Continued work of the Secretariat during the pandemic

Continued work of the Secretariat during the pandemic

30 May 2021

During the first half of 2021, the Secretariat has continued to work and participate in virtual meetings using various online platforms. The Secretariat has engaged in the following meetings organized by topic:

Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

3 December 2020: The Secretary General participated in the virtual meetings of the BLG with focus on the impact of COVID 19 and post -2020 Global Biodiversity 

18 January - 2 February 2021: The Chair of the Standing Committee, six Standing Committee representatives and the Secretariat participated in the Bern II second MEA Bern consultation workshop on the post-2020.

February and March 2021: Informal sessions in preparation of SBSTTA 24 and SBI3

3 May - June 13 2021: Formal sessions of SBSTTA 24 and SBI3.


1 February 2021: The Secretary General chaired the global online panel discussion: Wetlands Securing Fresh Water for All, that was organized by the Secretariat on 1 February to mark the World Wetlands Day.

22 February 2021: The Secretary General delivered a video message to the Leadership Dialogue “Contribution of the environmental dimension of sustainable development to building a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world” at the fifth session of the 2021 United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5).

9 March: Amplifying wetland restoration ambitions on the road to COP26

18 March 2021: The Secretary General delivered a video message at the UN General Assembly High Level meeting on the implementation of the water-related goals and target of the 2030 agenda. 

30 March 2021: The Secretary General as a co-focal point with IUCN of the Community of Ocean Action on Mangroves participated in the “Keeping the Momentum for Ocean Action” Webinar series for 2021 “Implementing SDG 14 with the Communities of Ocean Action”.

31 May 2021: Webinar and launch of the report: Building on nature: Area-based conservation as a key tool for delivering SDGs.

1 June 2021:  The Deputy Secretary General made an online presentation to environmental journalists on “Wetlands as nature-based solutions” as part of a series of briefings for journalists organized by the Stockholm World Water Week.

UN Decade on Restoration

February 2021: The Secretariat was appointed as Global Partner of the UN Decade on Restoration and continue participating in the meetings of the task force of the aquatic and transitional ecosystems’ monitoring and evaluation framework and partners.

4 June 20201: The Secretariat launched  a series of fact sheets to assist restoration efforts by Contracting Parties, policy makers and practitioners.


23-24 February 2021: Mediterranean Wetlands Committee 14 – main constitutional meeting of the RRI MedWet

3 June 2021: Arctic Council – Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna wetland programme steering committee meeting


28-29 April 2021: International Partnership for Blue Carbon (IPBC) Partners Dialogue. Joining forces to protect blue carbon assets

1 June 2021: The Secretary General delivered welcome remarks for the annual meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists

Support provided to the Standing Committee

Following SC58, the Secretariat supported an intersessional process from September 2020 through March 2021 whereby the Standing Committee took critical decisions in regards to setting new meeting dates and addressing budgetary matters. The Secretariat supported this intersessional process through implementing a process where Contracting Parties could comment on proposed decisions via email, with decisions amended to reflect the views of Parties, until consensus on a decision was reached. Contracting Parties made 10 decisions during this intersessional process.   

Support provided to Working Groups

The Secretariat has continued to support Working Groups through organizing teleconferences, preparing meeting agendas and minutes, and securing and managing consultancies that support the Working Groups. Support has been provided to the following Groups:

  • Effectiveness Working Group: the Secretariat has continued to manage the administrative matters related to the consultant contract and provided administrative support to the consultant as requested by the working group.
  • Review of the Strategic Plan Working Group: the Secretariat supported the working group in fulfilling the requests listed in Annex 1 of Res. XIII.5, notably to review the fourth Strategic Plan (SP4), identify potential refinements to SP4 and any elements that can contribute to the preparation of a new SP after 2024.
  • Observer Status Working Group: the Secretariat has facilitated several calls of the working group and provided summary reports.
  • Working Group on the Ramsar Regional Initiatives (RRIs): the Secretariat supported the group to develop its Terms of Reference (TOR) and for the preparation of the draft Operational Guidelines.
  • Management Working Group on STRP matters: the Secretariat facilitated a virtual meeting to provide a progress update on the delivery of STRP highest priority tasks.