds
  • Operational Objective 7.3: To ensure that the development assistance community, and multinational corporations, follow improved wetland practices such as the Wise Use Guidelines in developing countries and countries whose economies are in transition.
  • Make presentation on wetlands to ambassadors and their representatives to the UN (New York, July 1996)

Operational Objective 7.4: To obtain funds to fulfill obligations contracted under the Convention, notably for developing countries and countries whose economies are in transition.

  • Assist developing countries and countries in transition to prepare wetland projects for funding by other agencies.
  • Launch of Swedish Duck Stamp programme with the Swedish Wetland Fund.
  • Provision of Habitat Conservation Stamp funds to projects in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE 8:
TO PROVIDE THE CONVENTION WITH THE REQUIRED INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS AND RESOURCES

Operational Objective 8.1: To maximise achievement of Ramsar's mission and objectives by evaluating and, if necessary, modifying the Convention's institutions and management structures.

  • Work with the Ramsar Bureau to ensure the most effective use of the Wetlands International regional and sub-regional offices for the support and implementation of the Convention.
  • Provide support to, or participate in, national Ramsar / Wetland Committees (Czech Republic, Malaysia, UK).

Operational Objective 8.2: To provide the financial resources required to carry out Ramsar activities.

  • Give priority to funding for training programmes, education and public awareness work, and development of the Ramsar Database.

Operational Objective 8.3: To maximise the benefits of working with partner organizations.

  • Prepare for signature a draft MoU on cooperation with the Ramsar Bureau.
  • Encourage exchange visits with Ramsar Bureau staff, particularly at Ramsar Regional Technical Officer level.
  • Share trip reports and planning documents with Ramsar Bureau staff.
  • Participate in "Ramsar Partners", Standing Committee, STRP and regional Ramsar meetings

Operational Objective 8.4: To secure at least one million US dollars per annum for the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetlands Conservation and Wise Use (Resolutions 5.8 and VI.6) and to allocate these funds effectively.

  • Assist with strategy to secure additional funds for the Ramsar Small Grants Fund.
  • Assist the preparation of high quality proposals for the Ramsar Small Grants Fund.

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