Ramsar Outreach Programme under review

13/06/2002

Meeting advances Ramsar Outreach Programme for 2002-2005

Resolution VII.9 of Ramsar COP7, San José, 1999, adopted the Outreach Programme for the Convention on Wetlands for the period 1999-2002, by which the Contracting Parties committed themselves to promoting public awareness of wetland values and functions and the Ramsar wise use principles to the best of their abilities. In particular, the Parties resolved to appoint governmental and non-governmental national focal points to create an international network for communication, education, and public awareness (CEPA) on wetland values and to develop a national wetland outreach action plan to aid in that work.

Some progress has been made in fulfilment of that Programme, but as the triennium draws to a close, much more remains to be done. Having set up e-mail intercommunications with the CEPA national focal points and assisted the Parties in as many ways as resources permit, the Ramsar Bureau has been cooperating in the Parties' efforts to re-define the outreach tasks remaining into the next triennium. An Ad Hoc Outreach Group was established and a rough draft of a new Outreach Programme for 2002-2005 has been circulating for comment for some time now.

On 10-11 June 2002, a drafting group drawn from amongst the Ad Hoc Outreach Group met in the Bureau's HQ in the IUCN facilities in Gland, Switzerland, to absorb those comments and helpful inputs and bring the drafting process forward. Organized by the Bureau's outreach coordinator, Sandra Hails, the Drafting Group meeting was attended by Sr Jorge Cappato, Director General of Fundación Proteger, Argentina; Dr Jane Claricoates, environmental outreach consultant to the Bureau, UK; Ms Wendy Goldstein, head of IUCN's Commission on Education & Communication; Dr Sandra Hails; Mr Doug Hulyer, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, UK; Dr Sidharth Kaul, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India; Dr Bill Phillips, MainStream Environmental Consulting, Australia; Ms Christine Prietto (chair of the meeting), The Wetlands Centre, Australia; Sr Fernando Ramos, Amigos de la Tierra (Friends of the Earth), Spain; Dr Chaman Lal Trisal, Director of Wetlands International - South Asia, India; and Ms Miriam Zacharia, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania.

At the end of two days' labors, the Drafting Group agreed the way forward throughout the draft Programme and handed it off to Bill Phillips, the Bureau's former Deputy Secretary General, who has been engaged by the Convention to produce the next comprehensive draft of the document. It will then be re-circulated to the entire Ad Hoc Outreach Group for further comment, and in the end will be sponsored by several Contracting Parties and circulated to the remaining Parties in good time for consideration at the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in Valencia, Spain, November 2002.

In addition to the participants in the Drafting Group mentioned above, the other members of the Ad Hoc Outreach Group who have assisted in bringing the draft Programme so far forward so quickly are (in no order): Salvatore Arico, UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme; Arthur Nogueira and Alexander Heydendael, CBD secretariat; Taej Mundkur, Wetlands International; Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Nigerian Conservation Foundation; Emmanuel Severre, Ramsar CEPA government focal point from Tanzania; Paul Mafabi, Uganda's National Wetlands Programme; Nadra Nathai-Gyan, Trinidad & Tobago's Ramsar administrative authority; Ernesto Eduardo Briones, Fundación EcoCiencia, Ramsar CEPA NGO focal point from Ecuador; Lew Young, WWF Hong Kong; Birgit Mair-Markart, Naturschutzbund Österreich, Ramsar CEPA NGO focal point from Austria; András Böhm, CEPA government focal point from Hungary; Susana Calvo, CEPA government focal point from Spain; and Samson Samasoni, SPREP/GEF International Waters Programme.

Financial support for the meeting was provided by the Ramsar Bureau, UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme, and Wetlands for the Future.

The Outreach Programme 1999-2002 can be seen at http://ramsar.org/key_outreach_prog_e.htm, and Sandra Hails' CEPA and Outreach sections of the Ramsar Web site can be entered at http://ramsar.org/outreach_index.htm.

The Drafting Group participants: (seated from left) Doug Hulyer, WWT, UK; Fernando Ramos, FOE Spain; Jane Claricoates; (standing from left) Chaman Trisal, Wetlands International; Bill Phillips, Australia; Sidharth Kaul, India; Sandra Hails, Ramsar; Jorge Cappato, Fundación Proteger, Argentina; Chris Prietto, Australia; Miriam Zacharia, Tanzania; Wendy Goldstein, IUCN.

Break-out Groups

Sandra Hails, Jorge Cappato, Chris Prietto

Sidharth Kaul, Wendy Goldstein, Jane Claricoates

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