Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 June 1997

Wetland Research and Education Centre, Bangladesh, seeking support. The Wetland Research and Education Centre (WREC) was formally inaugurated in north-central Bangladesh on 2 February 1997, in commemoration of World Wetlands Day, with generous funding from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Dhaka, which maintains an environment fund to support local activities. A creation of Carinam (the Centre for Advanced Research in Natural Resources and Management) in Dhaka, the WREC is operating under a Dutch grant of US$ 20,000 for one year, which ends in November 1997, and the Centre is looking for further funding support to continue its work.

S.M.A. Rashid reports that the Centre is currently working on:

  • mass awareness programs for wetlands and wetland resource conservation.
  • creating a database on the wetlands of Bangladesh with relevant information according to the Ramsar Information Sheet.
  • education and training programs for students, NGOs, and government officials on wetland conservation and promoting the wise use concept.
  • planning for exchange programs with well-established educational institutions and research organizations for WREC staff.
  • planning for the development of wetland conservation education and training modules, manuals, packages for sharing on a national, regional and international level

37th Management Guidance Procedure. At the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the latest application of the Ramsar Management Guidance Procedure was carried out in the I.R. of Iran in late April and early May. The Ramsar mission, made up of two Bureau staff members (Michael Smart and Rebecca D'Cruz) and two Dutch technical experts (Henk Moen and Vincent van den Berk), visited a number of Ramsar sites on the Caspian (Miankaleh, Anzeli Mordab, Bandar Kiashahr and Amirkelayeh) and had extensive discussions with the Iranian authorities in Teheran. They also visited Gomishan Marshes, a spectacular wetland just south of the border with Turkmenistan, which has been awarded funding assistance from the Ramsar Small Grants Fund with a view to its designation as a Ramsar site.

The Iranian authorities confirmed their strong desire to continue their high profile in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention (which began life in 1971 at the Iranian city of Ramsar on the Caspian shoreline), both within Iran and internationally. The MGP mission will be making detailed recommendations on the management of the sites visited, several of which have been affected by the rise in Caspian sea level. In some cases there are difficulties in coordinating the need to conserve wetland biodiversity and the need for sustainable economic development. The mission's main recommendations are on the need to strengthen the capacity of the Department of the Environment to act as a coordinator, both at national and local levels, among the many bodies which have an impact on wetlands, and the need to find the necessary funds for such activities perhaps with support from UNDP, which is particularly interested in such activites.

The mission report - as with other MGP reports - will first be submitted to the Iranian authorities, and will afterwards become a public document. A visit by the Secretary General is intended later in the year, and he will follow up with the Iranian authorities on the implementation of the mission's recommendations. (15/5/97)

U.S. National Ramsar Committee meets with the Secretary General. Delmar Blasco, the Convention's Secretary General, visiting the United States to address the "Communities Working for Wetlands" meeting, had the opportunity to meet with members of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee on 6 May, in the offices of the World Wildlife Fund. Notes of the meeting, prepared by Constance Hunt, the Chair of the Committee, are available here. (9/5/97)

International Migratory Bird Day. Saturday, 10 May, will be the 5th annual International Migratory Bird Day, and the theme this year will be "Join the Flock . . . Be Part of the Solution." In the United States, activities are planned in many states, particularly in the best bird-watching spots. Special attention is being drawn to declining bird species and what citizens can do to assist in their conservation. The Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is Ramsar's Administrative Authority in the USA, has issued a press release describing the significance of the day, and you'll find it reprinted here. (6/5/97)

U.S. National Wetlands Awards. The winners of the 1997 [U.S.] National Wetlands Awards, sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have been announced, and the awards will be presented on 8 May 1997 in Washington, D.C., USA. The winners are:

Education/Outreach: Wilfred Cwikiel, Conway, Michigan
Science Research: Joy Zedler, San Diego, California
Volunteer Leadership: Larry Smith, Memphis, Tennessee
Land Stewardship and Development: Brian O'Connor Dunn, Bayside, Texas, and James Siepmann, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Outstanding Wetlands Program Development: Laura Lenzen, Lincoln, Nebraska, and Cheryl Miller, St. Paul, Minnesota

[Source: Environmental Law Institute's ELI-Wetlands list server, 5/5/97]. [6/5/97]

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