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Ramsar COP10 Adopts Resolution on Wetlands and Biofuels

Children from the 10 countries which have hosted Ramsar COPs presented the message of COP 10. 4 November 2008: The 10th meeting of the Conference of the

Contracting Parties (COP10) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, held from 28

October-4 November 2008 in Changwon, Republic of Korea, adopted a resolution

addressing the potential impacts of biofuel production and use on the

conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Delegates adopted a resolution that

focuses on the wetland-related aspects of biofuel production, and places a

strong emphasis on further study of benefits and costs, as well as on impacts

of biofuel production on different types of wetlands. In the final resolution,

the Ramsar COP calls upon parties to: assess the potential impacts, benefits

and risks of proposed biofuel crop production schemes affecting Ramsar sites

and other wetlands; and seek to avoid negative impacts and, where such

avoidance is not feasible, to apply as far as possible appropriate mitigation

and/or compensation/offset actions, for example wetland restoration.

The

resolution also contains references on the development of land use policies for

the sustainable production of biofuels, and to promoting sustainable biofuel

production and use through strengthened development cooperation, the transfer

of technologies and information exchange. Furthermore, the COP strongly urges

parties to ensure that any policy for biofuel crop production should consider:

the full range and value of ecosystem services and livelihoods provided by

wetlands; the biodiversity they support; and the trade-offs between these

services alongside cost-benefit analysis.

Finally, the COP instructs the Ramsar

Scientific and Technical Review Panel to: review the global distribution of

biofuel production in relation to impacts on wetlands; review and collate

existing best management practices guidance and social and environmental

sustainability appraisals for growing biofuel feedstocks in relation to

wetlands; and, where appropriate, develop such guidance and appraisals in

collaboration with other international organizations. [Revised Draft

Resolution] [(The final resolution will be available on the Ramsar website shortly)] [ENB coverage of Ramsar COP 10]