The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar COP14) was held in Wuhan, China and Geneva, Switzerland between 5th and 13th November, 2022, with a theme “Wetland Action for People and Nature”. The conference welcomed representatives from 146 Contracting Parties and 55 organizations, joining both on-site and online. The 8-day conference concluded with 21 resolutions adopted to strengthen conservation efforts for wetlands with expanded scope and diversity of work, including youth, indigenous people and local communities. The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), as one of the Ramsar Regional Initiatives, joined COP14, with many of the EAAFP Partners.
For official conference report of COP14, please download it here.
Highlights of COP14 outcomes
After the Opening Ceremony on 5th November, a High-Level Ministerial Segment was convened on 6th November in Wuhan with 24 ministers and ambassadors shining a spotlight on their achievements and accomplishments to their wetland conservation efforts. At the close of this session the participants adopted the Wuhan Declaration (download here) was adopted which mandates:
- take appropriate and urgent measures to achieve the goal of halting and reversing the loss of wetlands globally;
- mobilize more resources to strengthen implementation of the Convention’s Fourth Strategic Plan;
- support legislation and implementation of wetlands conservation, restoration, management, and wise and sustainable use in harmony with the Convention; and
- strengthen technical cooperation and knowledge sharing among global wetland conservation practitioners through established Ramsar Regional Initiatives (RRIs), the STRP, the Convention’s communication, education, participation, capacity building and awareness programme (CEPA), and other subsidiary scientific bodies related to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
This declaration set the stage for the following days of negotiations as it acknowledged the urgency to halt and reverse wetland loss as one of the greatest mitigators of climate change and the vital role this plays in climate change adaptation, biodiversity protection and sustainable development.
A total of 24 draft resolutions were considered with 21 resolutions adopted at the end. Key ones included:
- Resolution on financial and budgetary matters (COP14 Doc.18.1 Rev.1)
- Review of the fourth Strategic Plan and key elements for the fifth Strategic Plan (COP14 Doc.18.4 Rev.1)
- Resolution on Ramsar Regional Initiatives – Operational Guidelines (COP14 Doc.18.9 Rev.2)
- Resolution on the new CEPA approach (COP14 Doc.18.10 Rev.3)
- Resolution on wetland education in the formal education sector (COP14 Doc.18.13 Rev.1)
- Resolution on strengthening Ramsar connections through youth (COP14 Doc.18.14 Rev.1)
- Review of Ramsar Criteria, and delisting Ramsar Sites (COP14 Doc.18.16 Rev.1)
- Waterbird population estimates to support new and existing Ramsar Site designations (COP14 Doc.18.21 Rev.1)
- Protection, conservation, restoration, sustainable use and management of wetland ecosystems in addressing climate change (COP14 Doc.18.20 Rev.3)
Engagement of EAAFP Partners and Secretariat at Ramsar COP14
Many EAAFP Partners are contracting parties or International Organization Partners (IOPs) to the Ramsar Convention, and they were actively engaged in taking roles in different thematic groups, involved in proposing and providing inputs to draft resolutions, organized and participated in over 35 side events, and holding booths (Read more).
Prior to COP14, two Pre-COP Orientations were organized to equip delegates, especially youth, smaller CSOs and NGOs and newcomers to Ramsar COP14. One was for Youth and Civil Society (25th October and 1st November) and another one focuses on the Ramsar CEPA programme by Wetland Link International (25th and 26th October) (Read more).
Side Events Spotlight
Scaling up the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI)
The Regional Flyway Initiative partnership - BirdLife International, East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) successfully held a Side Event at the COP on 8th November 2022, to bring countries’ attention to the RFI and its contribution to the sustainable use of wetlands in this important flyway region. Dr. Duong Thanh Director of Viet Nam’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency and Mr. Anson Tagtag, Ramsar focal point for the Philippines gave presentations on how the RFI could contribute to their national biodiversity agenda and policies and in elevating the lives of communities dependent on wetlands. The Side Event also included statements from Beom-Sik Yoo from the Ramsar Secretariat, Ward Hagemeijer from Wetlands International, and Warren Evans from ADB.
Launch of the Indo-Burma Wetland Outlook: Key recommendations for strengthening collaboration through the Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative
The Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative (IBRRI) was developed jointly by the Ramsar Contracting Parties of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, with the support of IUCN Asia. On 9th November, a side event to launch the Indo-Burma Wetland Outlook as part of IBRRI’s Strategic Plan (2019-2024), was held. The session was facilitated by IUCN Asia to generate discussion with invited speakers Mr. Suh Sheung Oh from RRCEA, Dr. Mary Kristerie A. Baleva from ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, Tomos Avent from Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), Dr. Ding Li Yong from BirdLife International and Mr. Doug Watkins, CE of EAAFP to share views on Outlook and initiate the development of a plan to implement the recommended actions.
Launch of the 2022 IUCN situation analysis on intertidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea (PRC, DPRK and RoK)
The Yellow Sea is bordered by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (RoK), and represents the largest area of intertidal flats on the planet, and the most important staging area for migratory waterbirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Considering these changes, IUCN members recommended that the 2012 Situational Analysis be updated in 2022. The side event was held on 7th November, supported by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea and facilitated by IUCN and the EAAFP Secretariat, will provide an opportunity for three Ramsar Contracting Parties, experts and partners from the Yellow Sea region to consider the key results of this updated report and their implications in terms of conservation and management of intertidal wetlands, with a focus on transboundary cooperation.
The Future of Wetlands - an Intergenerational Dialogue
On 12th November, an intergenerational dialogue hosted by Youth Engaged in Wetlands was held to create an opportunity for youth who are working on wetlands, to interact with experienced wetland professionals. Opening remarks were given by Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of Ramsar Secretariat, Prof. Lei Guangchun, Chair of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel and Mr. Doug Watkins. After that, the session was followed by an intergenerational dialogue with young professionals and experts from Mangrove Foundation, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, IUCN, Youth Engaged in Wetlands, Wetlands International, WWT and World Wetlands Network.
EAAFP Networking Dinner at Ramsar COP 14
The Ramsar COP14 was an excellent opportunity for the EAAFP and their Partners to meet and engage in dialogue after not being able to conduct meetings in person due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On 6th November 2022, the EAAFP Secretariat took advantage of this occasion to reinforce the connection between Partners by hosting a networking dinner in Geneva.
Every morning before the plenary, there were Regional Meetings. On 10th November, 2022, a memorial session was dedicated to late Dr. Lew Young, former Chief Executive of EAAFP and former Senior Regional Advisor for Asia & Oceania for the Ramsar Secretariat. Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, also gave a tribute to Dr. Lew Young.
The EAAFP Secretariat and Partners ran several booths during the Ramsar COP14 to enhance interaction with the delegates.
Young people are key stakeholders in wetland conservation and many of them are taking action. A virtual event “Youthful Wetland Dialogue on Metaverse at Ramsar COP14” was created by WWF-Hong Kong and EAAFP Secretariat for all youth participants to showcase their work, share ideas and interact with each other around the world during Ramsar COP14 held from 5th to 13th November, 2022 (Read more).