Ramsar statement to AEWA's 3rd Meeting of the Parties, October 2005



Delivered on behalf of the Convention by Switzerland.

Mr. President,
Fellow delegates.

It is with pleasure that Switzerland provides a statement on behalf of the Ramsar Convention, the Secretariat of which Switzerland is pleased to host. The Ramsar convention will be holding its ninth COP in just 2 weeks, on this Continent, in the city of Kampala.

The theme of that COP is Wetlands and Water: supporting life, sustaining livelihoods. Discussions will focus on wetlands; their role in helping us reduce poverty, and in making available quality drinking water for all. In this respect the Conference is a contribution to ensuring the Millennium Development Goals, and especially Goal 7, Ensuring environmental sustainability, can be achieved.

The COP is also set at a time in which the world has seen a set of unprecedented natural disasters involving wetlands and water, culminating in the current global anxieties about the potential for Avian Influenza virus to affect the human species. Wise management of wetlands, and their dependant species, is key to ensuring human and environmental security, as well as ensuring human well-being. The resolution before the MoP on Climate change is one of significance, which I am sure will have resonance at the Ramsar COP.

Here is where we link with the concerns of this MoP. For Ramsar is about wise use and the conservation of all wetlands in the territory of our contracting Parties, and these wetlands form the basic ecosystems for nurturing migratory birds, among other key species. We note the draft resolution on increasing support for determining the Waterbird population estimates, and will be pleased to work as human and financial resources allow towards this end.

We have thus a common cause, site conservation through Ramsar, and focus on the plight of species in the case of AEWA. Both this Agreement and the Ramsar Convention have much to contribute to ensuring a sustainable future for people, in which human security is seen as closely linked to environmental security. And this means conservation for other species, as well as promoting a more sustainable and equitable earth for people.

The Ramsar COP will be examining, inter alia, how wetlands are linked to other wetlands, either remotely through movements of migratory species, or directly through local hydrology. The former point again is an area where of joint programme of work will be important in delivering outcomes needed by Parties to the Agreement and the Convention.

Wetlands are linked by water flows, above and below ground, and this points to the need for integrated management - another area of concern in our COP discussions. In this way we will focus on wetlands, not as isolated features in the land or sea scape, but as key elements in a functioning matrix of ecosystems.

Crucial in understanding these aspects of wetland ecology is relating people and their actions and activities to the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Through beneficial actions by people we can ensure a continued delivery of ecosystem services, which in turn will ensure the continuity of Biodiversity. We will, through these actions, both be making an important contribution to achieving the 2010 target for a reduction in biodiversity loss.

Mr President, after this MoP has finished its work, and the Ramsar COP has concluded in Kampala, it is intended that the Secretariats of the agreement and the Convention review the joint programme of work, and set new, achievable joint objectives for the next triennium. In this way we will continue to foster real synergies between us, for the benefit of wetlands and their dependant avifauna.

We also note the emphasis on improving and simplifying national reporting, and will take the results of the MoP discussions into consideration when the Ramsar COP debates the same issues in Kampala. It seems it is time to make things simpler, so we can understand more clearly complicated issues.

Mr President, on behalf of the Ramsar Convention, we wish you a most productive and fruitful MoP, and look forward to seeing the outcomes, and of course continuing our work together in the future.

Thank you Mr President.

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