On Monday evening , 22 October, following a welcome reception, COP13 opened under the theme, "Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future" in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
During opening ceremonies, Uruguay, the COP12 host country, handed over the ceremonial Ramsar flag to UAE, transferring the COP Presidency for the next triennium.Delegates heard opening remarks from Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE, and Jorge Rucks, Chair of the Standing Committee. Additional speakers welcomed delegates, considered the Ramsar Convention in the international context, and highlighted wetlands protection and restoration efforts in the UAE.A video presentation illustrated the rich diversity of life in protected UAE wetlands.
The evening closed with the Ramsar Awards Ceremony, which recognized: Fundación Global Nature, Spain, for wise use of wetlands; and Youth Climate Action Network of Samoa, for young wetlands champions. Ma Guangren, China, received a Merit award for lifetime achievement in wetlands conservation and restoration projects in China and Asia. Danone was recognized for its 20 years of commitment to conservation and sustainable management of wetlands of international importance.
Regional meetings took place earlier in the day and a midday special event, “UN Ocean Conference Community of Ocean Action on Mangroves: Progress and Opportunities,” highlighted the critical role of mangrove ecosystems for coastal and ocean resilience.
Key takeaways from the first day included:
- a strong emphasis on links between the Ramsar Convention and other international multilateral agreements, especially the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals;
- a sense that urgent action is needed at all levels; and
- recognition for those individuals and groups making a difference in wetlands protection and restoration.
For a brief history of the Ramsar convention and more details on opening ceremonies, see our curtain raiser.
IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, has provided a curtain raiser, daily web coverage, and a summary and analysis report from COP13.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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Special Event: UN Conference Community of Ocean Action on Mangroves