Pilot Project in Komi and NAO: 12th Conferences of Parties of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: the input to the ClimEast project

The 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP12) was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, from 1 to 9 June 2015. Each meeting of the COP includes a number of technical sessions on ongoing and emerging wetland conservation and wise use issues, to update Convention concepts and draft guidance for the Parties, as well as Plenary Sessions, during which Parties are voting for the resolutions. The Russian delegation had 5 official members, among them two members of the project team: national director – Alexander Popov and project manager – Vassyly Ponomarev.

During the COP12 sixteen resolutions had been adopted. Among them – Resolution XII.11 Peatlands, climate change and wise use: Implications for the Ramsar Conventionand Resolution XII.15 Evaluation of the management and conservation effectiveness of Ramsar Sites. Both resolutions are crucial for the implementation of ClimaEast project ideas into international legislation. This way of upscaling the project outcomes is one of the most effective as far as has global impact through multinational agreement.

In order to convince Contracting Partiesto vote for the resolutions the initiating resolution Contracting Parties in the partnership with IOPs are organising so called “side events” – technical meetings explaining the main messages of resolutions and implications of resolution adoption for Convention itself and for Parties.

The project had been directly involved in the organisation of the side event “Peatland conservation and rehabilitation: issues and solutions. Agenda could be seen HERE. As a result of the side event several amendments to the draft resolutions. Among them statement on the designation of the experience of countries on peatlands restoration as climate change mitigation measure and need to disseminate and support this activity. The project experience had been presented by project manager and component coordinator. The presentation promotes three key themes of the project and climate change mitigation measure: protected areas gazetting; protected areas management improvement and ecosystem restoration. The presentation is available HERE. There was around 80 attendees at the side event.

The other side event project team took part in discussion and presenting – is side even organised by countries of Nordic-Baltic Ramsar Regional initiative also in support of resolution XII.11 – Peatlands, climate regulation and biodiversity in aRamsar perspective, held Wednesday 3rd June, 13:15 – 14:45 pm. The Agenda is available HERE.

There were more than 100 attendees at the sideevent. And finally project team members took part in the specific side event on the merging of protected areas management with management of the areas, having the international status – among them status of Ramsar site: “Improving the Integrated Management of Sites with MultipleInternational Designations (Ramsar sites, World Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves, Global Geoparks)/ IUCN World Heritage Outlook and its application to Ramsar sites”.This side event was in support of the Resolution XII.15 Evaluation of the management and conservation effectiveness of Ramsar Sites. One of the protected areas, where project ClimaEastis implemented, is currently in the process of the nomination to the Ramsar status. The outcomes of the discussions and messages of the Resolution itself will be used in the project implementation.


The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. That is why informally the Convention is called “Ramsar Convention“.

The countries which have signed convention had become “Contracting Parties”. To become a “Contracting Party” the country should designate as minimum one area as wetland of international importance. Nowadays there are over 2,000 Ramsar Sites on the territories of over 160 Ramsar Contracting Parties across the world.

The Soviet Union took active part in the Convention development in 70th and was among first countries to sign the Convention with further ratification. The Russian Federation inherited obligations of the Soviet Union regarding Ramsar Convention in 1991.

Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:

  • work towards the wise use of all their wetlands;
  • designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;
  • cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species. 

The Contracting Parties implement the Ramsar Convention in their territories and collaborate on shared projects. The government agency responsible for its national application is known as the country’s Administrative Authority. This agency appoints a National Focal Point to coordinate national implementation and act as the daily contact point. In the Russian Federation it is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, which is responsible for Ramsar convention implementation and plays role of Administrative Authority. Dr.Vladimir Ivlev is National Focal Point of the Russian Federation.

Every three years, representatives of the governments of each of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), to agree on a work programme and budgetary arrangements for the next triennium and consider guidance on a range of ongoing and emerging environmental issues.

Between the COPs, the Parties are represented by the Standing Committee, which meets yearly. The Standing Committee is guided by the framework of the decisions made by the COP. During the COP 12 the representative of the Russian Federation had been approved as the member of Standing Committee.

Two advisory bodies develop technical guidance to help the Standing Committee and the COP formulate policies: the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (the STRP) and the Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) Oversight Panel. Both of these bodies have individual national focal point. Currently in the Russian Federation as the STRP focal point is assignedProf. Andrey Sirin – director of the Institute of Forest Sciences RAS; as CEPA focal point is appointed Phd. Irina Kamennova, director of Wetlands International Russia programme.

The work of the Convention bodies is supported by the Convention’s Secretariat and the International Organization Partners (IOPs) which the Parties have formally recognized as official partners of the Convention.

Currently IOPs include – IUCN, Wetlands International, WWF, ICIMOD.

Representatives of non-member states, intergovernmental institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participate in the work of convention bodies as non-voting observers.