The 53rd meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention is taking place this week in Gland, Switzerland. More than 100 delegates from 50 countries gathered on Wednesday morning to listen to the opening statements.
Chair of the Standing Committee, Jorge Rucks, opened the first plenary session by underlining the role of the Standing Committee: “We would like to officially welcome the new Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego to this 53rd meeting of the Standing Committee. We are fully confident and satisfied with Secretary’s General work and the achievements of what we consider to be a new vision in the management and administration of the Secretariat within the new global challenges we are facing in the 21st century (…) Our imperative need is a strong, efficient and active Convention in order to achieve its objectives, this cannot be achieved without the direct and active involvement of all actors.”
Steward Maginnis, IUCN Global Director for Nature-Based Solutions Group, welcoming participants on behalf of IUCN Director-General Inger Andersen, referred to the cause of wetland conservation and underlined: “We should not lose sight of the fact that the issues at stake are of the highest priority in the global agenda. Just in the Sustainable Development Goals, for example, wetland conservation – because of its direct linkages to both ecosystem health and the economy – contributes not only to water and sanitation but also to food security, making cities safe and resilient, decent jobs and reducing inequalities. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is a vital instrument for meeting national and international priorities for development, biodiversity conservation and climate resilience.”
Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International delivered a statement on behalf of Ramsar’s six International Organisation Partners (IOPs). “We warmly welcome the new Secretary General, Martha Rojas-Urrego and her revitalized engagement with the IOPs. We look forward to capturing this momentum in the anticipated joint Framework for Cooperation. We anticipate this will help to bring a stronger profile for wetlands in the global agenda and funding. A key focus of our collaboration will be to work with countries to improve the mainstreaming of wetlands into implementation of food, water and climate security strategies linked to the Sustainable developments Goals.”
Secretary General, Martha Rojas-Urrego stated in her speech “I am honored to serve and support Ramsar Convention Contracting Parties towards the crucial task of implementing the Convention. I am committed to strengthening Secretariat’s service to Contracting Parties decision-making, increasing relevance of wetlands and the Convention to sustainable development policy objectives and enabling implementation of the Convention”.