The Ramsar Convention's Small Grants Fund 1996 Allocations Report
The Small Grants Fund (SGF) was established by the 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention (Montreux, Switzerland, 1990), with the name "Wetland Conservation Fund", as a mechanism to assist developing countries in implementing the Convention and to enable the conservation and wise use of wetland resources. As a matter of priority, the SGF is open to eligible Contracting Parties (see below) for activities which contribute to implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002. Other categories of supported activities include emergency assistance for Listed Sites which have suffered damage or are in imminent danger of damage, and preparatory assistance to countries which have signalled their intention to join the Convention and require aid in the identification and study of the first site to be designated for the Ramsar List.
After evaluation by technical staff from Ramsar, IUCN and Wetlands International, a total of 27 project proposals were submitted to the Standing Committee at its 28 October - 1 November 1996 meeting in Gland, Switzerland. Nine of the 27 (Group 1) were recommended for funding with no restrictions, for a total of SFR 312,950, and six more proposals (Group 2) were recommended for funding if conditions urged by the technical evaluators were met, for a total of SFR 189,200. These 15 proposals come to a total of SFR 502,150. A further 12 projects were not recommended for support. Thanks to generous voluntary contributions from Sweden and Switzerland announced during the meeting, the Standing Committee was able to approve funding for all 15 recommended proposals, contingent upon those in Group 2 being revised to take advantage of the advice of the evaluators.
Group 1 Proposals (approved)
The Macta Marshes are generally recognized as one of the most important wetlands in the country, and their ecological character has declined in recent years. The grant of SFR 25,000 will support a project to acquire a better knowledge of the role the site is playing for migratory birds, to determine the causes of its deterioration, and to adopt urgent measures impeding further deterioration, measures which would be the basis for the establishment of a management plan and a preparation for the designation of the site for the Ramsar List.
The results of a 1993 SGF project show that the long-term conservation of the Ramsar site Laguna de Pozuelos and the potential Ramsar site Laguna de Vilama depend on adequate management and wise use of their natural resources. Their biodiversity and that of other high Andean wetlands can only be maintained if these sites are globally protected and an integrated management plan used for the whole area. The SFR 28,500 project, which the evaluators called one of the best thought out and presented projects ever submitted to the SGF, will study the creation of these sites as a National Reserve, involve local communities, develop an integrated plan, and promote planning in coordination with Chile and Bolivia for similar high altitude wetlands.
A sum of SFR 20,000 was authorized to assist an institutional capacity building project aimed at training officials and field management staff, preparing a conservation and training manual for Bangladesh, and developing basic work principles and materials for wetland conservation in the country.
The Bocas del Polochic site is of the highest scientific importance for conservation of biodiversity and is significant for the promotion of community participation and environmental education. Cooperation between local NGOs and government authorities will aim at implementing some of the results and conclusions of the 1995 management plan, including zonation, community participation through workshops, and public awareness campaigns. SGF participation of SFR 31,000 will make up about a third of the total project costs and hopefully will lead to the designation of Bocas as Guatemalas third Ramsar site.
PROLANSATE is a coalition of local and central government agencies and environmental and community-based NGOs with long experience in the conservation and wise use of the site formerly known as Punta Sal, renamed Jeannette Kawas National Park after Ms Kawas was murdered for her efforts to protect it. The grant of SFR 40,000 is intended to strengthen PROLANSATEs capacities in a crucial time for the site and to assist in implementing the Parks management plan.
Islamic Republic of Iran
In order to be able to designate the Gomishan Marsh, a very important wintering habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl, as a Ramsar site, an ecological study needs to be carried out, to include mapping, data collection, and season field trips over two years. The objective of this project, which was granted SFR 25,000 and is a follow-up to an application of the Management Guidance Procedure in 1992, is the recognition of the sitess ecological and economic values and eventually its designation as a Ramsar site.
A grant of SFR 40,000 is intended to build upon a successful 1991 SGF project and help to lay a foundation for sustained monitoring of waterbirds at important wetland sites (Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru [photo] and six potential Ramsar sites) and foster greater involvement of local communities. The project complements the ongoing compilation of a computerized wetland inventory by providing important verification data.
The proposal identified several problems encountered in the interior Niger delta (which includes the Walado-Debo Ramsar site), such as population pressures, weak regeneration of natural resources, lack of organization of local communities and lack of training in wetland management. This project, which was approved for SFR 40,000, is aimed at organizing local communities into management committees in each locality, training local staff, establishing an inventory of fauna and flora, and development and implementation of a management plan for each zone of the Walado-Debo site.
Trinidad and Tobago
With the long-term aim of developing a management plan for Nariva Swamp, this project, funded for SFR 35,000, is a follow-up to the recommendations in the Conventions 1995 application of the Management Guidance Procedure at the site, which called for, among other things, an Environmental Impact Assessment of Sector B of the swamp that would also take into consideration the environmental, social and economic issues related to the entire catchment area. The EIA would provide the specific information necessary to designate categories of conservation/use of Nariva that would form the basis for development of the management plan.
Group 2 Proposals (conditionally approved)
The Standing Committee also approved funding for six more projects conditional upon further refinement of the project proposals.
- Ecuador: Inventory and identification of interior wetlands in the Guayas, Los Ríos, El Oro and Loja provinces
- Pakistan: Training of wetland managers
- Philippines: Boundary delineation and mapping of the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
- Suriname: Preparations for a management system for the North Coronie Wetlands
- Togo: Studies for a management plan for Kéran National Park and Togodo Wildlife Reserve
- Uzbekistan: Protection of Uzbekistan wetlands and their waterfowl
Applying to the Fund Applications for funding may be made by the competent national authority of all countries on the List of Aid Recipients established by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The forms should be filled out in English, French, or Spanish, and should be received by the Ramsar Bureau in advance of the deadline for submissions; emergency assistance, however, may be requested at any time. PLEASE NOTE: THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF 1997 PROPOSALS IS 31 MARCH 1997.
[The above information is out of date. Please refer to the current version of the SGF Operational Guidelines.]
-- reported by Annette Pavlic, Programme Assistant for the Small Grants Fund, 1996