Four new Ramsar interns welcomed in the Bureau
The Ramsar internship programme, after its first year of operation, has proved to be an enormous success. The four young interns, assisting the Regional Coordinators for Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Neotropics respectively, have contributed significantly to the work of the Convention, presumably learned a good deal about the operations of an international environmental treaty secretariat, and brightened the office with their presence.
But now it is time for a changing of the guard, as one by one the first generation of interns complete their duty tours and make way for their successors. Here is a little background on the four incoming interns.
Ms Musonda Mumba has a BSc from the University of Zambia and has completed a number of specialist post-grad training programmes, including the UNEP/UNESCO International Postgraduate Course in Environmental Management for Developing Countries in Dresden, Germany. She is employed by the Environmental Council of Zambia in Lusaka, which is the Ramsar Conventions administrative authority in the country, and in that capacity she represented Zambia as an observer state at the 20th meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, October 1997. She has special expertise in invasive species of aquatic weeds and has recently been coordinating a project for the biological control of water hyacinth on the Kafue River and part of the Kafue Flats Ramsar site. It is envisaged that part of her work in the Bureau will have to do with beginning an assessment of National Wetland Policies and related instruments in Africa, and she is expected to join us in mid-September, succeeding Ahoua Traore of Côte dIvoire.
Ms Parastu Mirabzadeh Ardakani is of Iranian nationality, presently a resident of Canada, and has earned a BSc in Botany in India and an MSc degree in Environmental Sciences in Iran. Whilst employed in the Department of Environment in Iran, she had responsibility for development of Environmental Impact Assessment practices in Iran and prepared a large number of reports and publications. She has also been a project researcher on EIA issues with the Ministry of Science and Environment in Malaysia, and served as a Programme Officer in Tehran for the United Nations Development Programme. She will be succeeding Jamshed Kazi of Bangladesh and is expected to take up her post in early or mid-October.
Ms Anett Zellei of Hungary graduated as a General Agricultural Engineer from the University of Agricultural Science in Debrecen, Hungary, with a year of studies at University College, Cork, Ireland, and then completed the masters degree in the European Postgraduate Course in Environmental Management (EPCEM), University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As part of her EPCEM studies, she has been working on a project, in conjunction with Wetlands International, to draw up a framework for an integrated land-use plan for the Yaselda area in the Pripyat region of Belarus. Beginning in mid-August, she will be replacing our irreplaceable Maryse Mahy, who is now in process of returning to Nova Scotia for further studies, and will be finishing up Maryses study of the status of National Wetland Policies in Europe, in addition to collating the Contracting Parties National Reports as they are received in the Bureau.
Ms Carmen Elena Padilla Velasco of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, first became involved with the Convention when, with a group of other students in her university, she won approval for a Wetlands for the Future project for coordinating a workshop, held in March 1998, to educate high school students in Ramsar values. She has an environmental engineering degree from the Universidad Católica de Honduras. She will be succeeding Raquel Sigüenza de Micheo, who returned to Guatemala last month. Though Carmen is expected to arrive in Switzerland in early August, she got off to a running start by assisting Raquel and Montserrat Carbonell in coordinating the Panamerican Regional Meeting in San José, Costa Rica, in June.
Our four new colleagues are very welcome, and if they should prove to be as valuable as our departing group of interns, for another year the Bureau will continue to do the work of two Bureaus.