IWMI was confirmed as the fifth International Organization Partner (IOP) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands during the 9th Conference of Parties in Kampala, Uganda, November 2005. Resolution IX.16 welcomed IWMI as a formal partner; the first from outside the original conservation NGOs that have supported the Convention since its establishment. IWMI’s application was strongly supported by the existing conservation-based IOPs and the Contracting Parties with many taking the floor and enthusiastically offering support.
IWMI’s formal involvement in the Convention is a historic step and represents a stronger focus within the Convention on sustainable development/integrated management of wetlands and the many ecosystem services they provide. It also acknowledges the important roles that water management and agriculture have in wetland loss and degradation.
The IOPs serve as permanent observers on the Standing Committee and as full members of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP). The latter includes ongoing contributions to technical priorities for the Convention. IWMI was welcomed as an organization with a strong tradition of scientific achievement and as a member of the CGIAR with the potential to contribute more widely to the wise use of wetlands. This directly stems from IWMI’s research and outputs on environmental water requirements and agricultural-environment-livelihoods interactions (MTP Project 5, 2002-2004).
IWMI’s case was strengthened by its demonstrated support for the Convention’s STRP, in particular co-leading a working group on water resources management with specific input to a report on environmental flows and leading discussions on agriculture-wetlands interactions. At the Conference IWMI contributed formally to side events covering data needs for wetland management, wetlands and poverty reduction, and application of the ecosystem approach to wetlands. IWMI further made a substantial contribution, through the Panel, to the wetland synthesis report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.