The conservation of wetlands does not only contribute to the safeguarding of biodiversity, it can also support the safeguarding of their cultural and spiritual values. The workshop “The Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Wetlands Supporting the integration of nature and culture in their governance and management” organised by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) in cooperation with the International Academy for Nature Conservation and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat on the Isle of Vilm, in Germany examined the integration of cultural and spiritual values, as well as indigenous peoples' and local communities' interests in the governance and management of wetlands.

The objectives of the workshop, which took place from 26 February to 2 March 2018, were among others to discuss and promote the output of successful projects that stress the participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in the conservation of wetland sites, the Ramsar Culture Network’s activities for the 2018-2021 period, and possible events in the future. Therefore, the workshop served as a platform for sharing experiences and lessoned learned from implemented projects, such as the recent joint publication “Ramsar and World Heritage Conventions converging towards success”.

Workshop Report

The workshop has brought together members of the Ramsar Culture Network (RCN) and highly benefitted from the wide range of organisations represented, building a promising basis for strengthened synergies in the future. Ramsar and the World Heritage Centre have been working closely together since the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding in 1999. Both these conventions are the only global ones focusing on site-based conservation. To this day, 76 World Heritage properties are also recognized as Ramsar sites.