Ramsar COP11: Coordinating global action for the conservation and wise use of wetlands

The 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands took place in Bucharest, Romania from the 6th to 13th July 2012. The theme of this COP was “Wetlands: home and destination” to highlight the particular value of wetlands in tourism and recreation which was accompanied by a joint Ramsar- UNWTO publication on the benefits of wetland tourism.  Before the official opening of the meeting, the Ramsar Standing Committee held its 44th meeting and there was also two days of regional meetings. The 11th meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (MedWet/Com11) also took place on the 5th July and was a brief three hour meeting. Access the conclusions.

The Ramsar COP11 brought together a large number of delegates, ranging from country representatives to international partners to national NGO’s and donor agencies, who discussed and decided on issues relating to wetland conservation and wise use and to the better operation of the Ramsar Convention and its implementing organs.

A number of resolutions were discussed and adopted. These included many important ones which demonstrate the relevance of the Ramsar Convention after the Rio+20 summit and a great number of which have special relevance to the Mediterranean region: the status of sites in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance (DR4); regional initiatives 2013-2015 (DR5); tourism and wetlands (DR7); an integrated framework for avoiding, mitigating and compensating for wetland losses (DR9); wetlands and energy issues (DR10); planning and management of urban and peri-urban wetlands(DR11); wetlands and health (DR12); linking wetland conservation and wise use with poverty eradication (DR13); climate change and wetlands (DR14); promoting responsible investment (DR20); and wetlands and sustainable development (DR21). Access the full list of resolutions adopted.

In addition to the plenary sessions there were over forty side events which dealt with diverse issues from across the globe. Notable side events were the World Wetland Network- Wetland Globe Award Ceremony 2012, “Culture: contributing to wetland wise use” and “Valuing wetlands- capturing economic benefits from wetlands wise use”. The side event “MedWet Initiative: Twenty years of regional cooperation” was successful and was attended by many members of the MedWet/Com and beyond. The diverse presentations on the Agadir Symposium, the MWO first report results and the MedWet kids resources showcased the important work done by regional initiatives. Access the full list of the side events.

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards were given during the opening ceremony and among the recipients were two founding members of MedWet, Luc Hoffmann who received the 40th Anniversary Honorary Ramsar Award and Thymio Papayannis who got the Ramsar Recognition of Achievement. Access the full list of recipients and a short summary of their work.

The Ramsar COP11 closed with some important decisions having been taken but leaving a lot of hard work ahead by all involved parties. The next COP, COP12 will take place in Uruguay in 2015.