Measures Taken for Improving Data on Ramsar Sites
Data on Ramsar sites. The 6th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties at Brisbane in March 1996 recognised the need to improve the quality of data and maps submitted to the Ramsar database about wetlands designated for the List of Wetlands of International Importance. This recognition was expressed through Resolution VI.13, and the Bureau has as a result given particular attention to the improvement of available data and maps.
Improved Ramsar Information Sheet. The Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), together with the Bureau, has examined the Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS, "Ramsar Information Sheet"), originally approved through Recommendation 4.7 (Annex 2) of the 4th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties. The text of the RIS has not been changed, but a new presentation has been adopted with the aim of making it easier to use. The presentation of the Guidelines which accompany the RIS has also been reviewed and improved. A copy of the revised RIS and Guidelines is available on this Web site, and Contracting Parties are requested to use these to describe any new wetlands designated for the Ramsar List.
Information Sheets for Ramsar sites without them. Resolution VI.13 urges Contracting Parties to give priority to providing the Bureau by 31 December 1997 with a map and a completed RIS for all sites designated for the Ramsar List. This request refers to those sites for which no datasheet or RIS is available at present. The Bureau, in conjunction with the Ramsar/Wetlands Sites Officer at Wetlands International and his staff, has been working to assist those Contracting Parties in which sites without RIS or map are situated, by providing a first draft of an RIS for review and revision by the Contracting Party concerned. These draft RISs have already been forwarded to the Administrative Authorities of the Contracting Parties concerned. The Bureau requests that the Contracting Parties concerned reviews these draft RISs, amend them as required and submit them with an accompanying map for these sites to the Bureau, as far as possible respecting the deadline of 31 December 1997 established by Resolution VI.13.
Updated Information Sheets every six years. Resolution VI.13 also urges Contracting Parties to revise the data provided for the Ramsar Database at least every six years (i.e., every second meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties) for monitoring purposes. It is desirable that this process should begin considerably before the 7th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, to be held in Costa Rica in May 1999, so that the revised RISs may be used in analyses to be presented in Costa Rica. After discussion of this matter by STRP, the Bureau requests that revised RISs (using the new format) be provided for all Wetlands of International Importance designated before 31 December 1990. It is urged that the revised RISs be submitted to the Bureau by 30 June 1998; copies of the datasheets submitted at the time of designation of each of these sites are presently being sent for reference to the Administrative Authorities of the Contracting Parties concerned.
A diplomatic notification covering the above points will be communicated by the Bureau through diplomatic channels with copies to the Administrative Authorities during the week of 7-11 July 1997.
-- reported by Michael Smart, Ramsar Senior Policy Advisor