|"Wetlands: water, life, and culture" |
8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002
Opening ceremonies and first day's business
The first official day of Ramsar COP8 passed eventfully on Monday, 18 November, with a great deal of administrative business to get out of the way, well mixed with ceremonial occasions and welcoming speeches, along with an artistic performance on the water outside the venue and a lively reception in the Museum. Here are a few photo highlights of the day -- for a thorough report and analysis of the day's work, please consult the Web pages of the IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin, http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/ramsar/cop8/.
The cavernous plenary hall on opening day, with Contracting Parties in the front rows, Observer States behind them, intergovernmental organizations next, then the four International Organization Partners, followed by the Business Sector, and then the NGOs stretching back into the next province, with television screens set up all along the sides, recording events on the podium faithfully to keep participants more or less up to date.
The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was presented to three winners: the Chilika Development Authority (India), Banrock Station Wines (Australia), and the NGO Trinational Initiative for the Morava-Dyje Floodplain. Here, Christopher Carson (second from left), Chief Executive of BRL Hardy Europe Ltd receives the award on behalf of Banrock Station from the President of the COP, Mrs María del Carmen Martorell Pallás, Secretary General of Environment, Ministry of the Environment of Spain, and COP8 Vice-Presidents Hector Conde of Cuba and Javad Amin Mansour of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mr Franck Riboud, head of the Danone Group, stands at left as sponsor of the 10,000 dollar Evian Special Prize that was also presented to each of the Award winners.
Some of the delegates, including Mr Karen Jenderedjian of Armenia, chair of the Standing Committee's Subgroup on Finance.
Dr Max Finlayson of Australia, one of the two winners of the Recognition for Excellence (with Monique Coulet of France), being congratulated by Mr Riboud whilst the President and Vice-Presidents of the COP express their appreciation.
The Swiss and Swedish delegations in the plenary hall.
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Philippe Roch, Switzerland
Claude Martin, WWF International
Peter Bridgewater, MAB Programme
Dr Luc Hoffmann (center), one of the Founding Fathers of the Ramsar Convention, with Jean-Paul Taris to the right, head of the Tour du Valat Biological Station, and (standing) Jean-Yves Pirot of IUCN.
From left at the table, Dr Claude Martin, head of WWF International, and Jamie Pittock, head of WWF's Living Waters Programme, Marcel Sylvius and Simon Nash of Wetlands International. Dr Martin's address on behalf of the four International Organization Partners is available here in English and Español.
Some more WWF people.
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Mr Franck Riboud explaining the reasons for the private sector Danone Group's long and very generous support for the Ramsar Convention's work.
Samoa announced that its instrument of accession has been sent to the Director General of UNESCO and that it looked forward to participating in the next COP as a Contracting Party rather than as an Observer State.
Aboucar Awaiss of Niger (left), with three rowdy members of the Ramsar Bureau, hiding back by the interpreters' booths.
An artistic performance on the artificial lakes outside the Museum, followed by a reception within, hosted by the regional government of Valencia.
Welcoming officials from all the local and regional jurisdictions.