The Ramsar Convention's Small Grants Fund 2003 Allocations Report
Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF)
Allocations Report for the 2003 funding cycle
The Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands established the Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF) in 1990 in order to provide assistance for wetland conservation and wise use in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The wise use concept has been defined as "the sustainable utilization of wetlands for the benefit of humankind and compatible with the maintenance of the natural properties of the ecosystem". The SGF Operational Guidelines put emphasis upon the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan, and thus the objective(s) of project proposals should relate to the general and operational objectives of the Strategic Plan. In addition, under the Fund, emergency assistance can be provided to Ramsar Sites which have suffered damage or are in imminent danger of damage. Countries which have signaled their intention to join the Convention may apply for preparatory assistance to support activities necessary for the designation of the first site to be included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
In the 2003 cycle of project proposals, a total of 38 completed proposals were evaluated by Ramsar staff and presented to the Standing Committee, with the Secretariat's recommendations, at its 30th meeting on 16 January 2004. From the funds available, a total of nine project proposals were approved for funding in this year's cycle, for a total of 341,885 Swiss francs, subject to the receipt of adequate reporting on previous SGF projects in those countries from which reports were pending.
Voluntary contributions to the Small Grants Fund in the 2003 cycle have been made by Austria (Ministry for Land and Forestry, Environment and Water Management), Belgium (Instituut voor Natuurebehoud), Denmark (Ministry of the Environment), Germany (Bundesministerum für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit), Iran (Department of the Environment), Italy (Ministero del'Ambiente), Japan (from Voluntary Asian Project), Sweden (SIDA), the United Kingdom (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), and the WWF Living Waters programme.
Summary Description of Approved Projects
"National project to assist with the development of a Wetlands Policy". The project will produce a brochure portraying wetlands on five islands in the Bahamas and carry out wetland workshops in the northern and southern regions to assist in the development of a wetlands policy for the country. Additional posters will provide information on the socioeconomic and environmental effects of the loss of wetland systems through local examples. The workshops will draw participants from the main stakeholders of wetlands in the country. Wetlands in the Bahamas are undergoing serious threats from human development and thus there is a need for a common ground and informative wetlands policy. The project will be carried out by the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission, the Administrative Authority for the Ramsar Convention. Bahamas had not previously received SGF funding support. 40,000 Swiss francs have been allocated from the SGF as well as US$30,000 complementary in-kind support from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
"Formulation of the National Wetlands Policy for Guatemala, Phase 2". The project will carry out phase 2 of the development of Guatemala's National Wetland Policy. Phase 1 (an evaluation of the current status of knowledge, institutional capabilities and human resources for the conservation and wise use of wetlands in Guatemala) was completed by December 2003. Phase 2 aims to facilitate discussion of Guatemala's NWP with all the different stakeholders in different parts of the country, using the draft version and consultancy report as a main reference. Its objective is to reach consensus and produce a final and approved NWP. Several consultation meetings will be carried out and the final document will be technically validated by experts. The NWP is expected to be launched officially at the end of the project and published in summarized and long versions. 40,000 Swiss francs have been allocated for this project, which has an additional 43,813 Swiss francs of funding from the National Conservation Fund (FONACON) and CONAP (National Protected Areas Council). CONAP, Ramsar's Administrative Authority in Guatemala, will supervise the project, to be carried out by the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales FLACSO.
"Ecotourism development for Lake Nakuru National Park with integration of wetland wise use into sustainable development / participation of local communities / private sector involvement". The project aims at supporting ecotourism within the protected area of Lake Nukuru National Park, which has at least 140,000 visitors yearly. It is also targeting the wider catchment area with some community-based initiatives. Whereas a high tourism potential exists in the area, there are still few initiatives in tourism education and awareness, training of local communities, diversification of products, marketing, infrastructure development and community involvement. This project addresses all of these issues while also providing a platform for alternative income through ecotourism and thus reduces pressure on the natural landscape. The project was approved for 40,000 Swiss francs from the SGF; Banrock Station in Australia is also supporting it with their US$10,000 Ramsar Conservation Award "Evian prize" and an additional US$10,000 contribution.
"Ecological assessment of Song-Kul and Chatyr-Kul, to develop management guidelines and support proposed listing as a Ramsar Site". This project is for a baseline study and ecological assessment of two potential Ramsar Sites. Simultaneously the project aims to develop management guidelines for both sites and to train stakeholders to understand management practices and the law. The country has recently joined the Convention; therefore the outcome of the project will contribute to the designation of two more Ramsar sites and the development of their management plans as well as the capacity building of the Administrative Authority in implementing the project. The sum of 39,652 Swiss francs was approved for this project.
"Preparatory assistance for Lao PDR's accession to the Ramsar Convention". By raising awareness of wetland values and the role of the Ramsar Convention and an analysis of the implications of joining the Convention, the project aims to assist the Lao Government to accede to the treaty. Rapid inventory and selection of a potential Ramsar Site are envisaged. The proposal will constitute a part of the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation Programme. The sum of 25,000 Swiss francs was approved.
"Institutional capacity building and review of training needs for implementation of the Ramsar Convention". The project will contribute to capacity building for accession to the Convention, to be achieved through a review of the legislative framework and institutional arrangements needed to streamline the implementation process and reduce resource needs. A training course will be developed about the Convention and training needs will be assessed to secure funds necessary for the implementation of the Convention. An amount of 39,667 Swiss francs was approved.
"Preparatory process towards the development of a National Wetland Policy". The project aims at promoting wetland conservation through the elaboration of a policy vital to the objective of biodiversity conservation. The policy formulation in the project is through a consultative process that will identify problems specific to current Nigerian wetland management system. Consultations will involve stakeholders from all levels (community, state and federal) to obtain a consensus on the required development options, policy and instruments for policy implementation. It will take into consideration all existing problems and create the required awareness of the values and functions of wetlands for key decision-makers as well as the public. This project was approved for 40,000 Swiss francs, which includes a contribution from the WWF Living Waters programme in the amount of 10,000 Swiss francs.
Republic of Moldova
"Evaluation study to support implementation of a management plan for the Lower Prut Ramsar Site towards wise use and sustainable development". One of only two Ramsar Sites in Moldova, Lower Prut Lakes provides a multitude of functional roles in the natural landscape, including critical wildlife habitat, biodiversity, nutrient removal and water quality improvement. However, existing data on the site's environmental conditions and ecological features are limited and insufficient for adequate management. The project aims to provide the missing data on this Ramsar Site by carrying out field studies, based upon the river basin approach, in order to develop an action plan and ensure its wise use and sustainable development. Two workshops are planned to raise public awareness of wetland values. The follow-up of this project is the preparation of the designation of a cross-border Biosphere Reserve with Romania, Ukraine, and Moldova. The project will be implemented by the Center for Strategic Environmental Studies ECOS in cooperation with National Institute of Ecology, State Hydrometeo Service, Ministry of Agriculture - Department of Statistics, public local authorities, landlords and NGOs. The project will operate with a 38,345 Swiss francs budget in addition to 9,670 Swiss francs in-kind support from the proposers.
"Institutional capacity building and review of training needs for implementation of the Ramsar Convention". The project should help the country to accede to the Ramsar Convention through a review of the legislative framework and institutional arrangements needed to streamline the implementation process and reduce resource needs. A training course will be developed about the Convention and training needs will be assessed to secure funds necessary for the implementation of the Convention in the country. The amount of 39,221 Swiss francs has been allocated for this project.