News from the 3rd Pan-American regional meeting, Mexico

09/11/2004


Ramsar sets targets in Mexico…

Reported by Sebastià Semene Guitart, Ramsar Secretariat - 7 November, 2004

The Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, His Exc. Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez, the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, Mr. Peter Bridgewater, and the Director General of the Canadian Wildlife Service and Chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee's subgroup on finance, Mr. Trevor Swerdfager, opened this morning the 3rd Pan-American Regional meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

His Exc. Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico.

Speaking in the name of President Vicente Fox, Minister Cárdenas reiterated the importance of the conservation of wetlands and water resources in Mexico's political agenda, already demonstrated last February with the designation of 34 Ramsar sites for World Wetlands Day 2004. "Conserving and using wetlands in a sustainable way is very important at the regional scale and fundamental to recover the environmental health of our planet", said Cárdenas, while highlighting the need for an integrated approach in managing water resources at the river basins scale "taking into account the social perspective and the search for a sustainable human development, which is everyone's responsibility".

After a few introductory and welcoming words, Trevor Swerdfager highlighted the necessity to work together at the regional scale, to conserve wetlands, identifying common goals and objectives: "despite the vast number of factors that set us apart, like our cultures, the diversity of ecosystems from Alaska to the southernmost point in Argentina, there is much that brings us together. We share a common tie to nature. Together we are the custodians of the Earth's biodiversity, its water, its wildlife and its wetlands. Its state affects us all and we know that only together can we effectively protect it". Swerdfager also indicated that there was no need anymore to talk about the importance of wetlands as "the governments and citizens are increasingly aware of their incredible value; a value difficult if not impossible to overstate".

Peter Bridgewater explained the latest developments of the Ramsar Convention concerning the aspects of new accessions, outreach and communications, and introduced the main issues to be discussed for the upcoming Conference of the Parties, in November 2005 (Kampala, Uganda), as well as the need to broaden the scope of the Convention to the global discussions of water management.

After Mr. Patricio José Patrón Laviada, Constitutional Governor of the State of Yucatan, declared the 3rd Pan-American regional meeting opened, Margarita Astrálaga, Ramsar's Regional Advisor for the Americas, presented the regional issues to be discussed as well as the main achievements and challenges for the region.

Sr. Patricio José Patrón Laviada, Constitutional Governor of the State of Yucatan, receiving a certificate from Mr Peter Bridgewater, Ramsar's Secretary General, for one of Mexico's recently designated Ramsar sites.
Ramsar's Senior Regional Advisor for the Americas, Ms Margarita Astrálaga, addressing the meeting.
   
Mr Trevor Swerdfager, Director General of the Canadian Wildlife Service and Chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee's subgroup on Finance, addressing the meeting.
Ms Christine Sutherland of Jamaica presenting Peter Bridgewater with a set of recently produced national postage stamps featuring Jamaica's Ramsar site. Full story here.
   
Sr Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich, President of the National Commission on Protected Areas (CONANP), and Mr Peter Bridgewater, speaking with the press.
 
Dr Herb Raffaele, Chief, Division of of International Cooperation, US Fish & Wildlife Service, addressing the meeting. On his left, Dr Peter Bridgewater, SR Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich, and Mr Trevor Swerdfager.

The first discussions also started this morning with a brief presentation of the current status of the Convention budget and a summary of the results from the survey performed as a follow-up to COP8 Resolution 45 on the Operation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties and effectiveness of Ramsar resolutions and recommendations.

In the afternoon, the delegates broke into subregional groups to discuss the implementation of the Convention in the Caribbean Central and North America region and in South America.

The first day of the 3rd Pan-American regional meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention ended with an official welcome reception offered by the Municipality of Merida.

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