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 Support to international conventions
Technical assistance will be provided to the riparian nations to support the implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands at the national and site level.

The Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Convention is the sole international agreement dedicated to conservation, management and wise use of a specific ecosystem i.e. wetlands.

Within the lower Mekong basin, all countries with the exception of Lao PDR are signatories of this Convention. Through the MWBP specific support for implementation of the Ramsar Convention at the national and site level will be identified and implemented in within the 3 riparian signatories.

For Lao PDR, the MWBP in collaboration with IUCN Lao is currently implementing a preparatory assistance project addressing issues of national concern prior to accession. This project is currently being implemented with co-financing from the Ramsar Small Grants fund and The Society of Wetland Scientists. Some key issues being addressed in the project are e.g. what are the key legal implications and institutional requirements for joining? What are the benefits and costs of becoming a contracting party? In addition, the project will be identifying candidate Ramsar sites (Wetlands of International Importance) in Lao PDR. The Ramsar inception report available in the products section provides more details on the specific outputs of this project.

In the preparatory phase of the programme, further areas for support in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in the remaining 3 riparian nations will be identified. The primary focus would be on building the capacity for the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan.
Support for relevant components of other Environmental Conventions will be addressed through implementation of the joint work plans with the Ramsar Convention. For example, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has a joint work plan with Ramsar for implementation of the “Inland Waters” component of CBD.

World Wetlands Day
The Ramsar Convention has designated 2 February as “World Wetlands Day”. In conjunction with this, the MWBP took the opportunity to conduct a number of activities in the demonstration sites. More information on activities conducted for World Wetlands Day 2005 is available in the products section of the site (go to products).