Ramsar COP 11 Stresses Role of Wetlands in Addressing Climate Change

13 July 2012: The 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) concluded with the adoption of 22 resolutions, including one on climate change and wetlands.

In the resolution (COP11 DR.14 Rev.2), the COP, inter alia: welcomes the progress made since Ramsar COP 10 (2008) with respect to knowledge and awareness of the importance of the carbon sequestration and storage function of wetlands, recognizing that the continuing degradation and loss of these wetlands releases large amounts of stored carbon; notes concern that the importance of wetlands in managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could be more widely recognized by climate change response strategies and mechanisms; notes the ongoing discussions on issues relating to “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries” under the UNFCCC, and encourages Parties to promote the importance of wetlands in ongoing discussions on this issue; urges Parties to maintain or improve the ecological character of wetlands to enhance their resilience and promote their ability to contribute to nature-based climate change adaptation and to sequester and store carbon, and to reduce or halt the release of stored carbon that can result from the degradation and loss of wetlands; urges Parties to develop and implement policies that promote opportunities to take advantage of the regulatory services already provided by wetlands to the global climate system; requests the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), in conjunction with the Secretariat and Ramsar Regional Initiatives and Regional Centres, to collaborate with relevant international organizations and conventions, within their respective mandates, to further investigate the potential contribution of wetland ecosystems to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The adopted resolution on the future implementation of Scientific and technical aspects of the Convention for 2013-2015 (COP11 DR.17 Rev.1) includes an annex that provides a summary list of proposed top-priority scientific and technical tasks for the 2013-2015 triennium, including: wetlands and other sectors (human health, climate change, water resource management, agriculture, poverty eradication and urbanization and tourism); and wetlands and ecosystem services/benefits.

Ramsar COP 11 took place from 6-13 July 2012, in Bucharest, Romania, under the theme “Wetlands: Home and Destination.” [IISD RS Coverage of Ramsar COP 11]