Ramsar Standing Committee Addresses Climate Change and Biofuels

6 June 2008: The Ramsar Standing Committee held its 37th meeting from 2-6 June 2008, in Gland,

Switzerland. The Committee was charged with making the final preparations for

the documents to be considered at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the

Parties (COP10), which will take place in Changwon, Republic of Korea, from 28 October to 4 November 2008. During the meeting, the Committee approved

for transmittal to the COP a draft Resolution (DR) on climate change and

wetlands, and one on wetlands and biofuels.

The DR on climate change (DOC. SC37-27)

aims to recognize the state of play and draws attention to the importance of

wetlands in the climate change debates. Further to some parties' request, the Scientific

and Technical Review Panel (STRP) indicated it would try to provide additional

references both to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work

and to other peer-reviewed research. Furthermore, the DR takes into account, in

square brackets, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP9 decision,

which recognizes Ramsar's work and the importance of wetlands, especially

peatlands, in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and invites Ramsar

COP10 to consider appropriate actions. The Standing Committee also approved for

transmittal to the COP a DR on wetlands and biofuels, which aims to ensure that

all policy takes account of the potential for adverse impacts upon wetlands (DOC. SC37-28).

A number of parties suggested including a reference to the pollution of

wetlands, as well as a definition of biofuels. Parties also agreed to cross-reference

the work of the CBD, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and other relevant

bodies to avoid duplication. In addition, the Standing Committee

determined that the theme for World Wetlands Day 2010 will be “Wetlands,

Biodiversity, and Climate Change” (Decision SC37-42). [Ramsar Standing

Committee decisions]