Ramsar Regional Meeting for Africa

Africa unites for COP9…

African countries meet in Arusha for the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 9th Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention.

Arusha (Tanzania), 6/04/05 (Ramsar Convention Secretariat): More than 150 delegates from African countries and representatives from national and international organisations are meeting in Arusha (Tanzania) to prepare the African participation at Ramsar's 9th Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP9), to be held in Kampala (Uganda) next November.

During the first morning of the meeting, participants were briefed on the latest developments of the Convention and the preparations for COP9. After a cultural performance of songs and dancing by the school children from the Malagarasi-Muyovozi Ramsar site (Tanzania) and welcoming addresses from local and national authorities, the Ghana representative to Ramsar's Standing Committee, Mr. Yaw Ofori-Frimpong, as well as the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Hon. Zakia Hamdani Meghji (MP), in her speech read on her behalf by the Regional Commissioner for the Arusha region, Mr. Mohamed Babu, stressed the need to raise more funds for the coming COP9 and more generally for the operationalisation of the Convention in Africa. The minister invited the other African countries to join efforts to support Uganda in organising a successful Conference of the Parties. The Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, Peter Bridgewater, explained the latest developments of the Convention, through the decisions adopted by the Standing Committee some weeks ago, and highlighted the need to work on a clear and realistic budget for the Convention, to be approved at COP9, in order to be able to build upon the work done until now and go forward in implementing the main theme for COP9: Water and wetlands, supporting life, sustaining livelihoods.

Participants also analysed the problems and challenges they face when implementing the Ramsar Convention in Africa. Again, the lack of resources was highlighted as a major issue for wetland conservation in Africa. The Ramsar Secretariat also asked the participants for their active participation in Convention issues, particularly in the Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programme and the National Reports process.

In a special session, several case studies from different countries were presented to focus the discussion on wisely managing wetlands to alleviate poverty and promote human well-being. Again, the major role played by COP9 in raising awareness on this issue and the different initiatives being developed on the African continent were highlighted.

Pictures of the meeting available.
Please contact: Sebastiá Semene Guitart, ssg@ramsar.org.

Opening ceremonies, 4 April

Schoolchildren from the Malagarasi-Muyovozi Ramsar site

Portia Segomelo, Okavango Delta Management Plan Project

Abou Bamba and Sandra Hails, Ramsar Secretariat

Field excursion to Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks, 5 April

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