The Ramsar Convention's Small Grants Fund 2002 Allocations Report
Ramsar Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use (SGF)
Allocations Report for the 2002 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 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. 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 2002 cycle of project proposals, a total of 35 completed proposals were evaluated by Ramsar Bureau staff and presented to the Standing Committee, with the Bureau's recommendations, at its 27th meeting, 17 November 2003. Within the funds available, a total of 15 project proposals were approved for funding in this year's cycle, for a total of 574,854 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 2002 cycle have been made by Austria (Ministry for Land and Forestry, Environment and Water Management), Japan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Spain (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente), Sweden (SIDA), United Kingdom (DEFRA), and USA (Department of State and Department of Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service).
Summary Description of Approved Projects
"Regional seminar 'Current issues of conservation and wise use of wetlands and wetland biodiversity in the European New Independent States'". This subregional project will involve a five-day workshop for about 50 participants from the six countries in the European region of the former USSR (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, and Ukraine). It aims at re-establishing contacts between wetland experts in the region of CIS, identifying common problems of conservation and wise use of wetlands, increasing mutual understanding of current wetland issues, promoting environmentally friendly economic activities at wetlands and especially mountain wetlands. The project will be implemented by the national NGO Professional and Entrepreneurial Orientation Union in cooperation with the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia. The workshop will take place at Sevan resort, situated at the Armenia's largest Ramsar site, Lake Sevan, in the period 8-12 September 2003. Working languages will be Russian, English and Armenian, with simultaneous interpretation. It is open to everyone working on wetland issues in the region; contact: Mr. Karen Jenderedjian at firstname.lastname@example.org. The project will operate with a 40,000-CHF grant in addition to 4,347-CHF in-kind support from the proposers.
"Establishing the Bulgarian GIS Database of Ramsar sites as first step towards the National Wetland Database". This ambitious project, joining the efforts of two ministries, two leading national NGOs, and a private sector firm, has clear objectives and activities aimed at establishing a unified GIS database for the 33 existing and potential Ramsar sites in the country, involving digital mapping, through systematization of all available information. The database will be made accessible through the Internet to decision-makers, planners and managers of various sectors, and will form the firm basis of a National Wetland Database (the MedWet 2000 database format is considered). The project also aims at promoting cooperation between state and other organizations in managing, conserving and using wisely wetlands and particularly Ramsar sites. In addition it will deliver a new comprehensive update on the Bulgarian Ramsar sites to the Bureau. This initiative will lead to the designation of 28 new Ramsar sites, further development of a National Ramsar Database, promotion of the Ramsar database to the level of an official state database as a source for baseline information in the process of spatial planning, and strengthening the cross-institutional working group set in the framework of the project. The project's grant is of 39,998 CHF, with an additional 138,975 CHF in in-kind support provided by the proposers.
"Dissemination and promotion of conservation and wise use of Salar del Huasco (Difusión y promoción de la conservación y uso racional del Salar del Huasco)". This project will contribute to one of the Convention's priority areas - communication, education, and public awareness (CEPA) - by creating public awareness of the environmental value of the Salar del Huasco Ramsar site. Educational materials are to be developed, in conjunction with teacher training and exchange of information with national and regional (Andean countries) authorities, coordinated with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education in Chile. An added benefit of the project is that the activities to be undertaken can be replicated, both in Chile and in neighboring countries. 40,000 CHF has been earmarked for this project.
"Lac Télé Community Reserve Project: Integration of local communities in the development of a management plan". The project is an example of how to promote direct participation of local communities in the conservation of biological resources through the development of a management plan for the reserve: it involves government officials in order to recognize the need for development of national policies and legislation that support local conservation and wise use interests. CHF 40,000 was awarded in order to augment CHF 209,050 from WCS private funds and USAID funds.
"Development of the Croatian Wetland Inventory". This well-elaborated project is a part of a bigger 3-year one which was launched in 2001. The current project aims at providing additional funds needed to help with completion of the Croatian National Wetland Inventory, so far exclusively funded by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Physical Planning (MEPPP). The project will deal with providing the most comprehensive inventory of Croatian wetlands, evaluating prospective Ramsar sites, identifying threats and restoration/rehabilitation needs, and mapping, in order to include the wetlands in the physical planning process at state and local levels. Last, but not least, the project will enable preparation of a National Wetland Policy. Its results will be made available to the public and more specifically to decision-makers. Envisaged project outputs will be a wetland inventory database (MedWet 2000 format), hardcopy, CD-ROM and Web preliminary list of wetlands, maps M 1:100,000, an information leaflet about the project, and a poster with a map of Croatian wetlands. The project will be implemented by the MEPPP which provides 20,000 CHF in in-kind support to the project's grant of 40,000 CHF.
"Preparation for participative management of coastal wetlands in northeast Cuba" (Preparación para el manejo participativo de humedales costeros en la región norte-oriental de Cuba). The project seeks to address the general lack of recognition for wetlands' values and benefits. The specific objectives will include the characterization of the coastal wetlands of northeastern Cuba, as a way of contributing to the development of participative management plans, as well as community/institutional capacity building through workshops and creation of information materials for developing local awareness. CHF 26,100.
"Institutional capacity building and review of training needs for implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Fiji". Fiji is preparing for accession to the Convention, and this project will directly assist it in preparing for implementation, through a review of the national legal and institutional framework, development of a Ramsar-related training course for government personnel, and undertaking a training needs assessment. 34,524 CHF will be provided from the SGF for this project.
"Training and technical assistance on aquasiliviculture and apiculture to a mangrove-based community in Kwale, Kenya". The project focuses on capacity building among local communities on aquasilviculture and apiculture which are important strategies for conservation and wise use of mangroves and their resources at the coast. It will focus on one of the key and priority areas on the marine and coastal wetlands in Kenya. These resources are currently facing many challenges and threats due to inappropriate resource management and unsustainable use of the resources. Some of these challenges will be reversed through training and technological transfer to the communities. The project has been awarded 39,729 CHF.
"Wetlands community awareness programme for Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary (RTREBS) And Bassin Sarcelle". This is an emergency proposal to save critical wetlands through education and public awareness of wetlands values and functions. RTREBS is a migratory bird sanctuary whereas Bassin Sarcelle is a mangrove site. The two sites have rich ecosystems but are relatively fragile, and both need urgent protection as well as community training and involvement in the their conservation. RTREBS is a declared ecotourist site, and Bassin Sarcelle also has potential attributes to attract ecotourists. From these perspectives the development and management of the sites represent important socio economic assets. This project will address the lack of appropriate community-based education and sensitization at the level of the community leaders regarding the importance of wetlands and their conservation, so as to reverse the trend of ecological damage. This SGF project has been awarded the cum of 39,900 CHF.
"Delimitation of the core area of the Dzilam State Reserve, Yucatan (Deslinde del area nucleo de la Reserva Estatal Dzilam, Yucatan)". This project will contribute to site management planning by defining the limits and establishing a buffer zone for this State Reserve and Ramsar site. Additionally, better protection measures against fire, foraging, hunting and other outside activities are to be achieved by formalizing these boundaries with the surrounding land tenants. The methodology includes the preliminary marking of limits; interviews with bordering landowners and the formalization of agreed limits; and a feasibility study for putting in place a two-meter firebreak along the site border. There are ongoing parallel projects in the area, while additional funding for related initiatives has been received since 1999. CHF 39,903 has been awarded.
"Support for training and management actions at Palau's first Ramsar site, Lake Ngardok Nature Reserve". This project is designed to implement specific priority management actions identified in the management plan which has been prepared for Palau's 1st Ramsar site. Specifically it will undertake training and capacity-building for the site manager, implementation of erosion control and reforestation plans designed to improve the ecological character of the site, and the establishment of a nature trail which will support income generation for future site management. CHF 40,000 has been awarded.
"National wetland inventory for Sierra Leone". The project is composed of a set of initial steps to lay the ground for the implementation of the Convention in a new Contracting Party. The national wetland inventory will be carried out through the supervision of the of the National Wetland Committee, involving all relevant national institutions. The results of the inventory will be used to identify critical wetland sites with the objective of promoting sustainable use and wetland restoration.. CHF 35,000 has been awarded.
"Facilitating the conservation and wise use of the Anaiwilundawa Wetland Sanctuary through the identification of appropriate management interventions and local community and institutional capacity building". The project seeks to undertake follow-up activities after Ramsar site designation of a wetland of considerable local community, historical and cultural significance. The project will address a number of threats to the ecological character of the site by working with local communities (including farmers' cooperatives) through education and public awareness and by strengthening appropriate sustainable livelihoods including increasing ecotourism. CHF 40,000 has been earmarked for this project.
"Development of a management plan by local participation and production and active dissemination of awareness materials of the Ramsar Convention". It is perceived that there is a general lack of understanding of the Ramsar Convention at governmental level in Thailand, which is critical for the preparation of management plans for the Ramsar sites. The project will conduct education and awareness activities, including production of education materials, with local communities and government in a proposed Ramsar site. The project will help the people to recognize the function and importance of the wetland and encourage sustainable use within the site, with considerable opportunities to transfer the experience and approach to other sites. The project has been awarded 40,000 CHF.
"Ecological impact of the artificial opening of a coastal lagoon proposed as a Ramsar site in Uruguay: scientific foundation for management of Laguna de Rocha (Impacto ecologico de la apertura artificial de una laguna costera propuesta como sitio Ramsar en Uruguay: fundamentos cientificos para la gestion de la Laguna de Rocha)". A multi-sectoral project that seeks to evaluate the ecological impact of opening a coastal lagoon to the sea (five months out of the year), in an area where conflicting plans and priorities for use and management sometimes compete. It forms part of a larger project (funded by IDB and ISF-Sweden) which evaluates other areas and will establish management guidelines, in accordance with integrated coastal zone management practices. The specific objectives of the SGF project include the estimation of physical/chemical effects in opening the lagoon, among them the effects on biomass and productivity, plus the determination of the distribution of zooplankton and phytoplankton. The wetland is planned as a future expansion of the Bañados del Este Ramsar site. CHF 39,700 have been awarded.