32nd Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

17/10/2005

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CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
32nd Meeting of the Standing Committee
Kampala, Uganda, 7 November 2005

DOC. SC32-1


Draft Annotated Agenda

Venue: Munyonyo Resort (COP9 venue) - Plenary Hall

Important Note: Participants are advised to arrive at the venue with sufficient time for registration before the meeting (which may take time as badges with photographs are required by security). Badges will be a requirement for gaining access to the building. Please also note that a passport or other appropriate identification document with photograph will be required for registration.

The Registration Desk will be open from 08:30 to 18:00 h on Sunday 6 November and from 08:30 h on Monday 7 November.

10:30 - 18:00 (a buffet lunch will be available at about 13:00, to enable the Committee to work as expeditiously as possible)

1. Welcoming remarks by the Chair and the host country

2. Report on the arrangements for COP9, by the Secretary General and the host country

3. General review of the Ramsar COP9 Provisional Agenda and Programme (Document COP9 DOC. 1 Rev. 2)

4. Election of COP9 President and Vice-Presidents

The Rules of Procedure state that "At the commencement of the first session of each ordinary meeting, a President and two Vice-Presidents shall be elected from among the representatives of the Parties present at the meeting, on the basis of a proposal put forward by the Conference Committee. In preparing its proposal on this matter, the Conference Committee shall consider first the candidate(s) put forward by the host country of the meeting for the post of President of the meeting."

The Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment will bring forward proposals for the presidency. The Secretariat will bring proposals for the two Vice-Presidents, taking into account geographical distribution, official languages, and Parties that have held these positions in previous COPs.

5. Appointment of the Credentials Committee

The Rules of Procedures state that: "A Credentials Committee composed of one Party from each of the Ramsar regions, elected at the first session of each ordinary meeting on the basis of a proposal from the Conference Committee, shall examine the credentials and submit its report to the Conference of the Parties for approval."

The Secretariat will consult with pre-registered delegates about their willingness to serve in the Committee and bring proposals for nomination.

The Secretary General has designated Ms Ursula Hiltbrunner from IUCN-The World Conservation Union to serve the Committee on the Secretariat's behalf during the COP.

The proposed schedule of meetings of the Credentials Committee is as follows:
Wednesday, 9 November, 13:15-14:45; 18:00-19:00 (Sapphire Room)
Thursday, 10 November, 13:15-14:45 (Sapphire Room)

The Credentials Committee needs to have completed its work not later than 09.45 h on Monday 14 November, so as to be able to report to plenary under Agenda item XVI. At the meeting on 10 November the Committee, should its work be incomplete, will determine a schedule of times and location of future meetings to achieve the deadline.

6. Establishment of COP9 Committees

The draft Agenda for the COP includes: "Item VI. Appointment of the Credentials Committee and any other committees." Pursuant to the Rules of Procedure, the COP may wish to establish, as is usual practice, a Committee on Finances and Budget.

The Standing Committee should note that, owing to the likely limited daily transport arrangements for delegates between Kampala hotels and the COP venue, committees and any contact groups (see item 7 below) that are established will have to meet mostly only during the lunchtime period (13:15-14:45 h), other than in exceptional circumstances.

6.1 Committee on Finances and Budget

The Secretariat proposes that the core group of this Committee be the members of the Subgroup on Finance of the Standing Committee, namely Canada (Chair), Ghana, Indonesia, Romania, Argentina and Papua New Guinea. (Note. At the time of preparation of this agenda, Papua New Guinea has not registered for COP9 and is therefore unlikely to attend.)

In addition, consistent with achieving regional balance, the Secretariat suggests inviting some additional Parties to serve on the Committee. The Secretariat will bring a list of possible Parties, in case this proposal is accepted. In any event, as established by the Rules of Procedure, meetings of the Committee should be open, unless otherwise decided by the Committee. The Secretary General will serve on this Committee, assisted by the Secretariat Finance Administrator, Paulette Kennedy.

The proposed schedule of meetings is as follows:
Thursday, 10 November, 13:15-14:45 - Venue: Albert
Friday, 11 November, 13:15-14:45 - Venue: Albert
Saturday, 12 November, 13:15-14:45 - Venue: Albert

Other meetings could be agreed by the Committee, if so required.

7. Establishment of contact groups

There are a number of draft resolutions that may require consultations among Parties in order to arrive at a consensus text. It may therefore be necessary for the COP President to establish open-ended contact groups for such draft resolutions. The Secretariat will conduct informal consultations with registered Contracting Party delegations so as to identify potential Lead Parties for contact groups, should they be established.

Since most draft resolutions will be introduced in plenary on the morning of Thursday, 10 November, the first time any such contact group could meet is the lunchtime break on that day. However, the technical guidance prepared by the STRP and presented to COP as the Annexes to COP9 DR1 will be first introduced for adoption under Agenda item IX (STRP Chair's report) on the afternoon of Wednesday, 9 November: therefore, should any contact group need to be established for a DR1 Annex, it could hold a brief initial meeting at the close of the afternoon plenary session on that day, before the Host Country reception.

Some meeting rooms have been earmarked for contact groups to conduct their work. However, the Standing Committee should note that availability of such rooms is limited. Furthermore, in order to facilitate participation in contact groups by all Contracting Party delegations, including Parties with small delegations, the Secretariat will endeavour, as far as possible, to arrange for no more than two contact groups to meet simultaneously.

Times available for any contact groups to meet are as follows:
Wednesday, 9 November: 18:15-19:15
Thursday, 10 November: 13:15-14:45
Friday, 11 November: 13:15-14:45
Saturday, 12 November: 13:15-14:45; 18:15-20:15
Sunday, 13 November: 10:00-13:00

Contact groups will need to complete their work no later than 13:00 on Sunday, 13 November, so as to give time for the Secretariat to finalise, translate and copy any revised draft Resolutions for circulation to delegates on Monday, 14 November, for final plenary approval.

8. Consideration of COP9 draft Resolutions submitted by Contracting Parties and proposals for revisions to draft Resolutions submitted by the Standing Committee

8.1 Consideration of COP9 draft Resolutions submitted by Contracting Parties

The SC Subgroup on COP9, meeting in March 2005, requested that Parties should submit to the Standing Committee prior to its 31st meeting any draft Resolutions they wished to bring forward to COP9, in accordance with the procedures for submission of draft Resolutions by Parties outlined in Resolution VIII.45, and this request was circulated to all Parties by diplomatic notification also in March 2005. In response, Japan tabled a draft Resolution at SC31 concerning "The importance of regional wetland symposia in effectively implementing the Ramsar Convention", and following discussion with the Secretariat this is submitted to the COP as COP9 DR20. Subsequently, shortly before the deadline of 60 days prior to the start of the COP that is stipulated in the current Rules of Procedure, the Secretariat received four further draft Resolutions from Parties. Following consultations between the Secretariat and the Parties concerned, these are now included in the COP9 materials, as follows:

COP9 DR21 "Integrated, cross-biome planning and management of wetlands, especially in small island developing states" (submitted by Samoa)
COP9 DR22 "Recognising Wetlands of International Importance for their traditional cultural values" (submitted by Samoa)
COP9 DR23 "Extending the effects and benefits of the Ramsar Convention to the wetlands of Antarctica" (submitted by Switzerland)
COP9 DR24 "Ramsar sites and national systems of protected areas" (submitted by Nigeria)

A copy of each of these DRs is included in the Agenda papers for this meeting of the Standing Committee, so that the Committee may consider them in line with the terms of Resolution VIII.45, paragraph 16. The Committee may wish to provide advice on the content of each of these draft Resolutions, and on the proces for their consideration during COP in relation to consideration of other DRs submitted by the Standing Committee on related matters.

In particular the Standing Committee should note that three of these draft Resolutions contain actions of a scientific or technical nature, including COP9 DR22 which includes an annex containing technical guidance on Ramsar site designation concerning the cultural importance of wetlands - matters which are the subject of the work requested of the STRP and included in COP9 DR1 Annex B.

Owing to the timing of its submission, this material in COP9 DR22 has not been subject to scrutiny by the STRP in its role as the expert panel charged by the Convention with providing it with scientific and technical advice. However, in order to provide the Standing Committee with an STRP view on DR22, the Secretariat has circulated it to the STRP through the STRP Support Service Web site and will provide the Standing Committee with a digest of comments received from STRP members and observers. Standing Committee should also note the possible interaction with aspects of DR1, and should be aware that this Resolution encompasses aspects of issues to be discussed in the COP9 Technical Session.

COP9 DR24 also contains matters of a technical nature concerning Ramsar site designation, including proposals to further amend the Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS). Again, a digest of comments received from STRP members will be provided to Standing Committee.

8.2 Consideration of proposals for revisions to draft Resolutions submitted by the Standing Committee

During the Oceania Regional preparation meeting (Fiji, 29-30 September 2005), participants proposed amendments to COP9 DR8 ("Regional initiatives in the framework of the Ramsar Convention"). These proposals, showing as text in square brackets […], have been circulated to the Standing Committee for review as COP9 DR8 Rev.1. The Standing Committee should consider and if appropriate approve these amendments, so that copies of DR8 Rev.1 can be made available to delegates in the three official languages at the start of the COP.

9. Opening ceremony and social functions

The Secretary General and host country representative will provide a review of the arrangements and procedures. A programme for the opening ceremony, which includes the presentation of the Ramsar Awards scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, 8 November, will be available at the meeting.

10. Conference Committee

The Rules of Procedure indicate that:

"Rule 26
1. The voting members of the Standing Committee of the Convention shall constitute the Conference Committee, which shall also include the elected President and Vice Presidents of the current meeting. Observers may be invited to attend meetings of the Conference Committee, if required. The Conference Committee shall be chaired by the chairperson of the Standing Committee during the period previous to the current meeting.

The Conference Committee shall meet at least once daily to review the progress of the meeting, including the draft of the report of the previous day prepared by the Secretariat, and to provide advice to the President in order to ensure the smooth development of the rest of the proceedings."

It is proposed that the Committee meet every day from 08:45 to 09:45 hrs in Room Meera, starting from 10 November. Should the Standing Committee feel it necessary, the Conference Committee could hold a meeting on 9 November, but as the COP will not be fully starting until that time, it may not be necessary. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided, in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Secretariat with the Ministry of Environment of Uganda in relation to facilities at the COP. However, the Standing Committee practice of documentation provided only in English should also apply to the Conference Committee, since the Secretariat will not be able to guarantee that all documents submitted to the consideration of the Committee every morning will be available in the three official languages. This is in line with Rule 7, which says: "(c) There shall be no requirement to provide interpretation in committee or working group sessions, including the Conference Committee."

11. Approval of Small Grants Fund projects

See document SC32-2.

12. Any other business

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