Nicaragua: Workshop on transfer of technologies on mangrove forests


Government-designated Expert Workshop on Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Mangrove Forests in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean

A Nicaragua-led Initiative in Support of the United Nations Forum on Forests in the Framework of the Environmental Conventions of Antigua Guatemala (North-west Pacific), Lima (South-east Pacific) and Cartagena (Wider Caribbean), and the Co-operation Programme of the South-West Atlantic

Managua, Nicaragua, 3-5 March 2003

-- reported by Margarita Astrálaga, Ramsar (The official report of the meeting, in Spanish, will be available in due course.)

1. Opening of the workshop

1. The Government-designated Expert Workshop on Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Mangrove Forests was held at the Hotel Camino Real, Managua, from 3 to 5 March 2003. His Excellency Dr. José Rizo Castellón, Vice President of Nicaragua, opened the meeting. Opening statements were made by Ing. Eduardo Marín Castillo, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Nicaragua, the Director of the Central American Commission of Maritime Transport (COCATRAM) and Mr. Pekka Patosaari, Coordinator and Head of the Secretariat of United Nations Forum on Forests. The meeting was organized with the support and cooperation of FAO, the Ramsar Convention Bureau, UNEP, The World Bank, ITTO, and the Central American Development Bank.

2. The workshop was attended by Government-designated experts from: Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname and Venezuela. Additionally representatives from International Organizations such as the United Nations Forum on Forest, FAO, the Ramsar Convention Bureau, UNEP, The World Bank, ITTO, the Central American Development Bank, the Cartagena Convention, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and a representative of the private sector form Brazil.

2. Organization of the meeting

a. Election of officers

3. Ms. Liza Gonzalez / Mr. Carlos Landero (Nicaragua) was elected President, Ms. Monica Borobia from the private sector of Brazil, was elected Vice-president and Mr. Pearl Arthur J. Antonius from Suriname was elected rapporteur.

4. COCATRAM and UNFF acted as Secretariat of the meeting.

b. Adoption of the agenda

5. The agenda was adopted as proposed.

c. Organizational matters

6. The meeting agreed to work in plenary during the first day, focusing on the exchange of experiences by Government experts, the agencies and international organizations. The meeting agreed to establish working groups for the preparation of regional strategies, as follow:

Group 1. Wider Caribbean and South West Atlantic:

Chile (President), Colombia (Rapporteur), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Suriname, Venezuela, private sector Brazil, FAO, Ramsar Convention

Group 2. North-west Pacific y South-east Pacific:

Costa Rica (President), El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras (Rapporteur), Nicaragua, World Bank, UNEP, UNFF, COCATRAM and ITTO.

3. Objectives and expected outcomes of the workshop

7. The Secretariat gave a short introduction about the goals of the meeting and identified the following general objectives:

(i) Review the present status of the conservation mangrove ecosystems with emphasis in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean, with particular attention to main threats and technological and socio-economic factors affecting its sustainability;
(ii) Review the present status of the environmentally sound technologies for the sustainable management of mangrove forests, including the identification of the barriers and conditions that will enable successful transfer and exchange experiences and best practices;
(iii) Assess approaches to improve transfer of technologies; and,
(iv) Draft regional strategies for the conservation and sustainable management of mangroves in Latin America and the Caribbean, identifying opportunities for coordination and cooperation between countries and regional and international governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

4. Status of mangrove ecosystems in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean with a review of the socio-economic and technological factors affecting their sustainability

5. Environmentally sound technologies relevant to the management of mangrove forests, with emphasis on:

(a) Past and ongoing initiatives in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean: lessons learnt
(b) Barriers and enabling conditions for successful and sustainable technology transfer
(c) Approaches for improving technology transfer North-South and South-South
(d) Opportunities for coordination, cooperation and the establishment of partnerships

8. The Secretariat presented the document entitled "Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Mangrove Forests: a Review", which took into account the above-mentioned issues. The experts offered comments to enrich the document and agreed that the deadline to send to the Secretariat additional comments is 12 March 2003. They stressed also the usefulness of the document for its extensive review of information relevant to the sustainable management of Mangrove ecosystems. The meeting recommended that the document should: (a) be presented as information document through the Government of Nicaragua, to the global meeting of experts about Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies (TEST) organized by the United Nations Forum on Forests; and (b) identify the mechanisms to publish along with the working documents prepared by FAO and the private sector of Brazil, in the proceedings of this meeting.

9. The meeting was informed that the Government of Nicaragua, as leader of the present initiative, would present a report about the results of the Meeting to the Secretary General of the United Nations to be considered in the Third Period of Sessions of the United Nations Forum on Forests.

10. Government designated experts presented a summary of the experiences and the present conservation status and sustainable management of mangroves in their countries, it was agreed that additional comments would be sent by 12 March 2003. All these reports will be used to enrich the documents distributed at the meeting.

11. From the experts' presentations the following common issues were identified:

(i) The need for improved coordination between relevant agencies related to mangroves at the national level and in this sense it was considered important the establishment of the Mangrove Nationals Committees to respond to this need, in accordance to what had been approved in the framework of the Ramsar Convention;
(ii) The potential of sustainable tourism, the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems as important tools to contribute to the sustainable management of mangrove ecosystems;
(iii) The need to carry out the studies of economic valuation of good and services provided by the mangrove ecosystems and dissemination of this information at all levels of society; and,
(iv) The importance of understanding the results of projects carried out in the past (i.e. outputs, follow-up, etc.) and to have available information on lessons learned for implementation.

12. The representatives of the agencies, organizations and regional and international organizations presented summaries of their activities, projects and experiences related to the sustainable management of mangroves.

13. The representative of the Ramsar Convention made an introduction about the Convention and about the importance of mangroves in the framework of the Convention. Additionally, she mentioned the three pillars of the Convention and highlighted the importance of the marine and coastal Ramsar sites at the global level. She made a reference to the 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran,1971) Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002 (COP 8). Furthermore, she summarized the commitments assumed by the Governments when they adopted Resolution VIII.32 entitled "Conservation, integrated management, and sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems and their resources", she also made reference to other relevant resolutions of COP8 and COP7 directly relevant to the implementation of the strategy related to coastal management, restoration and inventory of wetlands, designation and management planning of sites, invasives, incentives, culture and participatory management". Additionally she offered to provide a complete list of projects carried out with Ramsar's support about mangroves and/or in wetlands that contain this type of wetland, as well as a complete list of Ramsar sites worldwide, which contain mangrove ecosystems.

¢ Resolution VIII.6 A Ramsar Framework for Wetland Inventory
¢ Resolution VIII.8 Assessing and reporting the status and trends of wetlands, and the implementation of Article 3.2 of the Convention
¢ Resolution VIII.13 Enhancing the information on Wetlands of International Importance
¢ Resolution VIII.11 Additional guidance for identifying and designating under-represented wetland types as Wetlands of International Importance
¢ Res. VII.11 - Designation de sites
¢ Resolution VIII.14 New Guidelines for management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands
¢ Resolution VIII.16 Principles and guidelines for wetland restoration
¢ Resolution VIII.19 Guiding principles for taking into account the cultural values of wetlands for the effective management of sites
¢ Resolution VIII.23 Incentive measures as tools for achieving the wise use of wetlands
¢ Resolution VIII.36 Participatory Environmental Management (PEM) as a tool for management and wise use of wetlands
¢ Resolution VIII.18 Invasive species and wetlands

14. The representative of the Regional Coordinating Unit of the Caribbean Environment Programme of UNEP, made an introduction about the Cartagena Convention and summarize the aims of the relevant Protocols and programmes under the Convention.

15. The representative of the ITTO introduced the mangrove workplan of its Organization for the Period 2002-2006. He highlighted the importance of the regional strategies planned in the framework of this workplan and expressed the interest of its organization to contribute to the implementation of these strategies.

16. The representative of FAO presented a background paper on FAO's activities and lessons learned related to the transfer of environmentally sound technologies for the sustainable management of mangroves. She highlighted the extensive experience of the FAO in this area and presented some case studies from related field projects throughout the world. She made reference to some of the main lessons learned and recommendations. She stressed that key elements are participation of all stakeholders and development of technologies with innovative ideas, provision of resources, and commitment in the implementation of the strategies.

17. The representative of the private sector of Brazil introduced the document entitled " ". She made reference to the various sustainable approaches used in Brazil with full involvement of the private sector.

18. The representative of the World Bank made reference to the new draft code of conduct for the sustainable management of mangrove forest ecosystems that will be discussed in Fortaleza, Brazil on 17 of March with several mangrove experts from Latin America and the Caribbean. He also provided details about all the mangrove related projects that the Bank is supporting in the region.

19. The meeting was informed that WWF international is extremely interested in supporting the mangrove regional initiatives and that it was sorry it could not attend the meeting.

6. Development and implementation of regional strategies for the conservation and sustainable management of mangrove forests in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean in the framework of on-going regional and international activities and processes

7. Supporting governments and establishing partnerships to implement regional strategies for the conservation and sustainable management of mangrove forests in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean. The possible role and contributions of private sector, regional development banks, multilateral financial mechanisms and donors:

(a) Regional and international intergovernmental organizations;
(b) The private sector, the regional banks, financial multilateral mechanisms and donors; and,
(c) Non-governmental organizations

20. The Secretariat presented the document titled "Background and elements to develop strategies for the conservation and sustainable management of mangrove ecosystems in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean", highlighting the more relevant issues. The said document contains a proposal of the main components to design regional strategies, a draft workplan, and specific activities for implementation during the Period 2003-2005.

21. The meeting decided to establish two working groups to analyse the proposal of a regional strategy and prepare specific regional drafts for the Wider Caribbean/South West Atlantic and the North East Pacific, with their related workplans.

8. Agreements, recommendations and follow-up

22. The meeting agreed to the following actions and recommendations to provide follow-up to the Latin-American initiative on mangroves, finalize the regional strategies and begin carrying out the priority actions identified by the experts (there are not in order of priority):

(a) Finalize the working documents which were presented at the meeting and publish them as part of the proceedings of the meeting, as well as submit them as a basis for the input to the Third Period of Sessions of the United Nations Forum on Forest (Geneva, 26 May-6 June 2003);

(b) Based on the existing information exchange systems at the regional level, establish a decentralized system (possibly locally in the offices of the Regional Seas Secretariats for the Northeast Pacific, Southeast Pacific and Wider Caribbean, and the South West Atlantic) about mangrove ecosystems and about the ecologically sustainable technologies for the use, conservation, rehabilitation and the sustainable use of these ecosystems;

(c) Establish National Mangrove Committees as part of the National Wetland Committees agreed upon in the framework of the Ramsar Convention;

(d) Recommend that the Government experts that participated in this meeting act as contact points in an interim basis of the mangrove regional initiative until the Governments decide which is the most appropriate mechanism about the establishment of the Mangrove National Committees;

(e) Recommend that the experts that represented the agencies and international organizations act as focal points between the Governments and the regional environmental Conventions in this regional initiative;

(f) Recommend that the governments and the Secretariats of the regional environmental Conventions present and promote this mangrove initiative in the relevant fora;

(g) Inform the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention about the results of this meeting, highlighting the importance that the meeting gave to the use of the framework of the Convention as the legal global base for the development and implementation of the present initiative; furthermore, the relevance of following up the implementation of several resolutions of the Conferences of the Parties as a mechanism to implement the regional strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of mangroves;

(h) Inform the other Convention Secretariats and relevant international initiatives (for example, UNFCC, CBD, MARPOL, POPs, PAM, CMS, ICRI) about this regional initiative and the results of the expert's meeting, especially about the development of regional strategies, inviting them to participate in its implementation;

(i) Invite the government of Nicaragua to present the results of this initiative during the next meeting of ITTO, COFO and the regional meeting about watersheds to be held in Arequipa, Peru, 9 to 13 of June 2003;

(j) Send to the Secretariats and the Contracting Parties of the three Regional Environmental Conventions (Wider Caribbean, Northeast Pacific and Southeast Pacific) and the countries of the South West Atlantic, the drafts of the respective mangroves strategies for their consideration and eventual adoption and inclusion in the programs or work plans of these Conventions and agreements;

(k) Request the Governments Party to these Conventions to disseminate information on this initiative in their institution and provide the necessary political support needed for the effective implementation of the planned activities within the regional strategies;

(l) Invite the organizations, agencies and financial multilateral mechanisms, private sector, regional development banks and non-governmental organizations to join the efforts of the governments of the region to implement the regional strategies through the establishment of partnerships for the conservation and sustainable use of mangroves;
(m) Develop criteria for the selection of demonstration projects for the period 2003-2005;

(n) Recommend to the national focal points of the United Nations Forum on Forest to emphasize during the Third Period of Sessions of the Forum the importance of the mangrove' regional initiatives and seek support to implement the said strategies, in particular to the Forum, and the members of the CPF;

(o) Establish a mangrove's regional expert group designated by their governments to facilitate the coordination, the follow-up to the agreements of this meeting, and the implementation of the strategies;

(p) Invite the Government of Nicaragua to present the final report of the meeting to the Third Period de Sessions of the United Nations Forum on Forest and to participate in the discussions about regional initiatives;

(q) Recommend to make use of the Ramsar Hemispheric Centre in Panama to support the implementation of regional strategies in the themes of training, exchange of information and education;

(r) Establish an inter-agency informal group conformed by representatives of FAO, ITTO, The World Bank, Ramsar Convention, the Secretariats of the Regional Seas Programmes and the United Nations Forum on Forest to support the regional groups of the Northeast Pacific, Southeast Pacific, and the Wider Caribbean and the United Nations governmental experts in the implementation of regional strategies;

(s) Prepare national strategies through which national mangrove programmes will be adopted, such as the program adopted by Colombia and other countries of the region;

(t) Take note of the interest of WWF and WCMC and invite them to participate in the implementation of these strategies;

(u) Request the governments to make available to UNFF the assessments about TESTs at the national level as it was approved in the work plan of the regional strategies.

9. Other matters

23. The participants thanked regional and international organizations that supported and participated in the event and in particular, FAO, ITTO and COCATRAM for its financial support for making possible this meeting. Special recognition was given to the Government of Nicaragua and UNFF for making possible the meeting.

10. Report of the workshop

24. The meeting report was approved

11. Closing of the workshop

25. The meeting was closed at 19.00 h.

12. Other issues

26. During the meeting a lengthy discussion with the JICA representatives took place to discuss the possibility of financial assistance to the Panama centre.

27. Discussions were held with Ms. Liza Gonzalez regarding the possibility of carrying out a project with the assistance of the IUCN Law Centre on the review of wetland national legislation in Nicaragua and the drafting of a proposed regulation on wetlands.

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