The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards for 1999
The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards
The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards were established in 1996 by Resolution VI.18 of the 6th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) in order to recognize and honor the contributions of individuals, organizations, and governments around the world in promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
Each of the three Awards for 1999, which were presented by the President of Costa Rica at the opening ceremonies of the 7th Meeting of the COP in San José, Costa Rica, in May 1999, were accompanied by the Evian Special Prize, generously provided by the Danone Group (France), of US$ 10,000.
For the 1999 Awards, the Ramsar Standing Committee has chosen to share the Awards in the Individual and NGO categories. The announcement of the 1999 Wetland Conservation Award winners, with brief descriptions of the contributions for which these individuals and groups are being honored, was made on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 1999.
Individual Category, shared with Mr Victor Pulido, Peru.
Prof.Vitaly G. Krivenko
The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award is given in recognition of the lifetime achievements of Prof. Krivenko, who has worked tirelessly, against a background of scarce resources and other difficult circumstances, for wetland and waterbird conservation.
Prof. Krivenko has carried out important scientific work on waterbirds and their migrations which has formed the basis for nature protection legislation, resulting notably in the designation of a number of nature conservation areas, among them 35 Wetlands of International Importance in the Russian Federation. Since then, he has been working towards the establishment of management frameworks for these sites and coordinating surveys, throughout the Russian Federation, to identify new sites in the near future. His scientific work on ecological succession has laid the groundwork for the management of succession at wetland sites. His important role in stimulating and contributing to a theory of climatic and hydrological conditions on the mainland of the Northern Hemisphere has helped to establish conservation strategies.
Professor Krivenko is also a dedicated teacher and has created his own school, which incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to training, including hydrology, climatology, zoology, and conservation economics. [Interview, photo]
Individual Category, shared with Prof. Vitaly G. Krivenko, Russian Federation.
A leader of the wetland conservation movement in Peru for the past 20 years, Victor Pulido has worked indefatigably, first as a government official, then as a private citizen, to ensure the conservation and wise use of the wetlands of Peru. The Award is presented to Mr Pulido in recognition of a life of dedication to wetland conservation and wise use against a background of economic and social challenge.
Mr Pulido’s technical work laid the basis for the designation of Ramsar sites in Peru. In his position as Director of Protected Areas in the 1980s, he secured the protected status of many sites, including the Lagunas de Mejía Ramsar site.
In spite of difficult economic and social circumstances, Mr Pulido achieved funding for the Wetland Programme of Peru, a model of cooperation between the public, private, and academic sectors. This programme is a model of participatory multi-disciplinary wetlands management and also forms the National Ramsar Committee for Peru -- under his leadership since 1992, it has made significant achievements for wetland conservation in Peru, including the elaboration of a National Wetland Strategy. [interview, photos]
NGO Category, shared with the Society for the Protection of Prespa, Greece.
Lake Naivasha Riparian Association
Lake Naivasha Riparian Association (LNRA) is a pioneer example of a local community taking the lead, initiating major actions, and achieving results for the long-term conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is an outstanding demonstration of how to implement two major objectives of the Ramsar Convention: conservation and wise use of wetlands for the well-being of local populations, by building consensus on major issues to be addressed, and increasing commitment on the steps to be taken by various stakeholders.
Lake Naivasha is situated in the Rift Valley in Kenya, at an elevation of ca.1,880 metres above sea level. The wetland system designated as a Ramsar site in 1995 has an area of 30,000 hectares and comprises a shallow freshwater lake and a deeper crater lake. The Lake is one of the few freshwater lakes in eastern Africa and is immensely valuable to people as a source and store of water.
Formed in 1926, the Lake Naivasha Riparian Owners Association became the Lake Naivasha Riparian Association in recognition of the fact that landowners were not the only stakeholders. The Association draws its members from a variety of backgrounds, including small individual plot owners, large horticultural farmers, dairy and ranching operations, hotel owners, pastoralists, fishermen, as well as the Kenya Power Company, the Kenya Wildlife Service, Naivasha Municipal Council, the Ministry of Water Resources, the National Environmental Secretariat, the Fisheries Department, and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The main objective of the Association is to ensure sound environmental management of the lake’s resources. It advocates good practice and establishes mechanisms to implement environmental policy, legislation and regulations with each individual member, group of members, and the relevant government and NGO sectors.
Major achievements of the Association include:
- Designation of the Lake Naivasha Wetlands as a Ramsar site;
- Development of a management plan for the Ramsar site (1996), with a view to extending the plan to the catchment during the implementation process;
- Creation of a Management Plan Implementation Committee to steer the implementation of the plan (1997);
- Development of Codes of Conduct representative of the wider community including Government, annexed to the management plan, for various groups of stakeholders (flower growers, tourism operators, beef and dairy producers, urban developers, geothermal power generation).
- Acting as a catalyst in processes such as the introduction of dripfeed irrigation, upgrading the municipal sewage treatment works, opposing the alienation of riparian land, etc..
- Beginning the long-term monitoring process from which to revise and update the management plan.
LNRA is an inspiring example of community leadership, and it demonstrates that conservation and wise use of wetlands can be achieved in Africa. [interview, photos]
NGO category, shared with the Lake Naivasha Riparian Association, Kenya
Society for the Protection of Prespa
The activities of the Society for the Protection of Prespa provide an outstanding example of a pioneer approach to wetland management and cooperation at local, national and international levels for the sustainable management of a Ramsar site -- a Ramsar site at which the situation had been sufficiently serious for inclusion in the Montreux Record.
Prespa is situated in northwestern Greece, at the border with Albania and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The area consists of two lakes, Mikri Prespa and Megali Prespa, and the surrounding forested mountain slopes. It is best known for its natural beauty, its great biodiversity, and its populations of rare waterbirds, but it is also remarkable for its cultural values, including Byzantine monuments and examples of traditional architecture. The Ramsar site "Mikri Prespa" covers an area of ca. 5,000 hectares and was included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance among the first Ramsar sites, in 1975.
Founded in 1991, the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) is a federation of seven Greek environmental organizations and three from elsewhere in Europe. Its mission is to conserve Prespa’s natural environment and cultural heritage as well as to promote sustainable development. The SPP’s activities are carried out under the responsibility of scientists living permanently in the area and by local people who have been trained by the SPP.
Achievements of the SPP to date include:
- Conservation work, the rescue of a breeding colony of Dalmatian pelicans and an action plan for an endemic fish species, carried out in conjunction with information campaigns and efforts to propose alternative economic activities to local communities affected by restrictions brought about by these conservation efforts.
- Successfully gaining the participation and involvement of all sectors of the local community (1300 people in 12 settlements) in planning the future of Prespa. SPP is providing advice and help to local communities to achieve sustainable management of the area’s resource; e.g., technical assistance has been provided to farmers to help them gain organic certification of their products and promote their traditional products and crafts.
- Emphasis upon public awareness and education. A first information centre for visitors, especially for schoolchildren, was established in 1992, and a second was opened in 1995 dedicated to the fisheries and fish of Prespa, at both of which environmental education and training programmes are held and publications developed.
- Establishing contacts with Albania and the FYROM to promote integrated basin management around this transfrontier site. [interview, photos]
Government/Non-governmental Coalition Category
Pacific Estuary Conservation Program
Since its creation in 1987, the Pacific Estuary Conservation Program has excelled in its goal of conserving and insuring the long-term sustainable use of estuarine habitat along the coast of British Columbia in Canada.
Although they comprise less than 3% of the entire British Columbia shoreline, estuaries are used by 80% of all coastal wildlife. They include areas of national and international significance and are important resting and feeding sites along the Pacific Flyway. Their conservation and sustainable use is challenged by the fact that they are located in the fastest growing socio-economic region of Canada.
The Pacific Estuary Conservation Program is a coalition of seven governmental agencies and three non-governmental conservation organizations, whose goal is to secure estuary habitat through acquisition, creation of nature reserves, and stewardship of privately-owned land. By coordinating its members’ efforts, focusing their energies and pooling financial and technical resources, the Program has acquired 1,515 hectares and initiated the conservation designation of 45,000 hectares of estuarine and adjacent intertidal habitat. Securing habitat and ensuring its biological integrity has been achieved through community-based approaches and innovative strategies which stand as models to others engaged in similar work [article, photos]