Africa Regional Meeting on Ramsar COP9

13/04/2005

Arusha Call for African Wetlands



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Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting for Ramsar COP9
Arusha, Tanzania, 4-8 April 2005

 

 

 

The Arusha Call for African Wetlands

We, Heads and Members of Delegations from the Africa Region, meeting at the Ramsar Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting for COP9 in Arusha, Tanzania, from 4-8 April 2005,

UNDERSTANDING the strong links that exist between wetlands and water, and the positive contributions of the wise use of wetlands and appropriate water management with poverty reduction;

RECALLING the United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted on 8 September 2000 and the commitments to assist African countries to promote sustainable development;

ACKNOWLEDGING the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) by the African Union in 2002 as the programme for sustainable social and economic development in Africa and RECALLING resolution VIII.44 of the Ramsar COP8 on the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Africa and NEPAD;

NOTING the problems in funding, capacity building, coordination, information, education and training faced by the Parties in implementing the Ramsar Convention, but WELCOMING the implementation of the capacity building programme of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD as well as the implementation of the Bali Strategic Plan on technology support and capacity building in Africa while taking advantage of opportunities and planned initiatives offered by the international decade of education for sustainable development;

NOTING however the weaknesses apparent in the capacity to implement the Convention in Africa;

NOTING also the crucial roles of national, sub-regional and regional bodies as well as development partners such as the Ramsar International Organizations Partners (IOPs) in the implementation of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD; and

RECALLING also Resolution VIII.40 of Ramsar COP8 on regional initiatives;

Hereby declare our resolve to:

1. RECOMMIT ourselves to ensuring a successful implementation of the Ramsar Convention and of the wetlands component of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD and request and urge African Governments to ensure sustained implementation of the wetlands component of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD;

2. URGE the Ramsar Secretariat to have a clear vision and strategy on wetlands management and poverty reduction in Africa and SUPPORT the preparation of a resolution on this issue for COP9;

3. ALSO URGE the Ramsar Secretariat to develop working relationships with the Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS, AMU, SADC, EAC, ECCAS and IOC) and the Regional River Basins Authorities to facilitate the implementation of the Convention in the region;

4. REQUEST the Ramsar Secretariat to liaise with the IOPs and development partners to develop and facilitate a training and capacity building program for African countries to reduce the gaps that exist between developed nations and African countries in the implementation of the Convention;

5. URGE the Ramsar Secretariat to liaise with UNEP to make sure that wetlands issues are included in the capacity building programme of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD as well as the implementation of the Bali Strategic Plan on Technology support and capacity building in Africa;

6. ENCOURAGE the development of a more formal working relationship between the Ramsar Secretariat and NEPAD Environment (SINEPAD) Secretariat and the Government of Zambia as Programme Area Coordinator for Wetlands;

7. SUPPORT the sub-regional Ramsar Initiatives for the Lake Chad Basin (ChadWet) and for the Niger Basin (NigerWet) to be presented for endorsement by Ramsar COP9;

8. ENCOURAGE the development of a more formal working relationship between the Ramsar Secretariat and the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW);

9. URGE the integration of the objectives of wetlands components of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD into national and sub-regional development plans and strategies, including those of the Regional Economic Communities and those developed in the context of the Cotonou Agreement, taking into account the requirements of Article 32 on environment and natural resources;

10. ACKNOWLEDGE the important contribution that the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) can make to wetlands conservation and request all African countries and partners to support the implementation conference on the invasive alien species programme of the NEPAD environment action plan that South Africa intends to host in June 2005;

11. REAFFIRM that the international support for the implementation of the wetlands component of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD is essential and urge the Ramsar Secretariat and its IOPs to liaise with the existing funding institutions such as the GEF to identify sustainable funding mechanisms for the implementation of the Convention in Africa;

12. CALL upon the EU-ACP Joint Assembly and ACP Secretariat to support the implementation of the wetlands component of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD, in the light of the recently adopted resolution concerning sustainable management and conservation of natural resources in ACP countries;

13. CALL upon the Commission for Africa, which is being spearheaded by the United Kingdom, and similar bodies to support the implementation of the wetlands component of the action plan for the environment initiative of NEPAD; and

14. EXPRESS our gratitude to H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and to the Government and people of the United Republic of Tanzania for hosting the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting for COP9.

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