The first workshop of the Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Group was held on August 27th 2004 at the Wetlands International Wageningen Office in the Netherlands. The workshop was well attended by representatives from the development assistance and the environmental sector.
The role and operations of Wetlands International was highlighted by presentations by Wetlands International staff members. The use and interactions with wetlands in the operations of other organisations were highlighted in presentations made by guest speakers. Emphasis was placed on the advisory nature of the Working Group to Wetlands International on the relationship between poverty reduction and wetlands. It was hoped that the Working Group would be able to provide guidance on matters relating to poverty reduction and the development of relevant partnerships in this area in a feedback mechanism that would be fed into the organisation’s strategy development process in this area. This guidance was identified as a benefit to be possibly gained by Wetlands International and also to other organisations which could find the outputs of the Working Group significant to their own operations. In the case of Wetlands International in particular though, there would be great value in the identification of best practices in wetlands and poverty reduction, and the promotion of this knowledge at the upcoming Ramsar Conference of Parties (COP) in Uganda 2005. Issues and scope for the Working Group Participants expressed a desire to see concrete outputs from the Working Group in terms of statements and documents which would be identified with the Working Group in relevant fora. While, the issue of a common agenda was explored by all the participants with the issue of Wetlands and Sustainable Livelihoods finally being adopted as one of mutual consideration and concern by all the represented groups. Moreover, some doubt was cast as to the suitability of the name of the Working Group. The decision to incorporate “Sustainable Livelihoods” into the name of the Working Group was unanimously adopted and to be subsequently reflected in the future operations of the Group. Moreover, consideration of the role of local organisations in these processes and the need for the strategic interventions to be followed in influencing decision makers and/or policies were identified. It was also decided that the production of a booklet exploring the dynamic relationship that exists between Wetlands and Poverty Reduction should be explored. The booklet would be prepared and produced as a joint effort by the members of the Working Group. It was hoped that this booklet would concretely reflect the issues surrounding the relationship between wetlands and poverty, but also incorporate the best practices and possible solutions identified by the Working Group. It was agreed that the booklet should be prepared in time for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) meeting in April 2005, if possible. It was also suggested by the members of the Working Group to alter the terms of reference of the group. It had previously been envisaged that a paper on implications of the COP8 resolutions relevant to poverty reduction would be produced by the group. This expected output was dropped by consensus. To view the terms of reference, click here. [PDF 29kb] Objectives of the Wetlands & Poverty Reduction Working Group The following objectives were decided upon by the members of the Working Group as forming the basis of the publication to be jointly produced, and the strategic operations of the Working Group itself: 1. Strengthening the understanding of the dynamic relationship between poverty and wetlands, including: • development of better communications by and within the Working Group as a means to reach the goal. • identification of significantly relevant poverty- environment issues. 2. Highlighting priorities for strategic interventions, especially on the contribution of wetlands to poverty reduction. 3. Promoting new partnerships between the poverty reduction and conservation organisations including: • consideration of obstacles preventing the wise use of wetlands (e. g organizational structures). • compilation of experiences on how to effectively address poverty-wetland issues. • compilation of information on practical experiences and constraints. To read the minutes of this meeting, click here. [PDF 47kb] For the agenda of the next meeting (7 February 2005), click here. [PDF 29kb, version 25 January] Membership The Working Group welcomes different perspectives into the booklet and the group itself. If you are interested to join the Working Group please return the membership form [PDF 38kb] to Kemi Awoyinka, the group's coordinator.
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