18-26  Nov. 2002
The Eighth Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands 
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SUMMARY
   
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HUMEDALES - COP 8 LOGO

Hector Condé, COP8 Vice-President


Imeh Okopido, Minister of the Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria

SATURDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 2002
Delegates met in Plenary to hear the report of the Credentials Committee and briefings on progress in the Committees on Finance, Future COPs, and the Strategic Plan and Work Plan. They also considered reports from the Technical Sessions, and discussed the procedure for selecting STRP members. The regional group for Africa met to conclude discussions on the draft resolution on the Ramsar List, and a contact group convened to consider text on the World Commission on Dams (WCD).

CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE
Committee Chair María Elvira Posada (Colombia) reported on the Credentials Committee's work during COP8, indicating that 118 Parties had submitted credentials. Observing that the Committee had encountered a series of problems in considering Parties' credentials, she proposed several amendments to the Rules of Procedure, including the insertion of a new sentence stipulating that, after the opening of the COP, any further changes, in particular of the Head of Delegation, should be submitted to the Secretary General or to the Regional Representative of the Credentials Committee. COP8 Vice-President Hector Condé (Cuba) said a final decision on these proposals would be taken on Monday.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS:
Ministerial Statement from Nigeria: Imeh Okopido, Minister of the Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria, addressed the Plenary on the status of Nigeria vis-á-vis Ramsar and other regional instruments and MEAs.


María Elvira Posada, (Colombia) Credentials Committee Chair



Imeh Okopido shakes hands with Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary General


Morning Plenary Panel Members

AFRICA GROUP
The Ramsar regional group for Africa met to discuss the outcomes of a contact group it had formed on the draft resolution relating to improving implementation of the Strategic Framework and Vision for the Ramsar List (COP8 DR 10). The group agreed to streamline the text by combining the ideas contained in a number of paragraphs. Delegates added a paragraph expressing appreciation to donor organizations and NGOs for their assistance and support in Ramsar site designation. SOUTH AFRICA supported retaining text referring to the cultural importance of wetlands. Delegates agreed to language instructing the Ramsar Bureau to inform Parties that have not provided or updated Ramsar site descriptions to do so as a matter of priority. Delegates also agreed to move the list of countries that have not provided updated site descriptions to an annex. SOUTH AFRICA requested that both maps and site descriptions be provided.


Jean Buruku (Burundi) and Misozi Phiri (Zambia)
attending the africa group meeting in the morning.


MIDDAY PROTEST





The French Delegation at work





World Commission on Dams panel

World Commission on Dams contact group participants

WORLD COMMISSION ON DAMS:
CHINA, also speaking for INDIA, TURKEY, NEPAL, PAKISTAN, and BRAZIL, introduced an alternative draft resolution on the WCD report, with TURKEY stressing that he opposed any reference to the WCD report. While the EU said that the raison d'être of the resolution was the WCD report, IRAN, CHINA and TURKEY explained that the original draft and the WCD report did not balance environmental and development needs, with IRAN stating that the WCD report was not widely accepted internationally. WWF, supported by COLOMBIA, noted that reference to water diversions as a source of conflicts was a key element and should be retained.

Informal consultations produced a compromise wording omitting specific factual information on dams' impacts, but recognizing both beneficial and negative impacts, including as a source of potential conflicts. Delegates bracketed it until relevant countries could consult with their capitals.
Delegates could not agree on whether to retain a quote from the WCD report regarding dams' impacts, and bracketed the relevant paragraph. SOUTH AFRICA and the EU opposed deleting reference to conflict resolution processes in text on water use. WWF proposed, and delegates agreed to, compromise wording on "a forum for interaction and conflict resolution."

Parties were unable to agree on text referring to the WCD guidelines as an advisory tool to support decision making, and the relevant paragraph remained bracketed. Delegates bracketed a compromise text referring to using "all available information, including information provided by the WCD" in one of the operative paragraphs. until countries could consult with their capitals. Negotiations continued into Saturday evening, with Parties reportedly reaching a compromise formulation on the remaining outstanding text.


Switzerland



Turkey

Iran



 


Links to further information:

*ENB Summaries of COP-7 http://www.iisd.ca/vol17/

*ENB Linkages site of COP-7 (photos and audio)
http://www.iisd.ca/ramsar/cop7/

*RAMSAR COP 8 Homepage: http://www.ramsar.org/index_cop8.htm

    

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