The 8th Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention --

23/03/2001

 A REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE

Subregional meetings to reinforce the implementation of the Convention on Wetlands and to prepare for its next meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
(Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002)

March 2001


Regional meetings to reinforce the implementation of the Convention on Wetlands and to prepare for its next meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002)

Index

Summary
Background
General objectives of the regional meetings
Participants
Duration and provisional programme
Expected outputs
Preparatory arrangements
Meetings in Ramsar’s Africa Region: Central and Northern Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa, West Africa and some Island States
Meetings in Ramsar’s Asia Region: Middle East, West and Central Asia, East Asia
Meeting for Ramsar’s Europe Region
Meetings in Ramsar’s Neotropics Region: South America I (2001), South America II (2002), Central America and the Caribbean I (2001), Central America and the Caribbean II (2002)
Meetings for Ramsar’s North America and Oceania Regions
General budget and budgets for each meeting
Attachments:

List of Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of wetlands
Briefing Note for Ministers and other high-level decision-makers
The Convention Work Plan 2000-2002
The National Report format and national planning tool
Provisional Agenda and Programme for Ramsar COP8
Work Plan of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel
Draft of the second Ramsar Strategic Plan for the period 2003-2008


Summary

1. The Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention has decided that a series of meetings should be held in 2001 and 2002 in the six Ramsar regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, the Neotropics, North America, and Oceania) to review the current implementation of the Convention and prepare for the next Conference of the Parties, to be held in November 2002.

2. Some of the main features of this plan for meetings are:

a) in the case of Africa, Asia and the Neotropics, there should be subregional meetings, instead of pan-regional meetings, to allow for more in-depth analysis among those Contracting Parties which, due to geographical proximity and other factors, have more things in common;

b) overall, it is considered that smaller subregional meetings should be less expensive than larger region-wide meetings, in particular in relation to travel costs; and

c) these will be working meetings hosted by a Contracting Party, with the full assistance of the Ramsar Bureau, but will not constitute "official" meetings of the Convention. Thus, the meetings will make recommendations but not pass "resolutions" as such.

3. Each subregional meeting will analyze the major issues and concerns that characterize the expansion of the Convention and its work in the subregion. There will be opportunities for sharing experience and for discussions of common problems, of the major achievements, and of the needs for future actions.

4. This proposal seeks financial assistance from donors, in particular for delegate support (travel and per diem) involving 305 participants, for:

  • 3 subregional meetings and one small summing-up meeting in Africa;
  • 3 subregional meetings in Asia;
  • 4 subregional meetings in the Neotropics (two in 2001 and two in 2002); and
  • one pan-regional meeting in Europe.

Two additional meetings may be held in North America and Oceania, but they will be supported from other sources.

The total amount being sought from donors is almost 1 million Swiss francs. It should be noted that the contributions of the countries that will host the meetings and from the core budget of the Ramsar Bureau, mostly in the form of staff time, have not been included in the budget, but these are calculated to total approximately the same amount as that being sought from donors.


Background

5. The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) holds meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties every three years. The most recent meeting (COP7) was held in Costa Rica in May 1999 and the next meeting (COP8) is scheduled to take place in Spain in November 2002.

6. Ramsar COPs are very substantive meetings. COP7 in 1999 adopted a significant array of guidelines and resolutions for the implementation of the Convention. These guidelines where published in the three official languages of the Convention as a series of nine "Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of wetlands" (see attachments), which have been widely distributed. A copy was also sent with a personalized letter to the Minister responsible for Ramsar issues in each Contracting Party, with a "Briefing Note for Ministers and other high level decision-makers" (see attachments).

7. Ramsar COP7 also adopted the Convention Work Plan 2000-2002. The Plan, based on the Strategic Plan 1997-2002 adopted at Ramsar COP6 in 1996, was novel in the sense that it constitutes a work plan for the whole of the Convention, and especially the Contracting Parties, whereas in the past the COP had adopted work plans of the Convention secretariat only, not for the Convention as a whole.

8. Finally, COP7 adopted a National Report format based upon the Work Plan 2000-2002. The Bureau was instructed to distribute the National Report format as early as possible during the new triennium, so that Contracting Parties would be able to use it as a national planning tool, rather than simply as a report format when the time comes to prepare the national reports for the next COP. The National Report format and planning tool was distributed by the Bureau to all Contracting Parties in electronic and hard copy versions in early 2000. A copy is attached.

9. Given this significant output from Ramsar COP7 and the developments that have taken place since the COP, the proposed regional meetings should serve to review the progress made by Contracting Parties in using the tools put at their disposal, and to analyze the bottlenecks that they may have encountered.

10. On the other hand, preparations for Ramsar COP8 are already in full swing. The Provisional Agenda and Programme has been distributed to Contracting Parties (copy attached). As was the case for COP7, the agenda for COP8 contains an ambitious programme of Technical Sessions. Each of them should generate a concrete output in terms of new or additional guidance to Contracting Parties in the form of guidelines and/or resolutions.

11. The general themes for the five COP8 Technical Sessions are the following:

1. Wetlands: major challenges and emerging opportunities in the new century
2. Wetland inventory and assessment
3. Practical steps for applying the Vision for the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
4. Managing wetlands for sustainable use: lessons learned and new perspectives
5. Cultural aspects of wetlands as a tool for their conservation and sustainable use

12. Each of these general themes contain a number of sub-themes as indicated in the attached provisional agenda and programme. Twelve Working Groups of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) are actively preparing the documentation, and more specifically the concrete draft outputs that should be considered under each of the Technical Sessions. More details on the STRP work plan can be found on the Convention’s Web site at http://ramsar.org/strp9_annexes.htm.

13. COP8 should also adopt the second Ramsar Strategic Plan for the period 2003-2008 (the first Plan covers the period 1997-2002). The plan is being prepared under the guidance of a Subgroup of the Standing Committee. The third draft is now ready to go to all Contracting Parties for the first round of comments.

14. The proposed regional meetings will serve as an important opportunity to provide inputs, while there is still time to take them on board, concerning the documentation being prepared by the Working Groups of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel and on the draft Strategic Plan 2003-2008.


General objectives of the regional meetings

15. Given the above background, the Ramsar Standing Committee decided (Decision SC25.15) that the main objectives of the regional meetings are:

a) to analyze the progress made and the obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Work Plan 2000-2002 (in particular the establishment of national targets) and the resolutions adopted by COP7;
b) to provide training on the use of the electronic version for the National Report format to be used for preparing the reports for COP8 and the series of Ramsar handbooks published in 2000;
c) to discuss and provide inputs for the preparation of the final draft of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008;
d) to discuss the experience at the field level of joint implementation of the environment-related conventions with which Ramsar has Memoranda of Cooperation and/or a Joint Work Plan, in particular the Conventions on Biodiversity, Desertification, Migratory Species, and World Heritage;
e) to discuss perceptions by Contracting Parties of the Ramsar COP: pros and cons and how to improve it; and
f) to consider how Ramsar could improve its services to the region.

16. These general objectives will be complemented, as required, with more specific objectives for each meeting. For example, when appropriate, the meetings will also include as specific objectives to promote universal membership in the region by demonstrating to the countries that are not yet Contracting Parties the principles and work of the Ramsar Convention, and to encourage the integration of wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management through cooperation with river/lake organizations.


Participants

17. The subregional/regional meetings will include, in the first instance, representatives of Ramsar Contracting Parties. The intention is to ensure the participation of two delegates from each Party, one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate, preferably from another sector in the government, such as the water management department/agency.

18. The National Focal Points for the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel and for Wetland Communication, Education and Public Awareness will be welcome to attend.

19. One observer will be invited from countries that are not yet Contracting Parties to the Convention in each subregion or region.

20. In addition, the donor community, both multilateral and bilateral environment and development cooperation agencies, will be invited to all meetings.

21. Ramsar’s International Organization Partners (BirdLife International, IUCN, Wetlands Interantional, and WWF) will also be invited to all meetings.

22. National, regional and other international NGOs with which the Ramsar Bureau maintains working relations will be also invited, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of the Parties, which, mutatis mutandi, and for practical reasons, will be applicable to these meetings, in spite of their not having an official character.

23. The secretariats of the conventions and the other institutions with which Ramsar has MOUs and joint work plans will be made aware of the subregional/regional meetings in case they are in a position to send representatives. The focal points of the other biodiversity-related conventions in the countries hosting the meeting will also be invited.

24. The members of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel will be invited to the meetings that correspond to their countries of residence.

25. The Ramsar Bureau will be represented at each meeting by the Secretary General or Deputy Secretary General and the appropriate Regional Coordinator. The Coordinator of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative will participate in the European Regional Meeting and the subregional meetings for the Middle East and for Central and North Africa).


Duration and provisional programme

26. The following provisional framework is proposed to each subregion and it will be up to the participants to amend and adopt the final programme. However, the duration of each subregional meeting will not go beyond three working days, and each subregion will have to act in accordance with this condition and organize its work so as to come up with the expected outputs within that time frame.

27. The following is the tentative provisional programme for all meetings, which will be adjusted in each case, as required.

First working day

Morning
Opening session

  • Opening statements and welcome
  • Setting up the organization of the work of the meeting (chairperson, rapporteurs)
  • Discussion and adoption of the final programme of the meeting
  • Introductory presentation of the problems and challenges that face the implementation of the Convention in the subregion/region
  • Discussions of the specific problems and challenges of the subregion/region

Afternoon

  • Short presentation by two or three Contracting Parties of the national targets and the major achievements concerning the implementation of the Work Plan 2000-2002 and the Resolutions adopted by COP7, followed by a general exchange of experiences
  • Discussions on subregional targets and the major achievements on the implementation of the work plan 2000-2002 and the Resolutions adopted by COP7

Second working day

Morning

  • Presentation of the draft conclusions of the first day’s discussions by one of the rapporteurs
  • Presentation of a case study on major achievements and the emerging opportunities for joint implementation of environment-related conventions by one Contracting Party (to be selected during the preparation of the meeting). The focal points of relevant conventions in the host country will be invited to attend this session of the meeting.
  • Analysis of the subregional opportunities for joint implementations of the environment-related conventions with which the Ramsar Convention has a memorandum of cooperation or understanding or/and a joint work plan
  • Discussions on the contribution of the subregion to the preparation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008

Afternoon

  • Discussions on COP8 Technical Sessions

Third working day

Morning

  • Short summary of the conclusions of the discussions from the previous day
  • Presentation of the operational structure of the current electronic version of the National Report Format
  • Discussion of how to make the best use of the new National Report format
  • Presentation on the inter-related aspects of the Ramsar handbooks and how to make the best use of the guidelines
  • Discussions on subregional cooperation and exchange of experiences in capacity building

Afternoon

  • Discussions on the conclusions and recommendations of the subregional meeting
  • Closing session

Expected outputs

28. Each meeting is expected to come up with the following outcomes:

a) An overview of the problems and challenges that face the implementation of the Ramsar Convention and its expansion in the subregion/region.

b) A synopsis of the subregional/regional targets for the implementation of the Work Plan 2000-2002 and the Resolutions adopted by COP7.

c) A summary of the ongoing approaches and the achievements of the work of the Convention in the subregion/region.

d) A common understanding of the usefulness and the operational structure of the current electronic version of the National Report Format.

e) A common understanding of the usefulness of the Ramsar handbooks and how to make the best use of them, taking into account the inter-related aspects of the Ramsar guidelines.

f) Concrete observations from the subregion/region on the draft Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008.

g) An analysis of the opportunities for joint implementations of the environment-related conventions with which the Ramsar Convention has a memorandum of cooperation or understanding or/and a joint work plan, in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD), the Convention on Desertification (UNCCD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS/AEWA), and the World Heritage Convention. The joint action with regional conventions, in particular the Regional Seas Conventions, will be analyzed as appropriate.

h) Recommendations on the outputs that should be generated by each Technical Session at Ramsar COP8 in 2002.

i) Recommendations on how to improve the work of the Conference of the Parties and how the Convention can improve its services in the subregion.


Preparatory arrangements

29. The Regional Coordinators at the Ramsar Bureau and the Regional Representatives in the Ramsar Standing Committee are taking the necessary steps to prepare and disseminate all relevant materials for the meetings, including background papers on specific issues, the provisional programmes, and the expected outputs of the meetings.

30. A summary of each Technical Session for Ramsar COP8 and the work that has been done or is planned by relevant Ramsar bodies on the topics of each session will also be prepared by the Ramsar Bureau and sent to Contracting Parties. These materials should be received by participants at least three weeks before the meeting.

31. The Ramsar Administrative Authority from the host country will send invitations at least 40 days before the meeting. The Regional Coordinators will provide any available information on the contact details for the invitations.

32. All logistical arrangements will be handled by the host country, including travel arrangements and transport within the host country.

33. A contribution from the host country is expected (in kind or in cash or both) to meet some of the costs of the meeting, such as the meeting rooms and local transport.

34. It is expected to receive from each Contracting Party a draft report on the implementation of the Convention in the current triennium (as from Ramsar COP7 in May 1999), including an outline of the national targets and the coordinating mechanism for the implementation of the Convention. This will facilitate the exchange of experiences during the meeting.


Meetings in Ramsar’s Africa Region

For the Africa region the following subregional meetings are planned:

Central and North Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa
West Africa and some Island States

In order to make the first move for a pan-African outlook that will contribute to the work of the next Conference of the Parties, a subsequent summing-up meeting will be organized with the chairs and rapporteurs of each subregional meeting.

Central and North Africa subregional meeting

The meeting will involve eight Ramsar Contracting Parties: Algeria, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the following four non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that is coordinating the accession process to the Ramsar Convention: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Rwanda.

It should be noted that, depending on the progress in the accession process, some of these countries might become Contracting Parties by the time of the subregional meeting. In that case, one additional delegate will be invited from the new Contracting Party.

Number of participants

From Contracting Parties 16
From countries in accession process 4
From Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 3-10
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 4-10
Lake Chad Commission 1
From the Ramsar Bureau/MedWet Initiative 3
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 15
Total 45 to 55 participants

Venue and dates Algeria, in its capacity of Standing Committee member from the subregion, has offered to host the meeting. The tentative dates are early 2002.

Eastern and Southern Africa subregional meeting

The meeting will involve the following nine Ramsar Contracting Parties: Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the following eight non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that is coordinating the accession process to the Ramsar Convention: Angola, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

It should be noted that, depending on the progress in the accession process, some of these countries might become Contracting Parties by the time of the subregional meeting. In that case, one additional delegate will be invited from the new Contracting Party.

Number of participants

From Contracting Parties 18
From countries in accession process 8
From Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 4-10
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 4-10
Okavango, Lake Victoria, and Nile Basin Organizations 3
From the Ramsar Bureau 2
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 15
Total 55 to 65 participants

Venue and dates Zambia has been proposed by the African Representatives in the Ramsar Standing Committee. The Zambia government is considering this possibility. The meeting could take place in October 2001.

West Africa and Island States subregional meeting

The meeting will involve the following 16 Ramsar Contracting Parties: Benin, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the following two non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that is coordinating the accession process to the Ramsar Convention: Cape Verde and Liberia.

Number of participants

From the Contracting Parties 28
From countries in accession process 2
From the Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 4-10
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 4-10
Lake Chad, Senegal, and Niger Basin Organizations 3
From the Ramsar Convention Bureau 2
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 15
Total 60 to 70 participants

Venue and dates Benin has been proposed by the Africa Representatives in the Standing Committee but confirmation from the Benin government has yet to be received. Nigeria has expressed interest in hosting this meeting. The suggested dates are for July 2001.

Pan-African summing-up meeting

This summing-up meeting should involve the Chairs and rapporteurs of the three subregional meetings and the Ramsar Bureau, some eight participants in total. This meeting could be held at the Ramsar Bureua in Gland, Switzerland, in mid-first quarter of 2002.

This meeting is expected to come up with a regional overview of the conclusions and recommendations that will have emerged from the three subregional meetings. The main product of the meeting is a report that includes:

  • The inputs of the African region in the preparation of the Technical Sessions and the plenary sessions of COP8
  • A summary of the problems that are common to all of Africa
  • A summary of problems specific to each subregion
  • A consolidated approach on strategies and the main achievements
  • The challenges ahead and the recommendations for future actions

Meetings in Ramsar’s Asia Region

For the Asia region the following subregional meetings are planned:

Middle East
West and Central Asia
East Asia

Middle East subregional meeting

The meeting will involve the following four Ramsar Contracting Parties: Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the following six non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that the Bureau maintains contacts with in relation to possible accession to the Ramsar Convention: Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

It should be noted that, depending on the progress in the accession process, some of these countries might become Contracting Parties by the time of the subregional meeting. In that case, one additional delegate will be invited from the new Contracting Party.

Number of participants

From the Contracting Parties 8
From countries in accession process 7
From the Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 4-8
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 4-10
From the Ramsar Convention Bureau/MedWet Initiative 3
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 15
Total 45 to 55 participants

Venue and dates The Ramsar Bureau is exploring possibilities for holding the meeting in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, or Lebanon. The proposed dates are April/May 2002.

West and Central Asia subregional meeting

The meeting will involve the following six Ramsar Contracting Parties: Bangladesh, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the following eight non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that the Bureau maintains contacts with in relation to possible accession to the Ramsar Convention: Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan will also be invited if the Bureau manages to establish a contact and detect interest in the Convention in this country.

It should be noted that, depending on the progress in the accession process, some of these countries might become Contracting Parties by the time of the subregional meeting. In that case, one additional delegate will be invited from the new Contracting Party.

Number of participants

From the Contracting Parties 12
From countries in accession process 8-9
From the Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 10-15
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 10-15
From the Ramsar Convention Bureau 2-3
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 50
Total 90 to 100 participants

Venue and dates Subject to final confirmation, the Islamic Republic of Iran has offered to host this meeting in the city of Ramsar in order, in addition to serving as one of the subregional meetings, to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Convention (the treaty was signed in Ramsar on 2 February 1971).

Because of the special nature of this meeting, it could last for four days (instead of three) to accommodate a 30th Anniversary celebration ceremony and, possibly, a ministerial segment on the last day of the meeting. The proposed dates are September/October 2001.

East Asia subregional meeting

The meeting will involve the following 10 Ramsar Contracting Parties: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Note: Since Israel has expressed its interest to participate in one of the meetings in the Asia region, in addition to attending the European meeting, in line with the Resolution VII.1 of Ramsar COP7 in relation to regional groups in the Convention, the Ramsar Bureau will encourage the host country of this meeting to extend an invitation to Israel.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the following four non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that the Bureau maintains contacts with in relation to possible accession to the Ramsar Convention: Brunei Darussalam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Singapore. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will also be invited if the Bureau manages to establish a contact and detect interest in the Convention in this country.

It should be noted that, depending on the progress in the accession process, some of these countries might become Contracting Parties by the time of the subregional meeting. In that case, one additional delegate will be invited from the new Contracting Party.

Number of participants

From the Contracting Parties 20
From countries in accession process 4-5
From the Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 4-10
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 10
From the Ramsar Convention Bureau 2
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 15
Total 45 to 55 participants

Venue and dates The Ramsar Bureau is exploring the possibilities of holding this meeting in Cambodia, Japan, Thailand or Vietnam. The proposed dates are in January/February 2002.


Meeting for Ramsar’s Europe Region

This is the only Ramsar region that will host one sole pan-regional meeting, instead of several smaller subregional meetings. This is due to the fact that the region had already taken this decision before the subregional meetings approach was decided upon in the Ramsar Standing Committee.

The Regional Representatives of Europe in the Standing Committee have decided to establish a Programme Committee for the meeting, involving the Ramsar Bureau, the regional representatives (Armenia, France, Norway ,and Slovak Republic), the former and next host of European regional meetings (Latvia and Slovenia), the host of Ramsar COP8 (Spain), specific donor countries (to be identified) and the Ramsar International Organization Partners.

The meeting will involve the following 42 Ramsar Contracting Parties: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.

Israel will also be invited, in line with Resolution VII.1 of Ramsar COP7 and Israel’s declaration included in the Report of Ramsar COP7 that reads: "Israel wishes to notify the Conference of the Parties formally, on the basis of ¶5 of the resolution just adopted [VII.1], of its request to participate temporarily within the alternative region of Europe, as defined in Annex 1, whilst remaining a member of its geographical region of Asia, as defined in the same Annex. If accepted, Israel preferred to direct its conservation energies within the European framework". (Paragraph 104 of the Conference Report)

Each Contracting Party will be represented by at least one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the following two non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that the Bureau maintains contacts with in relation to possible accession to the Ramsar Convention: Bosnia & Herzegovina and Cyprus. If by the time of the meeting they have completed their accession procedures, they will be invited to send at least two delegates as the other Contracting Parties.

Number of participants

From the Contracting Parties 90-100
From countries in accession process 2
From the Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 10-20
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 10
From the Ramsar Convention Bureau/MedWet Initiative 4
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 10
Total 120 to 140 participants

Venue and dates Bled, Slovenia, 13-18 October 2001


Meetings in Ramsar’s Neotropics Region

For the Neotropics (South and Central America and the Caribbean) the following subregional meetings are planned:

Two meetings for South America
Two meetings for Central America and the Caribbean

It should be noted that the request for having these two meetings in the subregions has come for the Contracting Parties themselves. They consider that there is a need for the two meetings. The first one, in 2001, should be devoted primarily to analyzing progress made with the implementation of the Convention since Ramsar COP7 in May 1999 and advance the preparations for COP8. The second meeting, in 2002, is to focus on the position of the subregions vis-à-vis the issues to be discussed at Ramsar COP8 in November 2002.

Subregional meeting for South America I (2001)

The meeting will involve the following 11 Ramsar Contracting Parties: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

In addition, the Guyana (the only non-Contracting Party in the region) will also be invited.

The other Regional Representatives in the Standing Committee (Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago) and the three Contracting Parties from the North American Region (Canada, Mexico and the United States of America) will also be invited to the meeting.

Number of participants

From the Contracting Parties in the subregion 22
Other Contracting Parties 5-7
From countries in accession process 1
From the Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 10-15
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 10
From the Ramsar Convention Bureau 2
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 15
Total 50 to 60 participants

Venue and dates Buenos Aires, Argentina, 17-19 September 2001

Expected outputs The expected outputs of this subregional meeting for South America in 2001 are:

a) to identify the achievements in the implementation of the Convention Work Plan 2000-2002 and to establish priorities for the work to be carried out until Ramsar COP8 in November 2002;
b) to generate the production of a first draft of the National Reports to be prepared for Ramsar COP8 and to analyze them during the meeting with a view to their improvement;
c) to generate a series of specific recommendations concerning the draft of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008;
d) to prepare a report about and recommendations for effective implementation of the agreements between Ramsar and other conventions, in particular the Conventions on Biological Diversity, Desertification, Migratory Species, World Heritage, and the Cartagena Convention;
e) to generate proposals concerning the structure and procedures at Ramsar COPs; and
f) to prepare recommendations on how the Ramsar Bureau could improve its services to the region.

Subregional meeting for South America II (2002)

The participants of this second subregional meeting for South America will be the same as for the first meeting.

It should be noted that the request for having these two meetings in the subregion has come for the Contracting Parties themselves. They consider that there is a need for the two meetings. The first one, in 2001, will have been devoted primarily, as indicated above, to analyzing progress made with the implementation of the Convention since Ramsar COP7 in May 1999 and advancing the preparations for COP8. This second meeting, in 2002, is to focus on the position of the subregions vis-à-vis the issues to be discussed at Ramsar COP8 in November 2002.

Venue and dates Quito, Ecuador (tentative), 17-20 June 2002

General objectives The main general objective of this second subregional meeting for South America will be to agree on a common position vis-à-vis the main issues to be discussed at Ramsar COP8 in November 2002.

More specifically the objectives of the meeting are:

  1. to review the progress made in the implementation of the Convention Work Plan 2000-2002 and to analyze the main bottlenecks encountered in doing so;
  2. to discuss the National Reports prepared for Ramsar COP8;
  3. to analyze the final draft of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008;
  4. to discuss the experience gained through the cases of joint implementation of biodiversity-related conventions in the different countries;
  5. to discuss the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2001 subregional meeting in relation to the services provided by the Ramsar Bureau to the region;
  6. to discuss the experience of the Regional Representaives in the Ramsar Standing Committee and how to improve their performance in the following triennium; and
  7. to discuss any other important issues in the Ramsar COP8 agenda.

Subregional meeting for Central America and the Caribbean I (2001)

The meeting will involve the following 11 Ramsar Contracting Parties: Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Each Contracting Party will be represented by one delegate from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and one additional delegate (preferably from another sector, such as the water management department/agency).

Argentina, in its capacity as Regional Representative in the Standing Committee and the three Contracting Parties from the North American Region, Canada, Mexico and the United States of America, will also be invited to the meeting.

France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, Ramsar Contracting Parties with dependent territories in the region, will also be invited.

In addition the following nine non-Contracting Parties will be invited to send one delegate from the government institution that the Bureau maintains contacts with in relation to possible accession to the Ramsar Convention: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Number of participants

From the Contracting Parties 22
Other Contracting parties 5-7
From countries in accession process 9
From the Ramsar International Organization Partners and NGOs 10-15
From donor agencies, other conventions, regional organizations 10
From the Ramsar Convention Bureau 2
Others (local institutions, STRP/CEPA focal points, etc.) 15
Total 50 to 60 participants

Venue and dates San José, Costa Rica, 24-27 September 2001

Expected outputs The expected outputs of this subregional meeting for Central America and the Caribbean in 2001 are:

a) to identify the achievements in the implementation of the Convention Work Plan 2000-2002 and to establish priorities for the work to be carried out until Ramsar COP8 in November 2002;
b) to generate the production of a first draft of the National Reports to be prepared for Ramsar COP8 and to analyze them during the meeting with a view to their improvement;
c) to generate a series of specific recommendations concerning the draft of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008;
d) to prepare a report about and recommendations for effective implementation of the agreements between Ramsar and other conventions, in particular the Conventions on Biological Diversity, Desertification, Migratory Species, World Heritage, and the Cartagena Convention;
e) to generate proposals concerning the structure and procedures at Ramsar COPs; and
f) to prepare recommendations on how the Ramsar Bureau could improve its services to the region.

Subregional for Central America and the Caribbean II (2002)

The participants of this second subregional meeting for South America will be the same as for the first meeting.

It should be noted that the request for having these two meetings in the subregion has come for the Contracting Parties themselves. They consider that there is a need for the two meetings. The first one, in 2001, will have been devoted primarily, as indicated above, to analyzing progress made with the implementation of the Conventions since Ramsar COP7 in May 1999 and advancing the preparations for COP8. This second meeting, in 2002, is to focus on the position of the subregions vis-à-vis the issues to be discussed at Ramsar COP8 in November 2002.

Venue and dates Nassau, Bahamas (tentative), 10-12 June 2002

General objectives The main general objective of this second subregional meeting for Central America and the Caribbean will be to agree on a common position vis-à-vis the main issues to be discussed at Ramsar COP8 in November 2002.

More specifically the objectives of the meeting are:

a) to review the progress made with the implementation of the Convention Work Plan 2000-2002 and to analyzed the main bottlenecks encountered in doing so;
b) to discuss the National Reports prepared for Ramsar COP8;
c) to analyze the final draft of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008;
d) to discuss the experience gained through the cases of joint implementation of biodiversity-related conventions in the different countries;
e) to discuss progress the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2001 subregional meeting in relation to the services provided by the Ramsar Bureau to the region;
f) to discuss the experience of the Regional Representaives in the Ramsar Standing Committee and how to improve their performance in the following triennium; and
g) to discuss any other important issues in the Ramsar COP8 agenda.


Meetings in Ramsar’s North America and Oceania Regions

These two Ramsar regions include only three Contracting Parties each. North America includes Canada, Mexico and the Untied States of America and there are no more countries in the region. The Oceania region includes 16 countries, most of which are Small Island Developing States (SIDS). So far, only Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are Contracting Parties to the Convention.

The Regional Representatives of these two regions in the Standing Committee (Mexico and Australia respectively) have indicated that in principle they will use the opportunities of regular encounters among the Contracting Parties to consult about Ramsar issues. Nevertheless, the possibility of holding specific meetings about Ramsar has not been ruled out.


Indicative budgets for all of the meetings outlined above (Microsoft Excel document)

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