This statement is delivered on behalf of 32 countries, including Andorra, Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America
These are not normal times.
We wish to share our grave concern over the growing environmental emergency in Ukraine relating to the ongoing and potential damage of its wetlands of international importance, stemming from the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression.
Wetlands connect us. Although the war may seem far away from our meeting here in Geneva, the impacts on critical ecosystems and Ramsar sites in Ukraine may be felt along migratory flyways that many of us work hard to maintain. Around 600 000 hectares are suspected of being damaged, and 16 sites are threatened from direct military action or environmental pollution. Russia’s war on Ukraine is an attack on Ramsar sites. Ukraine’s loss is our collective loss.
For five decades the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has served as a vital international legal instrument promoting sustainable development and wise use of wetlands. Now, more than ever, the Convention’s work for wetlands plays a critical role to address the drivers of wetland loss and degradation, including maintaining the effective conservation and management of the Ramsar Site Network.
The impacts of Russia’s war on wetlands in Ukraine is undermining the Convention’s ability to deliver effective conservation and management of the Ramsar site network.
Though we regret that these fundamental challenges to the Ramsar Convention have not been reflected in the Wuhan Declaration, we have put forth a Draft Resolution with over 20 co-sponsors to condemn all environmental damage to wetlands caused by the Russian Federation's war against Ukraine, as well as seek to urgently protect sites at risk in Ukraine and to immediately start an impartial damage assessment with an eye towards mitigation and restoration measures.
the situation where one Contracting Party makes it impossible for the other Contracting Party to fulfill its obligations under the Ramsar Convention, namely those related to conservation, management, and wise use measures, as set out in Articles 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Ramsar Convention, undermines this important environmental protection instrument.
We underline the commitments of all Contracting Parties under Article 2 and 3 of the Ramsar Convention with respect to exclusive sovereign rights of the Contracting Party in whose territory the wetland is designated.
We recognise the need to assess the environmental consequences of Russia’s aggression both in Ukraine and in a wider region. We affirm our support to reconstruction in Ukraine, including for providing assistance for restoration activities of its wetlands of international importance.
We call, collectively, upon the Russian Federation to respect in full its obligations arising from the Ramsar Convention and to cease aggression that prevents Ukraine from exercising its obligations under the Ramsar Convention to protect, restore, and wisely use its Ramsar sites.