WWN has facilitated and delivered a unified statement by NGOs attending the Ramsar COP 13 in Dubai.
After a meeting of 51 delegates before the COP opened, we prepared a statement representing the expertise and values of the NGOs. We negotiated a slot to present the statement to the Conference.
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Addressing more than 1,000 delegates, Maia Sarrouf Willson, the Research and Conservation Manager at the Environment Society of Oman presented the following message:
The World Wetland Network is grateful for this opportunity to address Ramsar COP13. WWN is a global alliance of Non-Government and Civil Society Organisations, with long-term connection to local wetlands. Our members are a considerable force for conservation and wise use.
Our recent Citizen Science Global Wetland Survey found the statistically most important driver for positive wetland protection and wise use is engagement of Non-Government Organisations and local communities. We provide solutions and want to play our part in making the Ramsar Convention a success.
To this end, we call on the Contracting Parties to engage with Non-Government Organisations, indigenous people, and local communities at all levels, including Ramsar Site assessment and management, National Wetland Steering Committees and through active involvement at the COP.
We urge the Contracting Parties to support full participation, transparency, capacity building and learning among the different players in wetland protection. But to ensure this is effective, resources are needed. Small inputs at the local level will yield significant benefits for wetland wise use and conservation.
World Wetland Network is hosting a Youth Forum in the side events. We encourage the Contracting Parties and the Partner Organizations to meaningfully engage young people as key stakeholders in the Ramsar family. They are a powerful force to help prevent, stop and reverse the trend of wetland loss and degradation.
In less than three years, on World Wetlands Day 2021, the Ramsar Convention turns 50. What will be our legacy? There’s no Planet B and we’re out of time. Let’s act boldly together at this meeting and beyond for conservation and wise use of wetlands.
Due to the limited time allowed, World Wetland Network’s Opening Statement to Ramsar COP13 was abbreviated. Click here for the full-text version developed in collaboration with 51 NGO delegates attending the Pre-COP Meeting held on Monday 22 October 2018.