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THE SEVENTH SESSION OF THE CONTRACTING PARTIES TO THE RAMSAR CONVENTION
San Jos�, Costa Rica
10-18 May 1999

Briefing

Delegates at COP7 participated in Technical Sessions on National Planning for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use in the morning and on Involving People at All Levels in the Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands in the afternoon. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Ramsar and the World Heritage Convention.
IN THE CORRIDORS
A sense of relief and return to normalcy pervaded COP7 in the aftermath of Thursday�s emotive debate over the regional categorization of Israel, as it returned to the more familiar business of the straightforward and largely non-controversial topics of the technical sessions. However, there were indications that this sense of calm may prove simply to be the eye of the storm. With the lunchtime deadline for submission of new draft resolutions for COP7 consideration rapidly approaching, rumors have been circulating that some delegates may table a draft resolution contesting Ramsar�s recognition of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a Ramsar CP, as they consider it not to be the automatic successor to the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. It is suspected that other delegates will contest such a resolution and may table a different draft resolution condemning NATO actions in the Balkans, thus turning COP7 yet again into a stage for the enactment of political stand-offs that most agree have little to do with wetlands.

Photos and RealAudio from 14 May
Sara Diof (Senegal), SC Representative for Africa, presented the draft resolution on the Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance. He said the proposed strategic approach for designating these wetlands aims to establish an international network of wetlands, with a target of 2000 sites by COP9.
David Stroud, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (UK), reported on the deliberations of a focus group on the Strategic Framework and guidelines for identifying and designating karst and other subterranean hydrological systems. The group stressed the importance of the resolution on enhancing conservation and wise use of intertidal wetlands and recommended strengthened links between these resolutions. They concluded that the guidelines for designation of karst systems should eventually be merged with the Strategic Framework.

Clare Shine, IUCN Environmental Law Center, presented the guidelines for reviewing laws and institutions to promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. She recalled that CPs are urged to conduct legal and institutional reviews to identify measures that undermine conservation and wise use and support the development of positive legal and institutional frameworks for wise use.
Clayton Rubec, Canadian Wildlife Service, made a presentation on the Guidelines for developing and implementing National Wetland Policies (NWPs). He highlighted progress in the development and implementation of NWPs in Contracting Parties (CPs). He noted that few CPs have stand-alone wetland policies, although many are in preparation.
Hans Skotte Moller, Danish National Forest and Nature Agency, discussed restoration as an element in national planning for wetland conservation and wise use. He noted that rehabilitation initiatives of modified and degraded wetlands were taking place in numerous Ramsar CPs. He said these efforts were scattered and rarely integrated into national legislation and planning schemes. He observed that wetlands may be the first major ecosystem rehabilitated by humankind on a global scale.
Elizabeth Wangari, of the World Heritage Center, describes the work of the Center before signing the Memorandum of Understanding between Ramsar and the World Heritage Convention.
Chair Blasco summarizes the statement of work of the MOU

Victor Pulido, National Wetland Programme (Peru), made a presentation on participatory processes to involve local communities and indigenous people in wetland management.

Methods for local community involvement
Effective participation requirements

Esther Camac, Mesoamerican Indigenous Knowledge Programme, presented
recommendations from the Indigenous Peoples� Regional Workshop held in Chiapas

(Text of the statement in Spanish)

Final document from the Indigenous Peoples� Regional Workshop:
Indigenous Peoples And The Ramsar Convention: Proposals About The Resolution Project No.8
English version       Spanish version


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Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 1999. All rights reserved.