The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 June 1998

Thailand joins the Convention. The Bureau is delighted to announce the accession of Thailand as the Convention’s 110th Contracting Party. Thailand joined the Convention as of 13 May 1998 and so the treaty will come into force on 13 September. The new Party’s first Wetland of International Importance is "Kuan Ki Sian of the Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area Wetlands" (493.6 hectares) -- more information here. [29/5/98]


3rd Pan-European Regional Meeting. Ramsar's 3rd Pan-European Regional Meeting gets underway today in Riga, Latvia, on Wednesday 3 June, hosted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. More than 100 participants, representing almost all of the 40 European Contracting Parties and many international organizations, are registered to attend. The programme focuses on four key technical themes of special importance to implementation of the Convention in Europe: 1) Transboundary Cooperation; 2) National and Regional Wetland Policies; 3) Wetland Restoration and Rehabilitation; 4) Building financial and technical capacity for wetland conservation. Each theme will be introduced by a key-note speaker and developed through case-study-led discussion.

There will also be two plenary sessions devoted to an overview of the current status of the Convention in Europe and preparations for the 7th COP in Costa Rica. Special attention will be given to briefing delegates on the preparation of National Reports, the deadline for submission of which is only 3 months away. Here is the programme (and speakers) for the meeting. [3/6/98]


Canada names a new Ramsar site. Canada has designated Lac Saint-Pierre, an 11,952-hectare area of delta and shoreline along the St. Lawrence River in Québec, as its 36th Ramsar site.  The area includes a chain of some 100 islands, a group of wide bays, and very wide spaces of open water.  The letter from the Minister of the Environment, Christine S. Stewart, notes that "the nomination of this site is firmly supported through the efforts of the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune, federal agencies, local municipalities and conservation organizations, as well as private landowners.   It truly represents a local partnership interested in the recognition and protection of these wetlands, vitally important to waterfowl and a wide range of biodiversity."  The Lac Saint-Pierre site qualifies for the Ramsar List under Criteria 1(c) on representativeness and 2(a), 2(b), and 2(c) concerning biodiversity of plants and animals. [29/5/98]


United Kingdom adds ten new Ramsar sites.  Delays in the paperwork have been set right for ten new sites in the UK, the designations of some of which had been announced in the UK some time ago.  Eight more announced designations are still in the pipeline.   The ten new sites added to the Ramsar List today are: Avon Valley, England, 1,385 hectares; Caithness Lochs, Scotland, 241 ha; Corsydd Mon a Llyn (Anglesey & Llyn Fens), Wales, 625 ha; Dornoch Firth & Loch Fleet, Northern Ireland, 7,836 ha; Larne Lough, Northern Ireland, 396 ha; Midland Meres & Mosses (phase 2), England/Wales, 1,588 ha; Moray & Nairn Coast, Scotland, 2,410 ha; Pettigoe Plateau, Northern Ireland, 1,264 ha; River Spey-Insh Marshes, Scotland, 1,176 ha; and Upper Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, 5,818 ha. [28/5/98]


Syria joins the Convention. The paperwork has now been completed for the accession of Syria to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, with Lac de Sebkha al-Djabbul designated as its first Ramsar site. The Bureau does not yet have a Ramsar Information Sheet for this site. Because Syria's instrument of ratification reached UNESCO on 5 March 1998, it actually becomes the 107th Contracting Party, with the more recent Luxembourg and Belize as the 108th and 109th respectively. Syria is warmly welcomed into the Ramsar community. [26/5/98]


Canada's National Wetland Policy , French version of the STRP7 summary; "Advance unedited texts" of four decisions of the CBD's COP4; Minutes of the 7th meeting of the STRP, and a summary of the minutes in English (French and Spanish to follow), with photos. [3/6/98]


This is Homebush Bay! Homebush Bay is part of Sydney Harbor, and thus part of the venue of the Sydney Summer Olympics in Australia in 2000, and also the venue of the planned Virtual Ramsar Site.  Here, for the joy and delectation of our regular readers, is an "advance unedited map" of the area, to give you something to hook your imaginations to as you await further details. [27/5/98]


Secretary General summarizes CBD COP4 for Ramsar.   Mr Delmar Blasco offers a very brief summary of the significance of the 4th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity for the Ramsar community, especially in regard to the COP4 decision on the Financial Mechanism.  You can read it here. [26/5/98]


Ramsar News from the CBD's COP4.  The 4th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has concluded in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, with (thanks to excellent support from Ramsar Contracting Parties and Partner NGOs) extremely positive results for the Ramsar Convention's plans for increased cooperation between the two Conventions.  Decisions of COP4 endorsed the Proposed Joint Work Plan and called for cooperation with Ramsar in working for the biodiversity of both inland water ecosystems and marine and coastal zones.  The CBD secretariat has already posted "advance unedited texts" of all the decisions, and the four decisions mostly closely involving the Ramsar Convention have been reprinted on this Web site. [22/5/98]


Belize becomes the 108th Contracting Party. Belize has deposited its instrument of accession as the 108th Party to the Ramsar Convention, as of 22 April, and the Convention will come into force for that country on 22 August 1998. The first Wetlands of International Importance designated by Belize for the Ramsar List are "Crooked Tree Lagoon Area" and "Mexico and Jones Lagoon Area", about which the Bureau does not yet have much information. Details will follow when the Bureau receives the Ramsar Information Sheets on these sites. [8/5/98]


Luxembourg joins the Convention. UNESCO has informed the Bureau that on 15 April 1998 Luxembourg completed the formalities to become the Ramsar Convention's 107th Contracting Party, so that the Convention will come into force for Luxembourg on 15 August. All 15 EU countries are now part of the Convention.  Haff Réimech has been named as the new Party's first Wetland of International Importance, a 313-hectare former quarry on the left bank of the river Moselle.  The wetland types listed for the site, based on the Ramsar Classification Scheme, are permanent freshwater marshes/pools, permanent freshwater lakes, seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools, and shrub-dominated wetlands.  Criteria cited are 1(d) [rare or unusual type of wetland for the region], 2(b) [special value for genetic and ecological diversity of the region], 3(b) [substantial numbers of individuals from particular groups of waterfowl], and 4(a) [indigenous fish species]. [7/5/98]


The Wetland Conservation Award.  The Ramsar Conservation Award was established in order to recognize and honor the contributions of individuals, organizations, and governments around the world in promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.   In October 1997 the Standing Committee will select three winners from among the nominees, and the awards, each accompanied by US$ 10,000 courtesy of the Danone Group as part of the Evian Project, will be conferred at COP7 in Costa Rica in May 1999.  The deadline for nominations is 31 July 1998, so if you have a special person or group in mind for one of these awards, now is the time to get focused.  Replicas of the Award nomination forms are available here in English, French, and Spanish, and you can get a nice paper brochure from the Bureau by sending a note to Valerie Higgins [4/5/98]


Costa Rica designates Isla del Coco as its 7th site. The Government of Costa Rica has designated a new wetland of international importance: Isla del Coco National Park,  535 km off the coast from Puntarenas on the mainland, with a total surface of 99,623 hectares.  Details are available. [28/4/98]

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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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