Existing guidance and tools available to support the implementation of the Fourth Strategic Plan: 2022 Update

Date: 24.05.2023

To: Head of Adminstrative Authorities and National Focal Points
The Contracting Parties at COP14 adopted Resolution XIV.4 on Review of the fourth Strategic Plan of the Convention on Wetlands, additions for the period COP14-COP15 and framework for the fifth Strategic Plan. Paragraph 9 “NOTES that the review of the fourth Strategic Plan has identified a number of targets and indicators against which some Parties are experiencing challenges with implementation, and INSTRUCTS the Secretariat to publicize any existing Ramsar guidance and target this outreach to those Parties experiencing difficulties”.
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: 2022 Update. 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.
Handbook 2 (2016 edition): The Fourth Strategic Plan 2016-2024
Strategic Plan Goal 1 – Addressing the Drivers of Wetlands Loss and Degradation
Target 3.2 – Private sector:
  • % of Parties reporting private sector undertaking activities for the conservation, wise use and management of wetlands in general.
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:
  • % of Parties that have complete national wetland inventories.
  • % of Parties that have updated their national inventories in the last decade.
The Secretariat has prepared a new toolkit for national wetlands inventories, including the recordings of associated training webinars in 2020.
Ramsar Technical Report 10: The use of Earth Observation for wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring (2018)
Ramsar Technical Report 4: A Framework for a wetland inventory metadatabase (2010)
Target 11.3 – Socio-economic benefits of wetlands:
  • % of Parties that have made assessment of ecosystem services of Ramsar Sites.
  • % of Parties that have incorporated wetlands issues into poverty eradication strategies.
  • % of Parties that have implemented programmes or projects that contribute to poverty alleviation objectives or food and water security plans.
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.
Policy Brief 2: Integrating multiple wetland values into decision-making (2017)
Policy Brief 4: Implementing environmental flows with benefits for society and different wetland ecosystems in river systems (2018)
Policy Brief 6Transforming agriculture to sustain people and wetlands (2022)
Target 12.2 – Prioritization of sites for restoration:
  • % of Parties that have established restoration plans [or activities] for sites.
  • % of Parties that have implemented effective restoration or rehabilitation projects.
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.
Ramsar Technical Report 11: Global guidelines for peatland rewetting and restoration (2022)
Briefing Note 11: Practical peatland restoration (2022)
Briefing Note 12: The contribution of blue carbon ecosystems to climate change mitigation (2022)
Strategic Plan Goal 4 – Enhancing Implementation
Target 16.1 – National CEPA plans:
  •    % of Parties with a) a governmental CEPA National Focal Point and b) a non-governmental National Focal Point
  •   % of Parties that have established national action plans for wetland CEPA.
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:
  • % of Parties that have received funding support from development assistance agencies for national wetlands conservation and management.
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.
Target 18 – International cooperation is strengthened at all levels
  • % of Parties that have established networks including twinning arrangements nationally or internationally for knowledge sharing and training for wetlands that share common features.
  • % of Parties that have effective cooperative management in place for shared wetland systems (for example in shared river basins and coastal zones).
  • % of Parties where co-ordination mechanisms for the implementation of MEAs exist at a national level.
Handbook 20: International Cooperation (2010)
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