MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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Meeting report of regional technical seminar
National strategies and policies for wetlands
Beirut, Lebanon, 16-18 February 2004
Thursday 18 March 2004, by Web Team

9. Summary points of the seminar

- The participants registered that a significant number of steps have been taken in each country towards the development of a National Wetland Strategy: legal framework, strategic framework, National Wetland Committees, etc.
- The MedWet Coast countries reaffirm the importance of initiating or continuing the process of developing a National Wetland Strategy as per the national commitment under the Ramsar convention.
- Within the framework of the project objectives and mandate, the MedWetCoast national projects will support all necessary actions and Government efforts in order to elaborate, finalise and, as far as possible, implement National Wetland Strategies.
- The participants acknowledge the due consideration that should be granted to water and river management issues (including aquifers, catchment, basin-wide strategy, transboundary rivers, water scarcity, etc.) and strongly suggest that, when developing or finalizing a national wetland strategy, efforts be made to reach out to those stakeholders and institutions directly involved in water, river and basin management
- The participants call upon the Ramsar Secretariat, MedWet and the partners to support the efforts of the countries insofar as developing and implementing a national wetland strategy.

In addition, the participants recognize (that):
- National Wetland Strategies provide a framework and are a tool for achieving:
 conservation of the biological diversity
 conservation of the cultural heritage
 sustainable (wise) use of wetland resources
 local community development
 integration of wetlands into sectoral policies
 further development of national policies and strategies (biodiversity, water resources, protected areas, etc.)
 commitments and obligations related to international conventions (Ramsar, Biological Diversity, Barcelona, World Heritage, Bonn, AEWA, etc.) and strategies (Ramsar SP, Venice, etc.)
 obtaining funding for wetland conservation and wise use

- the process of preparing a National Wetland Strategy requires:
 a leading agency to ensure coordination
 a drafting team or steering committe
 to involve different governmental, social and economic actors through a consultation and participation process
 to consider both natural, cultural and socio-economic aspects

- the strategy should be built upon an analysis of the status of wetland resources that
 is based on the best available information from inventories, assessments, research, etc.
 analyzes the uses, problems and causes
 makes a diagnosis of the present situation
 allows to define priorities for the strategy

- the strategy should incorporate:
 clear statement of objectives: general and specific, Ramsar Strategic Plan
 clear statement of actions at national, catchment and local level
 clear statement of the actors in charge of each action
 a multisectoral approach
 consideration of transboundary rivers and waters
 priorities and calendar for implementation
 provision of funding for implementation

- the scope of the strategy should be defined based on:
 a wetland definition :
"areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres" including areas which "may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands"

- a wetland classification
- the importance of full involvement of the National Wetland Committee in the preparation and implementation of the Strategy
- the advantages of a formal endorsement or approval of the National Wetland Strategy by the government
- the need for appropriation of the strategy by the different actors involved in its implementation
- the importance of establishing mechanisms for:
 coordinating the implementation of the strategy through a coordination unit, activity centres, etc.
 monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the National Wetland Strategy
 the important role of the National Wetland Committee in the monitoring process

- the timing for the National Wetland Strategy should be:
 Development phase: 10-18 month
 Implementation phase: 5-10 years

See annex 28(Pere Tomas presentation)




Regional Meeting report of National strategies and policies for wetlands
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