The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 March 1998
Headline Story: Wetlands International - South Asia. Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, based in Kuala Lumpur, has established a branch office for South Asia centered in New Delhi, with Dr. C. L. Trisal as Coordinator. Dr Trisal, formerly with India's administrative authority for the Convention, has long expertise in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention and is already at work on a number of Ramsar-related projects. His lengthy fax dated 20 February is unfortunately unscannable, but we will reprint the announcement as soon as we receive an e-mail version of the text. [2/3/98]
Embarrassed semi-headline story: Server briefly down, it could happen to you, too. About 63 readers dialed into this Web site on Sunday, 1 March (that includes myself, frantically checking) and got just about nothing, zip, just a promise of some cool pages soon and a hit counter. IUCN's ISP, iProlink in Geneva, was porting the entire site to a new server machine and evidently got the order of steps a little wrong, so for a while the URL alias was hitting a brick wall. Sorry about that, it won't happen again, heh heh heh. [2/3/98]
Another Old Headline Story, but nonetheless still important:European Internship vacancy in the Bureau. The Bureau is seeking to replace Maryse Mahy, who completes her one-year posting plus an extension. Here are the terms of reference; the position is open as of 1 August 1998, and applications are due before 31 March. [18/2/98]
Small news note, not exactly a headline. Economic Valuation of Wetlands, sayonara? It's painful to report this, but the popular Ramsar book The Economic Valuation of Wetlands has officially gone out of print in the English version (unless you want to pay for it! -- the IUCN Publication Services Unit in Cambridge, UK, is still hoarding a few copies). We're hoping to talk the Secretary General into reprinting it, so nil desperandum!!! Update to follow. The French and Spanish versions of the book are still holding on fine. [2/3/98]
Who's Where . . .
The Secretary General, Delmar Blasco, is visiting Tokyo on 26 and 27 February for discussions with the Government of Japan concerning the implementation of the Convention in the country and the support of the Japanese Government for Ramsar work in other parts of the world. Meetings will include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Environment Agency, and JICA, Japanese International Cooperation Agency. From 28 February to 2 March, he will be visiting Kushiro, including participation during two days in an international workshop to review progress in a project been implemented by IUCN and other NGOs (including the Kushiro International Wetland Centre) to undertake case studies on community involvement in wetland management. The output of the project should be a series of guidelines on this matter that will be submitted to the next meeting of the Ramsar Conference of the Parties for discussion and eventual approval.
Tim Jones, Regional Coordinator for Europe, is off to Italy to visit LIPU (BirdLife Italy), the Ministry of Environment, and the WWF Mediterranean Office. Probably for some good purpose.
Anada Tiega, Regional Coordinator for Africa, is setting out on an ambitious programme of visits to the Environment Ministry in Harare, Zimbabwe (2-4 March); Kampala, Uganda, the IUCN Wetlands Programme managers' meeting and preparations for the Pan-African meeting set for July; and to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (10-11 March) for discussions with the Ministry.
The rest of us. Still holding the fort, as usual. [2/3/98]
New on the Site:Most of the 1993 book Towards the Wise Use of Wetlands [Ramsar Library]; "Ramsar and the Global Water Crisis" paper, in three languages [see index frame to the left]; Volume I, Africa, of the 1993 Directory of Wetlands [see the Ramsar Libary]; Brief report on the Southern African Subregional Meeting; French text and English translation of the Evian Project memorandum of understanding, with photos. [25/2/98]
Coming Soon: thoroughly revised About Ramsar material to conform with our popular new series of background Ramsar Information Papers; the 1996 Directory update [thanks, Scott, for e-mailing the texts].
New Slovakian Ramsar sites. The Bureau has received completed Ramsar Information Sheets, maps and other supporting documentation for 5 new Ramsar sites in the Slovak Republic, namely: Orava River and its Tributaries (865 ha), Poiplie (410.8 ha), Rudava River Valley (560 ha), Turiec Wetlands (466.8 ha), Wetlands of the Orava Basin (9,264 ha). This brings the total number of Slovak Ramsar sites to 12. Brief descriptions of these sites are available here. [24/2/98]
Ramsar and the global water crisis. In preparation for the 6th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (20 April - 1 May 1998), the Government of France will host a high level Conference on Water and Sustainable Development from 19-21 March 1998 in Paris. The Bureau has prepared an invited paper for consideration at that conference -- it argues, among other things, that a global recognition of the vital functions and services provided by wetlands, and a commitment from governments to halt all actions resulting in the further destruction of wetlands, should be a recommendation from this meeting. The text prepared by the Bureau is now being sent to the Administrative Authorities in order to allow for consideration of its recommendations by the delegations that will participate at the Paris Conference and the 6th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in New York. It is hoped that these delegations will support the recommendations it contains to further the work of the Convention on Wetlands. Persuade yourself as well: here's the text of that paper (English, French, Spanish). (25/2/98)
Wetland Conservation Award brochures. The Bureau has received the A4 single-fold Wetland Conservation Award brochures from the printers, in English, French, and Spanish, and encourages everyone who may have a likely candidate in mind or who may simply wish to help promote the Award among their friends and acquaintances to let us send them some. Please specify the language and number of copies required to Valerie Higgins of the Ramsar Bureau (email@example.com). The text of the brochure is already available on this Web site. [23/2/98]
Dr Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu. The Bureau is delighted to forward the following news from WWF concerning Dr Ntiamoa-Baidu, Chairperson of Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel: "Professor Dr. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu has been recruited as the Regional Director for the WWF Africa & Madagascar programme. Yaa has over 20 years experience in wildlife conservation in diverse areas including species protection and NGO institution building. She has most recently (and is currently) Associate Professor and Head of the Zoology Department at the University of Ghana as well as Executive Director of the Ghana Wildlife Society. Yaa will be joining WWF staff at the Education Workshop in Lagos, and the Africa/ Madagascar Subcommittee meeting in Ibadan, before taking up the post in June 1998." [9/2/98]
"Hot Topic" no. 1 bounds into view. The Bureau promised on World Wetlands Day to visit upon the world a new succession of issues to fret about. Ramsar "Hot Topics" will propose a wetland-related question every few months and solicit YOUR help in tracking down the best current science on the subject -- not crass and doctrinaire opinions, not tearful cautionary anecdotes, not economic sanctions imposed upon those who don't agree with you, but rather your summaries and assessments of, and bibliographic references to, the current state of good science on the topic, whether pro or con. The Bureau's Deputy Secretary General has been Deputized to assess your input and produce a report on each of these topics in a timely fashion, which will be, in an unofficial way, the Convention's statement on that issue at the present time. The first "Hot Topic" is Canal Estates: read the more ample description here and make some sort of contribution, however feeble, to Dr. Bill Phillips, at firstname.lastname@example.org. And thanks for your help. [12/2/98]
North East Asian Crane Site Network web site. Simba Chan (email@example.com) reports the following new Web site: http://www.kt.rim.or.jp/~birdinfo/BL_news/cranenet.html. The North East Asian Crane Site Network was launched at the International Workshop on Wetlands and Waterbird Conservation in North-east Asia, Beidaihe, China, in March 1997. It is an action under the "Brisbane Initiative" launched at the 6th COP in Brisbane, Australia (1996) which calls for the establishment of a network of Ramsar-listed and other wetlands of international importance for migratory shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, managed to maintain their suitability for migratory shorebirds. Other networks under the same initiative are: the Shorebird Reserve Network - launched in March 1996 and the Anatidae (Ducks and Geese) Network - to be launched in 1999. [12/2/98]
Management Planning Guidelines -- your input is required. The Bureau is seeking your help -- if you have firsthand knowledge and experience of developing or implementing management plans for Ramsar or other wetland sites, help the Bureau and the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) revise and improve the Ramsar Management Planning Guidelines by completing and returning the questionnaire so conveniently posted here for you, in English, French, and Spanish versions. [7/2/98]
Nice book published on Nepalese Ramsar site. The bible of the sport, an excellent new book on the Koshi Tappu Wetlands in Nepal ("Nepal's Ramsar Site"), by Jay Prakash Sah, has just been published by IUCN -- 254 pages, it's got everything you could ever ask about Koshi Tappu, which was the subject of a Ramsar Small Grants Fund allocation a few years ago. The book is available from the IUCN Country Office, P.O. Box 3923, Jawalakhel, Kathmandu, Nepal or the IUCN Southeast Asia Regional Coordination Office, Asian Institute of Technology, P. O. Box 4, Klong Luang 12120, Thailand, snap it up! [12/2/98]
World Wetlands Day. The big news right now, of course, is World Wetlands Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971. We have a list of national and local activities slated for WWD in nearly 50 countries, and this includes only the plans reported to the Bureau -- just the tip of the iceberg (not an inapt metaphor in the northern countries these days). And the Bureau celebrated WWD by launching a number of new initiatives, including the Wetland Experts Database, the Wise Use Resource Centre, the Evian Project, and the Wetland Conservation Award. Find out more about all of these things by backing out of these frames and punching the button next to the blinking red WWD entries on our home page. [3/2/98]
France names 18th Ramsar site. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the designation of the Baie de Somme, on the coast of the Picardie Region in northeast France, as its 18th Ramsar site. The site covers 17,000 ha and includes the largest-remaining natural estuary of the northwest European coastline between the Baie du Mont Saint Michel (already a Ramsar site) to the west and the Netherlands to the east. Amongst the mosaique of habitats which make up the site are extensive intertidal sand and mud flats and salt-marsh. Part of the site (3,000 ha) was designated as a Natural Reserve in 1994. Human activities include extensive sheep grazing, shell-fish harvesting, hunting (outside of the Natural Reserve), tourism, and traditional fishing. More than 100,000 people visit the ornithological park at 'Marquenterre' each year. Most of the surrounding area is used for livestock rearing. The Baie de Somme qualifies for Ramsar listing under many of the Convention criteria (1a,1b,2a,2b,2c,2d,3b,3c), but is most well-documented in relation to its international importance for migratory water birds. Amongst a number of factors mentioned in the Ramsar Information Sheet as 'threats and disturbances' are the gradual silting-up and eutrophication of the bay, the impact of moto-cross vehicles, and the continuing presence of World War Two mines. [31/1/98]
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.