Draft Ramsar COP10 Resolutions Highlight the Role of Wetlands in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

10th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties July 2008: The Ramsar Secretariat has posted the draft resolutions (DRs) that will be considered by parties for adoption at their tenth Conference of Parties (COP10), which is scheduled to take place in Changwon, Republic of Korea, from 28 October to 2008 to 4 November 2008.

The DR on the Ramsar Strategic Plan for 2009-2014 (COP10 DR 1) highlights the lack of  understanding regarding the value of wetlands, and their services, to underpin sound decision making in relation to the key issues that are driving the continued change, deterioration and loss of wetlands. The DR further underscores the need: for an ecosystem-based approach to policy and decision making that affects the wise use of wetlands; and to increase recognition of, and attention in decision making to, the significance of wetlands for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The DR on partnerships and synergies with other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) (COP10 DR 11) requests the Secretariat to cooperate closely with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through its observer status in the Joint Liaison Group and through the work of the UN Environment Management Group. The DR on principles for partnerships between the Ramsar Convention and the business sector (COP10 DR 12) encourages the Secretariat to further develop partnerships with the business sector to, inter alia, identify and apply methodologies for innovative compensation of wetland loss and for offsetting negative impacts on climate change.

The DR on climate change and wetlands (COP10 DR 24) aims to recognize the state of play and urges parties to protect wetlands from, and increase their resilience to, climate change impacts. The DR further encourages parties to ensure that the value of wetlands in climate change mitigation and adaptation is recognized and reaffirms the need for parties, when implementing the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, to consider maintaining the ecological character of wetlands in climate mitigation and adaptation policies, including policies for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) and other forestry protection measures.

The DR also encourages parties and the private sector to consider the maintenance and restoration of wetlands as an option for investing in carbon sequestration and mitigation. The Secretariat is requested to work with the UNFCCC and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other MEAs to, inter alia, investigate the potential contribution of wetland ecosystems to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and develop guidance for the development of mutually supportive adaptation and mitigation programmes. The DR on wetlands and biofuels (COP10 DR 25) emphasizes that the conversion of wetlands for biofuels production risks damaging their carbon sequestration and storage capacity, thereby causing major releases of greenhouse gases.

The DR calls on parties to assess the potential impacts, benefits and trade-offs of proposed biofuel crop production schemes affecting Ramsar sites and other wetlands, and ensure that the value of ecosystem services provided by these wetlands is understood in order to avoid negative impacts. The DR instructs the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel to assess the impacts on wetlands of global biofuel production, review existing best management practice guidance for growing biofuels, and consider the preparation of further guidance.

The DR on small islands developing States (SIDS) and the Ramsar Convention (COP10 DR 30) requests the Secretariat to take into account SIDS' vulnerability to climate change in considering the eligibility of projects for funding. [Ramsar COP 10  Draft Resolutions]