Memorandum of Cooperation with LakeNet


[photos of the signing ceremony, 11 April 2003]


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Memorandum of Cooperation

between the




TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the important role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting the implementation of the Convention on Wetlands;

AWARE of the active contribution that LakeNet, an NGO, is making by networking lake conservation organizations around the world, and working for the wise use of freshwater resources and the implementation of environmental conventions;

RECOGNIZING that the Ramsar Convention is the primary intergovernmental instrument focused on the conservation and wise use of wetlands, including lakes, that more than 300 Ramsar sites are primarily lake habitat and another 350 sites include lake habitat, and that the Ramsar Convention cooperates as lead partner in the implementation of activities related to wetlands, including inland waters, under the Convention on Biological Diversity;

FURTHER RECOGNIZING that LakeNet, with its launch of a global initiative to protect and restore the health of the world's lakes and, through its online information services and stakeholder and expert networks, provides a source of information and expertise, and that it is making an active contribution to the protection of lake ecosystems and the human communities that depend on them by promoting the wise use of the wetland resources which constitute their life support system;

CONSIDERING that LakeNet and the Ramsar Convention share a common goal of the conservation and wise use of lake ecosystems for people and nature, that the conservation aims of LakeNet and the aims expressed in the text of the Ramsar Convention, and in particular in the Strategic Plan 2003-2008, are fully compatible, and that meeting this common goal will require enhanced and concerted actions at all levels and between all sectors; and

AGREEING that both parties wish to intensify the cooperation between their Secretariats and between stakeholder organizations in individual lake watersheds for the conservation and wise use of wetlands for people and nature, particularly in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention Strategic Plan 2003-2008;

The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands (hereinafter referred to as the Ramsar Bureau) and the Secretariat of LakeNet (hereinafter referred to as LakeNet), having its principal office in Annapolis, Maryland, USA:


Article 1: General cooperation and focal points

1.1 The Ramsar Bureau and LakeNet shall seek opportunities to develop and support programs, projects and publications of mutual interest.

1.2 The Ramsar Bureau and LakeNet shall keep each other well informed of needs, issues and opportunities that emerge as a result of their activities.

1.3 The Ramsar Bureau and LakeNet shall promote the development of a global network for lake conservation and wise use, by enhancing their existing communications and cooperation.

1.4 The focal points for general matters between the Ramsar Bureau and LakeNet shall be the Secretary General and the President, respectively. Communication will also be encouraged between Ramsar regional staff and personnel at Ramsar sites and LakeNet Steering Committee representatives and LakeNet members.

Article 2: Contribution from the Ramsar Bureau

2.1 Subject to the approval of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), the Ramsar Bureau shall invite LakeNet to participate as an Observer in meetings of the STRP.

2.2 The Ramsar Bureau shall disseminate information on the support given to the Convention by LakeNet.

2.3 If the Ramsar Bureau and LakeNet agree to collaborate in the development of any joint projects, the Ramsar Bureau and LakeNet shall jointly seek to secure funds to implement them.

2.4 The Ramsar Bureau shall involve LakeNet, where appropriate, in the design, coordination and implementation of project activities.

2.5 The Ramsar Bureau shall keep the LakeNet Secretariat on its mailing list for receipt of all relevant documents, and shall provide the LakeNet Secretariat with a single copy of each relevant technical publication that it produces, and with copies of promotional materials about the Convention for further dissemination.

2.6 The above activities shall be conducted to the best ability of the Ramsar Bureau, and within the resources available.

Article 3: Contribution from LakeNet

3.1 LakeNet shall invite the Ramsar Bureau to participate on the Steering Committee of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/ World Bank project "Towards a Lake Basin management Initiative: Sharing Experiences and Early Lessons in GEF and Non-GEF Lake Basin Management Projects" and to participate as appropriate in LakeNet international meetings.

3.2 LakeNet shall invite the Ramsar Bureau to designate an Observer at meetings of the LakeNet Steering Committee.

3.3 LakeNet shall endeavor to provide technical support to the Ramsar Bureau in its work, in particular through:

o information concerning lakes not on the Ramsar List; threats facing lakes globally, nationally and at the watershed level; and promising strategies for effective lake conservation;
o input to the work of the STRP regarding lake conservation for humans and nature;
o exchange of experience on conservation measures for Ramsar sites of mutual interest and concern;
o promotion of a high level of recognition, where relevant, of the status of sites included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance and candidate sites for listing; and
o participation in joint fund-raising initiatives.

3.4 LakeNet shall endeavor to support the Ramsar Contracting Parties in their implementation of the Convention, in particular through:

o provision of technical support for the implementation of the Convention;
o capacity building through technical assistance, advisory services, and training programs;
o fundraising to support activities in developing countries and countries with economies in transition; and
o dissemination of information and technical materials.

3.4 In addition to the above activities, LakeNet shall endeavor to support the implementation of the Ramsar Convention Strategic Plan 2003 -2008, in particular through:

o promoting the Convention in all appropriate forums;
o promoting and assisting countries to join the Convention and to designate Ramsar sites;
o promoting implementation of the wise use guidelines;
o participating in lake biological and cultural inventory and assessment programs;
o raising awareness of wetlands and their values, including the promotion of World Wetlands Day;
o providing training and capacity building for sustainable lake management;
o managing data on important lake ecosystems;
o providing technical assistance for wetlands on the Ramsar List, to the extent that joint fundraising makes it possible; and
o identifying and disseminating effective conservation measures for lake stakeholders at watershed, national, and international levels.

These activities will be carried out to the best ability of LakeNet through its Secretariat and global network, and within the resources available.

Article 4: General

4.1 LakeNet and the Ramsar Bureau will ensure regular exchanges of information about their respective activities, by appropriate means and using all possible avenues. They will explore the scope for specific initiatives to further cooperation, such as joint projects and publications.

4.2 Neither Party shall be legally or financially liable in any way for activities carried out independently by the other Party.

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

4.4 This MOC shall be effective from the date when both Parties have effected their signature and shall remain in effect throughout the implementation period of the 2003-2008 Strategic Plan of the Ramsar Convention.

4.5 Any differing viewpoint or interpretations of the MOC shall be resolved amicably by consultation or negotiation between the two Parties.

4.6 This Agreement may be reviewed and amended at the request of either Party and may be terminated by either Party subject to written notice of 12 months.

Signed in two originals in the English language, 11 April 2003, Gland, Switzerland

Delmar A. Blasco
Secretary General, Ramsar Convention

David Read Barker
President, LakeNet

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