Ramsar and CBD move towards greater cooperation

11/01/2007

Secretariat of the
Convention on Biological Diversity

PRESS RELEASE

For use of the media only;
Not an official document.

The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands raise the bar on cooperation between multilateral environment agreements

Montreal - 09 January 2007, Dr. Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), set ground-breaking standards for collaboration between multilateral environment agreements through the new draft joint work plan of the two conventions.

Ongoing cooperation between the two conventions is already regarded as a model upon which multilateral agreements can work. The new draft joint work plan seeks to create the framework for both organizations to act on strategic opportunities arising in the years to come.

The new draft joint work plan takes into account the rapidly changing world where climate change and human development are high on the public and political agenda. It also addresses the growing realization that water is our most precious resource and its wise management the greatest natural resource challenge facing us in this century.

"The role of biodiversity and of wetlands in the new global context remains largely neglected," said Mr. Bridgewater.

"Biodiversity underpins the delivery of enormous goods and services provided to people by wetlands," said Mr. Djoghlaf.

"Wetlands and biodiversity are impacted by climate change and our responses to it, but, more importantly, have a significant role to play in mitigation of the impacts of climate change upon people," underlined Mr. Bridgewater.

The new joint work plan runs until the crucial date of 2010 - the planned international year of biological diversity, and the date at which countries are to have realized a substantial reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity - the 2010 biodiversity target.

At this time, the Joint Work Plan will be assessed in terms of its contributions towards the 2010 biodiversity target. Centreing on the need to support Parties and harmonize National Biodiversity Strategies, and Action Plans, National Wetland Policies, and National Poverty Reduction Strategies - the plan promotes innovative approaches to implementation of both conventions with an emphasis on communication and public awareness, addressing institutional weaknesses, and capacity building.

The draft joint work plan will be presented to the governing bodies of each convention for approval - but has already set the pace for collaboration at Secretariat level.

"We want to work together to make a difference," said Dr. Djoghlaf; "we do that by identifying strategic opportunities, seizing upon them, and backing this up with the fullest commitment," and he further added, "Here is an unprecedented opportunity to put biodiversity and wetlands in their rightful place on the world stage".

Information for Journalists:

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 153 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1634 wetland sites, totaling 145.6 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. http://www.ramsar.org/

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The Convention on Biological Diversity is one of the most broadly subscribed international environmental treaties in the world. Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 1992, it currently has 189 Parties-188 States and the European Community-who have committed themselves to its three main goals: the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and the equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The Secretariat of the Convention is located in Montreal, Canada. For more information, please contact Marie Aminata Khan at +1 514 287 8701; email: marie.khan@biodiv.org

United Nations Environment Programme
413 Saint-Jacques Street, Suite 800
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9
Tel.: +1.514.288.2220
Fax: +1.514.288.6588
www.biodiv.org
secretariat@biodiv.org

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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