Ramsar wishes well to Veit Koester
A message from the Secretary General:
Many thanks to a very good friend of Ramsar
Those who were at the recent Ramsar COP8 will surely remember the Danish Head of Delegation, who was also speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States: Veit Koester. I was sad and moved on 27 December when I received a message from him announcing that that was to be his last day in the Ministry of Environment, since he was going into retirement.
Veit has participated in ALL Ramsar COPs. He worked in Sardinia at the first COP (Cagliari, 1980), together with Françoise Burhenne from IUCN's Environmental Law Centre, on the first ideas on how to tackle the problem of the "missing" original French text of the Convention and on how to amend the treaty. Later, he chaired the Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Regina, Canada, in 1987, where the substantive amendments to the Convention were adopted. He also had various chairing functions at the later conferences, including during COP7 where he chaired the difficult and politically sensitive plenaries dealing with the composition of the Ramsar regions. In addition, Veit wrote a book on the implementation of the Convention in Denmark (1989) and has been instrumental year after year in securing additional financial contributions for Ramsar from the Danish Government for a number of activities and projects.
I wish that we had known in Valencia that this was to be Veit's last Ramsar COP (at least in his capacity as a Danish delegate), so that we could also have recognized him there, along with Eckhart Kuikjen of Belgium, as a "Wetland Person of International Importance". A certificate is now being prepared conferring upon him this Ramsar "honorary recognition".
We say to Veit: MANY THANKS for having believed in the Convention over the years and for having helped to make it a more useful and modern instrument. AND VERY HAPPY RETIREMENT!
Delmar Blasco, Secretary General