The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 January 1998
Kyoto Meeting, opportunity for Ramsar. Ramsar's Special Consultant, Dr Ken Lum, reports from Kyoto that the new climate change protocol presents Ramsar with new opportunities to influence global policy. See Ken's report here. [23/12/97]
Wetland Action - Asia: "Towards 2002: Action on the Ramsar Strategic Plan". After two postponements, the dates of the Ramsar Meeting, hosted by the Malaysian government, are confirmed for 16-20 February 1998. The meeting aims to review implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002 in Asia and contribute to development of a regional implementation plan for the region. In addition, one day will be devoted to thematic workshops on: Water & Wetlands and Donor Policy & Practice for Wetlands. Participants are expected to include representatives of Contracting Parties and non-Contracting Parties, development assistance agencies, research organisations, related environmental conventions and the private sector. [16/12/97]
Southeast Asia - progress towards accession of new Parties. The Thai cabinet last month approved accession to the Ramsar treaty and proposed the Thale Noi Non-hunting Area as the nation's first Ramsar site, for which a management plan is presently being prepared; the accession of Thailand is considered to be well advanced. During Rebecca D'Cruz's visit to the region last month, it transpired, however, that the legal documentation for Cambodia's accession, and Ramsar Information Sheets for its three proposed sites, have gone missing during political disturbances of July 1997 and are being prepared anew. [16/12/97]
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. [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]
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]
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 degrees 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]
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]