Source: Small Island Developing States
29 October 2018: The 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands focused on the theme, ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future,’ and concluded with the adoption of 25 resolutions.
Over 1,360 participants representing 143 of the 170 Parties to the Convention, as well as the International Organization Partners (IOPs) of the Ramsar Convention, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended the meeting, which took place from 22-29 October 2018, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Global Wetland Outlook was released during COP13, and helped frame the discussions. In her opening statement, Ramsar Secretary General Martha Rojas Urrego expressed concern that wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests, and said the Global Wetland Outlook is a “distress signal and a wake-up call.”
The Global Wetland Outlook is a “distress signal and a wake-up call.”
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary of COP13 reports that participants repeatedly highlighted the urgency of addressing the “immense pressures” that wetlands face. With this in mind, COP13 focused on “finding ways to increase the Convention’s reach, effectiveness, and efficiency by addressing its internal structure, its outward activities, and ways to mainstream wetland conservation and wise use in other domains.” The meeting concluded with “resolutions addressing the Convention’s governance, and its implementation, visibility, and synergies” with other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and providing clear links with climate change and the SDGs.
Topics addressed in the 25 resolutions adopted by the closing gavel included: gender; peatlands; blue carbon ecosystems; sustainable urbanization; agriculture; intertidal wetlands; wetlands in West Asia; and Arctic and sub-Arctic wetlands.
On the closing day of Ramsar COP13, Youth Engaged in Wetlands called on Parties and all stakeholders to empower youth to actively participate in wetland issues and proposed that the theme for COP14 be: ‘Youth in Wetlands.’ COP13 President Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi highlighted that UAE announced two new conservation areas during COP13, one of which will be submitted as a Ramsar Site. [IISD RS Coverage of Ramsar COP 13] [Host Country Website for Ramsar COP 13] [Ramsar COP 13 Webpage]