The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 March 1998

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]

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.   The text of the brochure is already available on this Web site. [23/2/98]

Hot Topic: 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. [12/2/98]

North East Asian Crane Site Network web site.  Simba Chan reports the following new Web site: 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.  [12/2/98]

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 II mines. [31/1/98]

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