Inland Waters Biodiversity

Inland Waters Biodiversity - Programme of Work

The full text of the current adopted programme of work on the biological diversity of inland water ecosystems is contained in the annex to decision VII/4.


  1. The revised and further elaborated programme of work for the conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity of inland water ecosystems builds upon ongoing activities, uses existing knowledge, and also focuses attention on gaps in the institutional frameworks and the knowledge base upon which management decisions are made. It seeks to respond to the constraints identified by Parties through their national reports and to provide an integrated package of activities to address these obstacles and impediments. The activities within the programme of work are intended to be targeted towards, and address first and foremost, national priorities as prescribed through the national biodiversity strategy and action plan of each Party.

  2. In furthering work under this programme duplication of effort should be avoided, and harmonization of respective programmes of work is to be pursued through strong coordination between the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant conventions and international bodies, with a particular view to the list of lead actors and collaborators. The programme and activities of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and its Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) have been studied very carefully and actions were identified to optimize harmonization of activities of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its lead partner in the implementation of the programme of work on biological diversity of inland water ecosystems. This has been done in accordance with the third joint work plan between the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention, as endorsed by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in its decision VI/20.

  3. The Executive Secretary is expected to continue and further develop collaboration, and avoid duplication, with programmes, organizations, institutions, conventions and stakeholders working with research, management and conservation of inland water biological diversity. These include (but are not limited to) the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention), BirdLife International, Conservation International, DIVERSITAS, the Global International Water Assessment, the Global Water Partnership, the WorldFish Center (formerly the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, ICLARM), IUCN-the World Conservation Union, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the World Water Council, Wetlands International, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Bank.

  4. The clearing-house mechanism should continue to be used as a primary vehicle to promote and facilitate the exchange of information and transfer of technology relevant to the conservation and use of inland water biological diversity.

  5. The aim of the revised programme of work on biological diversity of inland water ecosystems is to further enhance the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in this area at the catchment/watershed/river basin levels, and to fulfil its leadership role in international biodiversity issues relating to inland water ecosystems.

  6. The revised programme of work identifies goals, objectives and activities within the three programme elements: conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing; institutional and socio-economic enabling environment; and knowledge, assessment and monitoring. The programme of work is not intended to be prescriptive for Parties, given that that national circumstances, capacities and priorities can and do vary greatly. As such, it should be viewed as providing a comprehensive and integrated framework of activities from which Parties can formulate their own nationally appropriate responses within the context of the national biodiversity and sustainable development strategies and action plans.

  7. The programme of work should pay particular attention to the impacts of climate change and the role of inland waters in mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. In this process, the programme of work should consider, support and collaborate with ongoing and/or new initiatives in these areas and in particular those related to the conservation and sustainable use of peatlands.

  8. Throughout the programme of work it should be assumed that references to biological diversity, unless otherwise specified, refer to genomes and genes, species and communities, ecosystems and habitats. It should also be understood that the order of presentation within this programme of work does not convey any indication of relative priority.

  9. Within the programme of work goals and objectives are listed under each programme element. Overarching these, and operating as fundamental guiding principles, are the following:

    1. To promote the conservation and sustainable use of inland water biological diversity including by appropriate transfer and development of technologies and by appropriate funding
    2. To apply the ecosystem approach to the management of inland water ecosystems
    3. To support indigenous and local communities to re-establish, develop and implement traditional approaches and/or adaptive management approaches to conserve and sustain the use of the biological diversity of inland water ecosystems
    4. To promote the fair and equitable sharing of benefits gained from the use of inland water genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge based on prior informed consent in accordance with national laws
    5. To use and draw upon scientific, technical and technological knowledge of indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders, with their participation and prior informed consent in accordance with national laws, in the implementation of all programme elements.