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South Africa prepares for the 10th Ramsar COP

August 2008

The 10th meeting of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar COP10) will take place in Changwon, Republic of Korea from 28 October to 4 November 2008.

The 158 countries that have ratified the Ramsar Convention will gather to assess the progress of the convention and the sustainable use of wetlands to date, share knowledge and experience on technical issues, and plan their own and the secretariat’s work for the next three years.  Representatives of non-member states are also invited to attend as observers, as well as representatives of intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organisations that are working in the field of wetland conservation and sustainable use.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) is responsible for administering the convention in South Africa, and consequently is leading national preparations to participate in the COP. These include compiling and submitting a national report, preparing position papers on draft resolutions to be considered at the COP, and assembling a delegation to attend the meeting. The national report summarises South Africa’s progress in implementing the convention over the past three years, in relation to the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008, and provides a means for South Africa to be held accountable against its obligations under the convention. The report was compiled using inputs from a range of stakeholders and has been submitted to the Ramsar Secretariat by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

As the primary policy-making organ of the convention, the COP will consider 31 draft resolutions designed to set the direction of the convention for the future and improve the way in which it operates. These resolutions span a number of emerging and contentious topics like climate change, biofuels, extractive industries, human health and well-being, urbanisation, poverty reduction and river basin management, and their relationship with the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

DEAT is currently coordinating a process for developing national positions on the draft resolutions, which will be used as the basis for negotiation at the COP. Says Edward Netshithothole of DEAT, “Through this process, we aim to ensure that these resolutions, if adopted, will be compatible and useful within the South African context. Furthermore, we would like to ensure that the adoption of these resolutions will support and enhance the implementation of relevant legislation, policy, programmes and strategies in South Africa.”

Linked to preparations for the COP, DEAT is also seeking nominations for a National Focal Point for matters relating to the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP). The main function of the National Focal Point in each country is to provide input, and support as appropriate, to the implementation of the work plan of the STRP. Ideal candidates for designation to this role should have:
• demonstrated capacity for networking and collaborating with wetland conservation and wise use experts at local, national and international scales;
• widely recognized experience and expertise in one or more aspects of wetland conservation and wise use;
• full access to electronic mail and web-based communication systems; and
• commitment to act as the interface between the STRP and relevant networks and stakeholders in South Africa.


 Download the South African National Report from :
http://www.ramsar.org/cop10/cop10_nr_southafrica.pdf

Download the COP10 draft resolutions from:
http://www.ramsar.org/cop10/cop10_docs_index_e.htm

For more information on how to contribute to the development of national position papers :
Edward Netshithothole
International Biodiversity and Marine Cooperation / Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
012-3103277 / enetshithothole@deat.gov.za / www.deat.gov.za

Download the terms of reference for STRP National Focal Points from:
http://www.ramsar.org/strp/key_strp_nfp_tor.htm

For more information about STRP National Focal Points and Ramsar COP10 :
Stanley Tshitwamulomoni
Biodiversity Planning / Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
012-3103919 / 082-6430623 / stanleyt@deat.gov.za
www.deat.gov.za / www.ramsar.org

 

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