Information related to the 23rd meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel

Date: 09.03.2020

The Secretariat wishes to inform you that the Management Working Group has taken the decision to cancel the 23rd meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP23) that was scheduled from Monday 16 to Friday 20 March in Gland.
The Secretariat has been closely monitoring the fast-evolving situation with the Coronavirus (COVID19), which continues to spread and remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and is following the policies of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as per the Contracting Parties’ guidance on different areas of the Convention’s administration. IUCN is following guidance and direction from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN), as well as the Swiss Federal and Cantonal authorities regarding decisions about travelling and hosting meetings with international delegations. Further, IUCN has established an Emergency Management Team and the Secretariat has become part of it to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information on the matter.

As we have followed the situation, we learned that due to increasing travel restrictions by certain countries and organizations there were a significant number of participants’ cancellations, including leads of STRP priority tasks. The Secretariat consulted with the Vice-Chair and contacted the Management Working Group regarding the situation. The Management Working Group has decided that the meeting should be cancelled given that the ability of the meeting to deliver on the expected outcomes with the expected level of participation was severely limited. This decision also took into account that, with the situation rapidly evolving, further participant cancellations could be expected and that participants could face restrictions in returning back home.

The purpose of STRP23 was to progress the highest-priority tasks. The Secretariat, working closely with the Vice-Chair and the task leads, will put in place alternative means of progressing the work of the Panel on the high-priority tasks, such as by using virtual work spaces and by convening small workshops. The STRP will keep the Management Working Group informed of progress and will report to the 58th meeting of the Standing Committee, to be held  from Monday 22 to Friday 26 June.
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Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
28 rue Mauverney, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel. +41 22 999 0365; fax +41 22 999 0169