Preparatory meeting on Ramsar and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

17/03/2004

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment "Ramsar Synthesis Report" preparatory meeting

Bali, Indonesia, 8-10 March 2004

Background

The Ramsar Convention has been recognized as a key user of the information prepared by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), and Contracting Parties to the Convention have welcomed the MA's work. Representatives of the Convention (Standing Committee, STRP, Secretariat) contribute to guiding and implementing the MA's work, through membership of its Board and Executive Committee, participating in its design process and acting as lead authors on some of its chapters.

In order to ensure good access of Ramsar Parties, and all those involved in the conservation and wise use of wetlands, to the key findings of the MA, the MA is preparing a "Ramsar Synthesis Report" which will draw out and summarise relevant information contained in the full MA assessment reports (23 ecosystem and service-based chapters on Conditions and Trends; Scenarios, Response Options, and Sub-global Assessments; and the MA's first publication on Ecosystems and Human Well-being). This is one of a series of synthesis reports being prepared by MA for specific audiences (i.e., CBD, UNCCD, and the private sector).

The Ramsar Synthesis Report is being prepared during 2004 by a small team co-led by Max Finlayson (STRP Chair, MA Board member, and co-lead on the inland waters Conditions and Trends chapter) and Rebecca D'Cruz (former Bureau Regional Coordinator for Asia and co-lead on the inland waters Conditions and Trends chapter). The full team, which will comprise about 10 members and include some of the lead authors of the relevant MA chapters, will meet to prepare a full draft of the Synthesis Report in mid-July 2004, before it is reviewed by both the MA Board and the Ramsar STRP.

Meeting purpose

This Bali pre-meeting of a core group of the Ramsar Synthesis Team (co-leads Max Finlayson and Rebecca D'Cruz and Ramsar Secretariat representative Nick Davidson) met to:

  • review and further develop the provisional structure and content of the Synthesis Report outline, which in turn had been in part developed from the user needs earlier transmitted to the MA by the Convention, and address a number if issues concerning the approach to the synthesis report raised in a discussion paper prepared by David Pritchard and Nick Davidson in February 2004; and
  • review and extract Ramsar-relevant information from the full suite of first draft MA Chapters to create a 'zero-order' synthesis draft, to provide the basis from which the full synthesis team will work at its July meeting.

Importantly, this second element of the pre-meeting work also permitted the core team to make an assessment of the extent to which each MA chapter has included, as requested, relevant information for Ramsar, and to start to identify gaps and inconsistencies which need to be addressed by chapter authors in further revisions to their chapters.

Costs of the meeting were covered by the MA.

Outputs and findings

A preliminary working draft of the introductory sections of the synthesis report was prepared during the Bali meeting. This covers the background to the Convention and to the MA and its products, the purpose of the synthesis report, and an explanation of the relationships between the MA Conceptual Framework (which has already been recognized by Ramsar's STRP as a valuable conceptual tool for the Convention), wise use, the ecosystem approach and sustainable use. This material will also contribute to the task in the STRP's Working Group 2 work plan concerning updating the Convention's Wise Use guidance.

We also began compilation of Conditions and Trends and Response Option material from the various chapters of the main reports, focusing on inland waters, coastal, marine and freshwater chapters as our primary sources, but also looking for material in other ecosystem chapters. The core team will over the next few weeks be doing further work to extract and then condense such material from these other chapters.

-- reported by Nick Davidson,
Deputy Secretary General.

Rebecca D'Cruz and Max Finlayson, Bali, March 2004

Rebecca D'Cruz and Nick Davidson

Rice paddies viewed from the hotel

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