36th Meeting of the Ramsar

07/02/2008

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CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
36th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 25-29 February 2008
Agenda item 12.2
DOC. SC36-27

STRP draft Resolution and guidance on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

Action requested: The Standing Committee is requested to review the attached proposed draft Resolution and annexed guidance and consider adopting it for finalization, translation, and eventual transmittal to COP10.

Note from the Ramsar Secretariat

Request for consideration of additional document by the 36th meeting of the Standing Committee

1. Following the highly successful 14th meeting of the Scientific & Technical Review Panel last week (28 January-1 February 2008), the outcomes of which will be reported to Standing Committee under Agenda items 6. and 12., the Secretariat has assessed the significant number of documents to be prepared for submission to COP10 and is becoming increasingly concerned that the Secretariat will face considerable difficulties in ensuring that the final editing, and particularly the translatiing, of all such COP10 documents can be completed in the short period between the end of the 37th meeting of the Standing Committee (6 June 2008) and the deadline of 25 July 2008 on which all such materials must be distributed to Contracting Parties.

2. During STRP14 very significant progress was made in finalizing some of the guidance materials from the Panel for COP10 consideration. In particular, the Panel's task team on issues concerning Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, led by STRP member David Stroud, have advised the Secretariat that their proposed draft COP10 Resolution and its annexed "Guidance on responding to the continued spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1" are now very close to finalization.

3. Given that this is one of the larger and more complex documents being prepared by the STRP for Standing Committee and COP10 consideration, and that it will therefore take the Secretariat some time to final-edit and translate it, the Secretariat is transmitting this technical guidance document to the Standing Committee at this point, immediately after STRP14, with the request that the Standing Committee consider approving this STRP guidance for finalization and translation at its 36th meeting.

4. The technical guidance on HPAI prepared by the STRP is in the form of a 'guide to the available guidance' based around a set of risk-based scenarios concerning preparing for, and responding to, outbreaks of avian influenza in relation to wetland and waterbird issues. The STRP's task team have advised the Secretariat that the only further significant changes they anticipate needing to make to this draft guidance are a) some small updates to the Scientific Summary (Appendix 1), and b) the addition of links and references to some of the available guidance documents in the listings in section 2.3 of the guidance document.

5. In view of this, and whilst recognizing that the formal deadline for submission of papers for the Standing Committee's consideration at SC36 has passed, in order to assist in ensuring the smooth and efficient preparation of COP10 materials the Secretariat would be most grateful indeed if the Standing Committee could consider adopting this attached STRP guidance product during its 36th meeting for finalization, translation, and eventual transmittal to COP10.


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