Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 August 1997

Malaysia's National Wetland Policy, almost. With support from the Ramsar Small Grants Fund, Malaysia is in the process of finalizing its National Wetland Policy document, which has been developed following extensive consultations with various stakeholders at national and state levels. This policy is closely linked to the recently finalized National Biodiversity Policy and Action Plan. [19/7/97]

ISAR - Central Asia (International Clearinghouse on the Environment). ISAR is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that supports the development of NGOs working on environmental issues in the Newly Independent States (NIS). It has offices in Almaty (since 1993), Kiev, Moscow, Nizhny-Novgorod, Vladivostok, Tbilisi, and Baku. The ISAR Central Asian Program is active in all five Central Asian countries: Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In addition to providing environmental NGOs with technical, informational, and moral support, it provides financial support in the form of small grants (US$ 300-5,000 per grant), which are made possible by a grant from the US Agency for International Development.

Workshop on Biodiversity of Inland Water Systems. The Convention on Biological Diversity, with which the Bureau has a Memorandum of Cooperation, has designated Ramsar as its lead partner on wetlands issues, and in fulfillment of that responsibility Bureau staff are working to provide input to the upcoming meeting of SBSTTA, the CBD's subsidiary scientific body. Two weeks ago we posted here a description of a forthcoming workshop on that theme, and now we have Michael Smart's preliminary report on how it went down. [16/7/97]

Syria coming on board. Mr Iyad Orfi from the Syrian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva has advised the Bureau that Syria's parliament has approved accession to the Convention on Wetlands and that a presidential decree to that effect has been issued. It remains only to convey the instrument of accession to UNESCO with details of the obligatory first designation of a Wetland of International Importance. Mr Orfi also signified that Syria would be joining the MedWet Committee. [14/7/97]

Slovenia aims for a first. In a letter received this morning, Dr Pavel Gantar, Slovenia's Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, expressed his hope that, through further planned designations for the Ramsar List, "Slovenia could set a worldwide lead in becoming the first Contracting Party to designate a site including underground wetlands." He also expressed his commitment to continuing work on a National Wetland Inventory, now under SGF project review, and noted the state's allocation of funds for development of a long-term management plan for the Secoveljske soline Ramsar site. [7/7/97]

Improving the data on Ramsar sites. Pursuing Resolution VI.13 wherever it may lead, the Bureau is urging Contracting Parties to bring the data on Wetlands of International Importance up to date and up to standard. The revised Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS) is being communicated to the Parties via diplomatic channels; draft RISs for sites with none on file have been developed by the Bureau and the Ramsar/Wetland Sites Officer (Wetlands International) and are being sent to the Parties for correcting and approval; and the Parties are being asked to update RISs for all sites designated prior to 31 December 1990. Get more detail here! [29/6/97]

Estonia picks nine new sites. Thereby increasing the number of Estonian Wetlands of International Importance by a factor of 10, to 10. Some of them are very interesting places, from both the ecological and the socio-cultural points of view. Here is a brief report drawn from the Environment Ministry's RISs (Ramsar Information Sheets). [24/6/97]

Austrian National Ramsar Committee meets. The annual meeting of the Austrian Ramsar Committee was held on 12-13 June 1997 in Fusch, Province of Salzburg, near the Ramsar site of Rotmoos ("Red Bog"). Read all about it. [23/6/97]

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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