Report of the 10th Meeting of the Standing Committee, November 1991
Malheureusement, il n'y a pas de version française de ce document.
CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
10th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee
St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, USA, 5-7 November 1991
- Africa: Tunisia (S. Kacem), Alternate Representative: Kenya (S. Njuguna)
- Asia: Pakistan (K. Shirazi)
- Eastern Europe: Poland (Z. Krzeminski), Alternate Representative: Hungary (L. Lakos)
- Neotropics: Venezuela (J. Méndez Arocha), Alternate Representative: Uruguay (A. Durán, M. Rodriguez Capurro)
- North America: USA (J. Turner (Chairman), L. Mason, A. Stefan, G. Eugster, D. Woodard), Alternate Representative: Canada (D. Brackett, J Pagnan, C. Rubec)
- Oceania: Australia (T. Richmond)
- Western Europe: Netherlands (F. von der Assen), Alternate Representative: Spain (C. Morillo)
- Host of Next Conference: Japan (Y. Natori, T. Shigeeda)
- UK (H. Neal, M. Ford)
- IUCN (M. Holdgate, P. Dugan)
- IWRB (M. Moser)
Contracting Party Observers:
- Austria (R. Turk)
- France (M. Bigan)
- Norway (S. Eldoy)
- South Africa (C. Snyman)
Invited NGO Observers:
- US Ramsar Committee (J. Larson)
- Secretary General (D. Navid)
- Assistant Secretary General/Director of Conservation (M. Smart)
- Administrator (J. Tucker)
- Communications Officer (M. Katz)
- Technical Officer, Asia (S. Kobayashi)
- Technical Officer, Listed Sites (M. Herzig)
- Technical Officer, Wise Use (H. Lethier)
- IWRB/Ramsar Liaison Officer (T. Jones), Rapporteur
- Secretary (S. Fernandez)
- Secretary (D. McCrensky,
- Secretary (M. Stump)
Agenda item 1: Opening and Welcoming Remarks
The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming participants on behalf of the President and people of the United States of America. He thanked those who had worked hard to prepare for the meeting, especially staff from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, the US National Wetlands Inventory in St Petersburg, and the Ramsar Bureau. Words of welcome were also provided by Mr D. Woodard (USFWS National Wetlands Inventory), the Director General of IUCN, the Director of IWRB, and the Secretary General.
On behalf of all participants, the Secretary General thanked the hosts of the Standing Committee Meeting and congratulated all those involved in organizational work on an excellent job. He informed the Standing Committee that apologies for absence had been received from Iran (Alternate Representative, Asia), New Zealand (Alternate Representative, Oceania), Switzerland (Host of last Conference), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (invited NGO observer).
Agenda item 2: Adoption of Agenda
At the invitation of the Chairman, the Standing Committee adopted the Agenda with the addition of two sub-items (reports to be presented by IWRB and IUCN) 4 to item 5. The Chairman noted that a short closed session would be held to discuss a number of issues covered by Agenda item 7 (Review of Administrative Matters).
Agenda item 3: Admission of Observers
At the invitation of the Chairman, the Standing Committee approved the admission of the US Ramsar Committee as an NGO observer.
Agenda item 4: Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Tenth [vere Ninth] Meeting of the Standing Committee not otherwise covered by the Agenda
The Standing Committee determined that all matters arising were covered adequately by the present Agenda.
Agenda item 5: Presentation of Report on 1991 Activities by the Convention Bureau
At the Chairman’s request, the Secretary General presented the Bureau’s Annual Report, referring to pages 37 to 51 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version) and noting that most areas of activity would be covered in detail under other Agenda items. 1991 was the first year during which the Bureau’s work had been organized according to a programme structure developed and formally approved by the Contracting Parties.
The year had been extremely productive; the Bureau had been able to recruit additional technical staff to coordinate more regional activities while the new arrangements with IUCN and IWRB had operated very satisfactorily. The Contracting Parties had assisted the smooth operation of the Convention by timely payments of annual contributions covering virtually 100 per cent of the total sum invoiced.
Nevertheless, the Secretary General reminded the Standing Committee that the budget approved by the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties was only sufficient to cover those Bureau activities designated as ‘Essential’, together with some activities in the ‘High Priority Desirable’ category. Although the Convention’s funding base was quite strong, there had been some disappointments during the year and much more financial support was needed for the Wetland Conservation Fund and the Monitoring Procedure.
The growth in the number of Contracting Parties (currently 64) had continued, but much more progress was needed in some regions; for example south-east Asia. Further progress had been made with promoting acceptances of the Paris Protocol and Regina Amendments. The Secretary General appealed to those Contracting Parties which had yet to accept the Paris Protocol and/or Regina Amendments to deposit instruments of acceptance with UNESCO as soon as possible. The Regina Amendments would only enter into force once a further eight Contracting Parties (of the 31 which had accepted the Paris Protocol before the adoption of the Regina Amendments in 1987) had formally registered their acceptance. The Bureau would be giving high priority to this matter. It was understood that the USSR had accepted both the Paris Protocol and the Regina Amendments, but instruments of acceptance had not yet been received by UNESCO.
Following the Secretary General’s overview, brief regional reports were presented by Bureau staff. The Assistant Secretary General reported on Bureau activities in East Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean, and the Bureau’s Technical Officers reported on developments in Asia, the Neotropics, and North and West Africa:
(a) East Africa: Bureau staff had recently visited Kenya to attend a preparatory meeting (which the Bureau had also sponsored) for the forthcoming IV World Parks Congress in Venezuela. It was to be hoped that more countries from the region would become involved in the Convention as a result of contacts made during the visit.
(b) Eastern Europe: In addition to several initiatives reported upon in other parts of this Agenda, the Bureau had received a number of invitations to visit Contracting Parties in the region and looked forward to following them up in the near future.
(c) Mediterranean: The Ramsar regional workshop held at Doñana in late 1989 had been followed up by many positive developments. The Montreux Conference had provided an opportunity for valuable discussions, which together with the impetus generated by the IWRB Symposium in Grado in February 1991, had resulted in the formation of the ‘MedWet’ initiative. The MedWet group had been working closely with the Commission of the European Communities and it was hoped that major EC funding might become available for governments and NGOs to implement wetland conservation projects in the region.
(d) Asia: Considerable effort was being put into increasing the number of Contracting Parties in the region, with China and south-east Asia being the focus of particular attention. The Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties at Kushiro in 1993 would provide an excellent opportunity for promoting the Convention in Asia, as would several meetings in the run-up to Kushiro, including the forthcoming IWRB/AWB Symposium in Karachi and the 1992 Asian Wetlands Symposium in Hokkaido.
(e) North and West Africa: In 1991 the Bureau participated in the important francophone ministerial conference in Tunis, and supported and participated in a regional preparatory meeting in Abidjan for the IV World Parks Congress.
(f) Neotropics: The Bureau’s Technical Officer with special responsibility for the Neotropical region reported on the recent regional meeting in Santa Marta, Colombia, which had led to the establishment of many important new contacts. Valuable discussions had also taken place in Venezuela, including possibilities for Ramsar regional activities at the IV World Parks Congress in February 1992.
Following the presentation of the regional reports by Bureau staff, the Chairman invited the observers from IWRB and IUCN to present reports on the Ramsar-related activities of their respective organizations in 1991.
The Director of IWRB drew attention to the report of the IWRB/Ramsar Liaison Officer on pages 127 to 133 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version) which provided detailed information on progress under the three-year contract between the Bureau and IWRB. He expressed satisfaction with the new arrangements and continued by reviewing some of IWRB’s major programmes, including plans for strengthening regional activities through closer, more formal links with the Asian Wetland Bureau (AWB) and expansion of the Neotropical Wetlands Programme.
IUCN’s Director General reported on developments arising from IUCN’s General Assembly in Perth, Australia in 1990. Greater importance was being given to decentralization with particular emphasis on the establishment of a stronger regional presence in developing countries. IUCN’s regional and national offices could provide valuable channels of communication for the Ramsar Convention. Among other important developments were the recent launch of Caring for the Earth and preparations for the IV World Parks Congress. The new IUCN headquarters building, which included purpose-built accommodation for the Ramsar Bureau, would hopefully be ready for occupation in September 1992 Agreements concerning Programme Cooperation, New Headquarters Facilities, and Cooperation on Publications, had been drawn up between IUCN and the Bureau and would lead to an even stronger partnership in the future.
The Coordinator of IUCN’s Wetlands Programme presented a document entitled ‘IUCN’s Technical Support to the Ramsar Programme in 1991 and perspectives for 1992’. He went on to highlight particular areas of activity including: policy development, field action, protected areas, communications, work with development assistance agencies, and support to developing countries. He noted that approximately 15 per cent of IUCN’s annual turnover was spent on wetland activities and looked forward to even closer cooperation with the Convention in 1992.
The Chairman thanked IWRB and IUCN for their presentations and noted with gratitude the benefits accruing to the Convention from the close links with its partner organizations. He then opened the floor to discussion of the reports presented by the Bureau, and by IWRB and IUCN.
The representative from the Netherlands thanked the USA for hosting the present meeting and went on to express his appreciation of the Bureau’s work. He was pleased to report that Dutch approval of the Regina Amendments was expected before the end of 1991.
In response to questions raised by the representatives of the Netherlands, Pakistan, and Tunisia, the Secretary General and the Director General of IUCN emphasized that the Agreement on Programme Cooperation between IUCN and the Bureau, reproduced on pages 47 to 51 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version) was in line with policy guidance from the Contracting Parties and Standing Committee.
The Chairman recalled that the Standing Committee had authorized the Secretary General to enter into agreement with third parties, but this did not affect the Standing Committee’s authority to amend such agreements.
It was agreed that the Secretary General and Director General of IUCN should draft a clarifying note for attachment to the Agreement on Programme Cooperation. A French version of the Agreement would also be produced. This additional documentation was duly laid before the Standing Committee and was approved, subject to minor modification.
The representative from Hungary emphasized the importance of ensuring that the Regina Amendments entered into force as soon as possible, noting that it was difficult for some Contracting Parties to make voluntary contributions in the meantime. She urged the Bureau to redouble its efforts in this respect. The Secretary General assured the Standing Committee that the Bureau considered this to be an issue of the highest importance. The observer from South Africa said that he expected South African approval of the Regina Amendments to be completed in late 1991 or early 1992. The representative from the Netherlands indicated that the Netherlands hoped to complete the formalities in 1991.
The observer from Austria reported that Austrian acceptance of the Paris Protocol and Regina amendments was now in the final stages of a complex approval procedure which would hopefully be completed during 1992. In the meantime, the provisions of the Protocol and Amendments were being applied on a voluntary basis.
In reply to questions raised by the representative of Tunisia, the Assistant Secretary General said that the final version of the Tunisian Wetlands Inventory, funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and compiled by University College London, was almost complete and that work by Professor G. Matthews on a booklet charting the history of the Ramsar Convention was also progressing well.
The representative from Japan informed the Standing Committee that Japan would soon be designating Lake Utonai in Hokkaido for the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
At the Chairman’s invitation, the Standing Committee approved the Annual Report of the Bureau.
Agenda item 6: Review of Convention Finances
The Chairman asked the Secretary General to introduce the Agenda Item. The Secretary General referred to pages 53 to 94 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version) and drew the attention of participants to a number of additional papers which had been updated to provide the Standing Committee with as much current information as possible. He expressed his sincere appreciation to IUCN’s financial services for enabling such comprehensive material to be presented.
He continued by reviewing briefly the status of each Agenda sub-item: 6(a) 1991 core income; 6(b) 1991 core expenditure; 6(c) 1991 project income and expenditure; 6(d) 1992 income projections; 6(e) 1992 priorities for expenditure; 6(f) auditors’ report for 1990; and 6(g) previous year’s income relating to core expenditure.
The Secretary General reminded the Standing Committee that the review of financial matters needed to be set in the context of the Convention’s programme. The next triennium would require an increased budget and the Standing Committee needed to consider a procedure for developing the financial and programme proposals to be presented to the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties.
The Chairman thanked the Secretary General for his clear presentation and expressed the Standing Committee’s appreciation of the work undertaken by the Bureau and by IUCN in preparing the financial documentation. He then opened the floor to comments and questions, taking each Agenda sub-item in turn.
6(a) 1991 core income
The Secretary General expressed his satisfaction that 1991 core income was in a healthy position. SFR 987,333.15 of the SFR 1,095,243.66 invoiced had been received. In one of the most important developments during the year, the USSR had paid in full its annual contribution for the first time.
The representative from Canada reported that a large part of Canada’s 1991 contribution had just been dispatched to the Bureau.
The Secretary General drew the attention of the Standing Committee to a sample invoice for 1992 contributions, noting that Australia had set an excellent example by paying its 1992 contribution earlier in the day. The 1992 invoices would include a paragraph concerning voluntary additional contributions needed for successful implementation of, for example, the Wetland Conservation Fund and Monitoring Procedure. The invoices would be distributed via diplomatic channels with copies being sent to the Administrative Authorities responsible for implementing the Convention in each Contracting Party. The Standing Committee duly approved the 1992 invoices.
6(b) 1991 core expenditure
The Secretary General noted that following final allocation of project expenditure, most items would be in line with the budget approved by the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties. However, the travel budget had proved woefully inadequate to meet the travel needs of the expanded Bureau.
In reply to the observer from the UK, the Secretary General noted that Monitoring Procedure expenditure had inadvertently been excluded from the 1991 core expenditure documentation.
6(c) 1991 project income and expenditure
The various projects of the Bureau were reviewed. Considerable growth in the area was noted in 1991.
The Secretary General noted that while the database project had been over budget for equipment purchase in 1990, this in no way reflected anything other than proper activity by IWRB. There were also slight temporary technical deficits relating to the Kushiro Conference and the Montreux Proceedings. All other projects were well within budget. He thanked all those Contracting Parties that had contributed to project funding during the year. New projects were being developed in cooperation with the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, France, Spain, and the USA.
Following lengthy discussion, with contributions from the representatives of Canada, Hungary, Tunisia, USA, and the observer from the UK, the Chairman appointed a subgroup (Australia, Japan, Kenya, Pakistan, Tunisia, and the UK and USA) to examine the issue of the acceptability of project funding from non-Contracting Party sources.
The subgroup later reported that project funding could be accepted from any donor with the proviso that the Bureau needed to ensure that the donor was not engaged in activities incompatible with the Convention’s objectives. Particular care would need to be taken in the case of funding being offered by commercial/industrial sources. The subgroup recommended the following guidelines:
- The Secretary General may negotiate with potential donors, including governments and their agencies, NGOs, development assistance agencies, and commercial interests.
- The Secretary General should exercise caution in negotiations with commercial donors and if in doubt with regard to the advisability of accepting funding from a particular source, he should consult the Chairman of the Standing Committee. He, in turn, may consult other members of the Standing Committee through correspondence.
- Donors may ‘earmark’ funding, but activities undertaken with such funding must be in line with the Convention’s established programme priorities.
- Donors must agree to consult the Bureau with regard to any proposed use of the Convention name or logo in publicity, advertising, or other commercial endeavours.
These guidelines were approved by the Standing Committee and the Secretary General assured the Committee that the Bureau would exercise the utmost caution in applying the guidelines and would, as a matter of course, contact the Chairman and relevant regional representatives should any doubts arise.
6(d) 1992 income projections
The Secretary General expressed confidence that the good record of payment of annual contributions established in 1991 would continue in 1992. However, in view of difficulties with knowing precisely when individual contributions would be received, it was necessary to prioritize expenditure.
6(e) 1992 priorities for expenditure
The Secretary General emphasized that the present budget was very tight and that major Convention activities would be threatened if some Contracting Parties were unable to pay their contributions in full.
He informed the Standing Committee that 1992 salary costs and the administrative services provided by IUCN would exceed the sum budgeted by the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties. He explained that these extra costs had resulted from higher than anticipated increases in the cost of living in Switzerland, together with the changes in Bureau staffing, the forthcoming move to new headquarters, and new computing facilities. He asked the Standing Committee to consider making allocations from the contingency fund and/or other budget lines to cover these additional costs. He also recommended that the Standing Committee repeat its 1990 allocation of an additional SFR 5,000 from the contingency fund for technical services supplied by IWRB.
In reply to questions from the representative of the Netherlands and the observer from the UK, the Secretary General said that most Bureau travel relied on project support; for example, France had enabled Bureau staff to participate in a recent key meeting concerning large rivers. Staff travel to attend meetings of the Standing Committee was covered by the host Contracting Party. He pointed out that there were no budget lines for meetings of the Standing Committee or of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, meaning that only those countries able to bear the substantial costs involved could host such meetings.
At the Chairman’s invitation, the Standing Committee approved the priorities for 1992 expenditure, including the few adjustments in allocations between various budget lines recommended by the Bureau.
6(f) Auditors’ report for 1990
The Secretary General noted that there had been a technical deficit at the end of 1990 owing to the late receipt of some annual contributions. At the end of 1990, Japan had paid in full its contributions for the 1988-1990 triennium, thus turning the technical deficit into a surplus as of the end of 1991.
There being no questions, the Standing Committee approved the auditors’ report for 1990.
The Chairman recalled the Secretary General’s earlier remarks concerning the need to establish a procedure for developing budget and programme documents for consideration by the 1992 Standing Committee and eventual submission to the Kushiro Conference. He proposed the establishment of a subgroup to consider these issues. This proposal received full support and the Chairman said that he would appoint a subgroup following informal consultations with members the Standing Committee.
The Chairman subsequently proposed that Kenya, the Netherlands, Pakistan, and the UK and USA form the subgroup to discuss budgetary and programmatic issues. The representatives of the Contracting Parties concerned had agreed. The Standing Committee gave its approval to the Chairman’s proposal. See also Agenda item 11 - Listed Sites.
Agenda item 7: Administrative Matters
The personnel issues covered by this Agenda item were discussed during closed sessions of the Standing Committee on 5 and 6 November.
The draft Memorandum of Understanding on Headquarters Facilities between the Bureau and IUCN was reviewed and approved by the Standing Committee. This was followed by a brief ceremony during which the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Chairman of the Standing Committee and the Director General of IUCN.
Agenda item 8: Standing Committee Matters
The Chairman invited the Regional Representatives and Alternate Regional Representatives to present brief reports on Convention activities in their regions.
The representatives from Tunisia and Kenya reported on the status of the Convention in Africa. Zambia had become a Contracting Party since the last meeting of the Standing Committee, bringing the total to 16 Parties in the region, or one-quarter of all Contracting Parties. There were 43 listed sites in Africa, seven of which appeared on the Register of sites where changes in ecological character are likely to occur. The Wetland Conservation Fund was an important new development which would assist African Contracting Parties in meeting their obligations under the Convention. A number of successful regional meetings had been held, notably in Botswana, the Côte d’Ivoire, and Kenya, and the profile of the Convention was now higher in Africa than ever before. Several countries had recently indicated their intention of soon becoming Contracting Parties.
The representative from Pakistan presented the Asian regional report. He was unable to report the accession of any new Contracting Parties, but looked forward to progress in the next two years as preparations for the Kushiro Conference focused attention on the region. A one-day Ramsar regional meeting was being organized in connection with the forthcoming AWB/IWRB Symposium to be held at Karachi in December 1991.
The representatives from the Netherlands and Spain reported on developments in the Western European region, recalling a number of important meetings which had been held during the last year. Following the Grado Symposium organized by IWRB, the Government of Italy was taking forward proposals for major EC funding of wetland conservation projects in the Mediterranean. In relation to the Montreux Recommendation on Doñana, the Regional Authorities and European Community had set up a Commission, of which the Assistant Secretary General was a member, to advise on development round the park.
Progress had been made by the Member States of the European Community towards adoption of a Directive on Habitats Conservation, and development of a Western Palaearctic Waterfowl Agreement had proceeded well. The Government of the Netherlands was inviting all European Contracting Parties to participate in a meeting in the Netherlands in 1992 to prepare for the Kushiro Conference. A key issue to be addressed would be future European regional representation in the light of recent political changes. Potential Contracting Parties, National Ramsar Committees, the Ramsar Bureau, and international NGOs such as IWRB and IUCN would also be invited.
The representatives from Poland and Hungary made presentations on the Eastern European region. Romania had become a Contracting Party in May 1991, designating the whole of the Danube Delta for the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Poland was preparing the documentation necessary for designating the Biebrza Valley, one of the country’s most important wetlands.
The USA had funded a training course in wetland inventory techniques as part of a national wetland inventory project being conducted in Poland. The difficult economic situation in Eastern Europe meant that Contracting Parties needed external financial assistance to implement their obligations under Ramsar.
The regional report for the Neotropical region was presented by the representatives from Venezuela and Uruguay. There were now eight Contracting Parties in the region, and it was understood that Belize, Argentina, and Costa Rica had completed the internal procedures for accession and that Peru was also working hard to join the Convention. The greater emphasis being given to regional activities under Ramsar was most welcome, but there was an urgent need to raise still further the Convention’s profile in the region. Attention should also be given to interactions with European Contracting Parties which have listed sites in Neotropical Dependent Territories. The representative from Uruguay indicated that a formal request would soon be sent to the Bureau for technical cooperation at its Ramsar site.
The representative from Canada presented the regional report for North America. There had continued to be very active development and implementation of wetland conservation initiatives in the region with particular emphasis the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
Many technical meetings and conferences had been held in the region. Canada had made substantial progress towards the adoption of a Federal Wetland Policy, which was being supported by a number of important provincial initiatives.
The Oceanian regional report, presented by the representative from Australia, summarized progress with the Directory of Oceanian Wetlands. Half the datasheets for the New Zealand component had been completed while information had been received from most of the island nations. It was expected that the Australian inventory, to be published as a companion volume, would be completed by the end of 1992. Australia and New Zealand had continued to support conservation activities along the East Asian Flyway.
The Chairman thanked all of the Regional Representatives and Alternate Regional Representatives for their presentations and opened the floor for comments.
The representative from the Netherlands and the observer from the UK referred to the point raised in the Neotropical regional report concerning listed sites in the Dependent Territories of European Contracting Parties. The representative from the Netherlands said that he would be pleased to facilitate inter-regional contacts concerning the Netherlands Antilles while the observer from the UK provided details of a forthcoming study of wetlands in UK Dependent Territories.
Agenda item 9: National Ramsar Committees
At the invitation of the Chairman, brief reports on the composition and functioning of National Ramsar Committees were presented by the observers from Austria, France, South Africa, the UK, and the US Ramsar Committee. Additional information was provided on pages 103 to 107 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version).
The observer from Austria reported that representatives of neighbouring countries were always invited to participate in meetings of the Austrian National Ramsar Committee. He also announced plans for the designation of three more Austrian Ramsar sites in the near future.
The observer from France reported that the French National Ramsar Committee had identified 40 potential listed sites, including large sections of major rivers, notably the Loire.
The observer from South Africa reported on important new initiatives, including the formulation of a National Wetlands Policy and production of a National Wetlands Inventory.
During her presentation, the observer from the UK announced the imminent designation of three more listed sites, namely Llyn Tegid and Llyn Idwal in Wales, and Esthwaite Water in northern England.
The observer from the US Ramsar Committee, an association of national non-governmental organizations, said the Committee had helped develop contacts between NGOs and government agencies, had educated NGOs about Ramsar, and had pressed for Ramsar funding to be included in the US federal budget.
The observer from Norway said that consideration was being given to the establishment of a Norwegian Ramsar Committee.
The representative from the Netherlands reported that although there was no Dutch Ramsar Committee as such, there was a National Wetlands Committee.
The Secretary General encouraged Contracting Parties to look into the formation of National Ramsar Committees according to local needs and offered the assistance of the Bureau in this connection.
The Director General of IUCN expressed the hope that links could be forged between National IUCN Committees and National Ramsar Committees.
There being no further points for discussion, the Chairman drew the Agenda item to a close.
Agenda item 10: Bureau Workplan for 1992
The Secretary General introduced this Agenda item, referring to pages 109 to 116 in the Standing Committee documentation (English version). The present triennium was the first in which it had been possible to develop the Bureau workplan according to an overall Convention programme. The draft workplan for 1992 was similar in type and structure to that prepared for 1991.
The Chairman opened the floor for questions and comments.
The observer from the UK noted that the workplan did not refer specifically to administration of the Wetland Conservation Fund, a task which was likely to take up an increasing amount of time. The Chairman and Secretary General agreed that pending the allocation of core funding, it would be wise to examine making provision for administration of the Fund (see Agenda item 15).
The representative of the USA recalled that the workplan covered those ‘Essential’ and ‘High Priority Desirable’ tasks which could be completed only if the core budget was funded in full. A number of other important areas of activity were ripe for project funding by Contracting Parties.
The observer from IUCN offered the assistance of IUCN’s regional and national offices in taking the workplan forward.
At the invitation of the Chairman, the Bureau’s workplan for 1992 was approved by the Standing Committee.
Agenda item 11: Conservation of Listed Sites
Introducing this Agenda item and referring to pages 117 to 156 of the Standing Committee documentation, the Secretary General noted that the listing of wetlands was an important part of the Convention. The Standing Committee needed to consider what could be done to help improve the conservation status of the many listed sites in difficulty. He asked the Director of Conservation to comment further.
The Director of Conservation reported that the Bureau’s technical staff would be preparing a Conservation Strategy for 1992, based on the overall Convention programme. Listed sites were indeed the most visible and well-known element of the Convention and the Standing Committee’s advice would be most welcome, especially with regard to the ‘Record of listed sites where changes in ecological character were likely to occur’ (established by Montreux Recommendation C.4.8) and development of the Monitoring Procedure. A list of 44 sites in serious difficulty had been compiled from National Reports and distributed at Montreux. Subsequent reports from Contracting Parties and partner organizations indicated that at least another 30 sites should be added to the Record. Advice was required on the procedure for adding and removing wetlands from the Record.
The Secretary General felt that it might also be appropriate to consider whether formal procedures were needed for admission of new sites to the List of Wetlands of International Importance and removal from the List in the case of sites which became so degraded that they no longer met any of the criteria for listing.
The Chairman opened the floor to questions and lengthy discussion ensued.
The representatives from Australia and Tunisia emphasized that the Bureau must consult with the Contracting Party concerned before entering a listed site on to the Record of listed sites in difficulty. The representative from Australia was especially concerned that the Bureau appeared to be accepting without question reports of changes in ecological character from any source.
The observer from Austria suggested that the Bureau should use National Ramsar Committees as one of the key points of contact when enquiring about the status of listed sites.
The representative from the USA considered this to be a key issue that required the Standing Committee’s careful attention in the coming year. It might be desirable to present a paper at Kushiro, or to hold a workshop on the subject.
The representative from the Netherlands agreed that this was a vitally important issue. It was essential that the Bureau worked closely with Contracting Parties to ensure that the Record was as complete and accurate as possible. He suggested the establishment of an expert Listed Sites Committee, on the lines of the Wise Use Committee, to tackle the issues raised. The Standing Committee was not the most appropriate forum for detailed consideration of technical matters.
The representative from Spain considered that the key point was whether or not a site fulfilled the criteria for Ramsar designation.
The representative from Kenya felt that it was important not to rule out the important role which could be played by NGOs. He also supported the idea of establishing a Listed Sites Committee.
The representative from the USA reminded the Standing Committee that the establishment of a new committee or subgroup would have staffing and budgetary implications.
Following further discussion, the Chairman proposed that the subgroup established earlier in the meeting to examine programmatic and budgetary issues (see Agenda item 6) should also be empowered to review matters concerning listed sites. The subgroup would report to the 1992 meeting of the Standing Committee. This proposal was approved by the Standing Committee which then proceeded to the next item of business.
Agenda item 12: Wise Use of Wetlands
At the invitation of the Chairman, the observer from Norway and Chairman of the Working Group on Wise Use introduced the Agenda item. He recalled that the Wise Use Working Group had been charged with overseeing the wise use project, refining the wise use guidelines, disseminating information on wise use, and promoting the development of national wetland policies and inventories. The Working Group had met in Australia in November 1990 and in the Netherlands in September 1991 to discuss outputs from the wise use project and to examine the wise use guidelines adopted at Montreux. It was felt that the case studies to be included in the report of the wise use project would serve as further guidance to Contracting Parties and that there was no need to amend the Montreux guidelines
The Chairman thanked the Wise Use Working Group for their efforts and asked the Bureau’s Technical Officer with responsibility for the wise use project to present a brief report.
The Wise Use Technical Officer reported that good progress was being made with the project, summaries of which were available in English and French. The three-year study, funded by the Netherlands, would result in the publication of detailed case studies and there would be an important expert meeting in the Netherlands in September 1992. This meeting would result in a report and recommendations to be presented to the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in Kushiro. Much of the work involved in the project had been carried out in cooperation with colleagues in the IUCN Wetlands Programme and with Leiden University.
In reply to a question raised by the representative from the USA, the Secretary General replied that wise use would feature prominently in a new Ramsar video it was hoped to produce for Kushiro in cooperation with the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation.
The Director of Conservation reminded the Standing Committee of Article 3.1 of the Convention which required Contracting Parties to make wise use of wetlands in their territory, whether or not the wetlands were listed sites. This implied the adoption of national wetland policies, such as those developed by Canada, alongside individual site-based conservation plans.
The Standing Committee gave its approval to on-going work in this area.
Agenda item 13: Cooperation under Article 5 of the Convention
The Secretary General introduced the Agenda item at the request of the Chairman. He recalled that workshop discussions at Montreux had recommended that more attention be paid to Article 5 with particular emphasis on initiatives relating to shared wetlands and shared wetland species. These recommendations had been formalized in Resolution C.4.4. The Bureau had subsequently been in contact with IUCN’s Environmental Law Centre to obtain information on current cross-boundary water treaties. On the basis of this information, the Bureau had prepared a paper for the recent conference in Orléans, France, concerning large rivers. It was concluded that of the existing treaties, only Ramsar offered globally applicable opportunities for establishing cross-border agreements on shared wetland resources.
The Secretary General continued by referring to shared wetland species, notably migratory waterfowl. Cooperation with other instruments, such as the Bonn Convention and the Western Palaearctic Waterfowl Agreement being established under the Bonn Convention, was especially important. Recent developments involving Ramsar had included discussions between Denmark, Ireland, and the UK concerning conservation measures along the flyway of the Greenland white-fronted goose. Dialogue initiated at Montreux had resulted in an offer by the Irish Government to host an inter-governmental workshop to address the issue in March 1992.
The representative from Pakistan reported that the Government of Pakistan was working closely with the International Crane Foundation on conservation measures for the endangered Siberian crane. A one-day workshop would be held at the forthcoming AWB/IWRB meeting in Karachi.
It was agreed that much further work was needed in this domain and that a report should be presented to the Kushiro Conference.
Agenda item 14: Development Assistance Activities
The Chairman reminded the Standing Committee of Recommendations C.3.4 and C.4.13 of the Conference of the Contracting Parties concerning the activities of development assistance agencies. He accepted that this was a complex area in which to achieve progress and referred to the report contained on pages 161 to 164 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version).
Some progress had been made; for example the USA had assisted the Bureau in making high-level contact with the World Bank. Positive discussions had also been held with the Commission of the European Communities, the Inter-American Development Bank, and a number of bilateral funding agencies; the Bureau had submitted several project packages to bilateral agencies. However, a concerted effort was required from Contracting Parties to influence development assistance agencies to do more to support the objectives of the Convention. The US Ramsar Committee offered its help to the Bureau and Contracting Parties with contacts in Washington.
The representative from the USA considered that the Bureau should not hesitate to contact those Contracting Parties which are major donors to development assistance funds. This was an issue which could fully involve the regional structure of the Convention. Voting standards should be adopted to prevent approval of projects detrimental to wetlands.
The Secretary General reported on recent encouraging contacts between the Bureau and the World Bank Global Environment Facility. The Bureau would be pursuing these contacts vigorously in the near future.
Agenda item 15: Wetland Conservation Fund (WCF)
Opening this Agenda item, the Chairman requested the Secretary General to summarize the development of the Wetland Conservation Fund to date. The Secretary General reminded the Standing Committee of its responsibility to oversee the Fund and drew attention to the applications for funding included in a booklet accompanying the Standing Committee documentation. The present meeting was required to make the first ever allocations from the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Fund.
The Chairman recalled the Operational Guidelines for the Wetland Conservation Fund, as developed by the ad hoc Working Croup. The main points he proposed should be borne in mind were that multi-year projects should generally not be accepted at the present stage of the Fund’s development; allocations from the WCF should not necessarily represent 100 per cent funding of a project; projects which included an element of local funding were especially attractive; the Standing Committee was not obliged to allocate immediately all available funds; and all recipients of allocations would be required to provide reports on the progress of the projects being supported by the WCF.
The Secretary General reported that the Bureau had received actual contributions and pledges of contributions totaling SFR 440,000, SFR 191,000 of which was already in the bank. A further SFR 10,000 was available from the core budget. A large number of requests for assistance from the Fund had been submitted and Bureau staff had provided comments on each application. These comments were available to the Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee agreed that in view of the limited sums available, it was desirable to place an upper limit of around SFR 30-40,000 on individual allocations.
In reply to a question raised by the representative from Hungary, the Chairman and Secretary General emphasized the importance of securing assistance for wetland conservation projects in Central and Eastern Europe. While it was essential for the Convention to address the matter, they felt that given its terms of reference, the Wetland Conservation Fund was not the most appropriate instrument to use at the present time.
At the request of the Chairman, the Director of Conservation introduced the applications for WCF funding, briefly summarizing the main aims and objectives of each project. There were six applications from Africa, three from Asia, and eight from the Neotropical region.
Following lengthy debate, the Standing Committee decided to make full allocations to Chile, Congo, Kenya, Mauritania, and Viet Nam. The application from Ecuador should be subject to review and resubmitted for approval by joint signature of the Chairman of the Standing Committee, the Regional Representative for the Neotropical region, and the Secretary General. For each approved project, an additional 10 per cent per project would be allocated from the WCF to cover the Bureau’s administration costs.
The applications from Bolivia and Costa Rica were not approved, but the Standing Committee instructed the Bureau to encourage the submission of modified proposals from these countries.
The sums requested in the remaining applications were too large to be covered entirely by the WCF. However, the Bureau proposed making relatively small allocations which might be used to fund expert missions to the countries concerned. It was noted that the guidelines established by the Conference of the Contracting Parties allowed the WCF to be used for initiating projects for development agency funding.
Following further discussion, it was decided that already planned Bureau contacts with Algeria made a separate allocation from the WCF unnecessary at that time.
Following an offer from the observer from IUCN, the Standing Committee agreed that expert contacts with Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Niger, and Panama could be undertaken via IUCN’s regional and national offices. Allocations from the WCF would not be necessary at the present time to cover the cost of such contacts.
The Standing Committee decided that up to SFR 20,000 should be allocated to cover the costs of an expert mission to follow up the recommendations of the 1990 Ramsar Monitoring Procedure at Azraq Oasis in Jordan. The precise amount to be allocated would be determined after further consultations and would be authorized by the signatures of the Standing Committee Chairman, the Regional Representative for Asia, and the Secretary General.
The Standing Committee determined that the applications from Peru and Sri Lanka should be forwarded to appropriate alternative funding agencies.
Summarizing the decisions taken under this Agenda item, the Chairman noted that a total of approximately SFR 200,000 had been allocated, plus an additional SFR 20,000 (10 per cent) to cover project administration costs. A balance of approximately SFR 220,000 therefore remained in the Wetland Conservation Fund.
Agenda item 16: Review of Convention Projects outside the Wetland Conservation Fund
At the invitation of the Chairman, the Secretary General presented a brief summary of Convention projects other than those related to the Wetland Conservation Fund, .referring to pages 169 to 173 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version).
There being no questions or comments, the Chairman thanked the Bureau for compiling a useful record and moved on to the next Agenda item.
Agenda item 17: Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
The Chairman invited the representative from Japan to make a presentation concerning the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties. He reported that the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Environment Agency were working hard on preparations for the Conference, which would be held in the City of Kushiro, Hokkaido in the summer of 1993. A special committee formed in December 1990 had met several times since in order to coordinate preparations. Unfortunately, there were some scheduling problems. Japan was also hosting a meeting of the ‘G7’ Economic Summit in mid-1993, the precise dates of which would not be known until the 1992 ‘G7’ Summit. Japan was therefore unable to fix precisely the dates of the Kushiro Conference, but would like it to be scheduled for either of the two weeks 2-9 June or 9-16 June. The Government of Japan was making plans for an appropriate budget to be made available in the next fiscal year to support the Conference and the Eleventh Meeting of the Standing Committee, which was being invited to meet in Kushiro in 1992. Consideration was also being given to financial support for delegate participation. Japan would be pleased to provide a Chairman for the Conference.
The Secretary General referred the Standing Committee to pages 175 to 183 of the meeting documentation (English version) and expressed his deep appreciation for the care and generosity of the Government of Japan in making preparations for the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties. The Bureau was fortunate to have the services of a Technical Officer for Asia, who had been seconded by the City of Kushiro to assist with arrangements for the Conference. However, the Secretary General was concerned by the uncertainty over the dates of the Conference. He stressed that a decision was needed at the earliest convenience of the Japanese authorities.
The Secretary General’s concern was echoed by members of the Standing Committee who agreed that 9-16 June should be considered as the dates for the meeting although it was noted that it may be necessary to state in the initial Conference invitation that these were tentative dates.
The Standing Committee discussed criteria for the allocation of funding for delegate travel. It was agreed that priority should go to Contracting Parties and that the Bureau should provide guidance to the Japanese authorities based on experience gained in organizing the Montreux Conference.
Japan’s offer to provide a Chairman for the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties was warmly welcomed by the Standing Committee. The Secretary General suggested that if possible, the designated Chairman should attend the 1992 meeting of the Standing Committee.
The representative from Japan assured the Standing Committee that the Japanese authorities would do their utmost to ensure the smoothest possible entry to and departure from Japan for delegates attending the Conference. The Chairman of the Standing Committee asked the Secretary General to take the necessary steps regarding an exchange of letters on this matter with the Government of Japan.
There was some discussion over the use of Spanish in Kushiro. The Secretary General recalled that the Montreux Conference had taken a decision in favour of making full use of Spanish at future Conferences of the Parties, but no budget line had been allocated for its implementation. This meant that there were considerable budgetary implications for the host country, in this case Japan. Discussions on this point were continuing between the Bureau and the Japanese authorities.
The Standing Committee reviewed the draft programme for the Conference, devoting particular attention to workshop proposals. It was agreed that the results of the 1992 UNCED meeting and other wider conservation developments needed to be incorporated. The representative from Australia reminded the Standing Committee of the call made at Montreux by the delegation of New Zealand that greater attention be given to the coastal, mangrove, and coral reef wetland ecosystems of Oceania and south-east Asia.
The Bureau recalled the need for prompt submission of national reports.
The representative of Japan reported that a new conference centre being built in the City of Kushiro would be ready for occupation in mid-May 1993. He also introduced the Conference logo which was warmly received by the Standing Committee.
The Chairman drew discussion of this Agenda item to a close by congratulating Japan, on behalf of the Standing Committee, for the clearly excellent preparations being made.
Agenda item 18: Communications Activities
At the request of the Chairman, the Bureau’s Communications Officer presented a report on current activities, referring to pages 185 to 194 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version). She drew the Committee’s attention to the set of recently produced Programme Profiles, which summarized the main areas of the Convention’s work in a simple, but attractive format. The Newsletter’s revised design had proved very successful and three issues had now been produced in the new format. Given delays in production, however, it might prove necessary for the Newsletter to be printed in Switzerland in the future. The Ramsar video had received very wide distribution and had been translated into several languages. Other promotional items included the sticker which had been redesigned to feature the English, French, and Spanish titles of the Convention, and the Ramsar watch, which had been reissued with the aim of at least recouping costs through sales. The scarf and tie designs reviewed by the Ninth Meeting of the Standing Committee were among the possible promotional items for Kushiro being considered by the Japanese authorities. A wetlands poster designed by the Bureau’s Technical Officer for Listed Sites was also available with production costs again being offset through sales.
The Communications Officer reported that registration of the Ramsar logo had been deferred by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The Bureau had drafted a set of guidelines, reproduced on pages 191 to 192 of the Standing Committee documentation (English version), to govern use of the logo. At the invitation of the Chairman, these guidelines were duly approved by the Standing Committee.
The Communications Officer introduced the Bureau’s Communications Plan which had been circulated as an additional document. The Plan was approved, without amendment, by the Standing Committee. Activities planned for 1992 and 1993 included the production of Directories of Listed Sites for the Kushiro Conference, production of a new video, establishment of a slide/photographic database, library work, and compilation of a list of national communications initiatives undertaken by Contracting Parties.
The Bureau expressed its thanks to the US Environmental Protection Agency for making available a US$ 21,250 grant to support promotional activities.
The observer from South Africa offered to help with the distribution of materials via diplomatic channels and to arrange for the display of such materials in embassies, etc.
The Chairman thanked the observer from South Africa for a most welcome offer and emphasized that promotion of the Convention was an area in which all Contracting Parties should play a major role. The within-country distribution of Ramsar information materials was of the highest importance.
The representative from the USA recommended that Convention press release paper be designed, notably for use in connection with new accessions, new listed sites, and in publicizing the Wetland Conservation Fund.
In reply to the observer from Austria, the Secretary General reported that although a very welcome contribution of SFR 12,000 towards the production of a German version of the Newsletter had been received from Austria, no further funding for this purpose had been forthcoming from other sources. The Bureau would continue to seek the additional funding required.
Agenda item 19: Next Meeting of Standing Committee
The Standing Committee warmly accepted an invitation from the Government of Japan to meet in Kushiro, Hokkaido from 20 to 23 October 1992. It was noted that these dates would provide excellent opportunities for linkages with the Asian Wetland Symposium being held immediately prior to the Standing Committee Meeting.
Agenda item 20: Any Other Business
Following discussion of a question raised in a letter from the representative from Switzerland, the Standing Committee agreed that allocations from the Wetland Conservation Fund to support the Monitoring Procedure should only be made in the ‘emergency’ circumstances covered by the WCF guidelines.
In response to a question raised by the observer from the UK, the representative of the USA and the observer from the US Ramsar Committee provided further information concerning recent publicity highlighting controversial proposals for the redefinition of wetlands in the USA.
The Secretary General appealed to the Standing Committee to provide updates to the Bureau’s list of Administrative Authority addresses and contact numbers.
Agenda item 21: Closing Remarks
The Chairman expressed his sincere thanks, on behalf of the Standing Committee, to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, US State Department, and the US Ramsar Committee. He thanked especially Don Woodard, Tom Dahl, Margie Stump, Debbie McCrensky, Sue Fernandez, and the staff of the Ramsar Bureau for their efforts in arranging the smooth running of a highly successful meeting which he now declared closed.
Proceedings of the Closed Session of the Standing Committee, 5 November 1991
Agenda item 8: Review of Administrative Matters
1) Headquarters Facilities
The Chairman called the Standing Committee to order in closed session and requested the Secretary General to report on headquarters developments. The Secretary General informed the Committee about the office facilities currently being made available to the Bureau by IUCN in the main building of the World Conservation Centre. IUCN was thanked warmly by the Standing Committee for providing such a choice suite of offices for the Bureau.
Attention was next turned to arrangements for the new headquarters building, scheduled to be available for occupancy in the third quarter of 1992.
The Secretary General reported on the state of construction of the building and then presented the text of the proposed memorandum of understanding between IUCN and Ramsar for Bureau occupancy in that facility. He explained that he was pleased with the text which was the result of lengthy negotiations; he believed that the agreement covered all necessary elements and was a fair arrangement for both parties. The Committee then reviewed the text, paragraph by paragraph, as well as the floorplan for Bureau offices.
The Director General of IUCN expressed his satisfaction with the draft text and stated his agreement with the observation made by the Secretary General. He also underlined the importance of concluding a comprehensive agreement in view of the experience IUCN has had in its present headquarters facility due to the lack of such an agreement with WWF.
In reply to a question from the Chairman, the Director General indicated that there would be some excess capacity in the new building and that if necessary, Ramsar could have access to additional office space as envisaged by paragraph 11 of the draft memorandum.
In the ensuing discussion, the Dutch, Tunisian, and US members of the Standing Committee congratulated IUCN on the progress achieved with the new headquarters and expressed satisfaction with the draft memorandum. Questions were raised about the likely level of costs pertaining to occupancy of the building and about the possibility of incorporating a wetland habitat within the design of the facility.
On the former point, the Director General confirmed that the cost estimates for ‘administrative services’ provided by IUCN to the Montreux Conference, and subsequently incorporated into the 1991-1993 budget, remained accurate.
On the latter point, he indicated that IUCN would be delighted to consider including a small wetland habitat in the external gardens of the building. The Director General also informed the Standing Committee that special contributions for fitting out the Ramsar section of the building would be most appropriate and appreciated.
The Chairman thanked the Secretary General and IUCN’s Director General for all of their work on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding. He considered that the draft text covered all major areas of concern, and requested each member of the Standing Committee to review the text so that any comments might be communicated the next day in order to enable signature of the Memorandum during the course of this meeting.
2) Staff Issues
The Secretary General was invited to report to the Standing Committee about personnel matters and also about relations with IUCN pertaining to personnel administration. He reported excellent relations with IUCN, saying that the few minor misunderstandings which existed were due simply to insufficient communication. He and the Director General were undertaking to remedy this problem.
Concerning Bureau staff, the Secretary General expressed pride in the many accomplishments of the team in 1991, especially since several of the current staff had only joined the Bureau this year. Considerable strides had been made in implementing the Bureau’s programme and much had been done in enhancing cooperation with partner organizations.
The Secretary General explained the process to be followed in carrying out annual staff performance evaluations with subsequent consideration of 1992 position gradings. He anticipated no difficulties in this process, indicating that he would recommend step increases as provided by the IUCN Staff Rules for all staff, with one exception, already communicated to the Chairman, wherein a two-step increase was required.
In concluding this presentation, the Secretary General proposed that the Bureau could enhance its effectiveness following the development and adoption of a strategy for implementing its conservation work, analogous to the Communications Plan before this meeting. The Conservation Unit in the Bureau was charged with proposed such a strategy. The Secretary General would be pursuing this as a matter of urgency and would inform the Standing Committee in due course of progress made in this regard, as well as any redesign of staff responsibilities arising from this exercise.
The Chairman thanked the Secretary General for his report, which was accepted by the Standing Committee without further comment, and concluded this meeting of the Closed Session.
Proceedings of the Closed Session of the Standing Committee, 6 November 1991
The Chairman opened the session by indicating five agenda items he wished to address:
1. Performance Evaluation for Secretary General
2. Agreement for co-location in new IUCN Facility
3. Grading of Secretary General position
4. Cost of Living Increases
5. IUCN proposed agreement on employee severance
Performance Evaluation for Secretary General
Asking Mr. Navid to leave the room, the Chairman indicated that he had discussed this matter with the Director General IUCN. The Chairman reviewed the fiscal, membership, and staffing strength of the Convention. He referred to actions taken satisfactorily during the past year including consolidation, staff increases, initiation of new programs, and getting the Conservation Fund on-line. He praised the good teamwork evident in the Bureau, its fund raising, contacts with the parties, negotiations for the next Conference, and attributed these positive actions to the Secretary General. He strongly commended the Bureau and Secretary General for their personal skills.
The Chairman challenged the Secretary General to develop a strategy that would allow him to set priorities with measurable objectives during the coming year. Calling it a "roadmap for the future", the Chairman encouraged efficient cooperation with IUCN and IWRB; party adoption and sponsorship of projects; and, attention to recruiting new parties.
The Chairman described the IUCN rating system, indicated that he would complete the rating form with input from Dr. Holdgate, and unless he heard otherwise from parties would rate the Secretary General's performance for 1991 at a high level.
The Committee concurred.
Dr. Holdgate also concurred and asked that completed forms be returned to him as the Secretary General was technically a member of his staff. He further suggested that since he met regularly with the Secretary General, that if there were matters which the Committee wished to have monitored, they could be communicated to him as the Convention requires the IUCN to see that Bureau services are efficiently provided.
Agreement for Co-location in new IUCN Facility
The Chairman reviewed the background of this agreement. Following brief comments, the Committee endorsed the Chairman's signing the negotiated agreement subject to a clarifying memo discussed in open session. The Chairman voiced his satisfaction with the agreement negotiated by the Secretary General and pointed to the equity with IUCN reflected in the agreement.
Grading of Secretary General's Position
Before retiring from the meeting the Director General of IUCN asked that the Committee give careful thought to the respective legal, formal roles of IUCN and the Committee. He expressed his judgement to be that the Committee defines the work to be performed by the Bureau, and provides the job descriptions for the work it wants done. That together the Secretary General is rated. But that staff are on secondment to the Bureau; that DG-IUCN is their legal employer; and, that if the Committee were to become dissatisfied with a member of staff, we should tell him (the DG) as it was his responsibility to redeploy the individual within IUCN or terminate the individual. He offered that it was not in the Committee's power to terminate a Bureau staff person because staff were legally IUCN's on secondment to the Bureau, subject to Swiss civil service laws and that they must be graded in strict comparability with IUCN. He suggested that the Committee could request a particular grading, but that it was his responsibility to assure comparability with IUCN and if there were differences they would have to be worked out.
The Chairman stated his appreciation for the DG-IUCN's position and his desire to see that position fairly represented to the Committee. He then reviewed the history of this issue, which first arose in 1989 and had been handled by the past Co-Chairman of the Standing Committee, Tony Clarke; concluding with the decision taken at the previous Committee meeting in 1990 in Slimbridge, U.K. The Chairman's file was offered for review. The Chairman then described the three positions in IUCN graded at A-1 and summarized their responsibilities.
The relationship with IUCN was described by the Chairman as harmonious and productive. One member described the issue as important and related to the Convention's constitutional powers.
Following a discussion of the meaning [of] "secondment" and of the history of the issue, the Netherlands opined that the issue of secondment did not apply here. That we had made a specific recommendation and there was no need to change that recommendation until satisfied that the Committee had no authority in the area. The Netherlands representative urged a review of relevant agreements and Convention documents, and based upon that review to renew the request to the DG-IUCN. He further cautioned against the precedence of ceding power to the IUCN.
The U.S., Canada, U.K., Tunisia, and others discussed possible interpretations of Regina and Montreux language. The Committee, by consensus, called upon the Chairman to again recommend a grading of A-1 for the Secretary General's position based on applicable documentation, upon Convention growth, increased duties, and the revised position description being drafted for the SG position. Failing this, the Chairman was authorized to take a legal opinion on the matter before the 1992 Committee meeting at which time the Committee would determine whether the issue should be brought before the Kushiro conference. Kenya observed that if the Bureau could not come to an agreement with IUCN on the matter, it might become necessary to re-think our association with the IUCN.
Cost of Living Increases
The Chairman referred to discussions he has had with the DG-IUCN on this matter. Employees of IUCN receiving satisfactory performance evaluations are granted a 2% salary increase. In addition there is a cost of living increase indexed to the Swiss inflation rate. For this year this rate was 6%. Hence the total possible increase would equal 8%. IUCN is not budgeted to pay this full amount, although the Convention is. Wishing equity, the Chairman had suggested that both organizations could be handled in a like manner, but had urged IUCN to consider the interests of lower paid employees, and had suggested a fixed increase for those making 50,000 SFr or less per annum, a lesser percentage for those making 50,000-100,000 SFr, and no increase for those making above that level.
The Committee endorsed the Chairman's approach.
Agreement on Severance of Employees
Following short debate, the Committee accepted the substance of the IUCN proffered agreement, but rejected the introductory language which referred to Bureau employees as being secondees of IUCN. The Committee instructed the Chairman to develop an alternative introductory text based upon Conference documents and existing IUCN-Committee/Convention agreements to counter-present to the IUCN.
The Committee quickly reviewed its position on grading of the Secretary General's position, clarifying that the Chairman was to again request a re-grading based upon expanded criteria, and failing that obtain a legal opinion for review at the Committee’s 1992 regular meeting where the Committee would then take a decision on whether and how this matter would be brought to the Conference of the Parties.