More on the 4th COP of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Mr Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, briefly summarizes the significance of the CBD's COP4 for the Ramsar community:
The 4th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has concluded in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, with extremely positive results for the Ramsar Convention's initiatives for increased cooperation between the two Conventions. Decisions of COP4 endorsed the Joint Work Plan put forward by Ramsar for cooperation in a number of areas, and primarily in relation to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in both inland water ecosystems and marine and coastal zones.
The decision concerning the Financial Mechanism requested the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to provide support to eligible projects that help Parties to implement national sectoral and cross-sectoral plans related to inland water ecosystems. In turn, the decision on inland waters biodiversity "urges Parties when requesting support, for projects related to inland water ecosystems, from the Financial Mechanism that priority be given to:
(a) Identifying inland water ecosystems in accordance with Article 7 and Annex I of the Convention, taking into account the criteria for Wetlands of International Importance as adopted under the Convention on Wetlands;
(b) Preparing and implementing integrated watershed, catchment and river basin management plans on an ecosystem approach including transboundary watersheds, catchments and river basins, and those which include ecosystems identified under (a) above;
(c) Investigating where appropriate, the processes contributing to the loss of biological diversity of inland water ecosystems, through targeted research, such as: investigations into the impacts of harmful substances, alien invasive species and saltwater intrusions; and the identification of measures needed to address theses issues where they constitute threats to inland water ecosystem biological diversity;"
Ramsar initiatives were actively supported by many national delegations. The NGO partners, Wetlands International, BirdLife International, IUCN and WWF, expressed their support through a Pledge of Commitment to the CBD from the "Ramsar Partners" presented in plenary by BirdLife International, and by their expressions of support in many of the drafting groups preparing the decisions.