The 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties

29/06/2005


"Wetlands and water: supporting life, sustaining livelihoods"
9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Kampala, Uganda, 8-15 November 2005
Agenda item XV
Ramsar COP9 DR 17

The Convention's International Organization Partners (IOPs)

Note by the Secretariat

1. In Resolution VII.3 the Contracting Parties established rules for conferring the status of International Organization Partner (IOP) of the Convention to organizations that meet the criteria established in those rules.

2. In that Resolution, the Parties also determined that international organizations, both intergovernmental and non-governmental, interested in formal recognition as Partners of the Convention should present an application to the Ramsar Secretariat for consideration by the Standing Committee for recommendation to the Conference of the Contracting Parties for its final decision.

3. In line with the terms of Resolution VII.3, in May 2005 the Ramsar Secretariat received a formal request from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to receive recognition under the Convention as an IOP.

4. IWMI has a focus of its expertise on water and land resources management, agriculture, livelihoods and the environment - issues of increasing importance to the Ramsar Convention. IWMI has already contributed strongly to the work of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel, in this triennium co-leading the STRP's Working Group 3 on water resource management, in preparing guidances on water-related issues which will be considered at COP9, and in the preparation of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment's synthesis report for the Ramsar Convention. IWMI is also currently developing a report specifically for Ramsar as part of its lead role in the Comprehensive Assessment of Water and Agriculture (CA), based on a series of key questions developed by the STRP's agriculture cross-cutting group.

5. As part of its request, IWMI has provided detailed information on its status and activities in relation to each of the rules and criteria established by Resolution VII.3, and on its offices, selected relevant projects, publications and research training programme. These are provided for information in COP9 DOC. 20.

6. After reviewing this material, the Secretariat advised the 31st meeting of the Standing Committee (in DOC. SC31-34) that IWMI wholly fulfils the role and expectations of an International Organization Partner, as set out in the Annex to Resolution VII.3 ("Rules for conferring the status of International Organization Partner of the Convention on Wetlands", as an international organization active in many countries in more than one Ramsar region, with a statement of purpose relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, and with a demonstrated track record of working closely with the Convention and other organizations.

7. Although at the 31st meeting of the Standing Committee a number of members and observers, including the current IOPs, spoke strongly in support of IWMI being recommended to COP9 for confirmation as an IOP, there was not unanimity, as Argentina advised that it could not support the admission of IWMI to the Convention's IOPs. The Standing Committee therefore instructed the Secretariat (in Decision SC31-29) to prepare the attached draft Resolution entirely within square brackets, for consideration and resolution of this matter during COP9.

8. In order for Contracting Parties at COP9 to be fully informed concerning this matter, the Standing Committee also instructed the Secretariat to provide this explanatory note on its discussion. The text of the relevant section (paragraphs 226-234) of the Report of the 31st Meeting of the Standing Committee is reproduced below:

Agenda item 14: Any other business: Request by IWMI for IOP status

226. The DSG explained that Resolution VII.3 recognized the four traditional International Organization Partners and set out rules for the inclusion of new organizations that might wish to apply for that status. He noted that heretofore, only Ducks Unlimited had requested such status, but had not clarified their scope and operations in relation to the terms of Resolution VII.3. He indicated that the intent of Resolution VII.3 was to encourage a network of support for the Convention that would be open and noted that though prospective organizations need not be global, they should have a significant international presence in a region.

227. The DSG reported on the International Water Management Institute's (IWMI) work around the world and its active cooperation with the other IOPs in many areas of work, including in its significant assistance to the STRP. He noted that IWMI has significant expertise in agriculture and water issues, which are increasingly important to Ramsar, and observed that the Chair of the STRP has recently joined IWMI's staff. He said that the Secretariat heartily recommended that IWMI be admitted as one of the Convention's Partner Organizations.

228. Argentina said that the existing IOPs are prestigious organizations whose broad range of activities are recognized throughout the world. Argentina could not support the admission of IWMI to the IOPs.

229. BirdLife International strongly supported the addition of IWMI to the IOPs and saw it as part of the dynamic evolution of the IOP construct. Switzerland strongly welcomed the admission of IWMI as an IOP. The USA supported the admission of such a well-qualified organization and saw it as an unusual opportunity for the Convention, especially in light IWMI's relationship with CGIAR and its work with desertification issues.

230. The DSG suggested that a brief DR will be needed to bring the recommendation to the COP and reaffirm the status of the four existing IOPs as well. Austria also supported IWMI's admission, especially in light of its strong linkages among agriculture, water, and nature conservation.

231. The SG urged that a DR be prepared for the COP recommending the admission of IWMI to the IOPs. Argentina remarked that it would not support a DR being brought forward to the COP. The Chair asked for clarification of Argentina's reasons for not supporting IWMI's admission, and Argentina repeated the earlier statement that the existing IOPs are prestigious organizations whose broad range of activities are recognized throughout the world, which was not the case of IWMI.

232. Switzerland observed that the criteria for admission are clearly stated in Resolution VII.3 and it is quite evident that IWMI meets them, and in addition it supplies a needed bridge with expertise on agricultural and wetland issues.

233. Botswana inquired about the rules of procedure in such a case, since a DR seems to be needed. The SG suggested that the Secretariat should consult with Argentina in the coming weeks on how to resolve the issue. He noted, however, that it is an issue to be decided by the COP, not by the SC, and thus a mechanism must be found to bring it to the COP's consideration. Indonesia suggested that the SC31 report could be transmitted to the COP, so that the COP could decide whether to take the matter up or not, and Argentina agreed with that suggestion. The SG explained that matters before the COP must ordinarily be brought to it suitably in advance by means of a DR.

234. Indonesia and Argentina suggested that the DR should be fully within brackets and accompanied by an information note reporting that Argentina did not support the admission of IWMI. Australia urged that Argentina could then provide more information in that note about what its reservations are concerning IWMI's admission. Argentina responded that there is nothing to add to the reason already given.

Decision SC31-29: The Standing Committee instructed the Secretariat to prepare a draft Resolution, entirely within brackets, concerning the admission of IWMI to the International Organization Partners, with an explanatory note on the SC31 discussion.

[COP9 DR17

The Convention's International Organization Partners (IOPs)

1. RECALLING that a number of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) played a significant role in the inception of the Convention, and AWARE that these and an increasing number of other INGOs and intergovernmental organizations are contributing to, or have the potential to contribute to, the development and implementation of the Convention's mission at local, national and global scales;

2. ALSO RECALLING Resolution VII.3, in which the Contracting Parties established rules for conferring the status of International Organization Partner (IOP) of the Convention, and in which they conferred this status upon BirdLife International, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Wetlands International, and the World Wide Fund for Nature;

3. FURTHER RECALLING that in Resolution VII.3 the Parties decided that international non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations meeting the criteria established by those rules and interested in formal recognition as Partners of the Convention should present an application to the Ramsar Secretariat for consideration by the Standing Committee for recommendation to the Conference of the Contracting Parties for its final decision; and

4. AWARE that the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has made such an application to the 31st meeting of the Standing Committee;

THE CONFERENCE OF THE CONTRACTING PARTIES

5. REAFFIRMS the rules established in the Annex to Resolution VII.3 for conferring the status of International Organization Partner (IOP) of the Convention to organizations that meet the criteria established in those rules;

6. RECONFIRMS the status of International Organization Partner (IOP) of the Convention for BirdLife International, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Wetlands International, and the World Wide Fund for Nature;

7. FORMALLY CONFIRMS this status for the International Water Management Institute (IWMI);

8. ENCOURAGES other relevant and interested organizations to consider applying for the status of IOP of the Convention, so as to continue to strengthen the range and scope of networks supporting the work of the Convention in the development of policies and technical and scientific tools of the Convention and their implementation; and

9. REQUESTS the Standing Committee to keep under review from time to time the performance of International Organization Partners in supporting Convention implementation, and to report on such reviews to the Conference of the Contracting Parties.]

For reasons of economy, this document is printed in a limited number, and will not be distributed at the meeting. Delegates are requested to bring their copies to the meeting and not to request additional copies.

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