Pacific Partnership a vital ingredient to saving our Wetlands

"Remember, if we want to go far, we must go together so let's join our efforts to ensure action on this important Action Plan."- Mr. David Sheppard, Director-General, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

26 March 2012, Palau - Pacific participants at the Oceania meeting on wetlands conservation were encouraged to seek practical solutions and opportunities to strengthen wetland conservation.

Members of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and partners have gathered in Palau to share efforts on wetland conservation and prepare for the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention in July this year (Ramsar COP11).

MoU2pic(L-R) Prof. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Hon. Kerai Mariur, Vice President of Palau, Mr. David Sheppar, Director-General of SPREP

Mr. David Sheppard, Director-General of SPREP, called upon the participants to focus on practical support for issues discussed and to learn from each other.

"During this meeting you will hear a number of case studies of best practice in wetlands conservation in the Pacific. This is your opportunity to listen and learn from these case studies and share your experiences."

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention. Originally signed in 2002, then again in 2009, the next MoU will be prepared and signed at the end of this year.

The partnership between Ramsar and SPREP facilitates regional and national activities aimed at promoting the wise use and conservation of wetlands in the Pacific region.

MoU_pic

"Our meeting this week provides a timely and excellent opportunity to assess what SPREP and Ramsar have achieved and where we should be going in the future," said Mr. Sheppard.

"We welcome your views on how you would like this partnership to develop in the future."

On the agenda this week is the review of the actions under the Regional Wetlands Action Plan 2011 – 2013 for the Pacific Islands. After reviewing implementation of the plan thus far, the next step will be to prioritise future actions.

"This plan is an integral element of the overarching SPREP Strategic Plan. We urge you all – countries, partners and donors to work together with SPREP and Ramsar to implement this Action Plan for Wetlands in our region," said Mr. Sheppard.

"Remember, if we want to go far, we must go together so let's join our efforts to ensure action on this important Action Plan."wetlandsactionplan2011_2013

Session 10: Regional Wetlands Action Plan for the Pacific Islands is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

Notes:

The 5th Oceania Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 11th Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands, hosted in Palau is from 26 to 30 March. The meeting is attended by Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Partners that are attending the meeting are from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Palau Office, IUCN Oceania Regional Office, Palau Conservation Society, Birdlife International and the Micronesia Challenge Regional Office, among others.

The 5th Oceania Regional Meeting for Ramsar COP11 in Palau is funded by the Governments of Australia and France, with additional support from the UNEP and EU funded Multi-lateral Environment Capacity building project.

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