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10 November 2008

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]


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