Ramsar at CSD-13, April 2005


CSD side event on ecosystems and water

The thirteenth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13) is taking place from 11 to 22 April 2005 at the UN headquarters in New York, USA. The discussions are focusing on "policies and options to expedite implementation of commitments in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements, as contained in Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Declaration".

The Ramsar Convention is present at CSD-13, and the theme of this year's meeting, "Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements", makes Ramsar's participation particularly relevant to the debates. In addition to the official discussions, Ramsar is also involved in several side events and Learning Center sessions.

Can ecosystems help to save the world's water?

The first of these was held yesterday, in collaboration with the Swiss Confederation and the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. In an event moderated by Sibylle Vermont (right) from the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape, Dr. Heather MacKay, Research Manager and Head of Water and the Environment, Water Research Commission of South Africa, and Vice-Chair of Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), presented the Convention's framework on water resource management, while Reiner Enderlein, Secretary of the UNECE Convention, introduced the concept of "nature for water". Both presentations were targeted to demonstrate the importance of ecosystems in enabling water resource management, answering the event's title question: "Can ecosystems help to save the world's water?".

The presentations were followed by an extensive debate, mainly focused on Ramsar and the role of the Convention in different aspects of water management. About 70 persons attended the event.

Ramsar will next be involved in a training session at CSD13 Learning Center, on Monday 18th, in collaboration with RIZA and the Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE) and with the participation of the Ramsar Training Center for the Americas.

Heather MacKay

Reiner Enderlein

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