TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE RAMSAR
REGIONAL CENTER IN PANAMA, FOR TRAINING AND RESEARCH ON
WETLANDS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
Wetlands fulfill important ecological functions by being primary agents in the
development of the hydrological cycle, facilitating the regulation of water flows and its
quality in the different habitats where this resource is essential for life, such as water
basins, estuaries and coral reefs. In addition, these ecosystems are important for the
development of economic and cultural activities of the local communities.
The importance of wetlands is such that they have facilitated the development of
international agreements with the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) of
which 33 countries in the American continent and the Caribbean are signatories and 380
wetlands of international importance have been designated, covering an area of
56,138,306 hectares, representing 29% of the world's most important wetlands. Since
COP10, 62 new sites have been designated in the regions of the Americas covering an
area of 2,689,604 hectares, and the surface area of four Ramsar Sites have been
expanded in Bolivia (Los Lipez), Canada (Fraser River Delta) and Chile (Soncor
Hydrological System and the Tara Salt Flat), which makes the recognition of the
ecological, economic and social value of wetlands evident throughout the region.
Nevertheless, there are still big challenges, there is progress on wetland inventories in
the region and some sites are already developing management plans that allow their
conservation. However, there is a need to strengthen inventories and carry out efforts
for the rehabilitation of degraded sites, bearing in mind that the participation of local
communities and the private sector is essential. The Ramsar Regional Center in Panama
for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere has contributed to
the education of wetland handlers and has provided capacity for research development.
CREHO has promoted the training of competent personnel for the study, management
and custody of wetlands in the region.
In that sense, Panama´s Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente), as the Focal Point of the
Ramsar Convention in Panama, is convinced of the importance of promoting training
and research actions on wetlands that promote the application of the principles and
technical guidelines of the Ramsar Convention, both in-country and in the region.
Considering as well, the importance of wetlands for the development of nations, it
promoted, managed and established the development of RAMSAR´s Regional Training
and Research Center on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere at the City of Knowledge.
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