Wetlands are represented at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress by the presence of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat (see full article here), who will be participating in several events and in particular two programmed sessions.
One of the session is: “The Ramsar world wetland city scheme: inspiring local communities to value wetlands” which will take place on September 3 from 8:30 to 10:30.
The label Wetland City Accreditation, as described in the COP12 Resolution XII.10 (Uruguay, June 2015), can assist cities, Contracting Parties and stakeholders in promoting awareness and attracting support for the wise use and conservation of wetlands and other sustainable development initiatives.
This label also encourages cities that are close to Wetlands of International Importance, but also other wetlands as well, to establish a positive relationship with the wetlands through increased participation and awareness and consideration of the wetlands in local planning and decision making.
MedWet’s contribution to the development of the Ramsar “Wetland City Accreditation’’ Resolution
In 2010, an agreement was reached between the General Directorate of Forests (DGF) and the National Heritage Institute (INP) to reserve a portion of the Fort of Borj El Loutani, located in the town of Ghar el Melh, to be arranged as a Wetlands interpretation Centre.
The centre is the result of collaboration between multiple stakeholders, namely: DGF, WWF Tunis Office, National Heritage Institute, MAVA Foundation, Polytechnic University of Valencia, MedWet and Ramsar. It was inaugurated on the 25th April 2013, see MedWet article here.
Besides the information and awareness objective on the importance of wetlands, the Centre is a tourist attraction for the town of Ghar el Melh.
During this stage of coordination with WWF, MedWet and Ramsar, the idea of “Ramsar City Accreditation’’ is launched, observing that several local activities depend on the wetland.
At Ramsar COP11 (Romania, July 2012), the Resolution XI.11 was adopted, which requests the Convention to explore establishing a wetland city accreditation, which may in turn provide positive branding opportunities for cities that demonstrate strong and positive relationships with wetlands.
In this framework, a working group was formed comprising the DGF, WWF International and WWF Tunis Office, MedWet and Ramsar to prepare a Resolution to be submitted to the COP12 (Uruguay, June 2015). This team worked on this subject for two years. Consultation meetings were organized in Tunis and email exchanges allowed to prepare the Draft Resolution. The support of WWF, MedWet and Ramsar was decisive.
During COP12, a side event on the “Ramsar City Accreditation’’ initiative was organized by Tunisia and the Republic of Korea. The MedWet coordinator, who chaired the workshop, supported the Resolution by explaining its impact on urban and peri-urban wetlands and its originality. Also during COP12, another working group was formed to respond to the adjustments proposed by several countries. The WWF, MedWet and Ramsar Group supported the Ramsar focal points of Tunisia and the Republic of Korea in responding to more than twenty amendments and three days of discussion and consultation. MedWet staff members contributed significantly to the adoption of 10th Resolution of COP12.
Article co-written by the MedWet’s Secretariat and the Tunisia Ramsar focal point, Mr Habib Abid.
Visit the Ramsar Convention website www.ramsar.org
Article: Tunisian Wetlands Centre: modern uses for the Ottoman Fort of Borj El Loutani (Ghar El Melh); M. J. Viñals, P. Alonso-Monasterio, M. Alonso-Monasterio & M. Morant; 2014