25th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

28/09/2000
25th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 23 - 27 October 2000
Agenda item 5

DOC. SC25-2

Report of the Secretary General

ANNEX II

Report on the Ramsar Database to the 25th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

By S. Frazier, J. van Oord, D. Beintema, C. Reyes
Wetlands International

27 September 2000

Developments and Actions

Relevant links

I. At RSC 24 it was reported that "clickable" interactive maps had been created for all African Contracting Parties, featuring links to locality maps for all their Ramsar sites. This has been continually developed and updated. Also in the intervening period, the interactive map presentation has been extended to all Asian Contracting Parties, the Russian Federation, The Netherlands and Estonia. The relevant URL is:

http://www.wetlands.agro.nl/ramsar_database
/regional_menu_list.html.Maps showing Global and all Ramsar-regional distribution have been routinely updated. The relevant URLs are: as above and

http://www.wetlands.agro.nl/ramsar_database /global/ramsar_global_map.html

Where available, electronic format site maps have (often been enhanced and have) been linked into the aforementioned presentation (e.g. Indonesia, Russian Federation, South Africa and Tanzania). In addition, detailed locality and/or site maps have been rendered using a GIS/ mapping package for a number of countries including Botswana, Estonia, The Netherlands and The Russian Federation.

In addition, available satellite imagery covering Ramsar sites has been linked into the Ramsar Database presentation (e.g. Estonia, Indonesia, Russian Federation).

The WWW RDB presentation now runs to over 1250 web pages, including approximately 250 maps and charts.

A CD-ROM presentation was produced for a Netherlands Nature Fair to inform the Dutch public about their Ramsar sites and the Convention.

See also IV and VI below.

Annex from Resolution VII.9 The Convention’s Outreach Programme 1999-2002

¶ 33. A more accessible database for the Wetlands of International Importance - As the List of Wetlands of International Importance rapidly expands, a priority is to make the information about these flagship sites more freely available by electronic means. The database, managed for the Convention by the Wetlands International office in the Netherlands, will be introduced on the World Wide Web by the end of 1999. Capacity for answering a range of queries on-line is envisaged. Contracting Parties, in developing their Wetland CEPA Action Plans, should anticipate this development and plan for increased use of the Ramsar sites database as a promotional and information tool.

Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Action 3.3.1 Review the Bureau's communications activities, especially those related to the creation and functioning of regional and national communication networks; develop new material and use of technology, and improve existing material.

Action 5.4.2 Upgrade and update the database to meet assessed needs and revise its structure accordingly, including the feasibility of developing a Geographical Information System (GIS).

Action 5.4.3 Make the database widely accessible (read only versions) through Electronic networks (the Internet), run-time versions on diskettes and CD-ROMs, and by the publication of special reports and other outputs.

Contract Annex references: Action 1.6; Action 2.2

II. The on-line version of the 1999 edition of the Directory of Wetlands of International Importance (originally published on CD-ROM and issued at COP7) is currently being converted to HTML (the standard web page language) to increase speed of access and capacity for cross-linking. In this latter regard, links to country, locality and site maps are being established (e.g. Algeria, Botswana, South Africa). The web presentation is a "living" version of the 1999 Directory, meaning first that updates or corrections are being effected where needed, and secondly that new site entries are being drafted for sites which were designated since the Directory was published on CD-ROM (~10% so far -- these new entries will be posted in due course). The new HTML Directory, and other elements of the on-line RDB presentation, are easily reached via the website Ramsar Database menu, especially the new "Quick Access" button/page.

The direct relevant URL for the HTML Directory of Ramsar sites is:

http://www.wetlands.agro.nl/ramsar_database/
Ramsar_Dir_HTML/1st_read_the_Introduction/Introduction.htm

Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Action 3.3.2 Develop existing Bureau productions, notably the Newsletter, videos and CD-ROMs.

Action 5.3.4 Review, update and reprint the Directory of Ramsar Sites for the 7th COP (1999), and produce, for the 8th COP (2002), a summary of sites listed between the 7th and 8th COPs.

Action 5.4.3 Make the database widely accessible (read only versions) through Electronic networks (the Internet), run-time versions on diskettes and CD-ROMs, and by the publication of special reports and other outputs.

Contract Annex reference: Action 2.3

III. A running detailed assessment of the status of Ramsar site Information Sheets (RIS) and site maps is available from the Ramsar Database section which has developed databases for this purpose. These, sometimes in-depth, assessments are routinely provided to the Bureau on demand; a detailed summary was presented to the Bureau and the STRP (9th Meeting).

 

Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Action 5.3.1 Ensure that the maps and descriptions of Ramsar sites submitted to the Ramsar Database by the Contracting Parties at the time of designation are complete, in the approved standard format of the Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands, and provide sufficient detail to be used for management planning and monitoring of ecological character.

Action 5.3.2 Ensure that missing or incomplete data sheets and/or maps of listed sites are submitted as a matter of priority and in the shortest possible time, as a means to enhance the relevance and use of the Ramsar Database.

Action 5.3.3 Ensure that data sheets on Ramsar Sites are regularly updated, at least for every second meeting of the COP, so that they can be used for reviewing the achievements of the Convention, for future strategic planning, for promotional purposes, and for site, regional and thematic analysis (Resolution VI.13).

Action 5.4.1 Assess data currently available in the database and identify any gaps in the data provided by Contracting Parties.

Contract Annex references: Action 1.1; Action 1.4; Action 1.7

IV. Concerning the MoU between Ramsar Bureau, Wetlands International and CIESIN/Columbia University to develop a Ramsar Wetland Data Gateway: The Ramsar Database section has consistently, and in a timely fashion provided the CIESIN organization with Ramsar Database updates, background and interpretative information, scenarios and examples, and recommendations concerning the development of the Gateway. Most recently, the RDB section has provided detailed input through a series of instalments on the prototype Gateway website, first unveiled in late June 2000. Plans are in place for the RDB manager to travel to CIESIN in October 2000 to provide further direct input. For more details on this project, see also:

http://www.wetlands.agro.nl/ramsar_database
/rdb_partners.html#gatewayProj

Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Action 5.4.2 Upgrade and update the database to meet assessed needs and revise its structure accordingly, including the feasibility of developing a Geographical Information System (GIS).

Contract Annex references: Action 1.6; Action 2.4

V. A new assessment of the status of under-represented wetland types was conducted and presented for and to the Bureau and STRP (9th Meeting). Distribution maps were created and posted on the Ramsar Database presentation. Further analysis was conducted for the Bureau with regard to Resolution VII.21. The new relevant URL is:

Http://www.wetlands.agro.nl/ramsar_database
/global/ramsar_under_rep.html

Resolution VII.11 on the Strategic framework for the List
Resolution VII.21 on intertidal wetlands

Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Action 6.2.1 Promote the designation for the Ramsar List of an increased area of wetland, through listing by new Contracting Parties, and through further designations by current Contracting Parties, in particular developing countries, in order to ensure the listing of a representative range of wetland types in the Territory of each Contracting Party and in each Ramsar region.

Action 6.2.3 Give priority attention to the designation of new sites from wetland types currently under-represented on the Ramsar List, and in particular, when appropriate, coral reefs, mangroves, sea-grass beds and peatlands.

Contract Annex reference: Action 2.2; Action 3.2

VI. A new Ramsar Database application is being developed. A decision was made to stop development of the database application in its former software language and adopt new database software (MS Access/Visual Basic) to improve utility (and longevity) of the RDB application. In 2000, 34 days of programming have been implemented so far resulting in an advanced prototype, currently undergoing testing. This has, so far, primarily concerned the data input half of the application. In connection with this, a simple hierarchical land use classification to replace the old keyword system currently in use, is under development. Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Action 5.4.2 Upgrade and update the database to meet assessed needs and revise its structure accordingly, including the feasibility of developing a Geographical Information System (GIS).

Contract Annex reference: Action 1.2; Action 1.3

See also the other relevant links across from section I (left column) above.

VII. Prepared an HTML presentation on a systematic approach to application of Criterion 1 for the 9th STRP meeting.

Collaborated in a draft Guideline on designation of Peatlands for the Ramsar List (presented at the 9th STRP).

Resolution VII.11 on the Strategic framework for the List

Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Action 6.2.1 Promote the designation for the Ramsar List of an increased area of wetland, through listing by new Contracting Parties, and through further designations by current Contracting Parties, in particular developing countries, in order to ensure the listing of a representative range of wetland types in the Territory of each Contracting Party and in each Ramsar region.

Action 6.2.3 Give priority attention to the designation of new sites from wetland types currently under-represented on the Ramsar List, and in particular, when appropriate, coral reefs, mangroves, sea-grass beds and peatlands.

Contract Annex reference: Action 3.1, Action 3.2

VIII. Provided extensive information servicing to the Ramsar Bureau and a wide external audience. Since the 24th RSC meeting approximately 85 information requests have been serviced by the RDB section (not including all servicing provided to CIESIN). Two three-monthly logs of information servicing activity have been provided to the Bureau in 2000. In-depth attention has been given to Ramsar sites and dams, invasive species, under-represented wetland types, World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve sites that are also Ramsar sites, and assessments of Ramsar site information and maps. Applicable to many SP objectives.

Contract Annex reference: Action 2.1

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