The Ramsar Convention's Small Grants Fund 1995 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.
After evaluation by technical staff from Ramsar, IUCN and Wetlands International, a total of 29 project proposals were submitted to the Standing Committee at its 11-14 September 1995 meeting in Brisbane, Australia. Because of a lack of funds, the Committee approved only 10 projects, for a total of SFR 340,230. One emergency proposal for SFR 5,800, submitted by Honduras, was also funded in 1995.
Bolivia requested funds for the designation of a new Ramsar site: Montes de Oro, which is one of the key wetlands in South America. A grant of SFR 25,000 is intended to survey the area, establish its limits, produce maps and brochures, develop public awareness and organize workshops with involve-ment of the local population, geared towards a con-servation action plan for the whole area.
The inventory of the wetlands in the coastal provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabi represents the first stage of an overall inventory of Ecuadors wetlands aiming at the identification of their conservation status. The objectives of the project are the establishment of priorities for conservation and of management strategies, as well as legal protection of the species and ecosystems. The approved SFR 40,000 are needed for field work equipment, preparation of maps, per diems, transportation, and purchase of a vehicle and a small boat.
Egypt has identified awareness campaigns on wetland values at all levels of society as the key to slowing down and altogether halting the threat, first, to its two Ramsar sites, both of which are on the Montreux Record and under intense pressure from proposed settlement projects close the lakes, and to other wetlands. The project, which was approved for SFR 40,000, addresses the root cause of the problem and is also in line with the recommendations from the Ramsar African Regional Meeting, held in Kenya in 1994.
A grant of SFR 25,000 will help to identify, assess, delineate and map the Bao Bolong wetland and the Niumi National Park areas for designation as Ramsar sites. The proposed sites are shared wet-lands with Senegal, which is a Contracting Party, and their designation will lead to collaboration in the management of the sites between the two countries, as called for in Article 5 of the Convention. The wise use concept will be particularly applicable in the two sites since they are very important areas for use by local communities.
The Balkhash-Alakol hollow reservoirs in southeastern Kazakhstan cover over 32,000 km2 and receive 2-3 million waterfowl annually, including about 20 important bird species. Only 2% of the area is legally protected. The Fund provides SFR 13,000 to analyze the existing data and carry out research for an inventory of waterfowl and hydrological and hydrobotanical description of the main wetland habitats in the area. Recommendations will be made to give a better protected status to the site and to designate it as the first Ramsar site upon accession of Kazakhstan to the Convention.
Consultations not only at regional level but also at state level are crucial for the development of a National Wetland Policy in Malaysia. The project approved for SFR 40,000 will start gathering existing information on wetlands and reviewing the concept and wetland-related policy issues. A national workshop will be organized thereafter to draft a National Wetland Policy Framework, to be adopted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.
To ensure the conservation of the Lake Ypoa wetlands, a Ramsar site, action will be taken to delimit the area, set up sign boards, and work with the local communities towards establishing public awareness of the benefits of wetland management. The granted SFR 25,000 will be used to cover the costs of map production, some field work, land tenure studies and setting up sign boards.
The area, Cuare, a Ramsar site, is of great importance as a nursery for fish and shellfish. The objective of the project is to establish the wise use in a scientific context of the mangrove crab by the local communities. The award of SFR 17,000 will cover the transportation and expenses for the necessary field work.
The project includes the study of the populations of fish in the Cuare Ramsar site with commercial value, in order to determine the minimum size of individuals and areas more suitable for exploitation. The results will benefit both the local communities, which depend on the wise use of this resource, and the fish populations. A grant of SFR 34,300 was approved to cover the field research expenses.
Five countries from Oceania Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu requested preparatory assistance for accession to the Ramsar Convention. A funding package of SFR 50,000 was approved in support of their efforts. The Australian Nature Conservation Agency, in cooperation with the Oceania branch of Wetlands International Asia Pacific will adminis-ter the funds and establish the necessary contacts with the authorities of these countries.
Honduras Emergency Project
An emergency proposal was submitted involving the land tenure survey of "Jeannette Kawas National Park". The land "ownership" is mixed, partly belonging to local farmers, partly to the state and with some communal lands. The lack of clear and official tenure (there are no maps or limits established) was actually the cause of the murder of conservationist Jeannette Kawas. The granted SFR 5,800 will help to have a clear definition of land tenure in the park; determine the land use and location of its inhabitants; and establish the limits of the National Park in conjunction with the local communities. This will give the authorities the tools for fighting against invasion of developers and poachers and help the communities know the types of land use, with their own participation and agreement.
-- reported by Annette Pavlic, Programme Assistant for the Small Grants Fund, 1996
Applying to the Fund
Applications for funding may be made (on form FCZ/1, available from the Ramsar Bureau) 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 1996 PROPOSALS IS 31 MARCH 1996.
[The above information is out of date. Please refer to the current version of the SGF Operational Guidelines.]