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8 June 2015

New co-operation between ICLEI and the Ramsar Secretariat announced at COP 12

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An exciting new era of cooperation between ICLEI and the Ramsar Secretariat for the Convention on Wetlands was announced at the Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation side event at the 12th Ramsar Conference of the Parties (COP 12) in Uruguay.

A long standing partnership between these two organisations has been formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding, which intends to strengthen the work of both parties and contribute to halting the loss of wetlands and associated ecosystem services worldwide.

This COP 12 is a pivotal moment for the Convention, with a variety of draft resolutions to be discussed and adopted in the coming days. Significantly, a new Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2021 is being proposed which is set to make great strides in wetland conservation, and is well aligned with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Targets and the proposed Sustainable Development Goals.

ICLEI is supporting the draft resolution on a ‘Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation’ scheme, which seeks to recognise those cities and local authorities that are making great strides in wetland management across their jurisdiction. The first ever resolution to be submitted jointly by two governments – Tunisia and Republic of Korea – is set to enhance support for cities and local governments to work with national governments in improved wetland management for the benefit of local communities.

The packed side event on the Ramsar Wetland City Accreditation on June 3rd ¬¬– chaired by the previous Ramsar Secretary-General Anada Tiega and with speakers from ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, MedWet, WWF and the governments of Tunisia and Korea – indicated the huge interest of Parties and organisations in enhancing local action for wetland management and conservation.

The catalytic impact of local action was demonstrated by case studies from Jeju in Korea, Tunisia and one of the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB): Wetlands South Africa project municipalities: Overberg District, who provided evidence of the key role of local government in supporting wetland management for the benefit of local communities.

We await the final adoption of resolutions as the COP wraps up early this week.

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