Existing guidance and tools available to support the implementation of the Fourth Strategic Plan

Date: 07.02.2022


The Contracting Parties at COP13 adopted Resolution XIII.5 on Review of the fourth Strategic Plan of the Ramsar Convention. Subsequently, a specific working group was established to lead the review process outlined in the Resolution.

As part of the review, the Strategic Plan Working Group established a list of those Strategic Plan target indicators for which Parties mentioned facing most challenges in their National Reports (NRs) that they submitted prior to COP13. The Working Group listed inter alia existing guidance that could be used to support implementation of these targets in its report to Standing Committee (document SC59 Doc.10, paragraphs 12-14).

In Decision SC59-17, The Standing Committee agreed that existing guidance and tools be communicated to Contracting Parties to support the implementation of the Fourth Strategic Plan in the gap year to COP14, subject to available capacity within the Secretariat.”

This Communication is to remind Contracting Parties about existing Convention on Wetlands guidance to support the implementation of specific targets of the Fourth Strategic Plan 2016-2024. Existing guidance that could support the implementation of specific targets during the remaining period of the Fourth Strategic Plan are listed here. Hyperlinks are provided to access and download the relevant guidance tools and documents.

Strategic Plan Goal 1 – Addressing the Drivers of Wetlands Loss and Degradation

Target 3.2 – Private sector:

NR indicator: Has the private sector undertaken activities or actions for the conservation, wise use and management of Ramsar Sites, and wetlands in general?

RAMSAR Handbook 5 (edition 2010) on Partnerships provides a general framework for relations with the private sector, based on two Resolutions: Resolution X.12 on Principles for partnerships between the Ramsar Convention and the business sector and Resolution XI.20 on Promoting sustainable investment by the public and private sectors to ensure the maintenance of the benefits people and nature gain from wetlands

Strategic Plan Goal 3 – Wisely Using All Wetlands

Target 8.1 – National wetland inventories:

NR indicator: Does your country have a complete national wetland inventory?

The Secretariat has prepared a new toolkit for national wetlands inventories, including the recordings of associated training webinars in 2020.

Target 11.3 – Socio-economic benefits of wetlands:

NR indicator: Have socio-economic values of wetlands been included in the management planning for Ramsar Sites and other wetlands?

Ramsar Technical Report No. 3 on Valuing wetlands, published in 2006, provides general valuation guidance and Resolution IX.21 on Taking into account the cultural values of wetlands addresses more specific aspects.

Target 12.2 – Prioritization of sites for restoration:

NR indicator: Have wetland restoration/rehabilitation programmes, plans or projects been effectively implemented?

General restoration guidance has been provided since 1999 in Resolution VII.17 on Restoration as an element of national planning for wetland conservation and wise use, followed by Resolution VIII.16 on Principles and guidelines for wetland restoration. Briefing Note 4 summarizes The benefits of wetland restoration, and Briefing Note 10 Wetland restoration for climate change resilience.

This was complemented by specific guidance for peatlands in 2015 through Resolution XII.11 on Peatlands, climate change and wise use: implications for the Ramsar Convention, and Resolution XIII.13 on Restoration of degraded peatlands to mitigate and adapt to climate change and enhance biodiversity and disaster risk reduction.

In 2021, on the occasion of the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, the Secretariat published three fact sheets to assist restoration efforts by Contracting Parties, policy makers and practitioners, on wetland restoration to unlock the untapped potential of the earth’s most valuable ecosystem, on realizing the full potential of marine and coastal wetlands, and on the imperative to restore drained peatlands. These materials highlight the critical role wetlands play in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Strategic Plan Goal 4 – Enhancing Implementation

Target 16.1 – National CEPA plans:

NR Indicator: Has an action plan (or plans) for wetland CEPA been established?

The Convention’s Programme on communication, capacity building, education, participation and awareness (CEPA) for the period 2016-2024 was adopted through Resolution XII.9.

A section of the Convention website covers the CEPA programme, providing information on the CEPA Oversight Panel, the network of national focal points, wetlands education centres, CEPA resources and activities, and a compilation of CEPA methods and tools.

Target 17.5 – Securing assistance from GEF and other donors:

NR Indicator: Has funding support been received from one or more UN and other global or regional bodies and agencies or the Convention ́s IOPs in its implementation of the Convention?

Resolution X.12 (2008) established Principles for partnerships between the Ramsar Convention and the business sector. Resolution XII.7 (2015) provides a Resource Mobilization and Partnership Framework of the Ramsar Convention. Resolution XIII.7 (2018) focuses on Enhancing the Convention’s visibility and synergies with other multilateral environmental agreements and other international institutions.

The Secretariat has prepared training webinars (contents available in the capacity building section of the Convention website) on grant writing and the Green Climate Fund, and an e-learning platform on financing mechanisms for freshwater ecosystems.

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