Memorandum of understanding with the Coastal America Foundation, 2004



Action Program for Corporate Support to the Small Grants Program and the Wetlands for the Future Program of The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance

Memorandum of Understanding


The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (adopted at Ramsar, Iran in 1971), known as the Ramsar Convention, represented by its Secretary General, Dr. Peter Bridgewater,


Coastal America Foundation, represented by its President, Mr. William Hubbard,

In support of

The Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership,

In affiliation with

The Coastal America Partnership.

Explanatory statement

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 138 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1328 wetland sites, totaling 111.9 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

The Convention focuses on the need to integrate biodiversity conservation in wetlands and preservation of their ecological functions, particularly those relating to water resources, with sustainable development - in the sense of wise use of resources - and also with considerations of public health and well-being.

Two key elements of the Convention are the Small Grants Fund for Wetlands Conservation and Wise Use and the Wetlands for the Future Fund:

The Wetland Conservation Fund (subsequently renamed the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF)) was created in 1990 in order to provide assistance for wetland conservation and wise use initiatives in developing countries and (since 1996) countries with economies in transition. Its allocations are not intended to support major projects traditionally covered by larger funding agencies. The wise use concept has been defined as "the sustainable utilisation of wetlands for the benefit of humankind and compatible with the maintenance of the natural properties of the ecosystem". The SGF Operational Guidelines for the Triennium 2003-2005 put emphasis on the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008, and project proposals must demonstrate the potential to assist in fulfilling specific Strategic Plan objectives.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971), the United States Department of State, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service operate a special initiative, the Wetlands for the Future Fund (WFF) training program, to benefit Latin American and Caribbean institutions and individuals through capacity building and training in the conservation and wise use of wetlands. This initiative will promote the implementation of the concept of "wise use" of wetlands through strengthening the capacity of countries to manage their wetland resources in perpetuity and contributing to integrate wetland conservation and management with the development process. All proposed activities should be in line with the principles, recommendations and guidelines of the Ramsar Convention. The sponsors of Wetlands for the Future wish to establish partnerships with training institutions, catalyze wetland training activities currently underway or planned within the region, or complement existing training and education initiatives with wetland-related instruction.

Both funds disburse funds annually to projects in Ramsar contracting parties following a project proposal and review process administered by the Ramsar Secretariat. Both funds perennially have more proposals than they are able to fund.

Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership: The National Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP) is a public-private partnership between the United States federal government, U.S. state governments and private corporations to restore wetlands and other aquatic habitats. The CWRP's objective is to stop and reverse the degradation of America's fresh and saltwater wetlands and other aquatic habitats. The CWRP is facilitated by the Coastal America Partnership in Washington, D.C. This multi-agency federal partnership was established to protect and restore the coastal environment. Coastal America Foundation is an Internal Revenue Service recognized Public Charity under Section 501 (c) 3 of the US Code of Revenue. The Foundation is managed by a group of nationally recognized marine scientists that volunteer in order to allow the foundation to meet its goals for protecting, preserving and restoring aquatic habitats. The Foundation has agreed to receive and disperse funds for the International CWRP (I-WRP) without charge to the donors. An account has been established in this charitable institution for this purpose. The international component of CWRP will be facilitated by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Terms of this Memorandum of Understanding

The CWRP has decided to expand its activities to fund international projects, and has decided to fund Ramsar's SGF and WFF programs as one means of accomplishing this goal.

In order to increase the funding for the SGF and WFF, the Ramsar Convention and the CWRP enter into this Memorandum of Understanding for the 2004 Project Cycle. A similar MOU, based on the experience gained in 2004, will be prepared to establish a longer-term relationship between Ramsar and CWRP.

Coastal America Foundation (CAF) will disburse funding on behalf of CWRP. At the completion of the project assessment phase in 2004, the Ramsar Secretariat will deliver the list of projects that meet requirements for funding to CAF. CAF will distribute the information to CWRP partners along with a request for donations. CAF will consolidate the donations, and report the amount of funds collected to the Ramsar Secretariat for inclusions in its funding recommendation to the Standing Committee for the Small Grants Fund and to the Secretariat for the Wetlands for the Future Fund.

With a minimum donation of CHF 40,000, CWRP and partners donating to the fund will be able to cite their connection to the Ramsar programs in their promotional materials, and the CWRP logo will be displayed on project publications and signage unless there is a specific request from the project's host government.

This Memorandum will take effect upon signature by both parties. It may be amended and annexed by written mutual consent of the Participants.

This Memorandum may be terminated at any time by either Participant, upon written notification. The termination of the Memorandum will not affect the validity or duration of projects initiated under this Memorandum, which are initiated prior to such termination, subject to availability of funds.


William Hubbard
Date 1/8/04


Peter Bridgewater
Secretary General
Date 15/1/2004

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