Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 December 1997
Headline Story: Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF) -- Call for 1998 proposals. At the end of November the secretariat sent a diplomatic note, with copy to all of the Ramsar Administrative Authorities and contacts in the potential recipient countries, calling for the submission of proposals for SGF funding in 1998. In the note it was made clear that, since the funds available in 1998 will probably not be more substantial than in 1997, Contracting Parties should note that it is unlikely that they will successfully gain funding approval for more than one project each. Thus, the Bureau recommends that a pre-selection be made by the Administrative Authorities and that only the top priority project be submitted for consideration.
The deadline for submission of proposals is 31 March 1998. The SGF Operational Guidelines and Request for Funding forms, in English, French, and Spanish, are available on this Web site in the Key Documents section, as are descriptions of projects that have been funded over the past seven years of the Fund's existence. Annette Pavlic (firstname.lastname@example.org)is the Bureau's focal point for SGF affairs. [3/12/97]
- Montserrat Carbonell, the Regional Coordinator for the Neotropics, went to Suriname on 19 November for consultations with Ramsar authorities there, and will travel to Guyana on the 22nd in order to continue progress towards accession in that country. From there she will travel to Trinidad and Tobago on the 25th for consultations there, particularly about the Nariva Swamp, and then to Guatemala on the 1st of December, arriving back in the Bureau on the 12th.
- Maryse Mahy, Intern for Europe, is in Strasbourg for the 1-5 December 17th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 1979) [3/12/97]
New on the Site: A brief report of the National Wetlands Policy conference in Botswana; announcement of an Asian Wetlands Conference planned for New Delhi in January; a new index page to help track planned activities for World Wetlands Day 1998; and more photos of the Grand Mike Smart Commemorative Dinner (October 1997), don't miss these rogue pix [back out of these frames and click on Photo Gallery in the About Ramsar section]; finally, the complete text of the famous Economic Valuation of Wetlands book in English, in HTML. [3/12/97]
Bahrain becomes the 105th Contracting Party. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce that Bahrain has deposited its instrument of accession with UNESCO as of 27 October 1997, so that the treaty will come into force for Bahrain on 27 February 1998. Bahraini authorities submitted to UNESCO maps indicating boundaries for two designations for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, wetlands known as "The Huwar Islands" and "The Gulf of Tubli", but for the moment we have no other information about them. The accession of Bahrain is particularly welcome because the Convention is presently less well represented in the Middle East than in many other regions. [25/11/97]
Wetlands International - Asia Pacific communications unit. Rosie Ounsted is leaving her post as Communications Officer at Wetlands International - Asia Pacific (Good luck in the future, Rosie!), and henceforward, after 1 December 1997, we are instructed to contact the Communications and Resources Officer, Miss Ho Yim Cheng (email@example.com) or the Head of Communications and Resources Development, Kenny M. A. (firstname.lastname@example.org) on all matters dealing even remotely with communications. Or resource development. [28/11/97]
Completed data on 35 Russian Ramsar sites. The Bureau is delighted to announce that the Permanent Mission in Geneva of the Russian Federation this morning handed over completed Ramsar Information Sheets (in English) and maps for the 35 Russian Wetlands of International Importance in Russia, as designated by Government Decree in 1994. The data and maps were accompanied by a letter from the Deputy Chairman of the Ramsar Administrative Authority, the State Committee of the Russian Federation on Environmental Protection, Mr Amirkhan Amirkhanov.
This is excellent news, representing a substantial step forward for the Convention at national, regional and global scales (and adding some 4 million more hectares to the Convention's coverage). It makes a particularly significant contribution to fulfillment of Brisbane Resolution VI.13 on site data.
Congratulations and thanks are due to the State Committee, to the Research Institute of the Russian Federation on Nature Conservation (responsible for collection and compilation of the original Russian language version of the data), to the staff of Wetlands International in Wageningen and Moscow (especially the Moscow staff who undertook the heavy burden of translation into English, including working in their personal time), and to the Governments of the Netherlands and the USA which have been important financial supporters of the joint effort required to reach this goal. [20/11/97]
Czech Republic names its 10th site. "Libechovka and Psovka Brooks" has been designated the Czech Republic’s 10th Ramsar site, with effect from 13 November 1997. The 350 hectare site qualifies under criteria 1a, 1d, 2a, 2b, and 4a and comprises a system of small, shallow, calcareous wetlands along the deep valleys of the two stream (brooks) systems mentioned in the site name. The wetlands include springs, wet Alnus (alder) woodland, wet meadows, calcareous fens, reedswamp, pools and ponds. The complex is of special importance for its plant and invertebrate communities, and for the presence of a fish species (of the genus Cobitis) new to science. The area is currently in good ecological condition, although there are concerns about the possible impact of pollution in the upper part of the Libechovka brook and groundwater abstraction in the lower part of both basins. The surrounding areas are used mainly for agriculture, forestry and recreation. [20/11/97]
Jamaica is the Convention's 104th Party. The Ramsar Bureau has been informed by UNESCO that on 7 October 1997 Jamaica completed the formalities necessary for its accession to Ramsar as its 104th Contracting Party, which means that the Convention will enter into force for Jamaica on 7 February 1998.
The "Black River Lower Morass" wetland has been designated by Jamaica for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance. The largest freshwater wetland ecosystem in Jamaica, it is located in the St. Elizabeth parish of southwestern Jamaica (18 degrees 4 min. N, 77 degress 48 min. W) and has an area of approximately 5,700 hectares. The Black River Lower Morass is a complex of shallow brackish lagoons, limestone islands, tidal marshes, mudflats and mangroves near the coast, and extensive freshwater marshes with peat formations. It is owned by the Government of Jamaica and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.
Jamaica is welcomed as the third Ramsar Contracting Party in the Caribbean region, after Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas, and the Convention is making special efforts to attract more Caribbean states to the Ramsar family before the 7th Conference of the Parties in May 1999. [18/11/97]
Hungary honored for Ramsar sites. Later today, 19 November, in Budapest, representatives of WWF's Living Planet campaign will present a certificate to the Hungarian Minister for Environment and Regional Policy in recognition of Hungary's having designated six new Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in August of this year. WWF considers these designations to be a "Gift to the Earth" and will honor the Minister as an "Earthkeeper." Congratulations to all involved. [19/11/97]
Wetlands for the Future / Humedales para el Futuro -- new call for proposals. Wetlands for the Future is an initiative for training and capacity-building on conservation of wetlands in the Neotropical Region, sponsored by the Ramsar Convention, the United States State Department, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Following its first very successful three-year period, during which some US$ 750,000 were allocated for a wide range of projects, a new Memorandum of Understanding has been signed which continues the initiative for another three-year term. The call for proposals is reproduced here in English and Spanish. [18/11/97]
Ramsar Bureau seeks 2 consultants for Palo Verde. The Ramsar Bureau is seeking two Spanish-speaking specialists to work in the Management Guidance Procedure to be applied in Palo Verde, Costa Rica, in late February 1998 -- one specialist on control and management of tropical wetland vegetation, and a hydrologist with experience in hydraulics. All are welcome to respond but mother-tongue level of Spanish is essential, so the call for applications is in Spanish. [18/11/97]
Overview of Indonesian Wetland Sites. Just published - An Overview of Indonesian Wetland Sites included in Wetland Database. Intended as an aid for planners, managers and other decision makers, this is an up-to-date review of the wetlands of Indonesia based on the data available in Wetland Database (WDB), developed by Wetlands International - Indonesia Programme. WDB currently holds information on 256 sites scattered throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
Information in WDB is divided into the seven biogeographical regions of Indonesia. The report follows this format and, after an introduction to WDB, the chapters give data by region on wetland sites and types, protected sites and those meeting Ramsar criteria, land use, human activity and impacts, and flora and fauna.The 85-page Overview is a bargain at USD8 excluding postage and packing. Please address your order to the Wetlands International - Indonesia Programme librarian at email@example.com id. The Overview is currently available in English only. [reprinted from Wetlands International - Asia Pacific news, 18/11/97] [It's a beautiful book, really. -- Web Editor.]
More photos on the Web site. Get to know your country's Ramsar representatives. Here's a page of photos emanating from the recent 20th meeting of the Standing Committee in Gland, Switzerland, in late September and early October 1997. So far, we have pix of the meeting and the reception; over the next few days, we'll add still more astonishing and possibly cautionary photos of the gala dinner that was held in Mike Smart's honor in the real, true-life cafeteria of the IUCN headquarters building, similar in design to Freddy Girardet's 9-star establishment near Lausanne, but with different food. Valerie Higgins took the excellent photographs and Dwight Peck wreaked his own special havoc on them trying to reduce them to jpegs. See what you think. [14/11/97]
Industrial Shrimp Action Network launched. An international action group has been formed to counter destructiveindustrial shrimp farming. Representatives of major environmental and community organizations from 14 nations agreed last week to create an umbrella group to oppose the continued expansion worldwide of destructive industrial shrimp farming. The new group – formed on World Food Day, October 16th – is called the Industrial Shrimp Action Network or ISA Net. Here is the report and mission statement. [10/11/97]
Ramsar Award launched. The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was established by Resolution VI.18 (Brisbane, 1996) in order to recognize and honour the contributions of individuals, organizations, and governments around the world in promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. The Standing Committee, at its last meeting, approved criteria and procedures for adjudicating the award, determined to select three winners for presentation at the 7th COP in May 1999, and gratefully accepted the offer of the Danone Group from the private sector to present a prize of US$ 10,000 to accompany each of the three awards in 1999. The Bureau will send out the call for nominations in early 1998, with a deadline of 31 July, and the Standing Committee will choose the three recipients of the 1999 Award at its 21st meeting in October 1998. [4/11/97]
Ramsar Committee established in Togo. By ministerial decision of 28 October 1997, the Minister of Environment and Forest Resources of Togo established a Wetlands National Committee "to coordinate all activities related to wetlands in the national territory". The Committee is now the "permanent correspondent of the Bureau of the Ramsar Convention". The Committee includes representatives of the Ministries of Environment and Forest Resources; Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Mines, Energy, Transports, Post and Telecommunications; and Foreign Affairs and External Cooperation. In addition NGOs have one seat in the Committee. [4/11/97]
International Mire Conservation Group's Resolution for Ramsar. At its Field Symposium in Kushiro, Japan, in September 1996, the International Mire Conservation Group adopted three resolutions for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and concerning World Heritage status respectively. Because of the Ramsar Convention's growing interest in peatland conservation, the Bureau is pleased to post the first of these resolutions here, with the "Kushiro Declaration" of which they are a part, courtesy of Richard Lindsay, IMCG chairman. A background note on the International Mire Conservation Group is appended to the end of the document. [5/11/97]
New project on Earth observation data. The Ramsar Bureau has agreed to become a supporting partner in a Mediterranean wetland monitoring project which will use remote sensing data, initiated by the Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre (EKBY). The project is entitled "Monitoring the implementation and impact of EU Agriculture Regulation on the Natura 2000 sites that include wetlands, using Earth Observation (EO) data". The project can be seen as an important contribution to wetland monitoring and assessment under the Convention, and a complementary activity to MedWet. [4/11/97]
Wetland workshop in Argentina. Ramsar is contributing US$ 2,000 towards the First Workshop for Wetland Specialists in the Central Region of Argentina. Organized by a local NGO, Fundación Proteger, the workshop will involve 20 to 25 experts and will include a public panel session to discuss the importance of wetlands in the region. It seeks to prepare a proposal for action on wetland issues, mainly addressed to IUCN members in the country. [4/11/97]
French National Plan progressing. In March 1995 the French Council of Ministers adopted a Wetland National Action Plan, and Mr Paul Baron was appointed its Coordinator in the French Ministry of Territorial Planning and the Environment in March 1997. He reports that in the past two years good progress has been made in such areas as research, communications, and the establishment of a wetlands observatory. In other areas, however, especially in those requiring action at an inter-ministerial level, not enough progress has been achieved.
Mr Baron is in the process of designating an officer responsible for each aspect of the Plan, each of whom will prepare a work programme, with a timetable and a budget, by the end of this year. An inter-ministerial committee will be established which will meet once a year to review progress and agree upon a plan of action for the following year. In addition, the Plan will have a Coordinating Committee which will meet four times a year and include representatives of the directorates in the central government that have an involvement in the Plan. The Wetlands Group will continue to play an important role, since it was from this Group that the National Plan actually emerged. [4/11/97]
More to follow. Watch this space. Feedback and suggestions to: the Ramsar Convention Bureau, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail ). Updated regularly by Dwight Peck, Ramsar.