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Small steps forward at Ramsar Conference of Parties


Bucharest, Romania - The 11th meeting of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands concluded last week in Bucharest with the adoption of 22 resolutions on issues addressing the wise use of wetlands in 162 signatory countries. Wetlands International welcomes several decisions including the recognition of the overuse of pesticides and growing impacts of foreign-based land investment on wetlands. While many of the resolutions provide needed guidance to address threats facing wetlands, resolutions needed to address cross-sectoral challenges such as climate change and energy remain weak.


Welcoming guidance on pesticide overuse

Wetlands International welcomes passage of Draft Resolution 15 that calls for countries to take stronger action to protect rice paddy ecosystems from pesticides. As showcased in our side event with FAO and IRRI, the overuse of pesticides is leading to increased pest outbreaks and the pollution of wetlands that are important to both people and aquatic animals. Unfortunately, language recommending labeling and certification was deleted from the final resolution, and the emphasis on Integrated Pest Management as a key approach to manage pests was removed.

Water grab resolution passes

Wetlands International is pleased by the passage of Draft Resolution 20 addressing the responsible investment in land. As the demand for land and water grows, millions of hectares of land and their underlying water are being bought and leased by powerful actors for export-oriented food and biofuel crops. “Water grabbing” is often the result when the water to irrigate these crops is unfairly reallocated from local communities and wetlands. While much stronger steps are needed, the Ramsar Contracting Parties took a first step with this Resolution to confront the growing impacts of foreign-based land investment on wetlands.

Climate change resolution falls far short

While the Ramsar Resolution recognises the major role of the conservation, restoration and wise use of wetlands, in particular peatlands, in cutting the release of carbon globally, the Ramsar Draft Resolution 14 text entirely disregards the recent significant incentives adopted in this respect at the UN climate convention in Durban in 2011.

Wetlands International strongly called for the Ramsar climate resolution to encourage its Contracting Parties to make use of the new incentives created under the Kyoto Protocol and opportunities under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA), to restore and better manage peatlands.
Regrettably, any references to funding for climate related activities for the wise use and restoration of wetlands were removed from the final Resolution, as were the paragraphs that would urge and encourage the development of energy policies to reduce the impacts of the energy sector on wetland carbon fluxes.

Increasing responsibility for Ramsar to address global challenges

Wetlands International, an International Organisation Partner (IOP) of Ramsar, believes the Convention has an increasingly large responsibility to champion the need to sustain and restore wetlands as a contribution to addressing the major global issues including water and food security, poverty eradication and climate change, consistent with the Changwon Declaration of 2008. Synergies between Ramsar and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements should be urgently strengthened to more efficiently tackle global threats to wetlands.

Applauding additional outputs

Wetlands International is pleased by the passage of several additional resolutions that will provide guidance related to wetlands and improved livelihoods and sustainable development, including:

Capturing economic benefits from wetlands

Wetlands International is a main contributor to the Synthesis report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands. The briefing note launched in Bucharest provides new economic tools and approaches that will assist Ramsar in making the business case for investment in wetland conservation, wise use and restoration.

Our positions and presentations:

View our positions on Draft Resolutions:

For more information, contact:

Contact:     Paul Brotherton
Tel:            +31 (0) 6 8473 8947   


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