Maputo Workshop on Biodiversity Legislation -- report from Ramsar

Maputo Workshop on Biodiversity Legislation -- report from Ramsar

19 July 1997

(18 July 1997)

Workshop on Modalities for Incorporating Biodiversity-Related Conventions and Agreements into National Legislation in Africa
(30 June- 4 July 1997, Maputo, Mozambique)

Ramsar Participants:
Delmar Blasco, Secretary General
Tom Kabii, Regional Coodinator forAfrica

The UNEP/UNDP Joint Project on Environmental Law and Institutions in Africa, working with selected African countries toward the enhancement of their capacities in environmental law, invited the Ramsar Convention Bureau to prepare a short paper on modalities for the implementation of the Ramsar Convention through national Legislation., to be presented in a regional workshop on legislative modalities for implementing conventions related to biodiversity, held in Maputo, Mozambique on 30 June-4 July. The workshop was attended by selected lawyers from 12 African countries, namely Mozambique, South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland, Zambia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Sao Tome and Principe, that are involved in development of framework environmental laws as well as the development and streamlining of sectoral laws and the implementing regulations in their countries.

The workshop dealt with a wide range of topics related to diological diversity including

  • overview of what biodiversity is,
  • overview of issues involved in implementing CBD Article 15,
  • access to genetic resources,
  • area-based conservation with related CBD provisions as organising principle,
  • planning as a tool for area-based conservation,
  • area classifications,
  • the role of planning and use controls,
  • coastal zone management as a tool for area-based conservation,
  • introduction to species-based conservation with related CBD provisions as organising principle,
  • legal mechanisms for sustainable use,
  • creating a legal regime for community management, including conservation & sustainable use of species,
  • an overview of CBD provisions related to damaging processes and threats to biological resources,
  • and trade in endangered species.

Representatives of the Ramsar, CITES, and Bonn Conventions and the Lusaka Agreement introduced their conventions and agreements, noting the key elements which require legislative attention.

The presentation by Ramsar was done in two parts. The first, presented by Tom Kabii, provided an overview of the Convention, the obligations and requirements of member states, and examples and challenges of implementing the Convention in the African Region. The second part of the presentation was made on the Bureau's behalf by Mr. John Ntambirweki of Makerere University in Uganda, who had been contracted to write the analysis paper for Ramsar on the different legislative requirements of the Convention on Wetlands in Africa. His presentation gave an overview of legislative considerations in the implementation of Ramsar Convention.

The workshop provided the participating lawyers with a better understanding of the biodiversity-related conventions and with some important considerations for implementing the various conventions during the legislation process. For the non-legal experts, the workshop was an eye-opener on the various legislative mechanisms that exist in Africa and the role of legislation in supporting the conservation and wise use of biodiversity at large. As a follow-up of this workshop, the Ramsar Bureau will play a proactive role in engaging national environmental legal experts in the convention dialogue on implementation mechanisms of the Convention at national level.

-- reported by Tom Kabii, Ramsar Bureau