Ramsar and WWF sign Memorandum of Cooperation


[This agreement has been superseded by the memorandum of 2004.]


between the Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands
(Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

RECOGNISING that the Ramsar Convention is the primary inter-governmental instrument for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and is a lead partner in the implementation of activities related to wetlands under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

FURTHER RECOGNISING that WWF is among the world's largest and most experienced conservation organisations, and that through its offices and work in over 100 countries, it provides an outstanding source of information and expertise for the conservation and wise use of freshwater and marine environments.

AWARE that WWF played an instrumental role in the creation of the Ramsar Convention, of the strong, active and multi-faceted contribution made since its inception to the work of the Convention by WWF as one of the Convention's International Organisation Partners, and of the significant potential for continued cooperation on technical, policy, information and other issues in future.

CONSIDERING that WWF and the Ramsar Convention share the common goal of the conservation and wise use of freshwater and marine ecosystems for people and nature, and that to meet this goal will require enhanced and concerted actions at all levels (international, national, local), and between all sectors (governmental, non-governmental, corporate, public and private).

RECALLING that Recommendation 5.6 of the 5th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Ramsar Convention (Kushiro, Japan, 1993) noted the instrumental role played by WWF in the creation of the Convention, and the continuing important role of NGOs generally in the implementation of the Convention.

FURTHER AWARE that the six global priorities of WWF (conservation of marine, freshwater and forest biodiversity, threatened species, and mitigation of climate change and the impact of toxic chemicals) and the text of the Ramsar Convention, as interpreted by a number of decisions of the Conference of the Parties, are fully compatible.

DESIRING to formalise in an explicit and enduring manner a joint commitment to a productive partnership and a joint work plan in respect of the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

CONSIDERING that since WWF and the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan work to different programme cycles, the annexe of common areas of work and joint work plan under this agreement need to be revised frequently.

NOTING that the resources of both WWF and the Ramsar Bureau are limited, and need to be focused strategically on the contributions each can best make to the implementation of the Convention.

The Bureau of the Ramsar Convention and WWF therefore decide as follows:

1. WWF will be invited by the Ramsar Bureau to include in the annual Bureau work plan prepared each year for submission to the Standing Committee of the Convention, and based upon the Ramsar Strategic Plan, the list of actions and activities that WWF is planning to undertake that will constitute a direct or indirect support to the implementation of that work plan. This will constitute the "Joint Work Plan" between Ramsar and WWF.

2. Conversely, WWF will discuss with the Ramsar Bureau its plans each year in May to seek comment and make suggestions relevant to the Convention before these plans are finally adopted.

3. Common areas of work shall be identified in the annexe to this agreement, which shall be updated at the request of either party or at the point either party's programme is revised. This public commitment shall guide the joint work planning.

4. The Ramsar Bureau and WWF will work together to develop joint communication strategies designed to recognise the role and accomplishments of both parties in reaching the outcomes outlined in this Memorandum. Written use of WWF's name and logo must be approved by WWF in advance of its use.

5. WWF will endeavour to use its network to assist and further the work of the Ramsar Convention, in line with the Convention's Strategic Plan.

6. WWF will incorporate promotion of the wetland conservation and wise use agenda of the Ramsar Convention in its work at international, regional and national levels, as appropriate.

7. WWF will, in particular, promote a high level of recognition, where relevant, of the status of sites included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, or candidate sites for listing, in its programmes. The Directors of the Living Waters and Endangered Seas Programmes shall oversee this work.

8. WWF will promote enhanced awareness and understanding of the Ramsar Convention through its networks, in particular at the level of decision-makers in governments and business leaders.

9. WWF will encourage efficient and effective synergy and cooperation among the group of Ramsar International Organisation Partners.

10. The Ramsar Bureau will extend invitations to WWF to participate in meetings of the principal organs of the Convention, such as the Conference of the Parties, Standing Committee, Scientific & Technical Review Panel, and regional and subregional meetings.

11. WWF and the Ramsar Bureau will ensure regular exchanges of information about their respective activities by appropriate means.

12. The Ramsar Bureau will seek to afford to WWF all reasonable access to Ramsar Convention meetings, documentation, data and staff contacts to implement the joint work plan.

13. The Ramsar Bureau acknowledges the independent right of WWF to voice its policy position on any matter within the scope of the Convention's work, recognising that informed and reasoned NGO advocacy is generally a valuable and valid motivating force contributing to the better achievement of the Convention's mission.

14. No party to this Memorandum shall make any commitments or take any positions on behalf of the other party without that organisation's written consent.

15. Nothing in this Memorandum shall create or imply a financial obligation of either party to this Memorandum.

16. The primary contact point for communication with the Ramsar Bureau on matters covered by this Memorandum on behalf of the WWF partnership is the Director, Living Waters Programme, or such other officer as may be notified to the Bureau in writing by the Director General of WWF.

17. This agreement may be reviewed at the request of either party and will be terminated by either party giving one year's written notice.

Mr. Delmar Blasco
Secretary General
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Dr. Claude Martin
Director General
World Wide Fund for Nature

Gland, 16 May 2002


Common areas of work during the period 2002-2004 and intended outputs to be reached through the Joint Work Plans (paragraph 1 above)

A. Designation and management of marine and freshwater Ramsar sites

1. WWF will work to facilitate listing under the Convention of at least 30 million hectares of high conservation value freshwater wetlands under its Living Waters Programme by June 2004, and the lead WWF contact for this work shall be the Protected Areas Manager - Living Waters Programme.

2. Wherever possible WWF shall seek the designation of under represented wetland types as Ramsar sites, such as high altitude sites, karst wetlands and peatlands, and sites that facilitate and demonstrate international cooperation.

3. WWF shall assist Contracting Parties to implement their commitments at Ramsar COP7 (1999) by November 2002, notably for the designation of 400 new Ramsar sites, and to restore the ecological character of Montreux Record listed Ramsar sites.

4. WWF will work to facilitate restoration of more than five prominent but damaged wetlands listed under the Convention and promote these models under its Living Waters Programme by June 2004, and the lead WWF contact for this work shall be the Protected Areas Manager - Living Waters Programme;

5. WWF will contribute to Convention consideration of listing and conserving mountain wetlands in 2002, including the implementation of model projects with Contracting Parties;

6. Each financial year WWF shall consider funding a number of projects submitted to Ramsar's Small Grants Fund for the Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands;

7. WWF will work to facilitate listing under the Convention of a representative range of marine protected areas under its Endangered Seas Programme (especially coral, seagrass and mangrove communities) by June 2004, and the lead WWF contact for this work shall be the Director - Endangered Seas Programme;

8. WWF shall contribute to the work of the Convention with its research on best practice management of marine protected areas, including of Ramsar sites, by June 2004 and the lead WWF contact for this work shall be the Director - Endangered Seas Programme;

9. The Ramsar Bureau Regional Coordinators and the designated WWF protected area contacts shall: a) exchange information on opportunities to support the establishment and management of Ramsar sites, and b) advise external partners (government and non-government) of opportunities to benefit from the implementation of the Ramsar/WWF Joint Work Plan;

10. WWF MedPO shall work to establish a MedWet Network that will build capacity in national NGOs involved actively in wetland conservation work in the Mediterranean region. This work will include the dissemination and further refinement of the information and public awareness methods and tools developed by WWF Italia during 1992-1996 in the framework of MedWet1.

11. The Ramsar Bureau and WWF communications staff shall seek tripartite agreement with relevant Contracting Parties on the timing and content of activities promoting the designation of particular Ramsar sites resulting from joint work.

B. Maintaining the ecological processes of river basins

12. WWF shall contribute to the joint Ramsar/CBD River Basin Initiative;

13. On request from the Ramsar Bureau, WWF shall make available within its means the expertise from its Climate Change and Toxics Programmes to assist implementation of Convention work on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and initiatives to address threats from the most hazardous industrial chemicals and pesticides, especially persistent organic pollutants and endocrine disrupting chemicals;

14. WWF will contribute to the Convention's work related to dams and other water management infrastructure.

C. Promoting sustainable use of freshwater

14. WWF and the Ramsar Bureau shall work together to promote the Convention as an effective mechanism for the sustainable development and conservation of freshwater and marine wetlands, in particular in connection with major international events;

15. WWF shall contribute to the work of the Convention by providing models and policy work on economic incentives and private sector partnerships for wetlands conservation;

16. WWF shall make an on going contribution to two major wetland and river basin management training programmes, based in the Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

17. WWF International and the Ramsar Convention are aiming to access each others digital photographic images in accordance with a framework agreement to be negotiated.

Mr. Delmar Blasco
Secretary General
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Dr. Claude Martin
Director General
World Wide Fund for Nature

Gland, 16 May 2002

Signing ceremonies during the Ramsar Standing Committee's Subgroup meetings, 16 May 2002. From left: Jamie Pittock, head of WWF's Living Waters Campaign; Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary General; Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International; Delmar Blasco, Ramsar Secretary General; Jesús Serrada Hierro, chair of Ramsar's Subgroup on COP8

Claude Martin and Delmar Blasco explain the long history of fruitful collaboration between the two institutions and the desire for a formal agreement at this time.

The signing of the MOC, 16 May 2002.

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» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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