6th European Ramsar Meeting: Report on Workshop on Culture

Thymio Papayannis, Co-ordinator of the Ramsar Culture Working Group kindly reports on the workshop on Action for culture in European wetlands that  took place within the 6th European Ramsar Meeting Stockholm – Sweden on Sunday, 4 May 2008:

The objectives of the meeting were:
–  to review progress made in the implementation of Ramsar COP Resolutions VIII.19  2002) and IX.21 (2005);
–  to assess the process of developing guidance to the CPs for incorporating cultural as-ects in the management of wetlands;
–  to provide guidelines for the work of the Ramsar Culture Working Group during the period 2009-2011;
–  to reinforce an integrated approach to the management of all wetland values in Europe and in parts of the World in which Europe is assisting.

The workshop was chaired by Thymio Papayannis, Co-ordinator of the Ramsar Culture Working Group, with the active participation of David Pritchard, while Kai Kimmel acted as rapporteur.

After a brief introduction by the Chair o­n the process of incorporation of cultural values in the work of the Convention, a number of presentations were made by CP representatives. These included Armenia (Karen Jenderedjian), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Jaroslav Vego), Croatia (Eugen Draganović), Estonia (Kai Kimmel) and Sweden (Camilla Eriksson) of related activities in their countries. These covered, in addition to examples of archaeological interest, traditional land and water management practices, folklore and architecture, highlighted in-stances of contemporary cultural interest, as well as sites with both Ramsar and World Heritage designations. Thymio Papayannis also presented the work carried out by Med-INA in the Mediterranean and the publication Action for culture in Mediterranean wetlands.During a second phase, the draft Ramsar Cultural Guidance document –prepared by the Ramsar Culture Working Group– was presented by Dave Pritchard.

In the discussion that followed concerning the use of this Guidance document and the way forward, the following conclusions emerged, in answer to the questions initially posed:
–  The document, at least for this phase, should be revised and finalised by the Ramsar Culture Working Group o­n the basis of the comments received from Standing Committee and STRP members; with the understanding that in the triennium 2009-2011 it will be kept under review and further improved as necessary.
–   It should be translated into French and Spanish and placed in the Ramsar website. However, funds should be found for this task.
– The document should be presented at a side event organised during Ramsar COP10 and made widely known to contracting parties and wetland managers globally, and be promoted to those authorities responsible for cultural affairs. Inputs and offers of help are sought for this side event.

Concerning the potential future contribution of the Ramsar Culture Working Group during 2009-2011, the following objectives have been mentioned:
– Facilitating the implementation of the Guidance document by CPs.
– Developing a draft strategy for the further incorporation of cultural aspects in the work of the Convention.
– Studying and promoting public administration co-operation for the joint manage-ment of cultural and natural heritage.
– Collating further case experiences, including lessons learned.

In addition, Europe’s representation in the Working Group should be clarified (as Spain’s representative has resigned in 2007).

In addition, the following significant points were noted:
–   Possible role in this incorporation process of integrated or closely collaborating services for natural and cultural heritage in European countries, in which currently widely variety of approaches among CPs is evident.
– Focus o­n the aesthetic aspects of wetlands.
–  Relating cultural values to the ecological character and ecosystem services as inter-preted under Ramsar.
– Recognising that culture is a dynamically evolving mind-set, sometimes associated with wetlands where the conservation objective is to resist change, thus requiring careful thought.

Information on the outcomes of the remaining meetings undertaken within the 6th European Ramsar Meeting will be published as they become available.
Working documents of the 6th European Ramsar Meeting are available online on the website of the Ramsar Convention here

Updated on 5/22/2008 2:43:44 PM.