4th meeting of the Himalayan Wetlands Forum -- report and conclusions
Fourth meeting of the Himalayan High Altitude Wetlands Forum
"Capacity building for high altitude wetlands conservation and management"
New Delhi, India, 27-29 June 2006
Conclusions and Recommendations
Ramsar focal points/ Site managers from Govt. of India, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz republic, representatives of various International/Regional organizations including ICIMOD, WWF, Wetlands International, IUCN and representative from Ramsar Secretariat participated in the meeting.
1. REVIEWING the progress of the forum since its inception in 2002, the group DECIDED after deliberations that it should be pursued, and AGREED on specific commitments from all the participating countries /International organizations (listed in Preliminary draft Action Framework: Annex 1),
2. APPRECIATING the progress made so far by several Himalayan countries towards identification and designation of new Ramsar sites, the forum URGED all participating countries to progress faster towards meeting the specific target of "more that 200 sites in the region of international importance for their biodiversity and cultural significance, to become Ramsar Sites or UNESCO World Heritage Sites" as stated in the Urumqi Call for the Conservation of High Altitude Wetlands, Lakes and Catchments in the Himalayan region (Urumqi, China, 8th August 2002).
3. RECOGNIZING the threat of climate change and its impact on High Altitude Wetlands, the forum DECIDED to improve its understanding on these issues, AGREED to explore possibilities of wider collaboration in the field of adaptation strategies, and ALSO AGREED to explore the development of a specific tool which could facilitate monitoring and evaluation of climate change impacts on Ramsar Sites and other wetlands.
4. RECOGNIZING also other existing threats to High Altitude Wetlands caused by unsustainable use and development pressures, the forum DECIDED to maintain a special focus on conservation and management issues associated with grazing, tourism, etc.
5. RECOGNIZING the urgent need for capacity building of High Altitude Wetlands managers for improving conservation of these fragile ecosystems through training, sharing of experience and resource material production, the forum URGED all Governments, regional and International institutions to increase their cooperation towards this objective as highlighted in the annexed Preliminary draft Action Framework.
6. INVITED countries who could not attend the Fourth meeting of the Himalayan High Altitude Wetlands forum to ensure their participation to its next meeting, and DECIDED to request their contribution for inclusion in the Preliminary draft Action Framework adopted in New Delhi within one month from the end of that meeting.
7. URGED the Government of Bhutan to accelerate their accession process to the Convention on Wetlands, so that all Himalayan countries will be Contracting Parties by Ramsar COP10 (Changwong, South Korea, 28th October-4th November 2008)
8. RECOGNIZED the need for Governments of the region to pursue, and to further enhance their support to the regional /international cooperation for High Altitude Wetlands.
9. REQUESTED the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) to include a presentation on the objectives and progress of the forum on Himalayan High Altitude Wetlands at the agenda of the 36th ICIMOD Board of Governors meeting (planned in November 2006 in Pakistan).
10. REQUESTED all concerned countries /International organizations to urgently meet the objectives listed in the annexed Preliminary draft Action Framework, and INVITED them to report on their progress at the next meeting of the Himalayan High Altitude Wetlands forum
11. WELCOMED and thanked the Government of Kyrgyz Republic for their invitation to host the next meeting of the Himalayan High Altitude Wetlands forum in their country.
12. WARMLY THANKED the Government of India and WWF-India for hosting and organizing this 4th meeting of the forum in Delhi, EXPRESSED THEIR GRATITUDE to the Danone/Evian Fund for Ramsar and to WWF International for jointly supporting it, and COMMENDED the participating countries, international/regional organizations, the wetlands managers and the Ramsar Secretariat for their active and precious contribution to its success..
Done in New Delhi /India
29th June, 2006