SPREP-Ramsar regional meeting for Oceania 2008

16/05/2008

SPREP
Secretariat of the
Pacific Regional
Environment Programme
PO Box 240, Apia, Samoa
E: sprep@sprep.org
T: +685 21929
F: +685 20231
W: www.sprep.org

SPREP Press Release
  14 May 2008  

Oceania prepares for the Ramsar Convention 10th Conference of the Parties

The relationship between healthy wetlands and healthy communities is a critical issue for the Oceania region.  Pacific communities rely on wetlands for their cultural and physical well being, with wetlands being a main contributor for livelihoods and the standard of living in the region. This was one of the key points raised during a preparatory meeting of Oceania parties to the Ramsar Convention in Samoa on 10-11 April 2008.

The Ramsar Convention promotes the conservation and wise use of the world’s wetlands.  In April, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) hosted a preparatory meeting for the Pacific islands countries and territories that are parties to the Ramsar Convention.

Australia, Fiji, Republic of Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Republic of Palau, Papua New Guinea and Samoa participated discussed national and regional priorities for wetlands conservation in preparation for the Ramsar Convention 10th Conference of the Parties (COP), which will be held in October this year.

“A number of priorities were raised by these countries, they are embodied in a statement of key messages from the meeting,” said SPREP’s Associate Ramsar Officer, Vainuupo Jungblut.

“There were a whole range of issues raised, such as the connectivity between fresh water, estuarine and marine systems and the ridge to reef approach of conservation.” 

Climate change and wetlands is also an issue of concern for the Pacific along with the critical importance of mangroves and coral reefs, which are under constant pressure from development. The Pacific region harbours a quarter of the world’s coral reefs, and during the preparatory meeting participants designated coral reefs as a priority for protection, especially from the impacts of climate change.  Coral reefs are also an important source of livelihoods in the Pacific region.

“The need for adequate funding also emerged as a key message from the meeting, as additional funding is needed in the region to improve the on-the-ground wetland conservation efforts.”

The meeting culminated in a draft statement to be presented to the 37th Ramsar Standing Committee meeting that will be held during the first week of June.  This committee carries out the work of the Convention between the tri-annual Conference of the parties. The draft meeting statement was distributed to regional parties for comment and will be finalised by May 20th.

“We hope to bring the key messages and priorities of our region to the meeting’s attention. While some elements may not be discussed, at least they will be reflected in the record of the meeting for future follow up and will be on the minds of delegates attending the meeting planned before the COP in October.”

For more details please contact SPREP’s Associate Ramsar Officer Vainuupo Jungblut E: vainupooj@sprep.org  F: (685) 20231  T: (685) 21929 W: www.sprep.org

Report of the meeting (PDF)

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