The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award winners for 2002
Recognition of Excellence
Dr Max Finlayson (Australia)
Dr Max Finlayson is being awarded a "Recognition of Excellence" for his scientific work and his commitment to wetland conservation, which have greatly contributed to the progress of wetland science and the work of the Convention, particularly the work of the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) throughout the 10 years since it was created.
Dr Finlayson has made outstanding contributions to the body of guidelines and recommendations available to the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention, particularly in the fields of wetland inventory, assessment, and monitoring. In these three areas, he has provided inspired leadership for the development, by the Ramsar STRP, of protocols and guidelines, formally adopted by the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), which are now used as standards throughout the world.
In particular, Dr Finlayson has contributed to the development of Ramsar wetland monitoring procedures, the procedure and guidelines for the operation of the Montreux Record (of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur), and the Convention's definitions of ecological character and change in ecological character.
In preparation of Ramsar COP7, Dr Finlayson led the development of the Global Review of Wetland Resources and Priorities for Wetland Inventory (GRoWI) which identified major gaps in baseline wetland inventory coverage. Over the past three years, he has led the STRP expert working groups on wetland inventory, ecological character, climate change, invasive species and dams, and has prepared several substantive reviews, guidance and draft Resolutions that will be considered by Ramsar COP8.
In Australia, Dr Finlayson has undertaken extensive programmes of wetland assessment and monitoring, notably with regard to the likely effects of uranium mining, and in relation to the impact of invasive species and climate change and sea-level rise. Similar analyses have been undertaken in other countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Dr Finlayson contributed to the establishment of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet) which now operates under the aegis of the Convention. He has worked closely with Wetlands International, one of Ramsar's International Organization Partners, for many years; he has served on Wetlands International's Board of Directors and, in 2001, was elected its President.
Dr Finlayson is not only a highly respected and widely knowledgeable wetland scientist recognised worldwide for his inspiration and commitment to advancing wetland conservation and wise use in the field and through international mechanisms, he is also well known for his strong commitment to involving local communities and indigenous people in wetland wise use, and to ensuring improved understanding between scientists, managers and stakeholders.
The Recognition of Excellence of the Ramsar Convention is given to Dr Finlayson in gratitude for his outstanding contribution to wetland science, conservation and wise use, and to the work of the Convention.
Dr Max Finlayson of the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist, Australia, serving as an expert consultant to the Ramsar Advisory Mission to Chilika Lake, India, in 2001.
Chilika Lake, India, 2001.