National Report submitted for the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, Uganda 2005
(2005)
Online only
This report highlights the range of activities being undertaken which will result in benefits for wetlands and demonstrates the UK's continuing commitment to implementing the Resolutions agreed by the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention.

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National Report submitted for the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, Uganda, 2005

 

UK Ramsar Report

 
 
The UK has a long-established conservation infrastructure, with many policies and much legislation of relevance for wetland conservation.  This report highlights the range of activities being undertaken which will result in benefits for wetlands and demonstrates the UK's continuing commitment to implementing the Resolutions agreed by the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention.
 
In developing targets for the UK for 2003-2005 we chose to target priority areas of activity, in preference to giving targets for actions where there is already well-established conservation provision.  We also separately indicated priority and resource ratings against each target and action rather than collectively for each Operational Objective.  We note the potentially simplistic characterisation of actions into High to Low categories.  Actions categorised as of 'Low priority' may not reflect low importance, rather a high level of past activity which has left the issue well-provided for.
 
The United Kingdom has made significant progress in conserving wetlands.  Highlights include:
  • Substantial effort is going into implementing the Water Framework Directive (2000/060/EC).  The implementation of the Directive is seen as an important mechanism for securing integrated catchment management.  There has been an increasing recognition that the valuable contribution made by fresh waters to the conservation of biodiversity is inextricably linked to the economic, aesthetic, and recreational services that they provide.  Initial stages include characterisation of river basins and work to define good ecological status.
  • An ongoing research programme is seeking to assess the potential impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the UK, and is developing 'tools' to make predictions about the responses of species and their habitats under possible future climates.  The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) provides the framework for addressing the linkages between climate change and wetlands, and contributes to the policy framework for dealing with the implications of climate change.  It will be an important factor in the continuing management of priority species and habitats and in the planning of actions to conserve them.  Much of the current work in the UK is focused on considering how the effects of climate change have an influence on planning considerations.  This includes consideration of the effectiveness of different 'hard' and 'soft' sea defence options, how effective they are, what are their costs and benefits, what are the impacts of management retreat and where they provide the best operational and policy considerations.
  • Habitat restoration is an important part of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and its implementation through country level strategies.  Significant effort is being put into understanding the reasons for deterioration of habitat quality and resolving what action is needed to restore, for example, degraded peatlands.
  • There are now 162 Ramsar sites in the UK (including overseas territories and crown dependencies), covering 879,298 hectares (as of 28th February 2005).  The vast majority of these sites are also protected by other designations at a national level.  A complete revision of the Ramsar Information Sheets for all UK Ramsar sites has been carried out.  These will be published as a web-based resource on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website in parallel with submission of this report..
  • A review has been completed on existing and potential Ramsar sites in the UK Overseas Territories (OT), including the Crown Dependencies (CD) to assist in implementation of the Convention's Strategic Framework, especially by identifying sites featuring interests that are currently under-represented in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.  This contributes to the review of sites being progressed in the UK, in the context of Resolution VII.11 which calls upon Contracting Parties to apply the Strategic Framework and Guidelines for the Future Development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
  • WWD activities across the UK continue to grow in number each year and are a good example of the UK's commitment to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of the value and benefit of wetlands.  There are also many examples of activities which support wetland CEPA objectives, especially through conservation organisations and other bodies involved with wetlands.
The UK is fortunate to have good working relationships between the Government, statutory and non-governmental sectors.  This does not imply that there is always agreement, but the breadth of interested parties is a significant strength of conservation in the UK.
 
Substantial progress has been made but the Work Plan has been challenging and the report reflects that more progress has been made in some areas than others.  We will need to review our targets for the next triennium in the light of the priorities coming out of the Conference of the Parties and in consultation with the key organisations involved with wetlands in the UK
 
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Please cite as: , (2005), National Report submitted for the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, Uganda 2005, Online only