The plenary at COP14 made history on Saturday, adopting a resolution by vote for the third time ever in the Convention’s 51-year history. After lengthy exchanges on procedure, and some technical difficulties, the Secretariat conducted a roll-call vote on the draft resolution relating to damage of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar Sites) in Ukraine. The parties, one by one, had the chance to cast their ballot, beginning with Saint Lucia and ending with Rwanda. The final count was 50 parties voting in favor, 7 against, and 47 abstaining. With the rules of procedure requiring a simple majority of those present and voting, the proposed resolution was adopted.
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Both before and after the vote, delegates made steady progress through the list of outstanding draft resolutions, adopting twelve and deferring one to COP15 (Review of Ramsar Criteria, and delisting Ramsar Sites). Discussions were to continue in informal consultations or contact groups for the following agenda items:
- responsibilities, roles and composition of the Standing Committee and regional categorization of countries
- draft list of defunct Resolutions
- review of all previous Resolutions and decisions
- enhancing visibility and synergies with other MEAs and other international institutions
- Ramsar Regional Initiatives – Operational Guidelines
- new CEPA approach
- updating the Wetland City Accreditation
- status of Sites in the List of Wetlands of International Importance
- integrating wetland conservation and restoration into national sustainable development strategy
- thanks to the Host Country, China
Assuming that parties continue acting as a cooperative “Ramsar family” and manage to resolve key sticking points in the remaining draft resolutions, the final day of COP14 could be a short one.
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