The Work Plan 1996-1999 of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel


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The Ramsar Convention's subsidiary expert body, the Scientific and Technical Review Panel, held its 5th meeting in Hungary in June 1996 to develop its 1996-1999 Work Plan based on the mandates and requests voted by the Contracting Parties at the 6th Conference of the Parties in Brisbane in March 1996. At the 19th Standing Committee Meeting in Gland, 29 October-1 November 1996, the proposed Work Plan was adopted with several small amendments. References next to subject headings are to the Strategic Plan 1997-2002 and the Resolutions and Recommendations of the 6th COP. The composition of the STRP was adopted by the Brisbane COP.

Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)

WORK PLAN 1996-1999

1. Toxic chemicals (Operational Objective 2.3; Recommendation 6.14)

Mr A Smith offered to take the initiative and report to the STRP.

2. Economic Evaluation (Operational Objective 2.4; Recommendation 6.10)

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) STRP to co-opt an expert, through consultation by correspondence within the Panel, and if possible nomination by a CP. The aim would be to have the co-opted expert attending the next meeting of the STRP in April 1997; end of 1996

    (b) the Bureau, in the meantime, will investigate which institutions/agencies have expertise in this field (e.g. IUCN’s Biodiversity Programme and the Wetlands international Specialist Group) and establish activity in this field within the new MedWet/LIFE project. end of 1996

Bureau contacts: M Smart

3. Restoration and Rehabilitation of Wetlands (Operational Objective 2.6; Recommendation 6.15)

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) Bureau to develop a proposal for attracting funds, obtaining a secondment, or persuading a lead agency (to recruit a coordinator), to develop an analysis of what has/is being done, including what has worked and what has not (explaining methodologies), and prepare a report for the STRP meeting in 1996; report to be ready for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

    produce a final report and conclusions on the result of (a) for Standing Committee consideration in 1998; and

    the activity should include the identification of ten best practice case studies, with which STRP members will assist on providing names of possible examples; final report by June/July 1998

    a proposal for the content and organisation of a Technical Session at the 7th CoP should be submitted at the next STRP meeting in April 1997; and among those to be consulted should be interested CPs (e.g. Denmark, Netherlands, USA, UK, Sweden, Spain, Israel and others), as well as Wetlands International and other partners. pre-proposal for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997 final proposal by June/July 1998

Focal point : M Vegh in consultation with Palle Uhd Jepsen
Bureau contacts : M Carbonell

4. Education and Public Awareness (Operational Objective 3.1 and 3.2; Resolution VI.19)

Dr K Thompson offered to take the initiative on this subject and report to the STRP.

5. Ecological character (Operational Objective 5.1; Resolution VI.1; Rec. 6.14)

Proposed action by STRP:

    a) test the guidelines on ecological character (point 2 of Resolution VI.1) based on the data provided by Ramsar Information Sheet;

    (b) review the guidelines on ecological character in the light of the results (a) and the criteria guidelines. Incorporate the wise use concept in them, and incorporate the whole into the consolidation of Resolutions and Recommendations;

    (c) test the effectiveness of the Montreux Record (point 3 of Resolution VI.1) at sites with or without Management Guidance Procedure and at sites which could/should be included in the Montreux Record;

To carry out (a), (b) and (c), the Bureau will contact CPs and managers of sites suggested by the Panel (see Annex I). Together with the Panel members, the Bureau will identify intern (or other) students, or locate adequate financial resources to carry out the analyses of these data and report to the STRP 1997. It was suggested that wetland managers and universities could be requested to test the definition and the guidelines at specific sites and report to the STRP by the end of 1997 so that it can report to the Standing Committee; regional meetings could also be used to test the definition and the guidelines. advance report to be ready for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

    (d) prepare a document to be presented at the next STRP 1997 reviewing the existing Early Warning System’s methodology; report to be ready for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

    (e) review and suggest methodologies and guidelines for assessing the threshold of change in the ecological character of wetlands taking special account of limnology, hydrology and keystone species; care should be taken with some indicator species, such as migratory birds, to ensure events occurring elsewhere do not introduce a bias. advance report to be ready for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

Focal point : M Finlayson
Bureau contacts : T Jones

6. Montreux Record (MR) and Management Guidance Procedure (MGP) (Operational Objective 5.1; Resolution VI.1)

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) the Bureau will aim to increase the participation of STRP members and alternates in MGP missions; on going

    (b) in the case of MR inclusions or deletions the Bureau should consult the STRP when appropriate, as indicated in Resolution Vl.1; on going

    (c ) the Bureau should go ahead with those sites in urgent need of application of the MGP, including Greece (see Recommendation 6.17.1), or in regions with few, well-identified needs; advance report to be presented at 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

    (d) in the case of regions with many CPs requesting MGPs the Bureau will provide information to the STRP and priorities will be set up at the STRP meeting in April 1997; report to be presented at 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

    (e) the Bureau will prepare – for circulation to the STRP – a document, based on information from the Contracting Parties, listing the sites which are currently on the Montreux Record and which should be considered for application of the MGP; report to be presented at 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

    (f) the Bureau will keep the STRP updated on MR site information. on going

Bureau contact : M Smart

7. Management Planning (Operational Objective 5.2; Recommendation 6.13)

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) Identify good examples of management planning and implementation, using the National Reports presented at Brisbane as an initial source of information. The final selection of the ten best case studies should cover the widest possible range of wetland types; Bureau action requested, end of 1996

    (b) a letter/questionnaire to be prepared and sent out to all CPs and institutions which could contribute, including a request for information on the application of Ramsar’s Kushiro guidelines; and

    (c ) the exercise should concentrate on Ramsar sites, especially those that have applied the Kushiro Guidelines in Management Planning, but not to exclude other good examples of wetland management planning; end of 1996

    (d) the focal points, with the assistance of other STRP members, will identify 15 good examples to be submitted for review at the next meeting of the STRP in April 1997; February 1997 for distribution to all participants

    (e) focal points should prepare a discussion paper for STRP in April 1997 reviewing the Ramsar guidelines and the integrated catchment approach concept, taking into account biodiversity in wetlands and the CBD; February 1997 for distribution to all participants

    (f) a proposal for a Technical Session at the 7th CoP should also be prepared for the next meeting of the STRP in April 1997; pre-proposal for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997, final proposal by June/July 1998

Focal points: R Schlatter and M Komoda
Bureau contacts: M Smart

8. Ramsar Database (Operational Objective 5.4; Resolution VI.16)

It was agreed that Wetlands International, using data from other sources would prepare drafts of Information Sheets for those that had no sheet, and that the Bureau would submit these drafts for approval to the CPs concerned.

It was suggested that the present wetland classification could be tested against selected Ramsar sites, so that specific named wetland examples can be available to support the concern of the STRP over the present classification.

Proposed action by STRP :

    (a) recommend full implementation of Resolution VI.16 concerning provision of information and maps for new sites; Bureau to request this information to CPs, deadline end of 1997

    (b) recommend full implementation of Resolution VI.13 and Recommendation 5.3 concerning provision of information and maps for already listed sites. (This action will be supported by information provided by the Database manager); Database Manager has provided information already, action from Bureau on going

    (c ) STRP members to send comments on the RIS "Explanatory Notes and Guidelines" document by 15 July, to the Bureau. This will include comments to call for greater detail on peatlands and coral reef descriptions (Dr K Thompson); requesting the inclusion of information pertaining to the management objectives at listed sites (Mr M Végh). The Bureau will attempt to provide a final draft by 15 August for the STRP to make final comments within one week; deadline postponed to 15 September 1996

    (d) invite the Standing Committee to consider instructing the STRP to undertake a review (not necessarily modification) of the Ramsar Classification System of Wetland Type; await Standing Committee decision

    (e) recommends the following order of categories in the RIS (see Annex I). done

Bureau contact : M Smart

9. Global review of wetland resources (Operational Objective 6.1)

UK has made available £ 30,000 for this task.

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) prepare draft terms of reference by 31 July 1996 for a consultant to execute the project, and circulate (the draft ToR) to STRP for comments (to be received until 31 August); deadline postponed to 15 September 1996, comments by 30 September

    (b) a draft report to be submitted to the next meeting of the STRP in April 1997. 6th STRP-April 1997

Focal point: M Finlayson
Bureau contacts: T Jones

10. Criteria (Operational Objective 6.3 and Resolution VI.2, VI.3)

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) consider the possibility of establishing three clusters of criteria, as follows :

      cluster 1. Representativeness and Uniqueness – with special attention to hydrological functions, with the support of an expert on this issue. Focal point : K Thompson

      cluster 2. Biodiversity – (a) general and (b) specific taxa: e.g. birds/waterfowl and fish with possible addition of mammals, reptiles, invertebrates. The possibility of developing criteria based on communities such as mangroves, coral reefs, peatlands and karst might be considered. Bureau to contact appropriate institutions to ensure that there is enough data before proceeding. Focal point : Y Ntiamoa-Baidu

      Note: Limnological aspects should be taken into account in both clusters 1 & 2.

      cluster 3. Significance for Humans – there is no consensus that this cluster is advisable or required. However it was agreed to prepare a first draft. Issues to be considered: cultural/ spiritual/religious/cosmological; traditional and other socio-economic uses; educational, research and recreational uses; benefits to humans of the ecological functions. These could be summarised under the concept of benefits and values for humans. Focal point : M Finlayson and A Smith

    (b) focal points will present a report including proposals at the 6th STRP meeting in April 1997. To develop and prepare this report, Contracting Parties should be consulted, to obtain their general views, and Specialist Groups should be contacted about the "new" taxa and ecological communities. report to be ready for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

Bureau contact : M Carbonell

11. Relationship between Ramsar’s STRP and the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advise (SBSTTA) and the Global Environmental Facility’s (GEF) Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) (Operational Objective 7.2; Resolutions VI.7, VI.9, VI.23)

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) establish links with the CBD’s SBSTTA following the practice at this meeting, i.e. invite SBSTTA to send a representative to take part as observer in STRP meetings; invitation will be sent out for the 6th STRP meeting to SBSTTA

    (b) encourage the SBSTTA and its Bureau to invite STRP to send a representative as observer to its meetings; Mr A Smith attending SBSTTA meeting in September 1996

    (c ) the Chair of the STRP and the Bureau to explore possible similar cooperation with the GEF’s STAP; end of 1996, invitation to be sent for 6th STRP meeting in April 1997

    (d) invite WWF-International and BirdLife International to STRP meetings, as observers; informed together with mailing of minutes

    (e) STRP members to obtain the agreement of the Chair of the STRP, through the Bureau, to represent Ramsar’s STRP at meetings of similar bodies or agencies. After participation in such meetings submission of a report to the Bureau is requested for circulation to all STRP; no deadline required

    (f) prepare short half-page accounts, including objectives, ways of operating, potential interest of establishing links for Ramsar, and name of contact point (address, telephone, fax and email), and send to the Bureau by 31st July 1996 for circulation to all STRP, of :

    • Bonn Convention Technical Council: R Schlatter
    • Global Water Partnership: M Smart
    • International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI): M Carbonell
    • International Association of Ecology (INTECOL): M Finlayson
    • International Biosphere-Geosphere program (IGBP): M Finlayson
    • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): M Finlayson
    • Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB): K Thompson
    • SCOPE: K Thompson
    • Society of International Limnologist (SIL): K Thompson
    • South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP): K Thompson
    • The Society of Wetland Scientists: A Smith
    • Valdivia Group: R Schlatter
    • World Heritage Convention: M Komoda
    • World Water Council: D Blasco
    • Working Group on Aquatic Birds (SIL): A Smith
    • Wetlands International Specialists Groups: S Frazier

    deadline extended until 31 October1996

Bureau contact : M Smart

12. Small Grants Fund (SGF) (Operational Objective 8.4)

Proposed action by STRP:

    (a) the Bureau to send to STRP members, on a regional basis, those project proposals for which it requires clarification, interpretation and, in general, technical advice on specific questions;

    (b) should the Secretary General’s proposal for evaluation of the projects be approved by the Standing Committee, the decision on funding should be made by the Secretary General in consultation with the Regional Representative and the member of the STRP of the region concerned; depending on Standing Committee meeting dates for 1997

    (c) STRP to analyze with the view of modifying, if necessary, the form used at present for project evaluation. The Bureau to send out a draft evaluation form to STRP for comments by the end of 1996, and to incorporate those comments in a second draft to be discussed at the next meeting of the STRP in April 1997. done, enclosed with minutes as Annex II

Bureau contact : M Smart

13. Future meetings

(a) STRP report to the 19th Standing Committee Meeting, 29 October - 1 November 1996, Gland :

Proposed action by STRP: At the invitation of the Chairperson of the Standing Committee, and as agreed at the 5th Meeting of the STRP the Chair of the Panel, Dr Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, will attend the 19th Standing Committee Meeting and will present a report on behalf of the STRP.

(b) STRP representation at non-Ramsar meetings 1996/97 :

Proposed action by STRP: STRP members participating in technical/scientific meetings may represent Ramsar ‘s STRP, but are requested to consult the Chairperson and the Bureau in advance.

(c) Date and venue of 6th STRP Meeting :

Proposed action by STRP: It was agreed that the 6th Meeting of the STRP should take place in Gland, from Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th April 1997. Participants are asked to arrive no later than Monday 14th, and leave no sooner than Friday 18th April to allow three full days of work. It was further agreed, subject to review at the 6th Meeting, that the 7th Meeting of the STRP should take place in Gland, from 18th to 20th November 1997. Possible dates for the 8th Meeting of the STRP could be around 14-16 April 1998, but these are subject to discussion at the 6th Meeting in April 1997.

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