BACK TO ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


FEBRUARY 1996 -- A Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed between Dr. Calestous Juma, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Mr. Delmar Blasco, Secretary-General of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971).

The signing is significant as it is the first time an agreement of this nature has been signed between two global Convention secretariats working on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, be it species, ecosystems or genes. It also indicates the swift concretization of decision II/13 adopted by the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting last November in Jakarta, Indonesia, which called for further cooperation and coordination of activities in the field of conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

"It gives me great joy that our two Conventions working in the same field are moving closer to achieving the aims of institutional cooperation and the harmonization of procedures as to reporting requirements of the Parties", said Dr. Juma. "What is most interesting is that we shall be able to exchange scientific and technical information through the Clearing-house mechanism which started its pilot phase in 1996."

The agreement has six articles, covering: institutional cooperation, exchange of information and experience, coordination of programmes of work, joint conservation work and consultation, reporting and guidance. The overall objective is the effective conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in wetlands.

"I am particularly happy to sign, on behalf of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, said Mr. Delmar Blasco. "This agreement formalizes the spirit of active cooperation which prevails between our two Secretariats, and provides avenues for realizing, in practice, the conservation and sustainable use of wetland biodiversity. Our joint presence here today is also a consequence of the adoption by the Ramsar Contracting Parties at Kushiro (Japan) in 1993, of a Recommendation calling for closer links and cooperation between us, and demonstrates that both Secretariats take it very much to heart to maximize their efforts by working together."

The Convention on Biological Diversity is a global treaty that was opened for signature during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. It has three aims: conservation, sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources. Biological diversity is defined in terms of the number and variety of living organisms on the planet. It covers genes, species and ecosystems which are the outcome of over 3,000 million years of evolution. The Convention entered into force on 29 December 1993. To date, 139 Governments and the European Union have ratified it.

Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which administers the Biodiversity Convention Secretariat, called the agreement "a compelling expression of the flexibility and innovation, increasingly evident in the new emerging environmental regimes".

Referring to the enhanced mandate of UNEP in the development of international environmental law, Ms. Dowdeswell emphasized that this Memorandum of Cooperation was reflective of one of UNEP's main priorities in this field: promotion of implementation and coordinating functions of environmental conventions including the Secretariats. The aim of such agreements was not only the maximization of synergy between the two Conventions but also the creation of a coherent body of international environmental law.

The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) is a global treaty which forms the framework for international cooperation on the conservation and wise use (i.e. sustainable use) of wetland resources. To date, 92 Parties have ratified the Convention. Seven hundred seventy-five wetlands totalling over 52 million hectares have been designated for the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Calestous Juma                           Mr. Delmar Blasco
Executive Secretary                          Secretary-General
Secretariat of the                           Ramsar Convention Bureau
Convention on Biological Diversity           Mauverney 28
World Trade Centre                           1196 Gland
413 St. Jacques Street                       Switzerland
Office 630                                                  
Montreal, Quebec                             Tel: 41-22-999-0170
Canada H 2Y 1N9                              Fax: 41-22-999-0169
                                             Email: ramsar@hq.iucn.ch
Tel: 1-514-288-2220 
Fax: 1-514-228-6588
BACK TO ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^