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News from Ramsar... at last (18/11/08)
First my apologies for such a long silence but I have only just returned to the office after COP10 and after enjoying a short break to ‘recover’ from the demands of the COP. I had intended to deliver some COP news directly from the COP but failed with so many other demands on my time. Luckily, my colleague Dwight Peck efficiently produced some news items on our web site in the early days of the COP and another as a follow-up after the COP. Look here for some news and excellent photos caxref:2061 (scroll down for news direct from the COP with photos of the COP venue and COP events).
Now I will try to catch up and bring you several items of COP news more directly related to CEPA.
1. Our new CEPA Programme for the Convention was adopted with only very minor changes. We don’t yet have any of the final version of the Resolutions ready (key staff still trying to recover from the demands of the COP!) but the CEPA Resolution is not significantly different from the draft version (DR 8) still on our web site here http://www.ramsar.org/cop10/cop10_docs_index_e.htm#dr. The final adopted version won’t be ready for a couple of weeks.
2. During the COP, and with the invaluable assistance of Chris Prietto, Australia’s NGO CEPA Focal Point and CEPA expert on our scientific and technical panel, I ran a side event on our new CEPA tool A Guide to Participatory Action Planning and Techniques for Facilitating Groups. We launched and showcased this new CEPA tool, developed for the Convention by IUCNs Commission on Education and Communication. Participants were actively involved in using one of the recommended participatory tools. Since this was an interactive side event we limited the number of participants to 40 and each of them left with a CD with the new guide and a commitment to look at the guide and hopefully put it into practice. We also agreed on a follow-up email list to gather and exchange comments and experiences on the tool so that it can be further developed. I will be making the guide as it stands now available in English this week to everyone on this list and soon also in French and Spanish.
3. Some of you may be aware that the Secretariat, in collaboration with our Korean COP hosts, launched a Children’s Art Exhibition at the COP with the COP theme of Healthy wetlands, Healthy people. The intention was that each Contracting Party would bring two pieces of artwork to the COP from children in their country as a celebration of our cultural and biological diversity. With 30 Contracting Parties arriving with the paintings it would be easy to be a little disappointed in the response, but they have produced some very beautiful pictures. As agreed, Korea’s Ministry of Environment will be retaining the pictures for use within the country in the future to raise awareness about wetlands and our cultural and biological diversity.
Our thanks to the following countries and their artists for pictures delivered at the COP: Algeria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, P.R. China, El Salvador, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Rep. Of Korea, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Suriname, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America
These were displayed in an exhibition hall open to the general public and the artwork was supplemented by some wonderful artistic creations by Changwon schoolchildren produced as a welcome to countries attending the COP. A range of the pictures and Changwon creations are shown here caxref:2598. For a number of reasons – the situation of the pictures in the hall and the available lighting, as well as the technical limitations of the photographer (!), not all the countries that brought pictures are illustrated here and some of the photos are not of good quality. For this I apologise. I am currently investigating the possibility of a more professional set of photos of the artwork with Korea.
4. I have now been to four COPs, in Costa Rica, Spain, Uganda and now the Republic of Korea. What will I remember most about this one? Many things, but one in particular is uppermost in my mind – the extraordinary efforts made the Ministry of Environment in Seoul, the Changwon City government, and the Gyeongnam Provincial government, to let Korean citizens know about Ramsar, wetlands and the Conference taking place at the CECO Conference and Exhibition Centre in Changwon. I am determined to write an illustrated story about this since it deserves to be recorded. So, another message coming soon, I hope.
With best regards, Sandra Hails, Ramsar Secretariat
Sandra Hails, CEPA Programme Officer
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 999 0176; Fax: +41 22 999 0169
Web Site: http://ramsar.org
CEPA mini-Web site: http://ramsar.org/outreach_index.htm
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