The Ramsar Convention's Small Grants Fund 1994 Allocations Report
The Wetland Conservation Fund (since renamed the Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF)) was created in 1990 in order to provide technical assistance for wetland conservation and wise use initiatives in developing countries. Its allocations are not intended to support major projects traditionally covered by larger funding agencies; rather, the Fund's resources, from the Convention's core budget and from contributions by Contracting Parties and other sources, are directed to small-scale projects aimed at defining sites, planning for accession to the Convention, training staff, developing management plans, carrying out public awareness activities, and preparing larger requests for submission to development agencies.
1991-1993 Allocation Totals
In St. Petersburg (USA), in November 1991, the Standing Committee approved seven proposals for funding, totalling SFr 200,000, and in Kushiro (Japan) in October 1992 another twelve applications were accepted, for a total allocation of SFr 280,000. In 1993, 33 proposals were received, not counting two small emergency grants made earlier in the year; at its meeting in Gland in October, the Standing Committee chose 13 projects for funding, for a total allocation of SFr 416,000, and made recommendations concerning the suitability and improvement of those it did not approve.
A total of 24 project proposals were received at the Bureau by the 1994 deadline of 1 June. After evaluation and comment by technical staff from Ramsar, IWRB, and IUCN, they were presented to the Standing Committee at its 10-14 October meeting in Budapest (Hungary). The Committee approved 10 projects for funding, for a total of SFr 337,600, though because of fewer contributions to the Fund than expected, three of these will be funded on a phased allocation basis as resources become available. The Committee welcomed the announcement by France that it would fund a project in Suriname. Other proposals of merit have the possibility of revision and resubmission for next year.
Much needed research on fish species of Lake Titicaca will be aided by a SGF grant of SFr 40,000, with a view to developing a protection plan for the lake and possible designation of Bolivian portions of the lake to the Ramsar List. A Peruvian proposal also approved by the Standing Committee similarly concerns designation of parts of Lake Titicaca.
Chinese scientists have been engaged in a three-year survey of the rare Relict Gull and other waterfowl in desert wet-lands of the Ordos Highland in Inner Mongolia, and they have determined that the saline lake Taolimiao-Alashan Nur is distinctly of international importance. A SGF grant of SFr 11,500 will assist preparations for the designation of this site to the Ramsar List and the development of a management plan. A brief report on their work at Taolimiao-Alashan Nur appears in Ramsar Newsletter number 20.
The Manchón-Guamuchal wetland is the last "rather undisturbed" mangrove area on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. The main threat is from wood extraction, but research is needed on how this affects vegetation and the water regime. A project approved for SFr 29,000 is intended to identify areas of forest regrowth and investigate modifications in the water system over the past 40 years, permitting a more solidly-based management plan.
One of the most important stopping places in Africa for migrating waterbirds, the Tristao Islands are an estuarine complex at the mouth of the river Kogon in northwestern Guinea. This Ramsar site has for some time been under increasing threat by humans, particularly illegal hunting and the disturbance of birds during nesting periods. A SGF grant of SFr 45,000 will allow improved management of the site, with boundary delimitation, sign-posting, mangrove replanting, and training for managers, as well as the development of a programme of public awareness and community participation.
The Government of India was awarded SFr 34,600 to assist in organizing a training workshop on wetland management, to be held in coordination with WWF-India at the Keoladeo National Park Ramsar site in January 1995.
A further grant of SFr 52,000 was made for the purpose of holding a Ramsar Asian Regional Meeting, planned for early 1995 in Delhi with a study tour to Keoladeo National Park. The participants will assess progress since Kushiro and prepare regional input and priorities for the Brisbane meeting in 1996.
The Diawling National Park was recently created to help protect the ecosystems of the lower Senegal River delta and to permit the local population to carry on their traditional activities in harmony with the environment. Diawling and the nearby Djoudj Ramsar site in Senegal comprise a biodiversity treasure in the Sahel and are vitally important for migrating waterfowl. The Fund will provide SFr 40,000 for material and training for hydrological and ecological monitoring of the area, with assistance from IUCN, as the basis for an efficient management plan.
Papua New Guinea
Only one of 13 South Pacific countries is presently a Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention, but the Regional Workshop held in Port Moresby in June 1994, partly funded by the SGF, created a great deal of interest. The South Pacific subregion of Oceania includes many extremely important wetlands, and it is universally hoped that the Meeting of the Parties in Brisbane will provide impetus for development of the Convention in the area. A Fund grant of SFr 20,000 will permit promotion of the Convention and its values during the lead-up to Brisbane, principally through activities conducted by the Oceania Program of the Asian Wetland Bureau, and assistance in preparing accession documentation.
An award of SFr 30,000 has been made to Peru to assist in the preparation of Ramsar technical datasheets and maps for four threatened wetlands (Lake Titicaca, Junín, Manglares de Tumbes, and Villa), with a view toward designation to the Ramsar List. In light of the Bolivian proposal for Titicaca, the possibilities for crossfrontier cooperation are especially interesting.
The Government of France announced that it was prepared to fund Suriname's project for developing a management system for the Coppename-Monding Nature Reserve and the surrounding North Saramacca area.
The Fund will provide SFr 33,500 to Uganda to provide training and to assist in development and application of a long-term management plan for the Lake George Ramsar site, within the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The site was included in the Montreux Record in 1990, chiefly because of concern about possible pollution from nearby cobalt dumps, and a preliminary application of the Ramsar Monitoring Procedure was made in September 1994. A small Fund grant in 1992 supported a study of the avifauna at the site, which will prove useful in the present project.
Applying to the Fund
Applications for funding may be made by the competent national authority of any developing country that is a Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention or that is seeking to accede to the Convention. 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 1995 PROPOSALS IS 31 MARCH 1995.
[The above information is out of date. Please refer to the current version of the SGF Operational Guidelines.]