2nd GEF Biennial International Waters Conference

24/09/2002

Ramsar contributes to GEF International Waters Conference

Anada Tiéga, Ramsar Regional Coordinator for Africa, is in China, 23-30 September 2002, invited along with Denis Landenbergue (WWF), Mr Muhamad Sani Adamu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), and Mr Muhammad Bello Tuga, Executive Secretary of the Niger Basin Authority (ABN) by the Global Environment Facility and its Implementing Agencies (UNDP, UNEP, and the World Bank) to participate in the second GEF Biennial International Waters Conference, to be held September 25-29, 2002 in Dalian, China.

Major projects are now under implementation in many of the world's most damaged or threatened enclosed seas, transboundary river basins, and large marine ecosystems. In 1998, as part of its "Strengthening Capacity for Global Knowledge Sharing in International Waters" project, the GEF approved funding for a biennial conference covering the International Waters focal area. This project is being implemented by UNDP on behalf of the GEF Partnership. This conference builds on the success of the first Biennial International Waters Conference that was held in Budapest, Hungary, in 2000.

Ramsar's major input to this meeting will be on 28 September through the thematic session that will focus on issues relating to transboundary freshwater management. During this session we will have a joint presentation on our collaborative work on the Lake Chad Basin to explain how river /lake basin organisations (Lake Chad and Niger River), GEF implementing agencies (World Bank and UNDP), an international NGO (WWF), and a Convention Secretariat (the Ramsar Convention Bureau) are working together to promote the integration of wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management.

Our joint presentation will be based on 6 GEF projects (all on existing or proposed Ramsar sites) in the Lake Chad Basin and 5 GEF projects in the Niger Basin (on existing and/or proposed Ramsar sites). It will be an opportunity to show how to:

a) ensure that projects for wetland conservation and wise use focus, as appropriate, on the key role of wetlands in poverty alleviation, including through their provision of goods and services to the most vulnerable sectors of society, food and water security and human well-being.

b) utilise Ramsar site designation as a mechanism for indicating priority areas for project development for the maintenance of globally significant biodiversity.

The session will be facilitated by Dr. Anderson Inge, the Desk manager of a GEF "mega project" on the Nile Basin. This will be an opportunity for us to strengthen our partnership with the Nile Basin initiative since the purpose of the conference is to foster knowledge-sharing and collaboration between GEF International Waters (IW) project managers, GEF agencies, participating governments, and the private, academic and non-profit sectors, and to identify and disseminate best practices for international waters management. Approximately 250 participants are expected to attend the conference, including GEF IW project managers and senior staff, senior GEF, Implementing and Executing Agency officials, government representatives, and the private, academic and non-governmental sectors.

The rapporteur of this Session is our helpful partner within the World Bank Ms.Tracy Hart, Desk Officer for our Lake Chad Basin projects and Niger Basin projects.

In addition, the Chair of the Ministerial Councils for both the Lake Chad Basin Commission and for the Niger Basin Authority happens to be the same Minister from Niger, Mr. Adamou Namata, Minister of Water, Environment and Desertification Control. Mr. Adamou Namata will attend the meeting and we will discuss further action for strengthening of our collaboration.

-- reported by Anada Tiéga, Ramsar

Subsequent report, 3 October 2002

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