Planning for Ramsar in west and central Asia
2nd meeting of the Collaborative Management Board of theRamsar Regional Centre – Central and West Asia
The Ramsar Regional Centre – Central and West Asia (RRC) was established to enhance the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Central and West Asia through training, research, advocacy and public awareness programmes. On 6th and 7th January 2010, the RRC held its 2nd Collaborative Management Board meeting to review the Centre’s work over the past couple of years and to develop a plan of action for 2010. The meeting was supported by the RRC and the Department of Environment (DOE), I.R. Iran, and brought together some 20 Board members and representatives of observer organizations.
At the start of the meeting, Dr. Sadough (Deputy head, Natural Environment and Biodiversity Division, DOE) and Mr. Moghads (Deputy, Mazandaran Provincial Department of Natural Environment) addressed the diversity and importance of the wetlands in Iran at the national and provincial levels respectively, as well as the government’s commitment in implementing the Ramsar Convention both within the country but also regionally, through providing funds to cover many of the activities of the RRC. The speakers also reported that the government has started construction of a training centre for the RRC in the coastal city of Ramsar, where its offices will be located and also where their activities can be conducted.
Mr. Tofigh Sedigh Mostahkam (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the Ramsar National Focal Point in the I.R Iran, was the Chair for the meeting which began with the RRC Centre Director, Ms. Yasaman Rajbakhah, providing an introduction to the background of the RRC and its strategic plan for 2009-2011. The meeting then heard presentations from the Board members and observers on the issues facing the countries in Central and West Asia in implementing the Convention, as well as suggestions for how the RRC can assist in promoting the Convention in those regions in the near future. These presentations were from international and regional organizations such as the office in Uzbekistan of the Interstate Sustainable Development Committee (representing the Central Asian countries), the Ramsar Secretariat, the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME), UNEP and UNDP, as well as from international NGOs such as BirdLife International – Middle East Division, IUCN – West Asia/Middle East Regional Office, and Wetlands International – Russian Programme. A representative from the government of Lebanon had been invited to the meeting in order to represent the West Asian countries but due to last minute issues, he was not able to come and so the views of the West Asia region were presented by the Ramsar Secretariat.
After the initial presentations, the participants then divided into two regional groups to discuss the specific issues facing the Ramsar Contracting Parties in Central and West Asia respectively, and to provide suggestions for activities that the RRC can conduct in 2010 to provide support for those Parties in implementing the Convention. These suggestions were then developed into a programme of works for 2010 and included:
- Conducting two to three workshops in the regions themselves on a variety of topics. These include regional capacity building workshops on the implementation of the Ramsar Convention; workshop on best practices in the management of Ramsar sites; and CEPA workshop for Ramsar CEPA National Focal Points from Central Asia;
- Translating two of the Ramsar Wise Use Handbooks into Arabic and Russian;
- Promoting greater membership in the Convention in the region through holding workshops in non-Contracting Parties countries; and
- Maintaining the RRC’s website and producing regular updates on the activities of the RRC and Ramsar Contracting Parties in the region.
A detailed report from the Collaborative Board Meeting will soon be distributed to the Ramsar Contracting Parties in Central and West Asia by the RRC.
Photograph of the main group at the opening of the CMB meeting
Dr. Masoud Karimi (Wetland Expert, Department of Environment), Dr. Sadough (Deputy head, Natural Environment and Biodiversity Division, DoE) and Mr. Abdoos (General Director of Habitat and Protected Areas, DoE)
Ms. Mehri Asnaashari, Ms. Ati Anbarsouz, Mr. Ibrahim Al Khader, Ms. Yasaman Rajabkhah, Mr. Lew Young, Mr. Nodirjon Yunusov, Dr. Alexander Solokha, Mr. Saeid Ferdowsi, Dr. Asghar M. Fazel and Mr. Tofigh Sedigh Mostahkam (Chair)
Board members attending a dinner hosted by the Department of Environment
Field visit to the Varjin Protected Area just outside Tehran to see Alborz Red Sheep