Ramsar Bulletin Board, 6 February 1997

The 97th Contracting Party -- BOTSWANA. It was worth waiting for! UNESCO has belatedly notified the Bureau that Botswana deposited its instruments of accession on 9 December 1996, and the Convention will therefore come into force for that nation on 9 April 1997. This very welcome news comes as the result of years of patient labor by the staff of the Bureau, the IUCN Botswana Office, and government and NGO personnel in the country, with very important input from WWF. Naturally, Botswana's first designated site is the great Okavango Wetland System. Details will follow as soon as the paperwork has been sorted out. [29/1/97]

Kenya's Environmental Action Plan. Report on progress, reprinted from the Daily Nation on-line edition. [3/2/97]

South Africa names three new sites. Read all about them here -- these new sites bring the total wetlands designated for the List of Wetlands of International Importance to 862 and the total surface area to 54,806,477 hectares. [30/1/97]

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]

No more Technical Officers in the Bureau! The post of Technical Officer has been abolished from the secretariat, and all the former Technical Officers have been retitled Regional Coordinators. They are:

Regional Coordinator, AfricaTom Kabii
Regional Coordinator, AsiaRebecca D'Cruz
Regional Coordinator, EuropeTim Jones
Regional Coordinator, NeotropicsMontserrat Carbonell

The name change was established by the Bureau's PTG (Policy and Technical Group) (i.e., the Technical Officers) (plus the SG and the Senior Policy Advisor) at its meeting of 16 January 1997. [18/1/97]

Coastal Areas Management in Honduras. The President of Honduras, Carlos Roberto Reina Idiaquez, has established in September 1996 the Comisión de Manejo Integral Costero (COMICO, Commission for the Integrated Management of Coastal Areas), as part of the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in this country. The establishment of the COMICO was especially promoted by Dr Carlos Medina, former Minister of the Environment. The aim of COMICO is to promote the management and sustainable development of the entire coast of Honduras, especially the Golfo de Fonseca (on the Pacific coast). Its objectives include the coordination with other organizations of the land use planning and carrying capacity studies, and the coordination for the elaboration, with participation of all sectors involved, of Management Plans for coastal zones. Additionally it must promote the identification of coastal wetlands of international importance for inclusion in the Ramsar List.

Members of the COMICO include representatives from the Ministry of the Environment, the National Institute for Agriculture, the Forestry Development Corporation, the University, and the private business sector. (reported by Montserrat Carbonell, 11/1/97)

25th Anniversary in the Czech Republic. The Conference "Mokrady Ceské Republiky", sponsored by the Czech Ministry of the Environment, was held 3-5 December to mark the 25th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention. Michael Smart, the Bureau’s Senior Policy Advisor, represented the Bureau and also had the opportunity to visit two Montreux Record sites (Trebonské rybniky and Novozamecky & Brehyne fishponds) and one potential Ramsar site. Some 300 people attended the meetings in Trebon, not far from the headquarters of the Trebon fishponds Landscape Protection Area, which manages the Ramsar and Biosphere site, and some 200 more had to be turned away. Mr Smart’s suggestions for solution to some of the problems discussed have been included, as requested by the Czech authorities, in a diplomatic note to the Czech government. [6/1/97]

Wetlands for the Future -- Call for Proposals. "Wetlands for the Future" is a major new funding programme for training and capacity building on conservation of wetlands in the Neotropical Region. Sponsored by the United States State Department, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Ramsar Convention, this programme presents excellent opportunities for obtaining matching funds for appropriate projects in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The call for proposals, with a deadline of 31 May 1997, was released earlier today. (17/12/96)

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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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