Workshop on Wetlands in West Asia Identifies Best Practices

7 June 2011: The "Workshop on Wetlands and the Ramsar Convention in West Asia" facilitated an exchange to share case studies and best practices, allowing participants to identify ways to improve the conservation of wetlands and implementation of the Ramsar Conservation in West Asia.

The workshop, held in the Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 23-26 May 2011, was hosted by the Environment Protection and Development Department, Fujairah Municipality, in collaboration with: the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention), the Ramsar Regional Centre – Central and West Asia, and the Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF (EWS-WWF). Participants came from 11 countries and included 50 representatives from governments, UN agencies, conservation and research organizations, educational institutions and other stakeholder from West Asia and North Africa involved in conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Participants underscored the need to raise awareness of the value of wetlands at all levels of the community. They heard presentations of educational programmes, as well as of a study to assess the economic value of Arab wetlands, the results of which will help raise the awareness of senior decision makers about the importance of wetlands.

Participants discussed the need: for a regional training programme to build the capacity of those with direct responsibility for wetland conservation and management; and to engage with other stakeholders and organizations with a role in wetland conservation.

They also addressed: the value of establishing National Wetland Committees as a means of engaging and coordinating with all stakeholders; and the fact that many existing Ramsar Sites in the region still had to finalize or update their Ramsar Information Sheets (RIS).

The workshop also included field visits to the Ramsar Sites at Wadi Wurayah and Ras Al Khor to learn about the different management needs of the two sites. [Workshop Outcomes] [Ramsar Press Release]