Statement by Ramsar's STRP to CBD's Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice


leaf.gif (1974 bytes)CBD SBSTTA6 Agenda item 3.4 Biological diversity of Inland waters programme of work Montreal, Monday 12 March 2001

Statement by the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

Dr Jorge Jimenez
Chair of the Convention’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)

Mr Chairman and distinguished delegates,

Thank you for the opportunity to highlight briefly the progress made by the Ramsar Convention and its subsidiary body, the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), on inland waters biodiversity and related cross-cutting issues. The Ramsar Convention is acting as your lead partner (through your COP Decisions III.21 and IV.4) on implementing the CBD inland waters programme of work. 

 We deliver this work through the second CBD/Ramsar Joint Work Plan 2000-2001, strongly endorsed by your COP5 last year.  COP5 also recommended this joint plan as a model for developing such cooperation between CBD and other environment-related conventions, an approach you are debating here on links with the Conventions on climate change and on migratory species. 

The CBD/Ramsar Joint Work Plan includes the CBD/Ramsar River Basin Initiative which we cordially invite you to discuss further at its side event at lunchtime on Thursday 15 March.  The Plan also addresses joint actions on CBD’s other ecosystem themes and the range of your cross-cutting issues, including those such as invasive species that you are discussing here at SBSTTA6 and others on your proposed agenda for SBSTTA7.

STRP has underway a substantive programme of work on inland waters, other wetland ecosystems and cross-cutting topics.  This will not only provide input to the delivery of your inland waters programme of work, as outlined in the Executive Secretary’s progress report, but also a range of technical and scientific guidance for consideration by Ramsar Contracting Parties at their forthcoming COP8, which will take place in Valencia, Spain in November 2002.  To progress this work, the STRP has established 12 thematic expert working groups.

I would draw to your attention  to guidance being prepared  by these Working Groups on:

  • wetland inventory and assessment, including wetland classification;
  • ecological character of wetlands, indicators, risk assessment and monitoring;
  • wetland economics, including impact assessment, valuation and incentives;
  • sustainable use and management of peatlands;
  • identification and designation of peatlands, wet grasslands, coral reefs and mangroves - wetland types under-represented in Ramsar's List of wetlands of international importance;
  • water allocations and management, and the findings of the World Commission on Dams;
  • wetland management planning;
  • the impacts of climate change on wetlands, and the adaptive management of wetlands in mitigation of climate change and sea-level rise;
  • integrating wetlands into coastal zone management; and last, but by no means least
  • invasive alien wetland species.

Draft guidance on these topics will be reviewed by STRP at its 10th meeting in late June 2001, and finalised during late 2001 and early 2002 for consideration by Ramsar’s COP8.

This guidance will expand and complement the extensive guidance on wetland wise (i.e. sustainable) use already prepared by Ramsar, and published recently as a set of nine Wise Use Handbooks.  Copies of this ‘Ramsar Toolkit’ are available here for your inspection and we will be pleased to provide you with further copies.

Our respective subsidiary bodies are thus preparing guidance on a number of common themes for consideration by our Conferences of Parties in 2002.  The second Joint Work Plan includes actions designed to assist our scientific and technical subsidiary bodies in working together so as to ensure that the guidance we prepare for our Parties is consistent and harmonised. 

We believe that this is of great importance since throughout much of the world it is the same countries who will be adopting and implementing both the CBD and the Ramsar guidance, albeit often through different focal point authorities.

To facilitate preparation of the best possible guidance to our Parties, I would strongly urge a close collaboration between our subsidiary bodies and suggest the following steps:

First, I would encourage you to help identify to us relevant experts from your network who could contribute to the upcoming review of the draft guidances being prepared by our STRP for consideration by Ramsar’s COP8.

Second, at SBSTTA7 we will seek to make this guidance available to you for your further information and comment.

Third, we will ensure that expertise from Ramsar’s STRP is available to contribute to the future work of SBSTTA and any expert working groups on matters of common interest that it may establish.

Fourth, the STRP and our Standing Committee (the Convention’s intersessional governance body) are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the modus operandi of the STRP, which will include, amongst others, ways and means of enhancing the collaboration between STRP and the subsidiary bodies of other related conventions. This review will further address options for ensuring that the expertise available though our STRP is made available to support the future work of SBSTTA on common themes.  We would encourage SBSTTA to contribute its views on these matters, through the participation of your Chair as an observer to the STRP.

At its 25th meeting last December,  our Standing Committee strongly supported the further implementation of our second Joint Work Plan.  It requested that the Ramsar Bureau (the Convention’s secretariat), in consultation with the CBD Secretariat review and develop areas of activity for a third joint programme of work with CBD, so as to bring this forward for consideration by our respective COPs in 2002.

Identification of priorities for such a third period of joint work between our Conventions and their subsidiary bodies will be facilitated through consultation with CBD on Ramsar’s draft second Strategic Plan, to cover the period 2003-2008.

I believe that through putting in place these practical means of strengthening collaboration between our respective bodies we can demonstrate to our Parties the effectiveness of joint action, particularly in ensuring that consistent guidance is made available to them for the implementation of common issues.  This would be powerful demonstration of the significance of the CBD/Ramsar Joint Work Plan as a model for future cooperation between environmental conventions.

Thank you.

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