Memorandum of Understanding with Eurosite

28/09/1999

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Desertification

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Memorandum of Understanding

between

The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands (adopted at Ramsar, Iran, 1971), hereinafter referred to as the "Ramsar Convention", represented by its Secretary General, Mr Delmar Blasco

and

EUROSITE, the network of European natural heritage management bodies, represented by its President, Mr E. T. Idle


Background

The Convention on Wetlands, adopted in 1971 at Ramsar, Iran, is an intergovernmental treaty for the protection and wise use of wetlands.

Considering the issues at stake and the importance of conserving wetlands, one hundred and sixteen countries have thus far joined the Ramsar Convenfion and have registered more than 1000 sites world-wide on the List of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), including a large number of sites in the European geographical region.

The 6th Session of the Conference of Contracting Parties held in March 1996 in Brisbane, Australia, adopted a Strategic Plan for the period 1997-2002. Among the objectives of the Strategic Plan, one specific field of action deserves particular attention, namely the promotion of wetland management skills and their transfer through bilateral and multilateral technical exchange (Objective 4 of the Strategic Plan).

Eurosite is an international NGO member of IUCN, established on 23 November 1989, whose aims are to provide nature managers with a cooperative structure for bilateral and multilateral scientific and technical exchange, and to identify and disseminate best practices in land and water conservation management. Eurosite comprises more than 70 conservation bodies, most of which manage protected areas inside Ramsar sites in Europe.

Throughout Europe, many bodies share a common day-to-day responsibility: managing wetlands to preserve water resources and biodiversity. Success in this important, yet difficult task depends on the know-how, experience and professional skills of managers. They wish to share their questions, their discoveries and their vision of a brighter future for the exceptional heritage constituted by wetlands.

Since 1998, Eurosite has been involved in a programme of action supported by Groupe Danone and the Société des Eaux d'Evian to protect water resources and quality. Action is aimed at developing two biogeographical networks of twinned Ramsar sites: one covers the deltas of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian seas, the other covers the shores of the Eastern Atlantic. Many of Eurosite's member bodies participate in the work of these networks under the leadership of the Tour du Valat and the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux.

Partnership Programme

The two parties have decided to intensify their partnership through a programme of action of several years’ duration to strengthen the application of the Ramsar Convention in Europe.

1. Bilateral technical exchanges

Eurosite undertakes to promote technical exchanges between managers of European Ramsar sites by making available its information and communications network, and by providing technical assistance for the preparation of twinning or bilateral cooperation agreements between Ramsar sites, particularly those in Central and Eastern Europe, and with Ramsar sites in Western and East Africa.

2. Multilateral technical exchanges

Eurosite undertakes to ensure the participation of managers of European Ramsar sites in multilateral technical workshops which deal with wetland management issues. These workshops shall be open for participation by Ramsar site managers from Central and Eastern Europe.

Ramsar shall provide Eurosite with a list of Ramsar site managers in the geographical region concerned.

3. Ramsar site management: assessment and evaluation

At the request of the Ramsar Convention Bureau, Eurosite shall carry out management evaluations or prepare draft management plans.

Eurosite shall make available to the Ramsar Convention Bureau the expert services of its network of specialists on scientific and technical issues related to wetlands management.

Technical and financial conditions for implementation

Under the present Memorandum of Understanding, Eurosite shall call upon its members for the provision of technical services to carry out the above-mentioned actions.

In order to implement these actions Eurosite is empowered to seek private and/or public funding to carry out the tasks entrusted to it by the Ramsar Convention Bureau.

Duration of partnership

The present Memorandum of Understanding shall enter into force for a period of three years from the date of signature. After two years have elapsed, an evaluation of the partnership shall be effected and an agreement on the extension of the Memorandum shall be prepared. This Memorandum may be denounced at any time by either party upon submission of six months prior notification in writing. 

Delmar BLASCO
Secretary General
of the Ramsar Convention
E. T. IDLE
President of Eurosite

Done at Steenwijk, Netherlands, Friday 24 September 1999


The Secretary General's address at the signing ceremony

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