25th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

01/10/2000

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25th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 23 - 27 October 2000
Agenda item 14

DOC. SC25-10

Implementation of the Convention’s Outreach Programme

Action requested: The Standing Committee is requested to note the activities planned by the Bureau in relation to the Outreach Programme and to provide advice, as appropriate.

1. Most of the Bureau’s outreach activities during the current year, such as the production of the traveling exhibition and a number of promotional materials, have been financed by the Evian/Danone project.

2. As stated in the Report of the Secretary General, the Bureau has been able to begin implementing some aspects of Resolution VII.9 (the Convention’s Outreach Programme) with the resources allocated to it from the surplus in fiscal year 1998. The immediate planned activities include:

a) Engaging a consultant to prepare guidance for Contracting Parties to assist them in (a) identifying their current needs and priorities in wetland CEPA and, based on these findings, (b) developing a Wetland CEPA Action Plan. The consultant’s work should be ready by 15 December and the guidance should be distributed to CPs in January 2001.

b) Developing a Ramsar CEPA e-mail discussion group for all interested parties (but in particular for the designated CEPA National Focal Points) to disseminate and share information and materials. There will be one for each of the three working languages but of course any individual may join any of the groups.

c) Developing a broad base of resources, information, training programmes and useful links to other Web sites with CEPA information at a location on the Ramsar Web site. The Bureau has already begun collecting such materials and it is hoped that contributions will come from the Ramsar network worldwide.

3. The Bureau has sent a letter at the end of September to all Ramsar Administrative Authorities informing them of the above activities and encouraging the Parties to move forward in their main areas of commitment:

a) Appoint a National Government Focal Point and an NGO Focal Point for Wetland CEPA. A list of those countries that have already made such appointments was appended to the letter (this is also being recorded on the Web). These individuals will form the key contact figures for implementing the Resolution, and the Bureau hopes to be in regular contact with them as the programme moves forward.

b) Review their wetland needs and priorities, and, in the light of this, develop a Wetland CEPA Action Plan. Some CPs may move forward on this on their own.

4. In addition, the Bureau plans to pursue the following activities:

a) Develop a leaflet for the general public that will focus on Ramsar sites, what they are, where they are, how they are designated, and the importance of community involvement.

b) Request the CEPA National Focal Points to identify which of their Ramsar sites have visitor centres, and whether they have wetland/environmental visitor centres elsewhere in their country. Working through the NFPs, the Bureau can encourage them to help strengthen the identity of Ramsar sites for the general public. Apart from encouraging them to erect signboards at their Ramsar sites, perhaps the Bureau can think of some way to establish a ‘corporate identity’ – e.g., perhaps a standard Ramsar plaque for the signboards. The site visitor centres and wetland/ environmental centres will of course be prime contact points for disseminating information, and the Bureau could aim to work with its partners in helping to establish a network of centres.

c) Develop a PowerPoint presentation specifically on Ramsar and CEPA that NFPs can use.

d) Look into the possibility of increased collaboration with WWF’s Living Waters Campaign, as it soon enters its second phase.

e) Survey the NFPs for information on the incidence of Ramsar and wetland information in formal school curricula.

5. The Bureau activities concerning World Wetlands Day 2001 and the Convention’s 30th Anniversary are described in DOC. SC25-20. They constitute part of the Outreach Programme and consequently the two documents should be considered at the same time.

6. Concerning resources for the Outreach Programme, the Standing Committee, in line with paragraph 18 of COP7 Resolution VII.28 on Financial and budgetary matters, approved the Terms of Reference for the Ramsar Voluntary Fund for the Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002 (see Annex). So far, the Bureau has not been able to direct efforts to resourcing this fund, and it contains only the small allocation that was made from the surplus in fiscal year 1998. For the Bureau to do more in relation to the Outreach Programme in 2001 and 2002, additional resources will be required.

7. Those who have visited the Ramsar Web site recently would have noticed an announcement in the entry page indicating that the Bureau is seeking corporate sponsorship for the Ramsar web site. The intention is to generate additional income to be able to hire an assistant to the web master, Dwight Peck, since his average of 12-13 hours of daily work is against the Convention’s principle of "wise use" of resources! Assistance from Standing Committee members in this endeavour will be very much appreciated.


ANNEX

Ramsar Voluntary Fund for the Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002

Actions to promote communication, education and public awareness to support implementation of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

Terms of Reference

1. The Ramsar Voluntary Fund for Outreach Programme 1999-2002 is established pursuant Resolution VII.28 on Financial and budgetary matters adopted by the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (Costa Rica, May 1999), which inter alia:

18. DECIDES to establish a Voluntary Fund for the Convention’s Outreach Programme (Resolution VII.9); REQUESTS the Standing Committee to prepare and adopt the Terms of Reference for the Fund at its annual meeting in 1999; and INVITES Contracting Parties, NGOs, foundations, the private sector and other institutions to contribute to the Fund.

2. The purpose of this Voluntary Fund is to facilitate the implementation of the Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002 as adopted by Ramsar COP7, particularly in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

3. Part of the resources in the Fund could be used by the Ramsar Bureau to animate the network of National Focal Points for Wetland Communication, Education and Public Awareness (Wetland CEPA), which Contracting Parties to the Convention have been invited to nominate pursuant to paragraph 14 of the Outreach Programme.

4. The Fund may receive contributions from governments, intergovernmental institutions, national and international non-governmental organizations, foundations, the private sector, and individuals. It may also receive legacies and endowment funds.

5. Donations to the Fund may be non-earmarked, destined to any aspects of the implementation of the Programme, or for specific type of activities and/or projects. When earmarked donations are received, a special subproject within the Fund shall be opened to administer the donation(s) for each particular activity or project.

6. Interest earned by resources contributed to the Fund shall be reverted to it.

7. The Fund shall be administered by the Secretary General of the Convention, following the guidance received from the Standing Committee and the Subgroup on Finance, as appropriate.

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