Ramsar, UNECE Collaborate on Transboundary Wetlands Assessment
16 May 11: The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Secretariat) is collaborating with the Secretariat of the UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention) in carrying out the Second Assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters in the UNECE Pan-European region.
The Assessment by the two Secretariats includes about 30 transboundary Ramsar Sites and other important transboundary wetlands, and is being prepared by sub-regions including Caucasus, South Eastern Europe, North Eastern Europe, Central Asia as well as Central and Western Europe. A sub-regional workshop has been held for each sub-region.
To finalize the preparation of the Second Assessment, the 12th meeting of the Working Group on Monitoring and Assessment under the Water Convention took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2-4 May 2011, back to back with the sixth meeting of the Working Group on Integrated Water Resources Management, from 4-5 May 2011. The main aim of these meetings was to review the different parts of the Second Assessment. At the meeting, the Ramsar Secretariat highlighted the ecosystem services provided by wetlands, and stressed their role in maintaining natural flows and aquifer recharges, as well as maintaining and restoring biodiversity and cultural heritage. The Secretariat further underscored that ecosystem services extend beyond wetland boundaries and that transboundary wetlands constitute biodiversity hotspots, notably for threatened and migratory species.
The Second Assessment will be presented at the seventh Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe,” in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 21-23 September 2011. [Ramsar Press Release] [Ramsar Presentation at the Meeting of the Working Group on Monitoring and Assessment]