ITTO convened an International Workshop on Mangroves in Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia, from 19-22 February 2002. The Workshop was hosted by Colombia's Ministry of Environment and was facilitated (through preparation of a background paper and provision of the Workshop rapporteur) by the International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME).
More than 40 people participated in the workshop, including representatives from 23 countries as well as from international organisations including ITTO, FAO, UNESCO, RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, IUFRO, IUCN and ISME. The objectives of the Workshop, as outlined in ITTC Decision 7 (XXXI) were to:
• Share experiences in mangrove forest conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable management;
• Identify areas where other organisations are already working, and conversely, areas where ITTO could meaningfully contribute given its available resources, comparative advantage and relevance to the Organization's goals;
• Assess the links of products from mangrove forest ecosystems with the objectives of the Organization as set out in the ITTA, Article 1, and the impact on international markets.
The first two days of the Workshop were dedicated to presentations by organisations and country representatives while the third day was devoted to working-group discussions on priority areas for action and on where international organisations like ITTO can best contribute. The participants recommended that a Global Plan of Action for Mangroves be implemented and drafted a list of elements for such a plan including aspects related to: Assessment and monitoring of mangrove resources; Conservation and management; Socio-economic benefits for local communities; Research; Information and databases; Institutions; and Policies and legislation. They further recommended that ITTO, FAO, UNESCO, RAMSAR, IUCN, represented countries and other organisations and countries not present should support such a global plan in accordance with their mandates and available resources, and should coordinate their actions to implement it. Participants also recommended that an International Year of Mangroves be established through the UN system.
The report of the Workshop is currently being compiled and will be available on request from the ITTO Secretariat. The Workshop report will serve as a major input to an Expert Panel to be convened in Yokohama, 2-4 April 2002 to finalize an ITTO Mangrove Work Plan for consideration of the ITTC at its Thirty-second Session in Bali, Indonesia, 13-18 May 2002.