The opening plenary of the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) followed two days of hybrid meetings that included an opening ceremony and the high-level ministerial segment, held simultaneously in Wuhan and Geneva. Delegates formalized the transfer of the COP13 Presidency from the United Arab Emirates to China with the election of Li Chunliang, Deputy Administrator, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, China, as COP14 President. They also elected Wu Zhimin, Wetlands Management Director, National Forestry and Grassland Administration (China) as Alternate President. Delegates then approved other organizational matters including appointment of the Credentials Committee and admission of observers.
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Reports from the Convention Secretariat brought good news on the global implementation of the Convention, as Secretary General Musonda Mumba reported that the average national reporting rate for the Convention is now at 88%, but also highlighted gaps in synergies with other multilateral environmental agreements.
In addition to procedural matters and reports, delegates addressed draft resolutions on:
- a new communication, capacity building, education, participation and awareness (CEPA) approach;
- responsibilities, roles and composition of the Standing Committee and regional categorization of countries;
- effectiveness and efficiency of the Ramsar Convention;
- review of the fourth Strategic Plan and key elements for the fifth Strategic Plan;
- strengthening Ramsar connections through youth;
- wetland education in the formal education sector; and
- review of Ramsar criteria, and delisting Ramsar Sites.
A contact group was established for the resolution on the Strategic Plan and parties were encouraged to reach agreement through informal discussions on three other resolutions.
The 8th Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award ceremony wrapped up the day. Fernanda Samuel, National Coordinator, Mangrove Protection and Restoration, Angola, received the Young Wetland Champion award. Kurechi Masayuki, Board Member, Ramsar Network Japan, received the Wise Use of Wetlands award. Carla Ximena Giraldo Malca was honored with the Wetland Innovation award. The final recipient, Jérôme Bignon, President of the Association Ramsar France, was presented with the first-ever Merit Award.
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