The Ramsar Convention's Small Grants Fund 2000 Allocations Report
Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF)
Allocations Report for the 2000 funding cycle
The Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands established the Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF) with a view to providing 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 utilisation of wetlands for the benefit of humankind and compatible with the maintenance of the natural properties of the ecosystem". The SGF Operational Guidelines for the Triennium put emphasis on the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002, and thus the objective(s) of projects should relate to the general and operational objectives of the Strategic Plan. 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 2000 cycle of project proposals, a total of 46 completed proposals were evaluated by Ramsar Bureau staff and presented to the Standing Committee, with the Bureau’s recommendations, at its 25th meeting, 23-27 October 2000. Within the funds available, a total of eight project proposals were approved for funding in this year’s cycle, subject to the receipt of adequate reporting on previous SGF projects in those countries from which reports were pending. A further list of proposals was approved for funding if additional resources should become available. Thanks to generous voluntary contributions from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, and the USA, a total of 302,420 Swiss francs has been allocated to support eight projects in the 2000 cycle.
Summary Description of Approved Projects
"Regional training course on wetland management for European NIS". 40,000 SFR have been granted to the Armenian Ministry of Nature Protection to organize a course for technical staff of wetland conservation and management institutions in the new independent states (NIS) of the European region (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, and Ukraine). There is a great need to increase the level of understanding and knowledge about natural and human-induced processes in wetlands, wetland inventory, and monitoring techniques. The course will be held in Russian, to enable participation of trainees who are not familiar with English. The logistics of the course will be based on the National Course on Wetland Management held in Sevan, Armenia, in October 1999 with support by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Twelve participants from NIS will live and work together for two weeks and gain the knowledge and skills necessary for wetland management. They will identify and develop common approaches for conservation and wise use of shared wetlands. During the course, participants will also prepare draft management plans for two wetland sites in Armenia.
"Development and implementation of management plans for the Boeung Chhmar Ramsar site". This area was designated as a Ramsar Site in 1999 but as yet it lacks the capacity to adequately develop management plans of protection. This project is a component of a main ADB/GEF Tonle Sap Programme, the primary aim of which is to develop and implement a management plan for wetland resources in Cambodia. In the course of the programme the site will be properly demarcated, an awareness programme will be implemented, and job training in protected area management will be provided for staff from the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It is hoped that this programme could become a forum for the development of a coherent policy of wetlands management in Cambodia. The project has been allocated 40,000 Swiss francs.
"Inventory and characterization of wetlands in Caqueta department". The Amazon Institute of Scientific Research will take on the inventory and characterization of the wetlands of Colombia’s Amazon area, starting at the "pidemonte Caquetaño" due to its ecological importance and little knowledge of its wetlands. This project has as its main objectives to update Colombia’s wetland inventory (Naranjo, 1986) and to provide the technical elements that will support the local communities and the national and regional entities in charge of the control and management of wetlands, for the decision-making and policy formulation directed at the conservation and wise use of wetlands. The project has been allocated 40,000 Swiss francs.
Croatia (and Bosnia-Herzegovina)
"Transboundary management plan for the lower Neretva valley". 25,000 SFR have been granted to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Physical Planning of Croatia and the regional office in Mostar of the Ministry of Civil Engineering, Physical Planning and Envionmental Protection of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina to launch the preparation of a management plan for the Lower Neretva Valley. This transboundary wetland on the Adriatic coast has already been designated as a Ramsar site on the Croatian side and holds unique habitats shared by both countries. No management plan has been elaborated for this site so far, although two European Union-supported LIFE projects (including the MedWet2 project) have laid the groundwork. The project will be carried out in close cooperation with the SDC-funded project to promote exchanges in southeast European countries that includes a part which covers the Neretva Estuary (carried out under the aegis of the Balkans Stability Pact). The SGF project will form the basis for the elaboration of a transboundary management plan. It will also elaborate an inventory database of the natural values of the lower Neretva valley, testing the MedWet Database tool, and involve the local communities in the process of wetland evaluation, planning and decision-making.
"Developing a viable economic framework for the management of Ammiq and Tyre wetlands". The project has as its main target the socio-economic dimensions of these sites (Ammiq and Tyre Wetlands), by uncovering input/output relationships, consumer-producer relationships, private sector involvement, and the economic potential of sound ecotourism. Beneficiaries will include farmers (tenants), landlords, the local municipality, and visitors (such as bird watchers in Ammiq and bathers in Tyre). The project is an integral component of a national project that, in turn, is an extract of a regional project for wetland conservation in the Mediterranean basin. The Ministry of Environment with the support of the UNDP will oversee the implementation of the project. The project has been allocated 38,720 Swiss francs.
"Workshop on the development of a national strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in Madagascar". The sum of 38,700 Swiss francs has been allocated to Madagascar for the development of Wetland Policy/Strategies and the review of legislative frameworks and the preparation of a law to be submitted to the parliament. This initiative is a first step toward the formulation of a National Wetland Policy. Education and information dissemination activities will be carried out along with the review of existing legislation and regulations, using the Guidelines for reviewing laws and institutions adopted by the 7th Conference of the Contracting Parties. Field visits will be undertaken to assess the major threats to wetland conservation and wise use in order to take appropriate steps in the process of legislative review. This project is a good example of what is expected from an active and forceful Ramsar National Committee.
Niger and Togo
"Support to training activities for wetlands managers in Niger and Togo". 40,000 Swiss francs has been allocated to Niger and Togo to support training activities for wetland managers in Niger and Togo. This is the first SGF proposal for Africa in which two Contracting Parties are jointly implementing a bilateral project, in collaboration with an NGO which is sponsoring a major part of the project. Implementation of the project will provide valuable lessons on undertaking joint actions between countries.
Republic of Moldova
"Restoration, rehabilitation and implementation of protective measures in the core wetland areas of the lower Dniester river in Moldova". 40,000 SFR have been granted to the new Ramsar Contracting Party Moldova to identify wetlands in need of restoration and to implement the necessary measures. The project will be implemented by the Ecological Society – BIOTICA, as part of a larger project financed by GEF/World Bank on water quality management and biodiversity conservation in the Lower Dniester. The most important wetlands in the lower Dniester river basin will be identified, specific conservation and management regimes will be elaborated in consultation with the stakeholders, and measures to restore the hydrological regime and biodiversity will be proposed. The project will also contribute to raising awareness of wetland values in Moldova by organizing seminars and roundtable discussions with local people. This will serve as an example of good cooperation between nature conservation bodies and local communities.
-- compiled by Marco Flores, Evans Okong’o, Inga Racinska, and Satiraporn Sirisampan