Ramsar address to COP7 of the Convention on Biological Diversity


Convention on Biological Diversity
Conference of the Parties, 7th meeting
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Working Group I, agenda item 24, Protected Areas

Wednesday 11 February 2004

Intervention by Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands

Mr. Chairman

The Ramsar Convention, as I have noted before, has the largest protected area network globally, a network that is increasing in its complexity and coverage. Our Joint Work Programme with the CBD will ensure that experience realized through this network will be available to the CBD, through the thematic areas of work, as well as crosscutting issues.

The Ramsar Convention sees its network as the heart of its wise use approach to the world's wetlands. In that sense, we see protected areas as part of, not separate from, the wider landscape/seascape. This is why the Ramsar Convention was a party to the Linkages in the landscape/seascape stream at the Vth World Parks Congress.

One key output from that stream was the Durban link, available through the IUCN Web site. Its keys are 10 actions needed over the next 10 years, to ensure that protected areas are set firmly within the other set of issues the CBD deals with, inter alia, the ecosystem approach.

These 10 areas are:

1. Poverty alleviation. Strengthening ecological coherence through linkages in the landscape, especially re-connecting cultural linkages, can assist in providing essential ecological services to local communities and thereby contribute to poverty alleviation and the improvement of human health and well-being.

2. Global change is with us now… Adaptive management strategies, which deal effectively with risks and uncertainties, are necessary to ensure that protected areas and their component ecosystems will be resilient in the future.

3. Governance - novel governance mechanisms may be needed to ensure the proper functioning of protected areas in the wider landscape/seascape.

4. Socio-cultural aspects. The Ecosystem Approach of the Convention on Biological Diversity integrates the needs of biodiversity with the needs of people. It is the most appropriate means of framing the management of protected areas in their socio-economic and cultural contexts.

5. Marine systems. Marine systems need to be linked to each other and to terrestrial systems.

6. Ecological aspects. Conservation practice demonstrates that well-designed linkages can assist in mitigating negative conservation effects of fragmented ecosystems. The Convention on Biological Diversity should therefore ensure that the role of linkages is given special consideration in elaborating the Ecosystem Approach, and that the role of the approach in repairing and restoring landscapes is promoted.
7. Institutions. There is a need to match the diversity of institutional landscapes (local, national and international) with the diversity of ecological landscapes.

8. Funding. The planning and management of Protected Areas within a broader matrix needs long term, and sustainable, financial support.

9. Research. Our understanding of how linkages function is incomplete and therefore requires further field research.

10. Private sector involvement is critical for ultimate success.

Mr. Chairman, the Ramsar Convention will be looking at these issues at its next COP in 2005, and we would encourage Parties to the CBD to also look at these issues in the context of the present discussions.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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