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international environment and sustainable development negotiations

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Water, Oceans and Wetlands

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November 2002


The Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP8) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was held from 18-26 November 2002 in Valencia, Spain. The theme of the Conference was "Wetlands: Water, Life, and Culture." More than 1000 officials representing 119 Contracting Parties, as well as a number of observer States, UN agencies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, attended the session. In conducting their work, participants convened in plenary sessions, regional and contact groups, and several committees. They also met in five technical sessions on: major challenges and emerging opportunities for wetlands, water and sustainability; wetland inventory and assessment; the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance; management of wetlands for sustainable use and human well-being; and cultural aspects of wetlands as a tool for their conservation and sustainable use. Delegates considered and adopted more than 40 resolutions addressing a broad range of policy, technical, programme and budgetary matters, including wetlands and agriculture, climate change, cultural issues, mangroves, water allocation and management, and the Report of the World Commission on Dams. They also approved the Convention's budget and Work Plan for 2003-2005, and its Strategic Plan for 2003-2008. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in details can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/ramsar/cop8/

October 2002

Second Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

18 October 2002: The second Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) convened from 16-18 October 2002 in Beijing, China. The Assembly gathered Ministers and high-level officials from GEF Member States to exchange views on the policies and operations of the GEF. During the three-day Assembly, delegates heard statements from approximately 80 representatives, including ones by the President of the People's Republic of China, the CEO/Chair of the GEF, the heads of the GEF's Implementing and Executing Agencies, and representatives of multilateral environmental conventions, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). During the Assembly, participants considered the Second Overall Performance Study of the GEF, the CEO'S Report on the Policies, Operations and Future Development of the GEF, Proposed Amendments to the Instrument, the Report on the Third Replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund, and the Report on Membership. A roundtable of ministers and other heads of delegations and several panels also convened. At the close of the meeting, participants adopted the Summary of the Second GEF Assembly, which includes the Beijing Declaration and a summary of the decisions of the Assembly. The IISD RS Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/gef/assembly2/sdvol14num7.html

September 2002

Second Biennial GEF International Waters Conference

30 September 2002: The Second Global Environment Facility (GEF) International Waters Conference was held from 25-29 September 2002 in Dalian, China. Over 180 participants representing 55 different GEF-IW projects were in attendance. Participants met to review the GEF's Global International Waters portfolio and to share experiences and best practices for international waters management. Participants convened in Plenary sessions and parallel working groups on four thematic issues : Working Together – Transboundary Diagnostic Analyses, Strategic Action Programme, and Participatory Processes; Large Marine Ecosystems and Coasts – Experiences and Lessons Learned; Freshwater Basin Management – Experiences and Lessons Learned; and Building Sustainability – Partnerships and Finance. Delegates also learned about the GEF IW:LEARN programme, an Internet-based "global knowledge community" designed to increase capacity among transboundary water resource projects worldwide. For more information visit: http://www.iwlearn.org and http://www.getf.org/iwc/

July 2002


The first meeting of the Dams and Development Forum convened from 8-9 July 2002 in Nairobi, Kenya. Over 80 participants were in attendance. The Forum plays a key role in the Dams and Development Project (DDP), which was established after the completion of the World Commission on Dams report. During this session, delegates considered: the role and activities of the DDP; follow-up processes; key challenges; the DDP's work programme, activities and outputs; and its role and composition. Discussions form the basis for the direction of the DDP over the following year and elaborate on the expected outcomes for the Steering Committee, UNEP and the DDP. For more information visit: http://www.unep-dams.org/ and http://www.unep.org/Documents/Default.asp?DocumentID=256&Art...

April 2002

Stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainable Water Management

26 April 2002: The Stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainable Water Management – Priorities for Policy Frameworks and Best Practices convened from 25-26 April 2002, at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. Organized by the Swiss Federal Government, which was represented by the interdepartmental working group, IDARio, and Swiss Re, the Dialogue brought together over 140 participants from governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and the academic, investment and business communities. Goals of the Stakeholder Dialogue included: identifying priority problem areas; identifying and assessing technical, regulatory, procedural and market solutions, as well as measures to improve equity and efficiency of regional and global water supply; fostering public-private partnerships in the areas of water management and framework conditions; and providing relevant input to awareness-raising programmes and media coverage, regional and international debates on water conservation, education, and in-depth solution-oriented research. The Dialogue also aimed to further develop the conclusions of the International Conference on Freshwater, which took place from 3-7 December 2001 in Bonn, Germany, and to contribute to discussions on the freshwater issue at the upcoming Implementation Conference and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The Dialogue's deliberations will feed into a thesis paper, which the Swiss Government plans to use when developing its position for negotiations on freshwater issues at the WSSD, and as a means of communicating its intent to play an active role in the international debate on water. Swiss Re will also use the outcome for risk assessment, awareness building, development of water-related risk-mitigating activities, and screening of projects related to corporate social responsibility. The IISD RS Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/crs/ruschlikon/index.html