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Ramsar COP10 Adopts Resolution on Wetlands and Climate Change

Lee Maanee, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea, received the Ramsar flag from Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Water and Environment, Uganda 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 impacts of climate change on wetlands.

The resolution was

subject to extensive debate in plenary and informal group sessions. Contentious

issues included references to the role of wetlands in mitigating climate

change, adaptation policies, and reducing emissions from deforestation and

forest degradation in developing countries. Delegates eventually reached

agreement by ensuring that provisions apply only in the context of services

provided by wetlands. In the final resolution, the Ramsar COP calls upon

parties to manage wetlands in such a way as to remove existing pressures on

them and increase their resilience to climate change and extreme weather

events.

It urges parties to: ensure that the necessary safeguards and

mechanisms are in place to maintain the ecological character of wetlands,

particularly with respect to water allocations for wetland ecosystems, in the

face of climate-driven changes; take action to minimize degradation, promote

restoration and improve management practices of peatlands and other wetland

types that are significant carbon stores, or that have the ability to sequester

carbon; and increase the adaptive capacity of society to respond to the changes

in these ecosystems.

Furthermore, the COP reaffirms the need for parties to

make every effort in the implementation of the UNFCCC and, as appropriate, its

Kyoto Protocol, to consider the maintenance of the ecological character of

wetlands in national climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.

The

resolution also contains a reference on developing a working partnership with

the UNFCCC Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological

Diversity, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank and other

international conventions and agencies to investigate the potential

contribution of wetland ecosystems to climate change mitigation and adaptation;

and to develop guidance for the development of climate change-related

activities in collaboration with these bodies, while recognizing their mandates

and independent legal status, and the need to avoid duplication. [Revised Draft

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