Background

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands COP-11

The 11th Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP 11) of The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands took place in Bucharest, Romania from 6-13 July. The theme of this year COP was  “Wetlands: home and destination”, focusing on wetlands, tourism and recreation. Ramsar Contracting Parties, or Member States, gathered to assess the progress of the Convention and the sustainable use of wetlands to date, share knowledge and experience on technical issues, and plan their own and the Secretariat’s work for the next triennium.

At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the wise use concept. The wise use of wetlands is defined as “the maintenance of their ecological character, achieved through the implementation of ecosystem approaches, within the context of sustainable development”. Wise use therefore has at its heart the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources, for the benefit of humankind – a principle that hunters strive for every day.

FACE’s Angus Middleton attended the COP 11, to convey that hunters work hard, invest time and money in their endeavours to conserve wetlands at the local level and are constantly finding ways to work together with national and international stakeholders to recognise their multi-functional nature.

Much of the dialogue that Angus followed focused on integrated management in wetlands. On a cursory examination there were no resolutions to cause alarm but perhaps some – such as Resolution DR7 on Tourism where we could have had more input. There is also a useful Resolution 13 which recognises hunting as a cultural heritage.

The most important side event (for FACE) was the launch of the 5th Waterbird Population Estimates Report, by Wetlands International. This Report shows that waterbird populations show a slightly improved condition compared to their 2006 status, but there are still a number of populations relevant to European hunters that require due attention. At this event the Global Interflyway Network was launched, which came about from a 2011 workshop Angus attended in South Korea (see FACE Annual Report p.45). As with this workshop, the Global Interflyway Network will be an important platform to inform and influence so that hunting is considered in the right context and not just as a negative impact on migratory birds.

Ramsar offers great potential for FACE, as there are many synergies with the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), and key strategic partners such as Wetlands International. It also covers some iconic wildlife areas such as the Danube Delta in which hunting should be seen not only as a management tool or economic interest but also as a socio-cultural and recreational interest.

Greater engagement can generate greater collaboration in this key area for European hunters.

Waterbird Population Estimates Report: http://www.wetlands.org/WatchRead/Currentpublications/tabid/56/mod/1570/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/3322/Waterbird-Population-Estimates–Fifth-Edition.aspx