Ramsar and the WTO sign Memo of Cooperation


Ramsar and UN World Tourism Organization sign a Memorandum of Cooperation

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat Secretary General, Anada Tiega, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization's Director of Sustainable Tourism, Luigi Cabrini, on behalf of the Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on the 2nd of February, 2010 during the World Wetlands Week celebration in Victoria, Seychelles.

This MoC, which is comprised of six articles, is articulated around the operational strategic objectives of the two organizations (the text of the MOC is here, PDF).

Article 1 refers to the wise use of wetlands and sustainable tourism, and calls for the collaboration among the two institutions, to reinforce the role of wetlands and their biodiversity ecosystems for sustainable tourism development through demonstration of integrated management approaches at national and global level.

In the same article, the two organizations propose to join hands to support the formulation of guidelines for wise use of wetlands through information sharing, inventories, and developed wetland policies based on sound scientific findings for the promotion of sustainable tourism.

The first activity to implement this article will certainly be to conduct a brief scoping review of needs, options and opportunities for development of advice on scientific and technical aspects of tourism, sustainable tourism, ecotourism and related recreational activities in relation to wetlands, also taking into account the effects of tourism-related hunting and harvesting in wetlands.

The 2nd article of the memorandum focuses on the designation and management of wetlands of international importance for the purpose of sustainable tourism and poverty reduction. The parties will work together on the development of project proposals, within the Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) UNWTO framework and Ramsar COP9 Resolution 14, in designated Ramsar sites where the potential exists.

Finally, the last operational article of this memorandum, which covers the regional and international cooperation component of the agreement, provides the framework for fundraising and information sharing to facilitate implementation. The parties will immediately establish links between their respective web sites.

It is worth noting that the implementation of this agreement has already begun with the successful preparation and fundraising of a project entitled: “development of ornithological tourism for poverty reduction in the W Park Ramsar site”. W Park is a transboundary site which is shared by Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. The following ongoing projects also fall under the MoC with UNWTO: (i) Ecotourism and Namibia’s wetlands and, (ii) Ebogo project in Cameroon.

The three year term MoC with UNWTO was signed under the auspices of the Seychelles Government at the Banyan Tree Hotel in Mahé, Victoria in the Republic of Seychelles. Please see below pictures taken to commemorate this occasion.

-- Abou Bamba, Ramsar

-- photos courtesy of Kevin Erwin

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