The 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
Developing synergies and mutual support between the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Antarctic Treaty
Submitted by Switzerland
Note by the Secretariat:
Following discussions between Switzerland, the Secretariat, and a number of interested Parties, Switzerland has withdrawn its first version of DR23 and substituted this revised version in its place for the consideration of the COP.
1. CONSIDERING the global importance of the Antarctic in terms of area and volume of (mostly frozen) freshwater resources;
2. RECALLING that wetlands, as defined by the Ramsar Convention, are "areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres", and NOTING that according to this definition, various types of wetlands do occur in the Antarctic region;
3. AWARE of the presence of a number of ecosystems in the Antarctic that correspond to the Ramsar definition of wetlands, including glacial lakes - some located in the Transantarctic Mountains - subglacial lakes (lying hidden below thick layers of ice), depressions left by glacial retreat and fed by glacial meltwater over summer, pools and depressions on glaciers and ice fields, glaciers (including the largest valley glacier in the world), seasonally frozen rivers (e.g., discharging from glaciers forelands), coastal ecosystems, etc.; and
4. CONSCIOUS of the necessity and value to develop synergies and mutual support between the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Antarctic Treaty;
THE CONFERENCE OF THE CONTRACTING PARTIES
5. REQUESTS that the Ramsar Secretariat and the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat establish, on a regular basis, mutual exchange of information on common priority areas, with special focus on complementarity and synergies between the "conservation and wise use of wetlands" under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971) and the "protection and judicious use" of Specially Protected Areas under Annex V of the Protocol on Environmental Protection (1991) to the Antarctic Treaty;
6. PROPOSES, as a immediate first step, that this mutual exchange of information be materialized by the granting of observer status to the Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP) of the Antarctic Treaty in the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), and INVITES the Antarctic Treaty to consider granting to the Ramsar STRP a similar observer status in its Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP);
7. ENCOURAGES the Antarctic Treaty to invite the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention to its XXIXth Consultative Meeting to take place 12-23 June 2006 in Edinburgh, UK, and REQUESTS the Ramsar Secretariat to invite the Executive Secretary of the Antarctic Treaty to Ramsar's 10th meeting of the Contracting Parties in 2008;
8. INVITES the Antarctic Treaty to present, at Ramsar COP10 in 2008, a list of Specially Protected Areas (SPAs) which would correspond with, or integrate at least partly, some of the Ramsar Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance;
9. ENCOURAGES the Ramsar Administrative Authorities and the Antarctic Parties to develop regular cooperation and exchange of information at both the national and the international levels; and
10. INSTRUCTS the Ramsar Secretary General to report to COP10 on the first triennium of cooperation between the Convention on Wetlands and the Antarctic Treaty.