Address by the Secretary General to the Carpathian Convention


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High-level segment of the First meeting of the Carpathian Convention

Kyiv, Ukraine, 13 December 2006

Mr. President,

About a month ago in Evian, France, a small group met to discuss advancing a wetlands conservation and wise use initiative under the Ramsar convention for countries in the Carpathian region. This meeting, held as part of the increasing focus of the Ramsar Convention on regional implementation was very successful. Because not only did we have a plan for implementing the Ramsar Convention in the Carpathians, we agreed to develop a Memorandum of Co-operation with your convention, which be signed shortly.

Mr. President,

Although the Ramsar convention is in its 35th year - and you are just starting - I believe the ways in which you are now developing is an excellent pointer to our developing partnership.

Since its inception in 1971, the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) has provided the single most important intergovernmental forum on wetland conservation issues. According to the Convention's mission statement, the Contracting Parties agree to "the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world".

The Convention is founded on three pillars of:

  • promoting wise use of wetlands,
  • developing international cooperation, and
  • developing a network of Wetland sites of International Importance.

The conservation and wise management of wetlands through the designation of wetlands for the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, especially the obligation to maintain the ecological character of designated sites, deserves special recognition. This obligation recognizes the importance of wetlands for the maintenance of healthy and productive inland freshwater and coastal systems. In the context of water and wetlands, the Convention on Wetlands thus addresses issues which guide its Contracting Parties on ways to achieve sustainable development.

The Convention on Wetlands and the Carpathian Convention recognize the fundamental role played by wetlands in regulating and providing water, in supporting maintenance of cultural and biological diversity, in ensuring high ecosystem productivity, and in providing services and benefits for people and the planet.

Therefore, it is excellent that we can implement together, under our joint umbrellas, a set of issues, which include;

  • provision of better Information on wetland ecosystems
  • examining the desirability of Designation of additional Wetlands of International Importance
  • Importantly, Integrating wetlands into river basin management And focusing on Wetland restoration
  • Capacity building and public awareness
  • And, in this region especially, examining transboundary wetland ecosystems and possibilities for their joint management.

So, Mr. President,

We look forward immensely to this cooperation in an area of important biological diversity, also enriched with human culture.
And using our joint work here to encourage other areas in the world to be as advanced and forward thinking as the countries of the Carpathians.

Thank you Mr. President

-- Peter Bridgewater
Secretary General
Ramsar Convention

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