Agreement for the Regional Ramsar Center for Training and Research in the Western Hemisphere

04/03/2003

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AGREEMENT BETWEEN

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA

AND

THE BUREAU OF THE CONVENTION ON WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE ESPECIALLY AS WATERFOWL HABITAT

FOR THE CREATION AND FUNCTIONING IN PANAMA OF THE REGIONAL RAMSAR CENTER FOR TRAINING AND RESEARCH ON WETLANDS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) (hereafter referred to as the "BUREAU"), under the guidance of the Standing Committee, and the Government of Panama (hereafter referred to as the "GOVERNMENT") (both hereafter referred to as the "PARTIES");

Keeping in mind that the GOVERNMENT, at the 20th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention), held in Gland, Switzerland, in 1997, submitted a proposal to create a Regional Ramsar Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere (hereafter referred to as the "REGIONAL RAMSAR CENTER" or the "CENTER"), taking advantage of the benefits and facilities offered by Panama at Ciudad del Saber;

Recognizing that the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), formed by the Ministers for the Environment of Central America, in its XXIV regular session, held in Belize in 1998, endorsed the creation of the aforementioned CENTER;

Recalling that the first Pan-American meeting of the Ramsar Convention, held in Costa Rica in June 1998, adopted a Decision supporting the GOVERNMENT's initiative;

Also keeping in mind that the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention, held in San José, Costa Rica, from 10 to 18 May 1999, adopted Resolution VII.26 with the aim to "promote research on the management and wise use of wetlands throughout the Americas through training and the development of tools for evaluating impacts, methodologies and economic use plus mechanisms for communication";

Further keeping in mind that Resolution VII.26 urges the BUREAU, the Contracting Parties and the International Organization Partners to support Panama in the development of the REGIONAL RAMSAR CENTER, especially the BUREAU as the body responsible for technical and administrative monitoring of the activities of the Ramsar Convention, through and in coordination with the Parties, in accordance with the Strategic Plan;

Aware that the GOVERNMENT has taken the required measures and provisions to facilitate infrastructure and premises necessary for the CENTER;

Wishing to sign an agreement in order to begin operations of that CENTER and define the terms of assistance to be provided;

In accordance with the guidance provided in the Annex to Resolution VIII.30, adopted by Ramsar COP8 in 2002, concerning the development of regional initiatives in the framework of the Ramsar Convention;

Have agreed the following:

ARTICLE I
CREATION

The PARTIES agree to create the REGIONAL RAMSAR CENTER for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere as a regional international institution with legal status and independent means.

ARTICLE II
OBJECTIVES

The CENTER will have the following objectives:

1. Promotion of understanding through research into and study of management and wise use of wetlands, taking into account aspects of biodiversity and benefits to the human populations in the hemisphere;

2. Training of human resources through creation of training and educational programs, seeking to expand theoretical and practical knowledge of wetlands;

3. Implementation of the objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Ramsar Convention, promoting scientific and technical cooperation and the exchange of knowledge of the use and conservation of wetlands in the Western Hemisphere and other regions of the world.

ARTICLE III
FUNCTIONS OF THE CENTER

In order to fulfill the objectives referred to in Article II, the CENTER will carry out the following functions:

1. Promotion and coordination of scientific research and study in the region in order to expand knowledge of wetland functions and values, their biodiversity and indicators of ecological characteristics, and also regarding the economic valuation and management of these ecosystems with the purpose of promoting their sustainability and conservation;

2. Coordination and holding of courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, meetings and other similar regional, subregional and international events in order to expand knowledge of wetlands and about the Convention;

3. Creation of a network for monitoring wetlands in the region, for processing, studying and exchanging pertinent information to assist decision-making;

4. Coordination of the establishment of a network for distributing information, technology and research carried out by the CENTER;

5. Entry into agreements for technical cooperation and research with universities, research centers, government and non-government agencies and institutions at the local, regional and global levels;

6. Production of information and bibliographical material contributing to better knowledge of wetlands;

7. Developing assistance and consultation activities aimed at the study and management of wetlands.

ARTICLE IV
ADMINISTRATIVE BODIES OF THE CENTER

The CENTER will be made up of the following bodies:

1. The Board of Directors

2. The Executive Management

ARTICLE V
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A Board of Directors formed initially of the following members will administer the CENTER:

1. A representative of the GOVERNMENT, who will act as Chair;

2. A representative of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention in the Western Hemisphere;

3. A representative of the BUREAU;

4. A representative of the International Organization Partners of the Ramsar Convention;

5. A representative of research centers at the global level related to this subject;

6. Additional members as agreed to by the Board.

ARTICLE VI

The representative of the GOVERNMENT on the Board of Directors will be the General Administrator of the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM) or whomever he designates for that purpose, acting as the Administrative Authority for the Convention.

ARTICLE VII
FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors will have the following functions:

1. Approval of the programs and activities of the CENTER;

2. Approval of the CENTER's budget;

3. Review of the annual reports submitted by the Executive Director of the CENTER and provision of any guidelines considered necessary;

4. Approval of the financial regulations and statutes for personnel of the CENTER;

5. Meeting in regular session once a year and in special sessions called by the Chair, at the request of at least three members of the Board of Directors;

6. Establishment of its own internal rules and rules for elections. The representatives of the GOVERNMENT and the BUREAU will establish the procedures for the first meeting. The rules must be established at the latest within six months after the first meeting of the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VIII
EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT

The Executive Management will be formed by an Executive Director and the personnel required for carrying out the functions of the CENTER.

ARTICLE IX
DESIGNATION OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Executive Director will be designated by the Board of Directors through elections, the form of which will be decided at its first meeting.

ARTICLE X
FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Executive Director will be the legal representative of the CENTER and will carry out the following functions:

1. Preparation and submission for the consideration of the Board of Directors of the Annual Work Plan of the CENTER with the corresponding budget;

2. Representation of the CENTER in activities as required and in any required legal capacity;

3. Planning, management, organization, monitoring and evaluation of all the activities of the CENTER considering both their academic as well as administrative aspects;

4. Adoption of mechanisms required to inform the general public and the national, regional and international scientific community about activities carried out;

5. Administration of the budget of the CENTER;

6. Coordination of technical activities with the BUREAU through the Regional Coordinator for the Americas of that BUREAU;

7. Informing the Administrative Authorities of relevant Parties of the Ramsar Convention in the Region about programs and activities carried out by the CENTER every six months or at the request of the Administrative Authorities as well as about implementation of the budget;

8. Providing to the Ramsar Bureau and the Standing Committee annual financial and technical reports on the operations of the CENTER;

9. Other functions as determined by the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE XI
FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS

1. The resources of the CENTER will come from additional and extra-budgetary resources that could be received by the Ramsar Convention, from the Contracting Parties, and from the International Organization Partners of the Convention, international donors, and remunerations received in exchange for services provided, administration and/or management of projects and programs;

2. The CENTER may receive grants, donations, bequests and legacies made by persons or legal entities, national or foreign, public or private.

ARTICLE XII
LEGAL STATUS, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE CENTER, ITS OFFICIALS, TECHNICAL EXPERTS OR EXPERTS

1. Within the territory of Panama, the CENTER will be granted the legal status required for carrying out its functions;

2. The CENTER, its officials, technicians and experts will be granted the same privileges and immunities granted in the Republic of Panama to the officials of international organizations;

3. No privileges and immunities will be granted to officials, technicians and experts who are citizens of Panama.

ARTICLE XIII
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT

1. The GOVERNMENT assumes the obligation of carrying out the steps required to obtain premises appropriate to the CENTER's activities;

2. The GOVERNMENT shall cover the operational costs of the CENTER according to the budget contained in Annex 1.

ARTICLE XIV
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE BUREAU

The BUREAU will assist the CENTER by facilitating:

1. The provision of technical and administrative assistance for the organization of the CENTER;

2. The provision of assistance for developing contacts with donors and for preparing projects for submission to donors;

3. The provision of technical and financial assistance, resources permitting, for the preparation and publication of documents concerning the CENTER and its objectives, as well as information produced by the CENTER;

4. The provision of assistance of any other type identified by the signatories to this Convention.

ARTICLE XV
ENTRY INTO FORCE

This Agreement will enter into force on the date on which the GOVERNMENT informs the BUREAU of the fulfillment of obligations for establishing the CENTER.

ARTICLE XVI

1. This Agreement will be valid for ten years and can be extended for a similar period if agreed upon by the GOVERNMENT and the BUREAU;

2. In the event that one of the PARTIES does not fulfill the obligations created under this Agreement, the other party will have the right to cancel the Agreement and cancel its participation in the CENTER's activities, after giving a one-hundred-and-eighty-day notice in writing.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the PARTIES being duly authorized to that effect, have signed this Agreement. Done in Gland on 28 February 2003, in a single original in the English and Spanish languages, both being equally authentic.

FOR THE GOVERNMENT
OF THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA

H.E. ANEL ENRIQUE BELIZ G.
AMBASSADOR, PERMANENT
REPRESENTATIVE, PERMANENT MISSION
OF PANAMA TO THE UNITED
NATIONS IN GENEVA

DELMAR BLASCO
SECRETARY GENERAL
OF THE RAMSAR
CONVENTION

______________________________
ENDORSEMENT OF THE TREASURY INSPECTOR'S OFFICE

The signing of the Panama/Ramsar agreement, 28 February 2003, from left: Margarita Astrálaga, Ambassador Anel Enrique Beliz, Secretary General Delmar Blasco


Annex 1

TOTAL CONSOLIDATED OPERATIONAL BUDGET FOR REGIONAL RAMSAR CENTRE

Line

Budget Components

ANAM (years) – all amounts in US$

Total

1

2

3

4-10

10

Personnel

43,200

43,200

43,200

92,400

222,000

Executive Director of the Centre

30,000

30,000

30,000

90,000

Secretary

6,000

6,000

6,000

42,000

60,000

Driver/messenger

3,600

3,600

3,600

25,200

36,000

Manual worker

3,600

3,600

3,600

25,200

36,000

Consultants/experts (**)

20

Subcontracts

7,000

10,000

10,000

56,000

83,000

Subcontracts for publications

7,000

7,000

7,000

35,000

56,000

Subcontracts for leasing of premises

3,000

3,000

21,000

27,000

30

Work travel

8,000

9,000

9,000

63,000

89,000

Local per diem

1,000

3,000

3,000

21,000

28,000

International per diem

6,000

6,000

6,000

42,000

60,000

Transport expenses

1,000

2,000

2,000

14,000

19,000

40

Capital goods

7,000

15,000

0

0

22,000

Vehicles

15,000

15,000

Office equipment and furniture

7,000

7,000

Premises

50

Perishable goods

7,600

7,600

7,600

53,200

76,000

Office supplies

1,000

1,000

1,000

7,000

10,000

Spare parts

500

500

500

3,500

5,000

Fuel and lubricants

2,500

2,500

2,500

17,500

25,000

Basic services

3,600

3,600

3,600

25,200

36,000

60

Administration, control and evaluation

5% of programs and projects

TOTAL

72,800

84,800

69,800

264,600

492,000

 

TOTAL CONSOLIDATED BUDGET FOR POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES OF REGIONAL RAMSAR CENTRE

Line

Budget Components

RAMSAR (funds to be raised) / year (*) –

all amounts in US$

Total

1

2

3

4-10

10

Personnel

48,000

48,000

144,000

1,218,000

1,458,000

Executive Director of the Centre

210,000

210,000

Consultants/experts (**)

48,000

48,000

144,000

1,008,000

1,248,000

20

Subcontracts

0

10,000

10,000

70,000

90,000

Subcontracts for publications

10,000

10,000

70,000

90,000

30

Work travel

0

25,000

25,000

175,000

225,000

International per diem

20,000

20,000

140,000

180,000

Transport expenses

5,000

5,000

35,000

45,000

40

Capital goods

0

23,000

23,000

46,000

Office equipment and furniture

23,000

23,000

 46,000

50

Perishable goods

1,000

1,000

7,000

9,000

Spare parts

1,000

1,000

7,000

9,000

60

Administration, control and evaluation

50,000

350,000

400,000

5% of programs and projects

50,000

350,000

400,000

TOTAL

48,000

84,000

253,000

1,843,000

*) In accordance with Article XI.

**) Funds for research and lecturers.


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