World Wetlands Day 2002: Islamic Republic of Iran




We, the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) from Central and Western Asia, and other participants, meeting in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, at a ceremony to celebrate World Wetlands Day, 2002, extend our warm appreciation to the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran for convening the ceremony, as well as hosting the Western and Central Asian Subregional Meeting of the Ramsar Convention, from 3 to 5 February 2002.

Mindful of the Convention's objectives and mission on the conservation and wise use of wetlands by national action and international cooperation as a means to achieve sustainable development throughout the world, the Parties reconfirm and other participants support the commitment made to the implementation of the provisions of the Ramsar Convention.

Recognizing the vital role of wetland ecosystems for biodiversity conservation and for the well-being of human communities; and welcoming the theme for World Wetlands Day, 2002, and the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP8), on "Wetlands: Water, Life, and Culture", which explores the cultural values of wetlands as a tool for their conservation, and emphasizes the importance of people's engagement in conservation efforts, we undertake to explore cultural issues in our national and local contexts and seek to make our public more aware of the cultural, as well as the natural, values of wetlands.

Recalling Article 3.2 of the Convention and the assistance to be gained from applying the Montreux Record, and aware of the devastating impact of drought on considerable numbers of major wetlands in the region, we affirm the importance of confronting all the underlying causes of wetland degradation, including natural causes. To this end, and in order to increase the effectiveness and utility of the Montreux Record, we emphasize the necessity to address, in addition to human-induced changes, naturally-induced changes in the ecological character of wetlands, and the need to develop monitoring and assessment of such changes. In this regard we welcome Decision SC26-12 of the Ramsar Standing Committee, which requests the Ramsar Bureau and the STRP to prepare a discussion paper, incorporating elements of a possible draft Resolution, on Article 3.2 and the reporting of changes in ecological character, both human- and naturally-caused changes, for the Subgroup on COP8's meeting in May 2002, and we urge that this matter is fully discussed at COP8.

Reaffirming the importance of enhancing the existing capacities in developing countries to fulfil their commitments under the Ramsar Convention, and while emphasizing the need for a predictable and reliable increase in financial resources for the Ramsar Small Grants Fund ( SGF ), we urge increasing international cooperation, both bilateral and multilateral, in support of wetland projects. In this regard, we encourage the conclusion of Memoranda of Cooperation (MOCs) and joint work plans with other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), and specifically, representation of the Ramsar Bureau in GEF Council meetings. We also recognize that, while their human resources are limited, appropriate involvement of Ramsar Bureau on the steering committee of major wetland projects is both desirable and helpful to the cause of conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Noting that the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 will review the progress since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio, 1992), and that this will provide a key opportunity to outline Ramsar achievements and priorities in the pursuit of sustainable development, we urge that Ramsar issues must continue to be given a high profile in WSSD preparatory processes and during the WSSD itself, both by the Bureau and by national delegations, and further urge that an analysis of WSSD outcomes and its implications for Ramsar Convention be prepared for consideration by COP8.


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