The 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties


"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 15

Wetlands and poverty reduction

1. EMPHASIZING the relevance to poverty reduction of a number of decisions of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, including Resolutions 5.6 on the Wise use of wetlands, VII.8 on Guidelines for establishing and strengthening local communities' and indigenous people's participation in the management of wetlands, VIII.23 on Incentive measures as tools for achieving the wise use of wetlands, and VIII.36 on Participatory Environmental Management (PEM) as a tool for management and wise use of wetlands, and ALSO EMPHASIZING the relevance of Decision IV/4 of the Convention on Biological Diversity concerning the status and trends of the biological diversity of inland water ecosystems and options for conservation and sustainable use;

2. NOTING the relevance of the Ramsar Convention as an element in the delivery of the internationally agreed development strategies, including the Millennium Development Goals 1 and 7 ("Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger" and "Ensure environmental sustainability") and the World Summit on Sustainable Development's Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI, 2002), which promoted, inter alia, the adoption of integrated water resource management plans by 2005;

3. FURTHER NOTING the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, in particular the key messages in its wetlands and water synthesis report, to the effect that:

  • wetland ecosystems deliver a wide range of critical services for human well-being;
  • the projected continued loss and degradation of wetlands will result in further reduction in human health and well-being, especially for vulnerable people in less developed countries;
  • maintaining the natural functioning of wetlands, however, will enable them to continue to deliver their services to human populations;
  • a cross-sectoral approach to the management of water resources is needed urgently from policy- and decision-makers that emphasizes securing wetland ecosystem services in the context of achieving sustainable development;

4. CONSIDERING that the 13th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in its final communiqué on water sanitation and human settlements proposed further measures to assist the reduction of poverty while enhancing environmental sustainability; and

5. AWARE that much of the body of Ramsar guidance available in the Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands is of value in helping to promote the wise use of wetlands and thus affect poverty reduction;


6. URGES Parties, whether nationally within developing countries or as donors, to take action to contribute to poverty reduction, especially in the following areas:

  • human life and safety: measures to protect against impacts such as cyclones, storm surges, saline intrusions, droughts and floods through the sustainable use and restoration of wetlands;
  • access to resources: measures to improve access, on a sustainable basis, to land, water and wetland resources such as fish;
  • ecological sustainability: measures to enhance the priority given to sustainability in all relevant mainstream policy sectors, including ecosystem restoration measures;
  • governance: measures to improve the empowerment of the poor in decision-making processes and management institutions;
  • economies: measures to maintain or improve, on an ecologically sustainable basis, the ecosystem services that wetlands provide;

7. FURTHER URGES Parties, whether nationally within developing countries or as donors, and bearing in mind the examples in the annex to this Resolution, to take or support action to:

  • raise awareness of the links between wetland degradation and poverty;
  • give priority or support to conservation and wise use of water and wetlands in national poverty reduction strategy papers, integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans and similar policies;
  • create new partnerships between local communities, developers and conservationists;
  • review and improve existing financing mechanisms, as well as promote new sustainable financing mechanisms for wetland management to help address poverty reduction, such as the Global Environment Facility and novel mechanisms such as payments for wetland ecosystem services;
  • ensure that gender equality is taken into account in sustainable wetland management strategies;

8. ESPECIALLY URGES Parties in Africa to implement Programme Area 2, on wetlands, of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD); and

9. ENCOURAGES Parties to work with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs, the Ramsar International Organization Partners, national and international NGOs and others to:

  • undertake assessments of the economic, social, cultural and livelihood values of individual wetlands and wetlands in general and the services they deliver, with a view to enhancing sustainable livelihoods utilizing a wise use approach; and
  • build capacity within communities and relevant advisory services to enhance the empowerment of communities in relation to activities designed to increase food security, diversify economies, and add value to wetland products.

Annex of case studies

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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