NorBalWet CEPA Focal Points meet in Helsinki, Finland from 23-26 January


Representatives from eight of the nine member countries of the NorBalWet Ramsar Regional Initiative worked together for three days to improve planning skills through hands-on activities. Participants used several tools in planning three key CEPA activities which will help implement the initiative’s agreed priority areas of cooperation. These areas included: (i) development of a wetland centre network; (ii) joint-planning of World Wetlands Day (WWD); and (iii) the development of the NorBalWet web site. Some time was also dedicated to looking at national CEPA planning under the Ramsar Convention’s CEPA Programme through presentations from Norway and Finland on their experiences at this level of planning. During the workshop also sharing of experiences on World Wetlands Day activities and development of educational materials for schools was high on the agenda.

With most of the CEPA Focal Points present this was an ideal opportunity to build a practical working relationship and thus achieve a balance between national realities and the Initiative’s aspirations in implementing the current priorities for cooperation. In working on the 3 key focus areas the participants made use of commonly used CEPA tools to e.g. identify stakeholders, select key steps in planning as well as tools to prioritize key targets for the various NorBalWet activities and products. Results of the workshop will be going forward to the next meeting of the Initiative’s Coordination Group for information and in some cases approval. In the coming months the participants expect to move forward with further development of these key areas both within each member country and collectively as NorBalWet’s
CEPA team.

What’s next?

Ramsar's panel exhibition in Finnish & Swedish welcomed the participants
In September this year a second workshop is planned to take these projects forward and, if time permits, to consider other priority areas requiring CEPA interventions. The participants also agreed on some key areas in developing CEPA skills that could be addressed at this workshop (such as involving and motivating stakeholders; effective branding of NorBalWet; experiences from WWD 2012 to help plan WWD 2013).

This workshop and the follow-up in September are funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The present workshop was meticulously organized by the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Finland, Metsähallitus - Nature Heritage Services, through the tireless efforts of Tiina Niikkonen and Sari Airas, and it was facilitated by Esther Koopmanschap (Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR, The Netherlands) with assistance from Sandra Hails, Ramsar Secretariat.

Reported by Sandra Hails
Photos by Inge Thaulof and Sandra Hails

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