Wellington, New Zealand, is the host city for the Oceania preparatory meeting for the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) to be held in October 2018 in Dubai. The meeting is taking place from 13 to 16 of March and is attended by eight Contracting Parties in the Oceania Region, an observer from Vanuatu who is in the process of accession, and observers from international and national organizations that work on wetland related issues.
Pre-COP meeting is an opportunity to discuss and give feedback on Draft Resolutions to be considered at the Ramsar COP13. It is also a platform for Contracting Parties and partners to share experiences, information and knowledge on wetland issues common to the region and identify opportunities for cooperation, learning and improved implementation of the Convention.
Hon Eugenie Sage, the Minister of Conservation representing the Government of New Zealand, opened the meeting highlighting New Zealand’s investment in wetlands restoration – 90 per cent of country’s inland wetland areas (not including lakes and rivers) have been lost since the pre-industrial times. The Minister encouraged other countries not to follow the same path.
Participants visited Wairarapa - Moana Wetland Area, located north of Wellington and had an opportunity to be welcomedon to Kohunui Marae (meeting place). Thanks to Ngāti Hinewaka, Kahnugunu ki Wairarapa, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Ducks Unlimited and the Department of Conservation.