Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 March 1997

Full texts of the Recommendations of the 2nd COP, Groningen, 1984, and the Resolutions of the Regina COP, 1987; Update on World Wetland Day activities; Description of Botswana's first Ramsar site, the Okavango Delta System, and a replica of UNESCO's letter on Botswana's accession; The text of Ramsar's Memo of Understanding with the Convention on Migratory Species. [24/2/97]

Spain designates its 36th Ramsar site. "Lagunas de Laguardia (Alava): Carralogroño, Carravalseca, Prao de la Paul" -- that's the 50-hectare name for this 42.4 hectare Ramsar site in the País Vasco in the northeast of Spain, three small lakes actually, designated as of 9 December 1996 with the paperwork just completed earlier today, and with Information Sheets for two more Ramsar sites on the way. This designation brings Spain's total sites to 36 covering 157,899 hectares. [25/2/97]

Project Proposal on Involving Indigenous People. In Recommendation 6.3 of the Brisbane COP, the Contracting Parties requested four related NGOs to develop a project for providing guidance on involving local and indigenous people in the management of Ramsar wetlands. The IUCN Social Policy Group, the WWF Wetlands Programme, the Kushiro International Wetlands Centre, and the Caddo Lake Institute have now completed their proposal and requested the Ramsar Bureau's cooperation in locating funding for its implementation. At the Bureau's suggestion, the Government of the United Kingdom took the opportunity of its World Wetlands Day commemoration, 2 February 1997, to announce its pledge of £10,000 in support of this project, and the Bureau solicits further contributions, and suggestions about potential contributions, from Contracting Parties and NGOs worldwide. The proposal's bottom line comes to 261,000 Swiss francs, and that would buy polished written guidelines and case studies suitable for use in the field as well as a Technical Session on the subject at the 7th COP in Costa Rica. Hardcopy versions of the proposal are available upon request, and the text is reproduced here on this web site. [11/2/97]

The longest documented journey of any bird in the whole world. The furthest-ever recovery of a ringed bird has just been recorded in an Australian Ramsar site, Gippsland Lakes. An Arctic Tern ringed as a chick in Finland on 30 June 1996 was recovered on 24 January 1997 at Gippsland -- a distance of 26,000 kilometres, if it flew directly. (It probably didn't -- according to Mike Smart, they normally winter in South Africa, and it no doubt got diverted round the Cape of Good Hope, probably having got caught up in severe southern gales.) Experts calculate that its average speed may have neared 200 kilometres a day. The previous record was from the Russian White Sea to Fremantle (1955-56), 22,500 kilometres, also by an Arctic Tern.  [11/2/97]

The 98th Contracting Party -- UKRAINE. UNESCO has advised the Bureau that Ukraine has formalized its situation vis-a-vis the Convention by depositing its declaration of succession to the former Soviet Union, and has thus become the 98th Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, retroactive to the date of its independence -- which, in the absence of better guidance, we reckon as the date of the referendum of 1 December 1991. The four sites originally designated by the former Soviet Union which lie within the territories of Ukraine allow that nation to become a Contracting Party with immediate effect. Bureau staff have been advised that Ukraine hopes to be able to designate as many as 22 more sites in the near future. [10/2/97]

Australia's new Wetlands Policy. The Commonwealth Government of Australia took the occasion of World Wetlands Day, 2 February, the first day of Australia's Wetlands Week, to announce the launching of the Wetlands Policy of the Commonwealth Government of Australia. The accompanying press release from the office of Senator Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment, is available here, and more details will follow soon. [9/2/97]

Brisbane Proceedings -- Finally!! Suitably, it's nine months later. Most of the people who were present have forgotten that they were present. But, to remind them, the Proceedings of the 6th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, Brisbane, Australia, March 1996, are finally ready in complete sets. Planned for publication in 12 separate brochures ultimately to be collected in special ringbinders, the first five volumes were distributed in July 1996. The remaining seven volumes have now been published, and complete sets are presently being posted to the embassies and administrative authorities of the Contracting Parties, the Observer States, and the principal NGOs present at the meeting. Follow this link for a fuller description of availability. [29/1/97]

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

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