Documents for the 24th meeting of the Standing Committee


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24th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 29 November-2 December 1999
Agenda item 11

DOC. SC24-20

8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP8)

i. Update on progress in early preparations in Spain

ii. Preliminary consideration of themes of COP8

Action requested: The Standing Committee is requested to receive and review the report on progress with the early preparations for COP8, and to make any suggestions and comments it thinks appropriate.

Standing Committee may wish to give its ‘in principle’ agreement to the proposed themes for COP8 suggested below in order that the Bureau can begin to make the necessary preparations.


i. Update on progress in early preparations in Spain

1. The Secretary General provided a copy of Ramsar COP logistical requirements to the Administrative Authority in Spain and visited Madrid in July and November to hold discussions on the arrangements for COP8. The Bureau has informed the Administrative Authority that, on the basis of the Ramsar planning cycle, the COP should be held in April or May of 2002. The alternative would be sometime after September, a date which is not suitable to start the new planning and financial triennium on 1 January 2003.

ii. Preliminary consideration of themes of COP8

2. Based on its review of the actions arising from COP7 Resolutions and Recommendations and feedback from Contracting Parties and the international community, the Bureau is making the following preliminary recommendations for the themes to be considered by COP8.

3. Should the Standing Committee agree to the proposal made by the Bureau under Item 9.1 of this meeting (‘Lessons learnt and review of COP structure and organization’) that the Regional Overviews of Implementation be presented to regional meetings staged early in the COP rather than in the plenary, then this time could be reallocated to the following thematic reviews of implematation and challenges for the future:

  1. Wise use; concepts and application;
  2. Communication, education, public awareness and training;
  3. Ramsar sites designation and management;
  4. International cooperation, in particular financing wetland conservation and wise use; and
  5. Strategic Plan 2003-2008.

4. It is recommended that for COP8 the "special interventions", or so-called Priorities for the Future, be retained and that topics for consideration here include:

  1. Ecotourism and wetlands;
  2. Retaining the genetic resources found in wetlands;
  3. The global decline in frog populations;
  4. Big business and the Ramsar Convention.

5. Also, assuming that the Standing Committee agrees in its discussion of Item 9.1 of this meeting (‘Lessons learnt and review of COP structure and organization’) to retain a similar format of five Technical Sessions at COP8, then some preliminary indications of the themes and sub-themes of these is given below in order to begin to focus discussions.

6. Technical Session I – Wetlands: major challenges of the new millennium

i) water needs and allocations: wetlands as providers and users
ii) groundwater: the role of wetlands in the sustainable use of this unseen resource
iii)    wetlands and climate change: UNFCCC/Ramsar joint actions

7. Technical Session II - Inventory and assessment

i) global progress with standardised approaches to inventory and data gathering
ii) impact assessment (product of collaboration with CBD, IAIA)
iii) rapid assessments of function and biodiversity
iv) linking wetland functions with social, cultural and economic values

8. Technical Session III - The Vision for the Ramsar List of Wetland of International Importance

i) progress report on implementation of the Strategic Framework (Resolution VII.11)
ii) consideration of guidance for designation of special wetland types identified by COP7 (mangroves, peatlands, corals reefs, wet grasslands)
iii) Global Action Plan for Peatlands: its implementation after adoption

9. Technical Session IV - Managing wetlands for sustainable use

i) guidelines for integrated coastal zone management
ii) further guidance on management plan preparation
iii) interpretation of Articles 2.5 and 4.2 of the Convention
iv) incentives for wetland conservation and wise use: guidelines for action
v) guidance regarding invasive species

10. Technical Session V - Training wetland managers at all levels

i) review of global training activities and needs at all levels
ii) guidelines for conducting a training needs analysis
iii) training resources and curriculum models
iv) financing the training effort

11. The Bureau has also given some consideration to a possible theme for COP8 and is suggesting for the consideration of Standing Committee: "Wetlands and two major challenges for humanity: water and climate change".

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