Activity 1:Assessment of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems

Below are the global and regional obligations in this activity:
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Component 1: Guidelines for Assessment Strategies (Indicators and Targets)

Directly relevant obligations and commitments

Indirectly relevant obligations and commitments

Component 2: Research Requirements

Directly relevant obligations and commitments

  • Improve scientific understanding and assessment of marine and coastal ecosystems as a fundamental basis for sound decision -making, WSSD Plan of Implementation, 36 and UNGA Resolution 58/240, 49
  • Increase marine scientific research activities, in order to improve understanding and knowledge of the oceans and the deep sea, including, in particular, the extent and vulnerability of deep sea biodiversity and ecosystems , UNGA Resolution 63/111, 142
  • Improve understanding and knowledge of the deep sea, including, in particular, the extent and vulnerability of deep sea biodiversity and ecosystems, by increasing marine scientific research activities, UNGA Resolution 60/30, 85
  • Identify priority issues, species and habitats in the marine sphere requiring intervention by CMS in the next decade; CMS Resolution 9.9, 1
  • Identify vulnerable marine ecosystems and determine whether bottom fishing activities would cause significant adverse impacts to such ecosystems and the long-term sustainability of deep sea fish stocks, UNGA Resolution 61/105, 83b– SEE COMMENTARY 20
  • Identify ecologically or biologically significant and/or vulnerable marine areas in need of protection, both within and beyond areas of national jurisdiction, CBD Decision IX/20, 18 SEE COMMENTARY 21
  • Describe and assess the extent and condition of all types of wetlands as defined by the Ramsar Convention and wetland resources, Ramsar Resolution X.1, 9 and Ramsar Resolution X.1, Annex (Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015)SEE COMMENTARY 22
  • Identify priority wetlands and wetland systems where restoration or rehabilitation would be beneficial and yield long-term environmental, social, or economic benefits, Ramsar Resolution X.1, 9 and Ramsar Resolution X.1, Annex (Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015)SEE COMMENTARY 23
  • Undertake inventory of temporary pools, Ramsar Resolution VIII.33, 9
  • Gather information on the biological and socio-economic consequences of physical degradation and destruction of key marine and coastal habitats, CBD Decision VII/5, 5 and CBD Decision VII/5, 5 – Annex I (CBD PoW on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity)SEE COMMENTARY 25
  • Document past losses and status and trends of coastal wetlands, Ramsar Resolution VIII.4, 17
  • Review the state of urban and peri-urban wetlands, Ramsar Resolution X.27, 14
  • Participate in the Census of Marine Life, UNGA Resolution 63/111, 143
  • Assess the potential effects of planned activities under national jurisdiction or control when there are reasonable grounds for believing that such activities may cause substantial pollution of or significant and harmful changes to the marine environment and communicate results, UNCLOS Article 206
  • Identify activities and processes under national jurisdiction or control which may have significant adverse impact on deep seabed ecosystems and species beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, CBD Decision VII/5, 56 SEE COMMENTARY 26
  • Undertake further studies on the extent and nature of the problem of marine debris, UNGA Resolution 60/30, 65
  • Intensify studies on the presence and significance of toxic substances in the water, sediments and biota of wetlands, Ramsar Resolution VII.25, 6
  • Assess whether individual bottom fishing activities would have significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems, UNGA Resolution 61/105, 83a – SEE COMMENTARY 28
  • Study the impacts of ocean noise on marine living resources and submit peer-reviewed scientific studies to DOALOS, UNGA Resolution 61/222, 107
  • Undertake relevant environmental assessments on the introduction of systems which may lead to noise associated risks for marine mammals: CMS Resolution 9.19, 1
  • Facilitate the assessment of local ambient noise, the further understanding of potential interference migration, the identification of the source of potentially damaging sounds; the characterisation of sources of anthropogenic noise and sound propagation and the study of potential impact on the marine environment: CMS Resolution 9.19, 5
  • Evaluate environmental effects before decisions are taken which would transform wetlands, Ramsar Recommendation 2.3, Annex, 2.5
  • In case of projected large-scale wetland transformation, do not take a decision until an assessment of all values involved has been made, Ramsar Recommendation 1.6 : - SEE COMMENTARY 29
  • Study the impact of groundwater use on the conservation of wetlands, from an interdisciplinary point of view, Ramsar Resolution VIII.40, 12 Ramsar Resolution VIII.40, 13,
  • Assess the impacts of natural disasters on the ecological character of Ramsar sites and other wetlands and on the livelihoods of affected people and report this information to the Secretariat, Ramsar Resolution IX.9, 16
  • Pursue urgently further research on ocean acidification, UNGA Resolution 63/111, 99 – SEE COMMENTARY 30
  • Facilitate research and monitoring activities that reflect identified global knowledge gaps and priority information needs of management of marine and coastal protected areas., CBD Decision VII/5, 5 and CBD Decision VII/5, 5 – Annex I (CBD PoW on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity) –SEE COMMENTARY 39

  • Encourage and support multidisciplinary approaches to action relating to coral-reef research and monitoring in relation to coral bleaching, CBD Decision V/3, 6,b SEE COMMENTARY 40

  • Implement and evaluate projects and programmes as a means to promote sustainable restoration of degraded sites: Ramsar Resolution VII.17, 14
  • Identify constraints to restoration and develop demonstration projects: Ramsar Resolution VII.17, 15

Indirectly relevant obligations and commitments

Sub-component 1: Marine Protected Areas: Directly relevant obligations and commitments

  • Integrate the traditional, scientific, technical and technological knowledge of indigenous and local communities and social and cultural criteria in the context of the identification of marine areas in need of protection as well as in the context of the establishment and management of marine protected areas, CBD Decision IX/20, 27 SEE COMMENTARY 35
  • Give priority to the identification of coastal wetlands as Wetlands of International Importance, Ramsar Resolution VIII.4, 18 SEE COMMENTARY 36

  • Identify as Wetlands of International Importance a greater number and area of intertidal wetlands, Ramsar Resolution VII.21,14
  • Consider the assessment of cultural elements related to wetlands and water, in particular when preparing the RIS for the designation of new Wetlands of International Importance or when updating the RIS of existing Ramsar sites, Ramsar Resolution VIII.19, 19a
  • Use the criteria based on fish for identifying Wetlands of International Importance and the guidelines for their application to identify and designate sites for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, Ramsar Resolution VI.2, 5 + 7

Sub-component 1: Marine Protected Areas: Indirectly relevant obligations and commitments

Sub-component 2: Data Collection requirements: Directly relevant obligations and commitments

  • Collect baseline information in order to strengthen and support SEA and EIA processes, especially in those areas that are potentially the focus of exploration and development of new extractive industrial projects, Ramsar Resolution X.26, 23

Sub-component 2: Data Collection requirements: Indirectly relevant obligations and commitments


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Author Commentary 1

CBD Decision VII/5, 5 and CBD Decision VII/5, 5 – Annex I (CBD PoW on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity) This is Operational Objective 1.3, under programme element 1 of the CBD program of work on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity: Implementation of integrated marine and coastal area management (IMCAM). The goal of this programme elements is to promote and improve the implementation of IMCAM at the local, national and regional level.

Author Commentary 2

CBD Decision VIII/22, 4, a –
Such as the UNEP IMCAM Progress Indicator Set (see annex II of the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Implementation of Integrated Marine and Coastal Area Management (UNEP/CBD/COP/8/26/Add.1)) and relevant global outcome-oriented indicators - The development of IMCAM is included in the CBD Programme of Work on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity, CBD VII/5, Annex I, Programme element 1

Author Commentary 3

CBD Decision VII/5, 5 and CBD Decision VII/5, 5 – Annex I (CBD PoW on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity)
This is Operational Objective 1.3, under programme element 1 of the CBD program of work on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity: Implementation of integrated marine and coastal area management (IMCAM). The goal of this programme elements is to promote and improve the implementation of IMCAM at the local, national and regional level.

Author Commentary 4

Ramsar Resolution X.17, 8 and Ramsar Resolution X.17, Annex –
Some of the Ramsar guidelines on Biodiversity-Inclusive Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Impact Assessment are specifically relevant to the marine environment.

Author Commentary 5

CBD Decision IX/20, 19 , CBD Decision IX/20, 20
The workshop will review and synthesize progress on the identification of areas beyond national jurisdiction which meet the scientific criteria in annex I to the present decision, and experience with the use of the biogeographic classification system, building upon a compilation of existing sectoral, regional and national efforts,

Author Commentary 6

Author Commentary 7

This supersedes the earlier guidance on this matter adopted as Table 2 in the annex to Resolution VIII.6

Author Commentary 8

Ramsar Resolution IX.1, 7 and Ramsar Resolution IX.1, Annex E
The Integrated framework for wetland inventory assessment and monitoring includes Guidelines for the rapid assessment of inland, coastal and marine wetland biodiversity.

Author Commentary 9

Ramsar Resolution IX.15, 21 , Ramsar Resolution VIII.10, 39 , Ramsar Resolution VIII.14,20 and Ramsar Resolution VII. 12, 20 all ask Contracting Parties to establish monitoring regimes for Ramsar sites and other wetlands, pointing to guidance from the Convention’s Wetlands Risk Assessment Framework, contained in Ramsar Resolution VII.10, Annex and also the New Guidelines for management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands, which can be found at Ramsar Resolution VIII.14, Annex . This requirement was reaffirmed by Ramsar Resolution X.13, 19

Author Commentary 10

Ramsar Resolution VIII.7, 19 and CBD Resolution VII/4, 20 refer to guidance from different sources which could create a conflict if the sources are not compatible. However, the guidance could also be seen as synergistic if the sources complement each other. The guidelines on rapid assessment of biological diversity of inland water ecosystems are included in UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/8/INF/5, Annex III.

Author Commentary 11

Ramsar Resolution VIII.16, 13 and Ramsar Resolution VIII.16, Annex : The Principles and guidelines for wetland restoration use flowcharts to explain the guidelines for wetland restoration and the process for identification of potential wetland restoration projects.

Author Commentary 12

Ramsar Resolution VII. 11, 14 and Ramsar Resolution VII. 11, Annex : The Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance is included in Ramsar Resolution VII. 11, Annex .

Author Commentary 13

Ramsar Resolution VII. 13, 6 and Ramsar Resolution VII. 13, Annex on the Guidelines for identifying and designating karst and other subterranean hydrological systems as Wetlands of International Importance are complimentary to Ramsar Resolution VII. 13, 8 ; they repeat Ramsar Resolution VI.5, 9 .

Author Commentary 14

Ramsar Recommendation 6.1, 11 and Ramsar Recommendation 4.10, Annex : The Guidelines for the Implementation of the Wise Use Concept, as adopted as an Annex to Ramsar Recommendation 4.10 , cover the establishment of national wetland policies, priority actions at national level, and priority actions at particular wetland sites. The Guidelines were further elaborated by the Additional Guidance for the Implementation of the Wise Use Concept, annexed to Ramsar Resolution 5.6 . These cover establishment of national wetland policies, knowledge of wetlands and their value, and action at particular wetland sites.

Author Commentary 15

Ramsar Recommendation 4.2 is basically identical with Ramsar Recommendation 3.1 and Ramsar Recommendation 1.4 . Note that the criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance have been revised since their first adoption and are now available as
Ramsar Recommendation 4.2, Annex I .

Author Commentary 16

Ramsar Resolution X.1, 9 and Ramsar Resolution X.1, Annex (Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015)
This is Strategy 1.9 of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015– Invasive alien species, under Goal 1 – Wise Use. Key result areas 1, 2 and 3 are to be achieved by Contracting Parties, by 2015
1. All Parties to have a national inventory of invasive alien species that currently or potentially impact the ecological characters of wetlands, especially Ramsar sites.
2. Parties to have identified more comprehensively the problems posed by invasive species in wetland ecosystems within their territories.
3. National invasive species control and management policies or guidelines in place for wetlands.

Author Commentary 17

Ramsar Resolution VIII.18, 16 and Ramsar Resolution VII. 14, 18 are largely identical, while Ramsar Resolution VIII.18, 15 adds climate change as an aspect to be taken into account.

Author Commentary 18

Ramsar Resolution IX.1, 7 and Ramsar Resolution IX.1, Annex D : The initial set of Ecological ‘outcome-oriented’ indicators for assessing the implementation effectiveness of the Ramsar Convention are: the overall conservation status of wetland, the status of the ecological character of Ramsar sites, trends in water quality, the frequency of threats affecting Ramsar sites, wetland sites with successfully implemented conservation or wise use management plans, overall population trends of wetland taxa, changes in threat status of wetland taxa, and the proportion of candidate Ramsar sites designated so far for wetland types/features. Further indicators are recommended for further consideration and future development, see Ramsar Resolution IX.1, Annex D .

Author Commentary 19

CBD Decision VIII/1, 1 and CBD Decision VIII/1, Annex : This is priority action 8.2 of the programme of work on island biodiversity.

Author Commentary 20

This obligation is of primary importance for the protection of vulnerable ecosystems and deep sea stocks from destructive fishing practices. It is directed to regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements with the competence to regulate bottom fisheries. It is relevant for States, through their membership in RFMOs, as well as the direct obligations established under , UNGA Resolution 61/105, 85 and 86, in areas where no RFMOs exists which are mandated to regulate these fisheries. UNGA Resolution 63/112, 103 calls again for the urgent implementation of this provision.

Author Commentary 21

CBD Decision IX/20, 18
This obligation should be carried out by applying the scientific criteria in annex I to the decision, the scientific guidance in annex II , and initial steps in annex III. The action should be undertaken with a view to assist the relevant processes within the General Assembly and implement conservation and management measures, including the establishment of representative networks of marine protected areas in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The criteria may require adaptation by Parties if they choose to apply them within their national jurisdiction noting that they will do so with regard to national policies and criteria

Author Commentary 22

This is Strategy 1.1 of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015– Global Wetland Information, under Goal 1 – Wise Use. There are 2 key result areas to be achieved, by 2015:
1. All Parties to have completed national wetland inventories in line with the Ramsar Framework for Wetland Inventory and as far as possible to have disseminated comprehensive national wetland inventories, including information on wetland importance, potential Ramsar sites, wetlands for restoration, location of under-represented wetland types, and the ecosystem services provided by wetlands. (National: CPs)
2. An easily accessible Web-based metadata base in place, managed by the Secretariat, populated with information on all national wetland inventories, and linked to national and other international relevant databases. (Global: Secretariat)
Ramsar Resolution VIII.6, 16 ; Ramsar Resolution VII.20, 11 ; Ramsar Recommendation 4.4 ; Ramsar Recommendation 4.6 ; Ramsar Recommendation 2.3, Annex, 1.1 and Ramsar Recommendation 1.5 build on each other, with the latest version in Ramsar Resolution X.1 being the most comprehensive one. World Heritage Convention Article 11, 1 could be complementary to all those Ramsar Resolutions and vice versa.

Author Commentary 23

This is Strategy 1.8 of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015– Wetland restoration, under Goal 1 – Wise Use. The key result areas are to, by 2015, have identified priority sites for restoration; to have restoration projects underway or completed in at least half the Parties and to add new case studies and methods added to Ramsar wetland restoration pages on the Web site.

Author Commentary 24

This is Operational Objective 2.3, under programme element 2 of the CBD program of work on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity: Marine and coastal living resources. The goal of this programme elements is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal living resources.

Author Commentary 25

This is Operational Objective 2.3, under programme element 2 of the CBD program of work on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity: Marine and coastal living resources. The goal of this programme elements is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal living resources

Author Commentary 26

This relates to the implementation of Article 3 of the CBD Convention

Author Commentary 27

CBD Decision VII/29, 2and CBD Decision VII/29, Annex : Operational target 1.2 of the programme of work on technology transfer is on impact and risk assessments, to be conducted with the participation of stakeholders.

Author Commentary 28

This obligation is of primary importance for the protection of vulnerable ecosystems and deep sea stocks from destructive fishing practices. It is directed to regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements with the competence to regulate bottom fisheries. It is relevant for States, through their membership in RFMOs, as well as the direct obligations established under , UNGA Resolution 61/105, 85 and 86, in areas where no RFMOs exists which are mandated to regulate these fisheries. UNGA Resolution 63/112, 103 calls again for the urgent implementation of this provision.

Author Commentary 29

Ramsar Resolution VII.16, 10 . repeats and specifies the contents of Ramsar Recommendation 1.6 .

Author Commentary 30

The Resolution refers to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including its findings on the acidification of oceans, and to paragraph 4 of decision IX/20.

Author Commentary 31

Taking into the guidance included in CBD Decision IX/15, 2

Author Commentary 32

Refer to Articles 1 and 2 for definitions of cultural and natural heritage . Assistance and cooperation may particularly be financial, artistic, scientific and technical.

Author Commentary 33

A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties situated on its territory which each State Party considers suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List ( see WHC Operational Guidelines II.C, 62 ).

Author Commentary 34

A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties situated on its territory which each State Party considers suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List (see WHC Operational Guidelines II.C, 62 ).

Author Commentary 35

Author Commentary 36

Applying for this purpose the Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance ( Ramsar Resolution VII.11 ) and the additional guidance for the identification and designation of mangroves and coral reefs adopted by this meeting ( Ramsar Resolution VIII.11).

Author Commentary 37

This refers to section 4b (ii) of the new format for the nomination of properties for inscription on the World Heritage List.

Author Commentary 38

This refers to section 4b (iii) of the new format for the nomination of properties for inscription on the World Heritage List.

Author Commentary 39

This is Operational Objective 3.5 , under programme element 3 of the CBD program of work on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity: Marine and coastal protected areas. The goal of this programme elements is the establishment and maintenance of marine and coastal protected areas that are effectively managed, ecologically based and contribute to a global network of marine and coastal protected areas, building upon national and regional systems, including a range of levels of protection, where human activities are managed, particularly through national legislation, regional programmes and policies, traditional and cultural practices and international agreements, to maintain the structure and functioning of the full range of marine and coastal ecosystems, in order to provide benefits to both present and future generations.
Suggested activities
(a) To collaborate with relevant organizations in the preparation of project proposals to facilitate the implementation of the research and monitoring priorities outlined in CBD Decision VII/5, appendix 4 to ANNEX I .
(b) To identify and implement an appropriate mechanism for developing advice related to network design and ecological coherence of networks.
(c) Using the clearing-house mechanism, to assist the exchange of information on research, management issues and problems (including incentive measures) between marine protected area managers, to facilitate continuous improvement in management effectiveness across the global network / of marine protected areas.
Ways and means
Activity (a) should be carried out by Parties acting individually or under regional agreements and regional and international organizations, including research organizations. The Executive Secretary should facilitate its implementation. The Executive Secretary should take the lead role in implementing activities (b) and (c).

Author Commentary 40

Including the use of early-warning systems for coral bleaching, and collaborating with the International Coral Reef Initiative and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network