NGO Statement to Ramsar COP14

WWN’s joint North American Representative, Professor Kim Diana Connolly, has delivered an NGO Statement to Ramsar COP14 in Geneva and Wuhan.

The statement celebrates some of this COP’s innovations, such as livestreaming all sessions and enabling NGOs to livestream their side-events, which enabled wider NGO participation. The Statement encourages the countries who have signed up to the Ramsar Convention to better work with civil society, based on the findings of our NGO survey:

Our preparation for and participation at COP14 has confirmed what WWN knows: merely
designating a wetland of international importance does not mean that wetland is safe:
actually implementing the Ramsar Convention makes a wetland safe. Civil society and
NGOs are well placed to support Ramsar implementation, including by sharing participatory
science, supporting academic collaboration, and through local community and Indigenous
Peoples’ knowledge. Including all voices not only improves Ramsar implementation, it also
allows for accurate and thorough national reporting and better CEPA opportunities.

The Statement suggests a few actions for all Participants of the COP to bring home:

  • Fully implement the Youth Resolution in your own country! The Youth involved with WWN have made us a stronger, more successful organization.
  • Commit to providing accessible Ramsar-related resources from both parties and the Secretariat. For example, country-based guidelines for assessing wetland conditions and areas should be in short form, easily translated, and crafted to enable people with a wide range of educational attainment to assess wetlands and contribute to national inventories.
  • Invite NGOs to share on-the-ground experience that can help National Focal Points and others create, draft, and deliver resolutions that will be effective for humans and nature, and including NGOs as appropriate, to offer perspective and expertise in work over the next triennium and at COP15.
  • Work toward adopting a Rights of Wetlands approach in your own regions, to recognise the right for a wetland to exist, to have a place to exist, and to fully participate in the Web of Life. The work of many NGOs support “Rights of Wetlands” in ways that are increasingly being delivered through civil society engagement and respectful management practices.
  • Redouble our efforts to create an active and engaged CEPA program across the Ramsar family, with more dedicated resources within the Secretariat.
  • Ensure meaningful opportunities for in-person African NGO representation in future COPs, which has been low despite the very high interest WWN and others experience online from the peoples of the African continent.