Report of the 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
|"Wetlands: water, life, and culture"|
8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002
Conference Report of Ramsar COP8
Table of contents
Republic of Korea
Republic of Moldova
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Syrian Arab Republic
The FYR of Macedonia
Trinidad & Tobago
United Republic of Tanzania
United States of America
Papua New Guinea
Notes on the First Plenary Session
18 November 2002, 10.00-12.30
Agenda Items I/II: Opening Ceremony
1. The 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention was officially opened by Ms María del Carmen Martorell Pallás, Secretary General of Environment in the Ministry of Environment of Spain, who welcomed participants and presented a statement on behalf of his Royal Highness Prince Felipe. Messages of welcome were also delivered by the Mayor of Valencia, Ms Rita Barberá, the President of the Regional Government of Valencia, Mr José Luis Olivas Martínez, and the Secretary General of the Convention, Mr Delmar Blasco.
Agenda Item III: Adoption of the Agenda
2. The Agenda, circulated as Ramsar COP8 DOC. 1, Rev. 3, was adopted by consensus.
Agenda Item IV: Adoption of the Rules of Procedure
3. The Rules of Procedure, circulated as Ramsar COP8 DOC. 2, were adopted by consensus.
Agenda Item V: Election of the President and Vice-Presidents
4. Following the recommendation of the Standing Committee, Ms María del Carmen Martorell Pallás, Secretary General of Environment in the Ministry of Environment of Spain, was elected by acclamation as President of COP8, and Mr Héctor Conde of Cuba and Mr Javad Amin Mansour of the Islamic Republic of Iran were elected, also by acclamation, as Vice-Presidents.
5. The Ramsar Conservation Awards were presented by Ms María del Carmen Martorell Pallás in her capacity as President of the Conference, and by the two Vice-Presidents, Mr Héctor Conde and Mr Javad Amin Mansour. The Evian Special Prize that accompanies the Ramsar Award was bestowed by Mr Franck Riboud, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Danone Corporation. The Awards were presented to:
· The Chilika Development Authority (India)
· The Trilateral Initiative for the Morava-Dyje floodplains (Austria, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic)
· Banrock Station Wines (Australia)
The Secretary General announced that Banrock Station Wines had decided to donate its Evian Special Prize to a project at Lake Nakuru, Kenya, matching the prize with additional funding.
In addition, Diplomas of Excellence, recognizing outstanding contributions to wetland science, were presented to Dr Max Finlayson (Australia) and Dr Monique Coulet (France).
6. The Conference witnessed signature of the agreement on the 'Danone-Evian Fund for Water, in support of the Ramsar Convention - 2003-2006 Programme' by the Chairman and CEO of the Danone Corporation, the Secretary General of the Convention, and the Director General of the French Conservatoire du Littoral, Mr François Letourneux.
7. Special Intervention 1:
Mr Philippe Roch, Director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape, made a presentation concerning sustainable management of water resources and the need for a holistic ecosystem approach.
Notes on the Second Plenary Session
18 November 2002, 15.00-17.30
8. Special intervention 2:
Dr Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International, presented a statement on behalf of the International Organization Partners (IOPs) of the Convention.
9. Special intervention 3:
Dr Peter Bridgewater, member of the Global Biodiversity Forum (GBF) Steering Committee, reported on the outcomes of the 17th GBF, held in Valencia from 15-17 November.
10. Special intervention 4:
Mr Theo Oberhuber, Ecologistas en Acción, delivered a message on behalf of the World NGO and Local Communities Conference on Wetlands, which immediately preceded COP8 in Valencia.
11. Special intervention 5:
Ms Maite Martín Crespo presented a statement from the Latin American Seminar on International Wetland Cooperation, held in Toledo just prior to COP8.
Agenda Item VI: Appointment of the Credentials Committee and any other committees
12. Following the Conference Committee's recommendation, the following countries were elected by acclamation to serve on the Credentials Committee: Algeria, Colombia, Latvia, Mexico, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea.
13. Also in line with the Conference Committee's recommendation, COP8 Committees were established as follows:
a) Committee on Strategic Plan and Work Plan - participation open but based on a core group formed by the Standing Committee Subgroup on this issue chaired by Uganda, with the addition of Benin, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Lebanon, Netherlands, Switzerland, Venezuela and Zambia.
b) Committee on Finance and Budget - participation open but based on a core group formed by the Standing Committee Subgroup on this issue chaired by Armenia, with the addition of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Chile, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Spain and Switzerland.
c) Committee on Future COPs - participation open, chaired by the United States of America.
14. The Standing Committee's recommendation to establish Contact Groups to deal with certain Draft Resolutions (DRs) was accepted, with 10 Contact Groups being set up under the leadership of one or more Contracting Parties to consider 13 DRs.
Agenda Item VII: Admission of Observers
15. The Observers listed in COP8 DOC. 36 were admitted by consensus.
16. Argentina requested that its reservation over the admission of the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum be noted in the Conference Report and the following text included in any list of participants or other relevant documentation emerging from COP8:
"A dispute exists between the Government of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) - (United Nations Secretariat information circulars ST/ADM/SER/A 1084 of 18 March 1966 and ST/CS/SER A 42 of 3 August 1999)".
17. The UK stated that:
"The UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and their surrounding maritime areas, and similarly South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, and the British Antarctic Territory".
18. Argentina referred to its previous statement and stated that:
"Argentina also has no doubts about its sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas".
19. Clarifications or corrections to the list of Observers were requested by Ghana and Pakistan.
20. Samoa presented a statement confirming that its instrument of accession had very recently been submitted to UNESCO and that it looked forward to participating in future as a Contracting Party.
Agenda Item VIII a): Report of the Chairperson of the Standing Committee
21. Mr Stephen Hunter (Australia), Chairperson of the Standing Committee, introduced his report on the work of the Standing Committee during the past triennium (document COP8 DOC. 3).
Agenda Item VIII b): Report of the Chairperson of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel
22. Dr Jorge Jiménez, Chairperson of the STRP, introduced his report (document COP8 DOC. 4).
Notes on the Third Plenary Session
19 November 2002, 09.30-13.00
Agenda Item IX: Report of the Secretary General and overview of the implementation of the Convention at the global level, based on the National Reports submitted by Contracting Parties
23. The Secretary General presented his report (COP8 DOC. 5) and highlighted a number of key challenges for the future implementation of the Convention. He also introduced COP8 DOC. 6 'Report of the Secretary General pursuant to Article 8.2 (b), (c), and (d) concerning the List of Wetlands of International Importance'.
24. Interventions pertaining to the Secretary General's report and implementation of the Convention were made by Argentina, Benin, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Niger, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, and WWF.
25. Many of these interventions highlighted the need for greater technical and financial support for implementation of Ramsar commitments, particularly in developing countries.
26. On behalf of the wider Caribbean region, Trinidad & Tobago placed on record its gratitude for the assistance provided by the United States of America and the Ramsar Bureau for promoting increased Caribbean membership in the Convention.
27. Referring to efforts to increase access to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for Ramsar implementation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a member of the GEF Council and Assembly, recommended that a message from COP8 be transmitted to the Chief Executive Officer of GEF requesting Ramsar observer status at the GEF Council, and encouraged other Contracting Parties represented in the GEF Council to raise this issue at the Council's next meeting in May 2003. These proposals were supported by Niger.
28. Concerning both COP8 DOC. 6 (Annex 1, reference to Sea Lion Island) and COP 8 DOC. 27 (section 2.11, sub-heading 'Article 3.2', specifically the reference to 'Sea Lion island'), Argentina requested that the following text be included as an asterisked footnote:
"A dispute exists between the Goverment of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) - (United Nations Secretariat information circulars ST/ADM/SER/A 1084 of 18 March 1966 and ST/CS/SER A 42 of 3 August 1999)"
29. The statements of several Contracting Parties contained pledges to pursue new Ramsar site designations as follows: Benin (3 sites), Chile (2), Colombia (6), Costa Rica (1), Côte d'Ivoire (4, including 1 transboundary site with Ghana), Cuba (3), Ghana (2 sites, including 1 transboundary site with Côte d'Ivoire), Hungary (1 transboundary site with the Slovak Republic), Jordan (2), Malaysia (5), Mali (4), Nepal, Nicaragua (2 sites), Niger (5), Papua New Guinea (1), and Togo (2).
Agenda Item X: Issues arising from Resolutions and Recommendations of previous meetings of the Conference of Contracting Parties
30. The President noted that virtually all pertinent issues were now covered under the Draft Resolutions being considered under agenda item XIV.
31. Azerbaijan formally notified the Conference, pursuant to paragraph 5 of Resolution VII.1, of its wish to participate in the work of the European Region.
32. There being no objection to this request, the Secretary General indicated that the matter would be referred to the STRP for formal consideration, in line with other provisions of Resolution VII.1.
33. Special intervention 6:
Referring to COP8 DOC. 8, Dr Angela Cropper, Co-Chair of the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment Panel, made a presentation on the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment and its relevance to Ramsar. This was followed by a brief discussion session, during which interventions were made by Egypt, Indonesia, Mali, and Pakistan. The Secretary General placed on record his great appreciation of the close collaboration between the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment and the Ramsar Convention.
Notes on the Fourth Plenary Session
19 November 2002, 15.00-18.30
34. Special intervention 7:
Ms Inés González Doncell, Director General of Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment of Spain, made a presentation on the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in the host country, including the recent designation of 11 new Ramsar sites.
35. Statements responding to the presentation were made by Tanzania, Ecologistas en Acción, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Spain, the Platform for the Defence of the Ebro River, BirdLife International, and WWF.
Agenda Item XI: The Convention Strategic Plan 2003-2008
36. Mr Paul Mafabi (Uganda), Chair of the Committee on the Strategic Plan, outlined the process followed in the preparation of DR 25 which would serve as the basis for the work of the COP8 Committee on the Strategic Plan.
37. The Deputy Secretary General noted that the Bureau had prepared DR 25 rev. 1 to assist Contracting Parties in their deliberations. This reflected the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as the provisional national priorities and targets provided to the Bureau by Contracting Parties.
Agenda Item XII:The Convention's Work Plan 2003-2005
38. The Deputy Secretary General introduced DR 26, noting that this document was now endorsed by the Conference Committee.
Agenda Item XIII: Financial report and proposed budget for the triennium 2003-2005
39. Dr Karen Jenderedjian (Armenia), Chair of the Committee on Finance and Budget, presented his report, drawing attention to DR 27 which contained a proposal for a 5% per year increase in the Convention's budget for the next triennium, representing 2% to cover inflation and 3% real growth.
40. Argentina and Brazil raised formal objections to the scale of contributions contained in Annex II of DR 27. Cuba expressed its disagreement with the new system of UN contributions, which diminished the quotas of some developed countries and distributed the difference amongst developing countries, but expressed its intention of meeting its Ramsar allocation anyway.
41. Japan supported Annex II as shown and requested clarifications over certain elements of the proposed budget.
42. Australia noted that the proposed budget made no provision for work in the Oceania region.
43. Germany stated its policy of seeking zero nominal growth and requested the COP8 Committee to critically examine the proposed budget and to determine if the growth rate of the core budget could be limited.
44. The Russian Federation indicated that it was not in a position to support the proposed budget.
45. Uganda welcomed the inclusion of a proposed budget line to cover Bureau costs for future COPs.
46. WWF noted that the Ramsar budget is only a fraction of that of other multilateral environmental agreements. This observation was supported by Algeria.
47. Spain, speaking on behalf of the European Union Member States, requested the COP8 Committee on Finance and Budget to discuss DR 28, DR 28 bis, DR 29 and DR 30 in conjunction with DR 27.
48. Special intervention 8:
Mr Paul Chabeda delivered a statement on behalf of Dr Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP.
Agenda Item XIV: Consideration of the proposals for Resolutions and Recommendations by Contracting Parties and the Standing Committee
49. Seven Draft Resolutions not being covered by the Technical Sessions or other COP8 processes were introduced by Contracting Party sponsors or by the Deputy Secretary General (in the case of DRs submitted by the Standing Committee).
50. Interventions were made by Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Greece, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The FYR of Macedonia, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela, and WWF.
51. Speaking in response to concerns raised by Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden about the proposed establishment of an Endowment Fund to support the Small Grants Fund (DR 29), the Secretary General stated his conviction that donor countries needed to decide either to close the SGF or to equip it with a sustainable financial mechanism.
52. The Conference agreed to hold a Special Plenary Session to continue this agenda item.
Notes on the Special Plenary Session
21 November 2002, 08.00-09.45
Agenda Item XIV: Consideration of the proposals for Resolutions and Recommendations by Contracting Parties and the Standing Committee (continued)
53. A further 15 Draft Resolutions not covered by the Technical Sessions or other COP8 processes were reviewed and proposed amendments introduced accordingly.
54. Interventions were made by Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Slovenia, Spain, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam, BirdLife International, and Mangrove Action Project.
55. Germany referred to DRs 20, 21 and 22 and noted for the record its support for these proposals covering issues and procedural consequences of site boundary changes and reductions for reasons other than "urgent national interest".
56. BirdLife International recorded its disappointment that the drafts of DRs 20-22 did not reflect the full extent of work carried out in response to Resolutions VII.23 and VII.27 and suggested an amendment, supported by Denmark and the UK, for further work after COP8.
57. Speaking on behalf of the EU Member States, Denmark presented formal statements of support for DR 24 (UNEP guidelines relating to MEAs), DR 35 (impact of natural disasters, particularly droughts), and DR 36 (Participatory Environmental Management).
58. Speaking as a co-sponsor of DR 37 (International cooperation on the conservation of Asia-Pacific migratory waterbirds), Japan placed on record its firm belief that the initiative would contribute greatly to enhancing regional cooperation efforts to achieve the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and called upon relevant Contracting Parties and organizations to support the Draft Resolution and its implementation.
59. Australia, as co-sponsor of DR37, also placed on the record its pleasure in providing the first formal report to Ramsar from the Asia Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Committee, advising the COP of the work that has been done in response to previous Ramsar COP Resolutions on this important aspect of wetland conservation and expressing gratitude for support from the Ramsar Convention.
60. In response to a proposal by the UK, the COP endorsed removal from DRs of references to prioritization of Small Grants Fund expenditure.
Notes on the Fifth Plenary Session
23 November 2002, 09.30-12.00
Agenda Item XV: Report of the Credentials Committee
61. Ms María Elvira Posada (Colombia), Chair of the Credentials Committee, presented her report, appended to this Conference Report as Annex I. In adopting the report, the COP endorsed the recommendations contained in the Committee's report for changes to Rule 18 of the Rules of Procedure in order to streamline the processing of credentials at future COPs.
62. Special intervation 9:
Dr Gonzalo Castro, Environment Department, The World Bank (currently Team Leader for Biodiversity, GEF Secretariat) made a presentation entitled 'Ramsar designation increases management effectiveness in Wetlands of International Importance'. This was followed by a discussion on ways and means for Ramsar Contracting Parties to gain access to GEF.
63. Special intervation 10:
The COP witnessed the signature of two Memoranda of Cooperation between the Ramsar Bureau and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, represented by its Executive Director Dr Muhammad Sani Adamu, and between the Bureau and the Niger Basin Authority, represented by Mr Mohammed Bello Tuga, Executive Secretary.
Agenda Items XI and XII: The Convention Strategic Plan 2003-2008 and the Convention's Work Plan 2003-2005 (continued)
64. Mr Paul Mafabi (Uganda), Chair of the COP8 Committee on the Strategic Plan and Work Plan, reported that the Committee had agreed amendments to the Strategic Plan and that these were being incorporated into DR 25 and its Annex. In relation to DR 26 (Implementation of the Strategic Plan 2003-2005), the Committee determined that global implementation priorities should not be included in the Convention's Strategic Plan. DR 26 would be amended accordingly to mandate the new Standing Committee to indicate global priorities at its first meeting of the triennium.
Agenda Item XIII: Financial report and proposed budget for the triennium 2003-2005 (continued)
65. Dr Karen Jenderedjian (Armenia), Chair of the COP8 Committee on Finance and Budget, reported that the Committee had reached consensus on a revised budget for submission to Plenary, based on a 4% per annum increase over the coming triennium. This would represent 1.5% to cover inflation and 2.5% real growth. The Committee had also agreed in principle to establish a Ramsar Endowment Fund. Discussions were ongoing with a view to preparing a final draft of the relevant DR.
66. Germany recorded its appreciation of the efforts of the Committee. While Germany would have welcomed a smaller increase in the Convention's core budget, it would not object to the revised proposal.
67. Dr Herb Raffaele (USA), Chair of the COP8 Committee on Content and Duration of Future COPs, indicated that a Draft Resolution would be presented to plenary on the basis of the Committee's findings and recommendations. These essentially proposed dividing Draft Resolutions into 'technical' and 'administrative, procedural and policy' categories, reducing the duration and refocusing the content of COP Technical Sessions, and limiting the time devoted to non-business items, including the opening of COPs. Implementation of these proposals would require amendments to the Rules of Procedure. Minutes of the Committee's deliberations were available in English for all participants.
Agenda item XVI: Reports of Technical Sessions
68. The plenary session chairs of the five Technical Sessions held on 20, 21 and 22 November reported on the principal outcomes of the Regional Working Groups (Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe) established to debate draft COP8 resolutions relevant to the Technical Session themes, as follows:
Technical Session 1 Major challenges and emerging opportunities for wetlands, water and sustainability, chaired by Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda;
Technical Session 2 Baselines for sustainable use: wetland inventory and assessment, chaired by Ms Nadra Nathai-Gyan, Trinidad & Tobago;
Technical Session 3 Global biological diversity and sustenance of human life: the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, chaired by Ms Louise Lakos, Hungary;
Technical Session 4 Managing wetlands for sustainable use and human well-being, chaired by Ms Natalia Kasymova, Uzbekistan;
Technical Session 5 Cultural aspects of wetlands as a tool for their conservation and sustainable use, chaired by Mr Clayton Rubec, Canada.
69. The Secretary General confirmed that the Bureau was now preparing revised versions of all DRs for submission to plenary. Significant unresolved differences of view only remained in the case of a small number of DRs.
70. Special intervation 11:
H.E. Chief Dr. Imeh T. Okopido, Hon. Minister of Environment of Nigeria, delivered a presentation on his country's efforts in the field of wetland conservation and wise use, including plans to designate 14 new Ramsar sites. The Minister presented to the Secretary General copies of Nigeria's Joint Ministerial Statement to the World Summit on Sustainable Development concerning Environmental Governance.
Agenda Item XVII: Appointment of the members of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)
71. The Secretary General reported that the COP8 Contact Group on this issue had produced a proposed revision of the relevant Draft Resolution, but one issue should be resolved by the Plenary Session at this stage, namely whether STRP members should be appointed by the COP itself or by the Standing Committee. If the COP was unable to agree with the proposal as contained in DR 28 that the STRP members should be appointed by the Standing Committee at its first meeting after the COP, the Conference Committee would have to prepare a proposal to be considered by the plenary on 26 November.
72. The Conference endorsed the latter option, agreeing that this would enable the Standing Committee to select STRP members whose expertise and experience most closely matches the requirements and priorities identified in the final text of the Strategic Plan and Work Plan. It was also agreed that this would enable the deadline for STRP nominations to be extended to 30 January 2003.
Notes on the Sixth Plenary Session
25 November 2002, 09.30-13.00
Agenda Item XVIII: Adoption of Conference Resolutions and Recommendations
73. The Conference adopted by consensus the following 10 Draft Resolutions as amended by the COP, some subject to language corrections to be incorporated by the Ramsar Bureau into the final published texts:
DR 4 Wetland issues in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
DR 5 Partnerships and synergies with Multilateral Environment Agreements and other institutions
DR 6 A framework for wetland inventory
DR 7 Gaps in and harmonization of Ramsar guidance on wetland ecological character, inventory, assessment and monitoring
DR 8 Assessing and reporting the status and trends of wetlands, and the implementation of Article 3.2 of the Convention
DR 9 Guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into environmental impact assessment legislation and/or processes and in strategic environmental assessment" adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and their relevance to the Ramsar Convention
DR 11 Additional guidance for identifying and designating under-represented wetland types as Wetlands of International Importance
DR 12 Enhancing the wise use and conservation of mountain wetlands
DR 14 New Guidelines for management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands
DR 17 Guidelines for Global Action on Peatlands
74. In relation to a question from Japan about DR 11, the Chair confirmed that prioritization of STRP tasks arising from COP8 Resolutions would be considered at the first meeting of the Standing Committee.
75. Spain indicated its wish to be listed as a co-sponsor of DR 12.
Notes on the Seventh Plenary Session
25 November 2002, 15.00-18.00
Agenda Item XVIII: Adoption of Conference Resolutions and Recommendations (continued)
76. The Conference adopted by consensus the following 12 Draft Resolutions as amended by the COP, some subject to language corrections to be incorporated by the Ramsar Bureau into the final published texts:
DR 16 Principles and guidelines for wetland restoration
DR 20 General guidance for interpreting "urgent national interests" under Article 2.5 of the Convention and considering compensation under Article 4.2
DR 21 Defining Ramsar site boundaries more accurately in Ramsar Information Sheets
DR 22 Issues concerning Ramsar sites that cease to fulfil or never fulfilled the Criteria for designation as Wetlands of International Importance
DR 24 UNEP Guidelines on Enhancing Compliance with multilateral environmental agreements and on National Enforcement, and International Cooperation in Combating Violations, of Laws Implementing Multilateral Environmental Agreements
DR 27 Financial and budgetary matters
DR 28 Modus operandi of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)
DR 29 Evaluation of the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for wetland conservation and wise use (SGF) and establishment of a Ramsar Endowment Fund
DR 30 Regional initiatives for the further implementation of the Convention
DR 31 The Convention's Programme on communication, education and public awareness (CEPA) 2003-2008
DR 32 Wise use of mangrove ecosystem resources
DR 33 Additional guidance for identifying, sustainably managing, and designating temporary pools as Wetlands of International Importance
77. Argentina requested insertion of the following footnote to DR 27:
"The Republic of Argentina requested that in applying the United Nations scale of assessment, the Argentinian contribution for 2003 be adjusted to the rate proposed by the United Nations Committee on Contributions, unanimously adopted by all the Committee's members at its 62nd session. The Committee on Contributions recommended by consensus that, when assessing Argentina's contribution for 2003, the General Assembly should apply a rate of 0.969% instead of the rate of 1.149% originally proposed."
78. The Russian Federation indicated that, so as not to block consensus among other Contracting Parties, it had not objected to the 4% per annum increase in the Convention's core budget contained in DR 27. However, in the event of a vote, the Russian Federation would not have voted in favour of adopting the DR, based on its position of principle that real growth in the budgets of international organizations should be avoided. New activities should be undertaken either through internal redistribution of resources, applying measures of strict economy, or through additional voluntary contributions. The Russian Federation was not convinced that such steps have been taken by the Ramsar Bureau and therefore reserved its position on the budget, including the Russian Federation's annual contribution.
79. Brazil made a statement that it could not agree with paragraph 11 of DR 27. The Brazilian Delegation to the United Nations Organization had previously stated that it would not oppose the new scale of contributions approved in December 1999, if, and only if, the new scale of assessments would not automatically be passed down to other international organizations.
80. Germany reiterated its position that it would not object to adoption of DR 27, although it would continue to apply the principle of seeking zero growth in the budgets of international organizations.
81. Spain, on behalf of the European Community Member States, presented a formal statement in support of DR 27.
Notes on the Eighth Plenary Session
26 November 2002, 09.30 - 13.00
Agenda item XVIII: Adoption of Resolutions and Recommendations (continued)
82. The following Draft Resolutions were adopted by consensus:
DR 10 Improving implementation of the Strategic Framework and Vision for the List of Wetlands of International Importance
DR 13 Enhancing the information on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)
DR 25 The Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008
DR 26 The implementation of the Strategic Plan 2003-2008 during the triennium 2003-2005 and National Reports for Ramsar COP9
DR 35 The impact of natural disasters, particularly drought, on wetland ecosystems
DR 36 Participatory Environmental Management (PEM) as a tool for management and wise use of wetlands
DR 37 International cooperation on conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the Asia-Pacific region
DR 38 Waterbird population estimates and the identification and designation of Wetlands of International Importance
DR 39 High Andean wetlands as strategic ecosystems
DR 40 Guidelines for rendering the use of groundwater compatible with the conservation of wetlands
DR 41 Establishment of a Regional Ramsar Centre for Training and Research on Wetlands in Western and Central Asia
DR 42 Small Island Developing States in the Oceania region
DR 43 A subregional strategy of the Ramsar Convention for South America
DR 44 New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Africa
83. Turkey submitted a written statement expressing reservations in relation to DR 1, DR 2 (both adopted during the ninth plenary session), and DR 25, as follows:
"The Government of Turkey has been attributing great importance to the implementation of the Ramsar Convention since its accession. Turkey also supports the international cooperation in environmental matters.
However, the Turkish Delegation would kindly like to draw attention to the Report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). The Report of the WCD has no worldwide acceptance and it has been subject to criticism of many countries. In addition, the Report consists of references to the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses which has not entered into force as yet and, since that, has almost lost its credibility.
In this context, Turkey is of the view that the Report of the WCD should not be a basic reference document for the implementation of the Ramsar Convention.
Consequently, the Turkish Delegation would appreciate if the Ramsar COP8 took note of the reservation of the Government of Turkey regarding the whole document Ramsar COP8 DR 2 and paragraphs 6,12 and 15 of the document Ramsar COP8 DR 1 and paragraph 22 and Box D of the Annex to the same document that refer to the Report of the WCD.
On the other hand, the Turkish Delegation would like to reiterate that transboundary water resource management is out of the mandate of the Ramsar Convention. Therefore, paragraph 18 of document Ramsar COP8 DR 1, Box F of the Annex to the same document and paragraphs 12.1.2 and 12.1.3 of the document Ramsar COP8 DR 25 are irrelevant to the context and obligations of the Ramsar Convention and will not constitute a legally binding instrument whatsoever for Turkey.The Turkish Delegation requests from the Ramsar Bureau that this statement of understanding be put into the records and the reservations expressed in it be duly reflected to all of the relevant documents of the 8th Conference to the Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention."
84. Paragraph 30 of DR 10 was discussed at length, with final agreement on the following wording:
"INSTRUCTS the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), with the assistance of the Ramsar Bureau, interested Contracting Parties, and other relevant organizations to develop, for consideration by COP9, additional criteria and guidelines for the identification and designation of Ramsar sites concerning socio-economic and cultural values and functions that are relevant to biological diversity, as listed in Annex 1 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which would be applied on each occasion in conjunction with one or more existing criteria for the identification and designation of Ramsar sites; and to include in this work a full analysis of the implications for Contracting Parties of the implementation of such criteria for the management of Ramsar sites, including Contracting Party obligations and responsibilities for maintaining the ecological character of any such sites so selected;"
85. On the basis of an intervention by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the plenary decided that a paragraph in DR 10 concerning water managment issues in Spain should be considered. Interested parties were invited to prepare a proposal through a contact group. The group agreed a consensus text to be inserted as 42 d) of DR 10:
[The Conference of the Contracting Parties CONGRATULATES] "the Government of Spain for the recent designation of 11 new Ramsar Sites and ASKS this Government to ensure the full implementation of the Convention in its national water policies and programmes."
Notes on Ninth Plenary Session
26 November 2002, 15.00 - 19.15
Agenda item XVIII: Adoption of Resolutions and Recommendations (continued)
86. The following DRs were adopted by consensus:
DR 1 Guidelines for the allocation and management of water for maintaining the ecological functions of wetlands
DR 2 The Report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) and its relevance to the Ramsar Convention
DR 3 Climate change and wetlands: impacts, adaptation, and mitigation
DR 15 The "San José Record" for promotion of wetland management implementation
DR 18 Invasive species and wetlands
DR 19 Guiding principles for taking into account the cultural values of wetlands for the effective management of sites
DR 23 Incentive measures as tools for achieving the wise use of wetlands
DR 34 Agriculture, wetlands and water resource management
DR 45 Operation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties and the effectiveness of Ramsar Convention Resolutions and Recommendations
87. DR 46: 'Thanks to the people and governments of Spain' was adopted by acclamation.
88. Attention was drawn to Turkey's written statement of reservation relating to DRs 1, 2, and 25 (see paragraph 83 above).
89. The United States made a formal statement concerning DR 3, as follows:
"The US would like to thank the chair of the Contact Group and the members for all of the hard work that went into the preparation of this Draft Resolution. We think this is a reasonable compromise on where we all are on climate and wetlands, and provides a good way forward. We are willing to join the consensus but would like to interject a word of caution.Although we appreciate the work of the STRP in creating Ramsar COP8 DOC. 11 and DOC. 40, climate change is a difficult subject and the stakes are great. For that reason, papers offering prescriptions must be absolutely precise. We are concerned that was not the case with these documents, and urge Contracting Parties who choose to use them to do so only after a careful review. We will share our concerns with anyone who decides to evaluate the documents for themselves."
90. Denmark, speaking on behalf of the EU Member States, made the following statement in relation to DR 18:
"For the EU the issue of invasive species is extremely important, also taking into consideration that invasive species are generally speaking considered to be one of the most serious threats to biodiversity. Therefore the EU did welcome the Draft Resolution DR 18. At the same time it was in our opinion a considerable weakness that the DR 18 did not contain a reference to the most important international instrument ever adopted dealing with invasive alien species. That is why the EU introduced amendments referring to Decision VI/23 as adopted by CBD COP6 with its annex on 'Guiding Principles on IAS', which also includes references to the Ramsar Convention. This decision was adopted only half a year ago by almost all Contracting Parties present at this Ramsar COP and by a number of other Contracting Parties that are not Parties to the Ramsar Convention. The Decision and its annex was the outcome of difficult negotiations during almost two weeks and the adoption of it by applause by almost all Contracting Parties to the CBD clearly demonstrated that it was considered to be a major achievement.
With regard to the DR 18, the EU came to this COP8 in order to seek recognition of the CBD Decision which - as mentioned - was ignored in the draft. The EU was of course aware of the fact that some Contracting Parties to the CBD are of the view that the CBD Decision is not valid due to the manner in which it was adopted. The EU accepts the right of these Contracting Parties to disagree with the Legal Counsel of the UN having concluded that the Decision may stand as adopted. You may always disagree! The EU is also mindful of the fact that in the view of these Contracting Parties the CBD COP7 would need to address their concerns. So, the EU never had the intention to try to achieve a solution to a problem that can only be addressed by the CBD COP, if it so wishes. As already mentioned we were only seeking recognition of the factual existence of the CBD Decision. However, Madame Chair, the EU is never looking for confrontation, nor at this Ramsar COP, and we are therefore impressed by the call of a number of Parties here for conciliation and consensus. At the same time we do not agree with the observation of these Parties that the usefulness of language referring to the CBD Decision is marginal at best. Frankly speaking, we do not at all understand that observation, because some of the very same Parties were among those Parties hailing the CBD Decision only half a year ago.The EU believes in conciliation and consensus and we are therefore prepared to accept the carefully drafted compromise by IUCN, for which we thank IUCN, namely to add to paragraph 12 the words: 'including any relevant guidelines adopted under other conventions' provided that the words 'or guiding principles' are inserted after the word 'guidelines' in the IUCN proposal. Madame Chair, the EU stresses that our acceptance of this compromise solution in no way affects the EU position that the CBD Decision IV/23 stands as adopted and can only be amended by a CBD COP, if it so wishes. We ask for the inclusion of this statement in the final report of the Ramsar COP8."
91. Australia also provided a formal statement for the record in relation to DR 18, as follows:
"Australia supported DR 18 on invasives in the form it was originally submitted to the COP. It represented the results of careful discussion and consensus at Standing Committee. We would not have been agreeable to a direct reference in the Resolution to the adoption by the CBD of Guiding Principles on Alien Invasive Species as had been proposed by some Contracting Parties. The reason for this is that Australia does not accept that the AIS Guiding Principles were validly adopted at COP6 of the CBD. Australia concluded that some open-ended text in the Principles could lead to increased trade protectionism. As a result it lodged a formal objection to the adoption of the Guiding Principles. It did not do so lightly. Indeed it had participated actively in the development of the guidance from its beginnings. A formal objection to a proposed decision is sufficient to prevent that decision being adopted by consensus. Australia's objection meant that consensus did not exist at COP6 and that the decision could not be adopted. Any suggestion that a second formal objection is needed, is wrong in law.Australia does not agree with the legal advice on this matter issued by the UN Office of Legal Affairs and has advised the Office accordingly. Australia recognises that the current dispute about the status of the AIS Guiding Principles is not in the interests of any current or potential CBD member. Australia wishes to work constructively to resolve the issues. For this reason we were pleased that the recent CBD Bureau meeting agreed to the initiation of informal consultations on the substantive parts of the CBD Guiding Principles that remain in question. We also welcome the insertion by the Bureau of a footnote to the AIS decision noting its disputed status. With these efforts ongoing to resolve within the CBD these issues, we believe it would have been inappropriate in the context of that convention to have included in this Resolution a direct reference to the Guiding Principles on AIS. We also note that the issue is under consideration in the UN GA Second Committee where Australia has again made clear its belief that the CBD decision was not validly adopted. Against this background and Australia's wish to work in the spirit of conciliation and consensus, we are able to support the revised Draft Resolution before the COP, including all words in square brackets. We thank IUCN for its work in helping identify an acceptable way forward and other interested delegations for their flexibility."
92. Brazil made a formal statement of reservation concerning the adoption of DR 19:
"Brazil believes that the Ramsar Convention is not the appropriate forum to negotiate and approve the present document. This should be done in UNESCO.
Brazil believes that the mandate given by COP7 for discussion of cultural aspects related to the conservation of wetlands has been exceeded. Brazil is very interested in participating in discussions related to these cultural aspects, and has been a strong supporter of the rights of our indigenous community over their own knowledge and its preservation and protection. However, Brazil also believes that the document we have in front of us constitutes a means with which to bring about other matters closely related to trade-related aspects of the agricultural policies implemented in some countries.
Brazil has observed with extreme concern that certain unacceptable concepts have crept into this document that refer to what is known as the multifunctional character of agriculture, which is nothing more than subsidies or incentives, whether or not they are called positive or transparent, which keep developing countries out of certain international agricultural markets and contribute to distorting prices and production levels. These incentives, if they are not implemented under WTO rules and agreements, as Brazil has consistently maintained throughout this meeting, will still be perverse incentives that will continue to distort agricultural production and trade, and will continue to force developing countries to further encroach upon their environment and continue to cause untold harm to our economies.For this reason, Brazil does not support the adoption of this document, and we would like to request that our position be duly registered in the final report of this meeting."
93. Colombia, Malaysia and Mexico also provided statements for the record concerning DR 19:
"The Colombian Delegation would like to thank Spain, Greece, Suriname and Mexico for the work undertaken in trying to reach a consensus during the long discussions within the Contact Group.
Colombia, being one of the countries with the largest biodiversity in the world, considers the theme of culture as having a great relevance within the Convention. This was expressed previously during the Americas Regional Meeting in Guayaquil and in the work of the Contact Group.
We share the position of countries such as Spain and Mexico. We consider that there are other international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, where Colombia has played a very active role, in which advances have been made with respect to this topic. Finally, we would like to thank the Standing Committee, as well as the experts that participated in it, for the work conducted and the principles proposed therein. We consider that these will serve as guidelines for working in conjunction with NGOs and local communities in our countries."
"Malaysia does not support reference to WIPO rules in paragraph 19 a) and the guidelines on quality labelling referred in Guidelines 26 in the Annex. The reason is that WIPO is still examining and discussing the issue of traditional knowledge, folklore and genetic resources through a committee established by WIPO in 2000 called 'Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Tradition and Folklore'. The next meeting (4th Session) will be held from 17-19 December 2002. As such, at present, there do not exist any 'WIPO rules' referred to in DR 19. Malaysia is also of the opinion that the reference to 'quality labelling' is beyond the ambit of the Ramsar Convention."
"México would like to establish that this has been one of the most debated proposals, and as a matter of fact, one of the last to be considered in the Plenary.This in spite of opinions by some delegations to incorporate matters belonging in other fora. In the interest of achieving consensus, and respectful of the time employed in the Contact Group discussions, Mexico calls on the Parties to approve this Draft Resolution."
94. Brazil made a formal statement of reservation concerning the adoption of DR 34:
"Brazil believes that the Ramsar Convention is not the appropriate forum to negotiate and approve the present document. This should be done in WTO.
Brazil believes that the document before us exceeds the mandate of this Convention. Some of the terms contained in it refer directly to agricultural practices and policies which should be discussed in WTO, for they are trade related.
Brazil is an active participant in all fora relating to both agriculture and the environment and we are very interested in working constructively with Ramsar Parties so that these important issues can be better integrated into the work of the Convention.
However, Brazil also believes that the document constitutes a means with which to bring about other matters closely related to trade related aspects of the agricultural policies implemented in some countries.
Brazil has observed with extreme concern that certain unacceptable concepts have crept into this document that refer to what is known as the multifunctional character of agriculture, which is nothing more than subsidies or incentives, whether or not they are called positive or transparent, which keep developing countries out of certain international agricultural markets and contribute to distort prices and production levels. These incentives, if they are not implemented under WTO rules and agreements, as Brazil has consistently maintained throughout this meeting, will still be perverse incentives that will continue to distort agricultural production and trade, and will continue to force developing countries to further encroach upon their environment and continue to cause untold harm to our economies.For this reason, Brazil does not support the adoption of this document, and we would like to request that our position be duly registered in the final report of this meeting."
95. Philippines made statement of support for DR 34.
"Traditional practices of our people, including those relating to agriculture, are important tools for conserving and managing certain wetlands, and therefore, the Philippines strongly supports a Draft Resolution from the COP8 of the Ramsar Convention affirming the importance of agriculture in the management and conservation of wetlands.
However, equally important to the expression of our interests, is our intention to clarify certain basic issues confronting COP8. The Philippine Delegation is convinced that there should not be construed any conflict between the Ramsar Convention and any other international agreement, including those relating to trade. Regarding this issue we would like to propound certain arguments for the consideration of this body.
First. The Ramsar Convention is focused on wetland management and conservation. And it is this overriding policy that automatically limits any action undertaken under COP8. Therefore, to expressly indicate in the Draft Resolution that it is subject to trade-related agreements is, in our view, of no positive use. Rather, it invites all of us to proceed into uncertain territory. In a way, it attempts to extend the reach of trade agreements into the realm of the Ramsar Convention.
We think everybody agrees that trade is very important, but to expressly indicate in the Draft Resolution of the Ramsar Convention that it is subject to trade-related agreements in this very Conference of the Parties, gives the undesirable impression that the Ramsar Convention, by "rule of thumb", is inferior to trade-related agreements. We are not saying that a party or parties in this hall today intentionally maintain that position, but we think that intention appears irrelevant to the developing impression that the Ramsar Convention is subject to, and therefore, inferior to trade-related agreements.
To repeat, the Ramsar Convention is for wetland management and conservation, and to say that wetland management and conservation is subject to trade related agreements is of no positive value. Moreover, it is based on the negative presumption that contracting parties will violate their trade-related agreements at the expense of the credibility of the Ramsar Convention.
Second. There is nothing in the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which is the authoritative enumeration of the sources of International Law, that would warrant the conclusion that the Ramsar Convention is subject to, and therefore, inferior to trade-related agreements. To be sure, the Ramsar Convention, being a treaty, just like any other treaty, including those relating to trade, is accorded the highest level of legitimacy as international law.
Third. The Philippines would like to implore upon the other contracting parties insisting on any reference to trade-related agreements to reconsider their positions because they may be attempting to bring upon this body an issue which is not proper for resolution under the Ramsar Convention. To be sure, each international agreement or convention has its own enforcement mechanism, especially those relating to trade. Thus, we must allow those mechanisms and procedures to apply themselves and resolve the issues that they are meant to resolve. It is not for this body to resolve those issues. The contracting parties should allow the Ramsar Convention to develop fully according to its own terms, while allowing other international agreements to develop fully according to their own terms.
Based on the foregoing discussion, the Philippine Delegation would like to express it support to paragraph 1 bis of the Draft Resolution which recognizes that "in many parts of the world, agricultural activity has been responsible for creating distinctive and characteristic landscapes, including wetland ecosystems."
Accordingly, also, the Philippine Delegation would like to move for the deletion of paragraph 17 bis of the Draft Resolution.
With respect to paragraph 14 bis, we hereby propose that it be modified in the following manner: 'AFFIRMING that this Resolution is intended for wetland management and conservation.'"
Agenda item XIX: Election of Contracting Parties to serve on the Standing Committee
96. The COP decided that the Asia region was entitled to elect three members, taking into account the provisions of Resolution VII.1, and given that the Kyrgyz Republic had recently joined the Convention as the region's 25th Contracting Party.
97. The COP also decided that the Neotropics would be entitled to have a third representative as soon as one more Contracting Party joined, also bringing the total number of Parties in that region to 25, thereby meeting the requirements set out in Resolution VII.1.
98. The following Contracting Parties were elected by acclamation:
Africa: Botswana, Ghana, Morocco
Asia: Indonesia (to join as from 3 March 2003), Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan
Europe: Armenia, Austria, Romania, Slovenia
Neotropics: Argentina and Nicaragua. Bahamas will join as soon as the Convention comes into force in the 25th Party from this region.
North America: Canada
Oceania: Papua New Guinea
Agenda item XX: Date and venue of next COP
99. The Secretary General noted that two offers to host Ramsar COP9 had been received, one from Romania (circulated in Valencia as COP8 DOC. 39) and one from Uganda (COP8 DOC. 38).
100. Romania indicated that, following constructive discussions facilitated by Denmark and Greece on behalf of the EU, it had decided to withdraw its offer of hosting the COP in favour of the bid by Uganda to bring the COP to Africa for the first time in the history of the Convention.
101. Uganda expressed its gratitude and appreciation for the gracious decision announced by Romania and its thanks for the confidence being placed in Uganda and Africa. The Government of Uganda is committed to the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and the country's bid to host COP9 in Kampala in 2005 has been endorsed by the Cabinet. Delegates to COP9 will be assured of traditional African hospitality, combined with the standards required for such an international event. Uganda looks forward to cooperation and support from all concerned in preparations for the conference.
102. In accepting Uganda's offer by acclamation, the COP agreed that the precise date and other details would be determined by the Standing Committee, working closely with the host country.
Agenda item XXI: Any other business
103. The Islamic Republic of Iran announced the recent signing of a bilateral project supported by Japan for the management of Anzali Ramsar site. It is hoped that the site will be removed from the Montreux Record in due course.
104. The Chair of the outgoing Standing Committee reported on the procedure for selection of the new Secretary General. Five candidates had been shortlisted for interview in February 2003. The names and nationalities of these candidates would be made available to all Contracting Parties in mid-December and their CVs would be sent to Standing Committee members.
105. Canada paid tribute to Dr James (Jim) Patterson, former President of IWRB (now Wetlands International) and a founding father of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, who had recently passed away.
106. The Islamic Republic of Iran announced a pledge of USD 10,000 for the Ramsar Small Grants Fund in 2003. This announcement was welcome with appreciation.
Agenda item XXII: Adoption of Conference Report
107. The draft report, distributed as COP8 DOC. 41, was adopted subject to the inclusion of minor amendments and corrections.
108. The Secretary General confirmed that the draft notes on the final day's plenary sessions would be checked and approved by the President of the COP, prior to finalization and distribution of the Conference Report.
Agenda item XXIII: Close of the Conference
109. The Secretary General presented a certificate recognizing Prof Eckhart Kuijken as a 'Wetland Person of International Importance' marking his attendance at all Ramsar COPs.
110. Closing statements on behalf of Africa (Kenya), Asia (India), Europe (Denmark), Neotropics (Argentina), North America (Mexico), Oceania (Australia), and France for the French-speaking countries, paid tribute to the remarkable efforts of the Spanish and Valencian hosts of COP8 and thanked all those involved with organizing and servicing the meeting.
111. The President of the COP was presented with a token of appreciation, on behalf of all participants, by the Vice-Presidents.
112. The President of Wetlands International, speaking on behalf of the Convention's International Organization Partners, presented closing remarks which focused upon the challenges of implementing COP decisions.
113. Closing remarks were also made on behalf of NGOs (Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Mexican Coordinating Agency for Managing Coastal Zones) and by a representative of indigenous peoples (Onel Masardule of Pueblo Kuna).
114. Following a closing address by the Secretary General, which drew a standing ovation in recognition of its being Delmar Blasco's final COP before stepping down from his present functions, the President of the COP presented him with a gift.
115. Finally, on behalf of the host Contracting Party, closing addresses were made by Ms Inés González Doncell, Director General of Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment of Spain, and by the President, Ms Carmen Martorell Pallás, Secretary General of Environment in the Ministry of Environment of Spain.
Report of the Credentials Committee
presented to the Plenary of the 8th Conference of the Contracting Parties,
on 23 November 2002
1. Rule 19 of the Rules of Procedure provides for a Credentials Committee composed of one Party from each of the Ramsar regions, elected at the first session of each ordinary meeting on the basis of a proposal from the Conference Committee, which shall examine the credentials and submit its report to the Conference of the Parties for approval.
2. On the basis of Rule 19, the Conference elected the following members to the Credentials Committee:
For Africa: Algeria (Mr Abdelghani BELOUAD); for Asia: Nepal (Mr Swoyambhu Man AMATYA); for Europe: Latvia (Ms Dace RIKA); for the Neotropics: Colombia (Ms María Elvira POSADA.); for North America: Mexico (Ms Mónica HERZIG ); for Oceania: Papua New Guinea (Mr Navu KWAPENA). Colombia was named Chair. The Ramsar Bureau assigned Ms Annette Keller as Secretary to the Committee.
3. The Committee referred to Rule 18.1 of the Rules of Procedure, which provides that "the original of the statement of credentials of the head of delegation and other representatives, alternate representatives, and advisers shall be submitted to the Secretary General of the Convention or to his/her designated representative if possible not later than twenty-four hours after the opening of the meeting. Any later change in the composition of the delegation shall also be submitted to the Secretary General or the representative of the Secretary General." Moreover, the Committee referred to Rule 18.4 of the Rules of Procedure which provides that "a representative may not exercise the right to vote unless his/her name is clearly and unambiguously listed in the credentials".
4. In accordance with these requirements, the Committee confirms the credentials submitted by delegates of 119 Contracting Parties:
Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Islamic Republic of, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, The FYR of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia and Zambia.
5. The Kyrgyz Republic, which joined the Convention on 12 November 2002, shall not be able to exercise its right to vote at COP8 since the Convention will come into force for this country on 12 March 2003.
6. Senegal presented a scanned copy of the Credentials; the original is expected to be submitted in the afternoon of Saturday, 23 November. The Plenary is requested to decide if this scanned copy can be accepted.
7. The Committee encountered a series of problems and appreciated the efforts that were made by many of the Contracting Parties concerned in resolving them.
8. However, in order to avoid encountering similar problems at future COPs, the Credentials Committee puts forward the following recommendations:
Rule 18.1 of the Rules of Procedure
The following sentence should be added at the end of Rule 18.1:
"After the opening of the COP, any further changes, in particular of the Head of Delegation, shall be submitted to the Secretary General or to the Regional Representative on the Credentials Committee. "
Rule 18.2 of the Rules of Procedure
The second sentence should read:
If other authorities in a Contracting Party are entitled to issue credentials for international meetings, this should "be notified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with an original letter to the Secretary General either in advance of the meeting or not later than 48 hours after the opening of the meeting."
Rule 18.3 of the Rules of ProcedureRule 18.5 of the Rules of Procedure
The first sentence should read:
"The credentials must bear the name and position of the person who signs the credentials as well as the full signature of the appropriate authority or else be sealed and initialed by that authority."
"If credentials are submitted in a language other than one of the official languages of the Convention (English, French and Spanish), they shall be accompanied by a translation into one of those three languages, and be produced and sealed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or its diplomatic representation, or the office of the Head of Delegation or the office of one of the delegates whose name is listed in the Credentials."
9. The Credentials Committee would appreciate it if these recommendations were taken into consideration by the Contracting Parties present at COP8 and if the Rules of Procedure were modified accordingly.
List of Ramsar Resolutions and Recommendations adopted by the 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties [text]
Guidelines for the allocation and management of water for maintaining the ecological functions of wetlands
The Report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) and its relevance to the Ramsar Convention
Climate change and wetlands: impacts, adaptation, and mitigation
Wetland issues in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
Partnerships and synergies with Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other institutions
A Ramsar Framework for Wetland Inventory
Gaps in and harmonization of Ramsar guidance on wetland ecological character, inventory, assessment, and monitoring
Assessing and reporting the status and trends of wetlands, and the implementation of Article 3.2 of the Convention
‘Guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into environmental impact assessment legislation and/or processes and in strategic environmental assessment’ adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and their relevance to the Ramsar Convention
Improving implementation of the Strategic Framework and Vision for the List of Wetlands of International Importance
Additional guidance for identifying and designating under-represented wetland types as Wetlands of International Importance
Enhancing the wise use and conservation of mountain wetlands
Enhancing the information on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)
New Guidelines for management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands
The ‘San José Record’ for the promotion of wetland management
Principles and guidelines for wetland restoration
Guidelines for Global Action on Peatlands
Invasive species and wetlands
Guiding principles for taking into account the cultural values of wetlands for the effective management of sites
General guidance for interpreting "urgent national interests" under Article 2.5 of the Convention and considering compensation under Article 4.2
Defining Ramsar site boundaries more accurately in Ramsar Information Sheets
Issues concerning Ramsar sites that cease to fulfil or never fulfilled the Criteria for designation as Wetlands of International Importance
Incentive measures as tools for achieving the wise use of wetlands
UNEP’s Guidelines for enhancing compliance with
multilateral environmental agreements, and Guidelines for national enforcement, and international cooperation in combating violations, of laws implementing multilateral environmental agreements
The Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008
The implementation of the Strategic Plan 2003-2008 during the triennium 2003-2005 and National Reports for Ramsar COP9
Financial and budgetary matters
Modus operandi of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)
Evaluation of the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF) and establishment of a Ramsar Endowment Fund
Regional initiatives for the further implementation of the Convention
The Convention’s Programme on communication, education and public awareness (CEPA) 2003-2008
Conservation, integrated management, and sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems and their resources
Guidance for identifying, sustainably managing, and designating temporary pools as Wetlands of International Importance
Agriculture, wetlands and water resource management
The impact of natural disasters, particularly drought, on wetland ecosystems
Participatory Environmental Management (PEM) as a tool for management and wise use of wetlands
International cooperation on conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the Asia-Pacific region
Waterbird population estimates and the identification and designation of Wetlands of International Importance
High Andean wetlands as strategic ecosystems
Guidelines for rendering the use of groundwater compatible with the conservation of wetlands
Establishment of a Regional Ramsar Centre for Training and Research on Wetlands in Western and Central Asia
Small Island Developing States in the Oceania Region
A subregional strategy of the Ramsar Convention for South America
New Partnership for Africa´s Development (NEPAD) and implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Africa
Operation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties and the effectiveness of Ramsar Convention Resolutions and Recommendations
Thanks to the people and governments of Spain
List of Observer States and Observer Organizations represented at the 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
(source: Ramsar COP8 DOC. 36)
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
Comision Centroamericana de Transporte Marítimo y Foro de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Bosques
Council of Europe
European Space Agency, ESA-ESRIN
Food and Agriculture Organization - FAO
Global Environment Facility
International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage
Lake Chad Basin Commission
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Secretariat
Niger Basin Authority
Organization of American States
RAC/SPA, Barcelona Convention
Secretariat of the African-Euroasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species
South Pacific Regional Environment Program
United Nations Conference on Trade and Developmentt (UNCTAD) - The BIOTRADE Initiative
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations University
World Conservation Monitoring Centre/UNEP
MedWetCoast Project. Ministry of Environment / UNDP
Ministry of Fisheries and Environment
Direccón General deTurismo, Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable
National Academy of Sciences
Biodiversity Advisory Committee
Redland Shire Council
Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA)
General Coordination of the Pantanal Programme, Ministry of the Environment
Museo Nacional de Historia Natural
Parque Nacional Galapagos. Oficina Técnica de Isabela
Chilika Development Authority
Municipality of Bibai City
Civil Engineering Research Institute of Hokkaido. Water Environmental Engineering Division
Environmental Affairs Bureau
Nagoya City Assembly KOMEITO
Nagoya City. Environmental Affairs Bureau
Naha City Office
National Space Development Agency of Japan
Natural Environment Division
Centre National de Recherche Scientifique et Technologique
Parc National du Banc d’Arguin
CBS - Statistics Netherlands. Nature Statistics
Institute for Inland Water Management & Wastewater Treatment. Wetland Development and Restoration Department
Ministry of Environment. Biodiversity and Protected Area Management
Ayuntamiento de Alcazar de San Juan
Ayuntamiento de Écija
Ayuntamiento de Pájara
Ayuntamiento de Torrevieja
Ayuntamiento de Villacañas
Consellería de Medi Ambient, Baleraes
CEIDA - Centro de Extensión Universitaria e Divulgación Ambiental
Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo
Comunidad Autónoma de Murcia
Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadiana
Confederación Hidrográfica del Júcar
Gobierno Vasco, Direccion de Biodiversidad
IGME. Dirección de Hidrogeología y Aguas Subterráneas
IGME. Servicio de Investigación y Desarrollo
Junta de Andalucia. Consejería de Medio Ambiente. Coordinación y Gestión de la Red de Espacios Naturales
Junta de Andalucia. Dirección General de Educación Ambiental
Junta de Andalucia. Dirección General de Gestión del Medio Natural
Junta de Andalucia. Dirección general de Planificación
Junta de Andalucia. EGMASA-Consejería Medio Ambiente
Junta de Andalucía. Empresa Pública de Gestión del Medio Ambiente
Junta de Andalucia. Secretaría General de Políticas Ambientales
Junta de Andalucia. Servicio de Información y Evaluación Ambiental
Junta de Andalucia. Oficina Técnica del Corredor Verde del Guadiamar
Junta de Castilla-La Mancha. Servicio de Espacios Protegidos y Vida Silvestre
Junta de Comunidades de Castilla la Mancha. Consejería de Agricultúra y Medio Ambiente
Junta de Comunidades de Castilla la Mancha. D.G. del Medio Natural, Servicio de Espacios Protegidas
La Rioja. Dirección General de Medio Ambiente
Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. Demarcación de Costas en Valencia
Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza. Servicio de Protección de los Montes contra Agentes Nocivos
Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. Dirección Gral de Costas. Unidad de Protección de Medio Ambiente Marino
Ministerio de Medio Ambiente. Gabinete Técnico.
Ministerio Medio Ambiente. Dir. General de Costas
Murcia. Consejería de Agricultura, Agua y Medio Ambiente
Murcia. Consejería de Medio Ambiente
Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel
Parque Natural Bahía de Cádiz
Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Níjar
Principado de Asturias. Consejería de Medio Ambiente
Reserva Natural Laguna de Fuente de Piedra
Reserva Natural Zonas Húmedas del Sur de Córdoba
Technical University of Cartagena. Geological, Mining & Cartographical Engineering
TRASAGUA, Infraestructuras del Travese
Universidad de Córdoba
Universidad de Córdoba. Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Sección de Ecología.
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
Xunta de Galicia. Consejería de Medio Ambiente
Xunta de Galicia. Consejería de Medio Ambiente
Xunta de Galicia. Consejería de Medio Ambiente
Biodiversity Section, NREM Division
Kasetsart University. Fishery Biology Department, Faculty of Fisheries
UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
Ministry of Water & Livestock Development. Farm Management & Biofertilizers Technology
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Division of Fish and Wildlife
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Water/Wetlands Div./Wetlands & Aquatic Resources
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
U.S. Forest Service
Academy of Sciences. Institute of Zoology
Comisión Jurídica para el Autodesarrollo de los Pueblos Originarios
Environment Liaison Centre International
Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation - FACE
Fundación para la Promoción del Conocimiento Indígena
Global Environment Centre
Global Nature Fund
International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN)
International Fund for Animal Welfare
International Mire Conservation Group
International Peat Society
International Water Management Institute
IUCN - The World Conservation Union
Network for Environment & Sustainable Development in Africa (NESDA)
Oiseaux Migrateurs du Paléartique Occidental (OMPO)
Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat
The Nature Conservancy
West African Association for Marine Environment
Wildlife Conservation Society
World Resources Institute
Fundación Agreste Punto Verde
Burdekin Dry Tropic Group Pty
Wetland Care Australia
Comisión de los Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas del Chaco
Genero, Educacion, Naturaleza y Salud
RED MANGLAR, Instituto Terramar
Réseau de Conservation des Ecosystèmes Marins
Conservación Internacional Colombia
Fundación Humedales de Colombia
Instituto de estudio de las tradiciones sagrada Aby Ayala
Ecological Institute Veronica
Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Manglar
Iniciativa Biocomercio Sostenible
Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio-Regional Esmeraldas
Ethio-Wetlands & Natural Resources Association
Atelier Technique des Espaces Naturels
Biological Station Wesel
Max Planck Institute
Efua Sutherland Children’s Park
Greek Biotope / Wetland Centre
Centro Maya Saqbb’e
Comité Integral de Desarrollo y Acción Ecológica CIDCA
Center for Environment & Sustainable Development
Indian Environmental Society
Jawaharlal Nehru University
M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
World Wide Fund For Nature - India
Limerick Institute of Technology
Association "Delta Chiama Delta"
Asaza Fund - Secretariat
Hokkaido University of Education
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Isahaya Bay Emergency Rescue Task Force
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
Japan Wetland Action Network
Japan/Korea Tidal Flat Joint Survey Group
Japanese Association for Wild Geese Protection
Kushiro International Wetland Center
Ramsar Center Japan
Ryukyu Wetland Research Group
Save Awase Tidal Flat Coalition
Save Fujimae Association
Save the Awase Association
Wild Bird Society of Japan
Egerton University. Natural Resources Management
Asamblea Nacional Indígena Plural por la Autonomìa (ANIPA)
Netherlands Committee for IUCN
Fundación Amigos del Río San Juan
The Scientific and Cultural Society of Pakistan
Fundación para el Desarollo Sustentable del Chaco
Instituto de Derecho y Economia Ambiental (IDEA)
Paraguayan Wildlands Initiative
Asociacion Aquacultura y Desarrollo (AQUADES)
SPEA - Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Korean Fed. Environmental Movement of Changnyeong
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Korean Fed. Environmental Movement of Masan-Changwon
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Korean Fed. Environmental Movement of Sacheon
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Korean Federation for Environmental Movement
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Korean Society for the Life of Saemangeum
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Korean Wetlands Alliance
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Saemangeum Tidal Flats
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Save Our Saemangeum Network (SOS Network)
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
BIOTICA Ecological Society
Danube Delta Local Communities Association
Sf. Gheorghe - Delta Fishermen Professional Association
DAPHNE - Institute of Applied Ecology
Centre for Cartography of Fauna and Flora - CKFF
Mondi Wetlands Project
Amigos de la Tierra (España)
Asociación Amigos de Laguna de La Janda
Asociación de Guías de la Laguna de Gallocanta
Confederación Sindical Comisiones Obreras
Cordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos
Ecologistas en Acción
Fundació Territori i Paisatge - Caixa Catalunya
Fundación Global Nature
Fundación Marcelino Botín
Grupo Especies Invasores
Plataforma en defensa de l’Ebre
UAGA - Unión de Agricultores y Ganaderos de Aragón
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Forest Peoples Programme
UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum
CIESIN - Columbia University
China Biodiversity Network
Conservation Treaty Support Fund
Montana State University
CLAEH Instituto Universitario
Bloque Vecinal Costa Norte Lago de Maracaibo, Venezuela
Unicersidad Central de Venezuela (CENAMB-UCV)
ESG International Inc.
Minera Escondida Ltda.
Empresa de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Bogotá
BP Oil España, S.A.
Comité Científico Mediterraneo
Fontvella / Danone
Geodata Sistemas, S.L.
Infraestructura y Ecología S.L.
Guias del Parque Regional de las Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar y entorno del Mar Menor
TÉCNICA Y PROYECTOS, S.A. (TYPSA)
BRL Hardy Europe Limited
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc.