Ramsar Bulletin Board, 10 October 1997
1997 World Disaster Reduction Campaign. The United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction Secretariat announces the 1997 Internet Conference on the "socio-economic impact of water-related disasters". The conference is part of the 1997 World Disaster Reduction Campaign on "Water: too much ... too little ... leading cause of natural disasters." The "conference" is taking place between 22 September and 24 October 1997, and interested readers can participate in this new e-mail discussion group by sending a message to <firstname.lastname@example.org> with the message <subscribe risk [firstname][lastname]>. The Conference Web site can be found at http://www.quipu.net:1997/. (Communicated to the Bureau by Nicole Appel for Natalie Domeisen, IDNDR Secretariat, 25/9/97).
Monaco becomes the 103rd Contracting Party! Monaco has acceded to the Convention, as amended by the Paris Protocol and the Regina Amendments, dated 20 August 1997, so that the treaty will come into force for Monaco on 20 December 1997. The principality's first Ramsar site, as yet unnamed, covers about 10 hectares of coastline and shallow marine water stretching eastward from the casino, and accounts for more than 5% of the total area of the country (192 hectares). Welcome to the people of Monaco! [24/9/97]
Workshop on legal aspects proposed. The Conference of the Contracting Parties has frequently drawn attention to the importance of understanding the national legal frameworks within which implementation of the Convention must be carried out. In order to further that goal, the IUCN Environmental Law Programme has proposed holding a "Workshop on Legal and Institutional Aspects of Wetland Conservation and Wise Use" prior to the San José COP7, at which technical recommendations would be developed to lay the foundation for a possible resolution by the COP. Further details on the project will be posted here as they develop. [22/9/97]
New Wetland Policy for Western Australia. Western Australia has come up with a new wetland policy for that jurisdiction in harmony with the National Wetland Policy announced earlier this year at federal level. Bill Phillips, the Bureau's Senior Coordinator for Policy and Technical Affairs, assesses its significance in this brief report. [18/9/97]
Wetlands in Europe. A major international conference "Nature Conservation in a Europe of Unification" is being hosted in Tallinn by the Estonian Ministry of Environment from 11-13 September. Tim Jones, the Ramsar Regional Coordinator for Europe, has been invited to make a presentation (Sneak Preview: here's an abstract). Other invited speakers include representatives of the European Union, WWF International, UNEP Regional Office for Europe, IUCN 'Parks for Life' and technical specialists from many countries in Western and Eastern Europe. One of the main aims of the conference is to share experience and to identify common conservation opportunities in the still-evolving "new Europe". [10/9/97]
Papua New Guinea visit. Roger Jaensch of Wetlands International - Oceania, in conjunction with Job Opu, DEC Wetlands Officer, and John Aruga, Assistant (Southern Region) to the DEC Director of Field Services, recently led a mission, 30 July-2 August, to visit Lake Kutubu, Papua New Guinea, to assess landowner attitudes to Ramsar-listing, check and add to the draft Ramsar Information Sheet, and identify actions to support the listing process. The mission was funded by a grant of 2,000 Swiss francs from the Ramsar Bureau.
Lake Kutubu is a freshwater lake in limestone karst country in PNG's Southern Highlands. It supports at least 10 fishes that are endemic to the lake and a significant subsistence fishery. A major oil and gas development is situated in the vicinity and will shortly begin extraction from the lake's catchment. The lake and catchment are in the customary ownership of about 2,500 people who obtain subsistence livelihood from the lake and surrounding rainforest.
The principal achievements of the visit were the confirmation of suitability, landowner interest/ agreement, locally-based support (WWF), and accuracy of the draft Ramsar datasheet; the collection of new data (7 new waterbird species; several new aquatic plants) for the lake; and the identification of landowner and sponsor (WWF) concerns and necessary actions to progress listing as PNG's second Ramsar site. [4/9/97]
Sweden studies its Ramsar sites. Sweden's Environmental Protection Agency, the Stockholm-based Administrative Authority for the Convention, has recently produced a 21-page report reviewing the protection status of the country's 30 Ramsar Sites, which together cover 382,750 hectares. Compiled by Mr Torsten Larsson, the EPA's focal point on Ramsar issues, the report provides up-to-date information on national and EU protected area designations, land ownership, and implementation of management plans at Swedish Wetlands of International Importance. Amongst the report's conclusions:
- there are 56 nationally protected areas within the 30 Ramsar site boundaries, covering two-thirds of the Ramsar-designated surface area;
- 41 of the 56 nationally protected areas have approved management plans;
- 71% of the surface area of Swedish Ramsar sites is State owned. [29/8/97]