Speke Resort, Munyonyo, confirmed as Ramsar COP9 venue


Press Release

Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, 15 July 2005

The Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention Dr. Peter Bridgewater and the Minister for Water, Lands and Environment of the Republic of Uganda Hon. Major General Kahinda Otafiire, will today sign a joint declaration confirming the final preparations for Uganda to host the 9th meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention, Ramsar COP9 scheduled take place from 8-15 November 2005.

The ceremony is to take place at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, the venue selected to host this auspicious occasion, the first of its kind in Africa. The ceremony will be witnessed by the sector Ministers of State as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment, who is also the Chair of the National Organizing Committee for COP9.

The theme of this 9th Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP9) is "Wetlands and water: supporting life, sustaining livelihoods". This theme will focus on issues of how wise use of wetlands can really help in the general discussions on sustainable development. A particular focus is how, over the next decade (the international decade of Water) the policies and procedures agreed under the Ramsar convention can have wide applicability. COP9 will also take place two months after the 5+ Millennium UN General Assembly and will be a timely opportunity to discuss how the Ramsar Convention can contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Holding COP9 in Uganda will also allow the participants to witness one of the best schemes for wetland management on the African continent.

The conference is expected to last for 8 days and attract around 800 participants from around the world. It will comprise plenary sessions, technical sessions, field excursions, exhibitions as well as side events. The COP will also provide an opportunity for regional meetings.

The main outcome of the Conference will be a changed global approach to managing wetlands for biodiversity, people and water. In particular COP9 will adopt:

  • Guidelines for the conservation and wise of wetlands and;
  • A Kampala declaration outlining the commitment by parties to implementing the Ramsar Convention obligations and recommendations.

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2003, the Government of Uganda and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat have worked tirelessly to put in place the necessary logistics to ensure a successful and memorable event come November 2005.

This joint declaration and signing of the venue agreement marks the final stages in the preparations for COP9 and is a further sign of the commitment that the two parties have made to ensure a successful event.

The Convention on Wetlands (globally known as the Ramsar Convention) was signed in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971. It is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international co-operation for the conservation and wise use of wetland resources as a means to achieving sustainable development throughout the world.

There are presently 146 Contracting Parties to the Convention. These Parties have designated 1458 sites (totalling almost 125.4 million hectares) for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

The Convention seeks to protect and promote the wise use of the wetland resources of the world. The concept of wise use is central to the Convention, where wetlands resources are used by communities and the society at large, without disrupting the ecological processes of these most productive ecosystems.

Maj. General Kahinda Otafiire
Minister for Water Lands and Environment
Dr. Peter Bridgewater
Secretary General

(from left) Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General; Maj General Otafire, Minister for Water, Lands and Environment; and Lt General Odongojeje, Minister of State for Environment

Paul Mafabi, head of Uganda's Wetlands Inspection Division and Chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee Subgroup on COP9

Journalists at the signing event

For further information contact:

Ramsar COP9 Secretariat
Wetland Inspection Division
Ministry of Water Lands and Environment
P.O.Box 9629
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 41 254706
Fax: +256 41 348772
E-mail: mail@ugandawetlands.org
Website: www.ugandawetlands.org
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Rue Maurveney 28
Gland, Switzerland
Tel: 41 22 999 0170
Fax: 41 22 999 0169
E-mail: ramsar@ramsar.org
Website: www.ramsar.org

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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