The Ramsar Convention's Small Grants Fund 2004 Allocations Report
Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF)
Allocations Report for the 2004 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 2004 cycle of project proposals, a total of 38 completed proposals were evaluated by Ramsar staff and presented to the Standing Committee Subgroup on Finance, with the Secretariat's recommendations, at its meeting in March 2005. From the funds available, a total of eight project proposals were approved for funding in this year's cycle, for a total of 281,040 Swiss francs, subject to the receipt of adequate reporting on previous SGF projects in those countries from which reports were pending. In addition Japan funded a separate tsunami project for a Rapid Assessment Action for South and South-East Asia to be coordinated by Wetlands International.
Voluntary contributions to the Small Grants Fund in the 2004 cycle have been made by Austria (Ministry for Land and Forestry, Environment and Water Management), Japan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Sweden (SIDA), and the United Kingdom (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
"Integrated Management Planning for Conservation and Wise Use of Chilika Lake". The proposal, developed by Wetlands International - South Asia, will implement a key recommendation of the Ramsar Advisory Mission to the site which led to its removal from the Montreux Record - the need to develop an integrated management plan. The project will involve baseline evaluation, development of strategies and an institutional framework and a monitoring plan. In-country sources will contribute well over 50 % of the total project cost. The sum of 39,688 Swiss francs was approved for this project.
"An assessment of two selected Jamaican wetland sites". A detailed evaluation and assessment of two of the three largest remaining undocumented wetlands in the country (Morant Point Morass and Bowden Morass, both in St. Thomas) is proposed to be conducted during the period April 2005 to April 2006. The project will provide the information, first, to bring all major areas of wetlands in Jamaica to a common information base and, secondly, to use that data as a basis for identifying and prioritizing sites for conservation, restoration and rehabilitation, and possible designation as Ramsar sites and/or Protected Areas. The work will also provide baseline data/information for measuring change and comparing wetland sites and promoting use of this information by wetland managers, decision makers and wetland users. Project submitted by the National Environment and Planning Agency / National Ramsar Committee. A well-presented project of high national priority. An amount of 40,000 Swiss francs was approved.
"Preparing the basis for Kazakhstan to join the Ramsar Convention". This project proposes preparation of a full final accession to the Convention by lobbying the ratification among involved officials through a series of round-tables and dissemination of Ramsar leaflets and posters in local languages for public; updating two already existing (Soviet era) Ramsar sites' documentation and gathering data for other potential Ramsar wetlands; and developing a work plan for a steering committee which will be set up during the project time for further implementation capacity building of country. The sum of 24,388 Swiss francs was approved for this project.
"Mapping/Inventory of Wetlands in Lesotho". This project will bring together previous studies that Lesotho undertook on inventorying its national wetlands. It will specifically investigate the location, description and characteristics of the main wetland types found in Lesotho, their ecological functions, biodiversity assessment, current status, use and potential use options, threats and social and economic benefits. A map showing the location of all major wetlands systems found in Lesotho will accompany the inventory, covering some parts of Lesotho (highlands, foothills and lowlands) that have not been mapped before. The activities under this project will build on the current efforts by various institutions involved in the management and conservation of wetlands in Lesotho, e.g., Lesotho Highlands Water Authority and Maluti/Drakensberg Transfrontier Development Project. Beneficiaries of this project are Lesotho and other riparian SADC countries (South Africa, Botswana and Namibia). The project was approved for 40,000 Swiss francs from the SGF, while the implementing agency, the Wetlands Unit of the Ministry of Natural Resources, will contribute the equivalent of approximately CHF 19,000 in kind.
"Post-Conflict Wetlands Assessment". The project will produce a situational report of wetlands in post-conflict Liberia by establishing biological, socio-economic and ecological baseline data on national wetland sites. The results of the project will be the production of Ramsar Information Sheets (RIS) and maps for those sites qualifying for the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, as well as recommendations for conservation actions. There are already four wetlands being considered for designation, but the necessary data needs to be acquired in order to recommend them. At the project closure, the reports will be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly (NTLA) and the Ramsar Secretariat for recommended conservation actions. Follow-ups will be made regularly with the House Senate Standing Committee on the Environment through its chairman. The SGF funding will be crucial in setting the foundations for a national wetland policy for Liberia. The project was approved for 16,965 Swiss francs from the SGF.
"Restoring the Coastal Hydrology of Tanjung Piai Ramsar Site in Malaysia". The project will help to restore the hydrology of a mangrove Ramsar site which is being heavily affected by erosion from shipping traffic between Malaysia and Singapore. This will be done through the development of a comprehensive plan for the re-establishment of natural hydrology which includes a study on baseline information, a framework of plan features, cost estimation, promotion of the plan and fundraising. It should be noted that this project will prepare the ground for implementing restoration, but will not itself begin the restoration, for which further funding will be needed. The sum of 40,000 Swiss francs was approved for this project.
"Management plan for the conservation and wise use of the Ramsar site Lago de Apanás-Asturias". The project aims to elaborate a management plan for the site, with active consultation and the participation of civil society, government agencies, NGOs and the hydroelectric power station which operates the dam. The management plan will identify a series of projects for sustainable development benefiting the 25,000 inhabitants of the basin. An initial diagnosis was carried out by the proponent with the filling in of the RIS highlighting the main problems for the site: degradation of the catchment basin, unsustainable wildlife harvesting, poverty, unclear land ownership status for indigenous people, and the possible privatization of the hydropower works. The present proposal will survey the area for further data collection regarding wildlife, climate, soils and socio-economic variables. Thereafter, a zoning and regulatory use scheme will be proposed and the plan will be opened for consultation and approval. The project is important for boosting the management planning process of wetlands in Nicaragua under the guidelines of the recently issued National Wetlands Policy. If there is no management planning underway, measures for attacking the degradation of the basin and the Ramsar site will be fragmented and perhaps inefficient in tackling the problems. The sum of 39,999 Swiss francs was approved for this project.
"Improved management of Samoa's first Ramsar site, Lake Lanoto'o". The project aims to develop improved and long-term sustainable management practices for this Ramsar site, which is extremely important for water supply to Samoa's capital city. Planned work of this project covers undertaking a detailed site inventory, preparation of a wise-use framework and management plan, promotion of alternative income sources and establishment of appropriate monitoring measures. Co-funding will be provided by the WWF Global Freshwater Programme and in-country sources. The sum of 40,000 Swiss francs was approved for this project.
"Young people acting for the wise use of wetlands". The internationally recognised Slovenian karst builds the project background for the establishment of a CEPA network for wetlands in Slovenia. The focus is set on the development of a close working cooperation in CEPA activities between the authorities of two protected karst wetland areas, the existing Ramsar site Park Škocjan Caves and Notranjska Regional Park, a potential Ramsar site, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Education. The main purpose of the project is to raise the awareness of karst wetland ecosystem values of the local population, schoolchildren, and teachers of both areas. The proposed activities will produce a manual for teachers, a set of educational leaflets, and a five-year programme for CEPA activities. Another important output will be the transfer of experience and practical knowledge from an existing Ramsar site to a Ramsar site in process of designation. The Small Grants Fund approved an amount of 40,000 Swiss francs for this project.
"Sustainable water use plan for Bung Boraphet". The aim of this project is to prepare a management plan for the largest freshwater lake in Thailand, through baseline assessment, inventory using GIS, preparation of a conceptual model, management plan development with local participation, CEPA activities as well as institutional capacity-building, as part of a much larger overall project. The sum of 39,195 Swiss francs was approved for this project.