The Convention’s CEPA Programme

Ramsar's CEPA Programme - latest developments

[Ed: The message below was sent to all CEPA List members in late June 2002, explaining the development of a new CEPA Resolution and annexed guidelines being prepared for COP8, in Valencia, November 2002.]

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Greetings CEPA List members:

As I’m sure you are all aware, members of this e-list include the Ramsar CEPA Focal Points for our Contracting Parties to the Convention as well as many others with an interest in wetland communication, education and public awareness (CEPA). As the Focal Points know, the CEPA work of the Convention is directed by Resolution VII.9 adopted in 1999, which has the rather long title "The Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002: Actions to promote communication, education and public awareness to support implementation of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)" (see

The title should alert you to the fact that the Resolution covers the period 2000-2002, and, thus, is effectively coming to the end of its life. This brings me to the main purpose in this e-mail: to report briefly on how a group of dedicated CEPA people has set the ball rolling to ensure the future of the programme and how the CEPA Focal Points can all be involved in the next steps.

Beginning in November 2001 a group, including some of you CEPA Focal Points, began exchanging e-mails to discuss just where the programme should be heading in the next triennium and beyond. What had worked well in the last Outreach Programme, what hadn’t, and how could it be improved to make it a more powerful Ramsar programme? Once they had drawn together some ideas, the project was further elaborated by a much larger group (which I call the Ad Hoc group) that included representatives from the whole Ramsar constituency - CEPA Focal Points from all the regions, other Ramsar Administrative Authority staff, Ramsar’s International Organisation Partners and other international organisations, Conventions and CEPA experts. They exchanged e-mails from mid-April through to early June

Finally, a small number of members of the Ad Hoc group were able to meet in Gland from June 10-11 to thrash out some clear ideas for a "new" CEPA draft Resolution and guidelines that could be submitted by Contracting Parties within the deadline of 18 September 2002 for consideration by Ramsar COP8 next November, in Valencia, Spain. Our Ramsar Webmaster, Dwight Peck, has immortalised their efforts on our Web site at You can see here the list of members of the full Ad Hoc group as well as the sub-group that were able to attend the meeting in Gland.

Where to from here? The new draft Resolution is being drafted by Bill Phillips (former Deputy Secretary General of Ramsar and responsible for the preparation of the Outreach Programme adopted by COP7 in 1999) following the deliberations of the Ad Hoc group and the outcome of the meeting in Gland. The draft prepared by Bill will be thoroughly reviewed by the Ad Hoc group. At this point I will send out the draft document to all the CEPA Focal Points for their input. Taking account of the general consensus from these comments (Ad Hoc group and all Focal Points), a final draft will then go to the sponsoring Contracting Parties who will submit it to COP8 by the 18th September deadline.

There are two further opportunities for Focal Points to consider the draft:

(1) CEPA Focal Points may be able to attend the pre-COP Global Biodiversity Forum (GBF) in Valencia on 15-17 November, which will include a Workshop to discuss the Ramsar CEPA work in general, and in particular the draft Resolution with a view to consider improvements that could be presented during the COP. Details are available on the GBF Website at

Please note that this is a rather abrupt introduction to the pre-COP CEPA Workshop – but I’ll be getting back to everyone on the List with more details on this workshop very soon.

(2) The draft Resolution will be on the Convention’s Web site by mid-September and all CEPA Focal Points will be able to suggest further amendments, if need be, at the COP directly through their delegations.

My apologies for this rather dense e-mail but I hope it has brought everyone up-to-date with the Convention's Outreach Programme.

With best wishes, Sandra Hails, Ramsar Bureau

[Sent on 18 June (English), 20th June (Spanish) and 27th June (French) to the Ramsar CEPA e-lists]

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