The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 February 2002
Headline Story: It's World Wetlands Day, of course. The big news today, of course, is World Wetlands Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971. We have a list of activities planned 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 today). And the Bureau is celebrating 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. [2/2/98]
Another Important Story: France names excellent new 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]
New on the Site:A whole new section of this Web site devoted to the Bureau's new initiatives launched on World Wetlands Day, and the beginnings of a new section called the Wise Use Resource Centre; volume II (Asia and Oceania) of the 1993 Directory of Wetlands of International Importance, in the Ramsar Library; the Bureau's plagiarizable background paper on World Wetlands Day and the Secretary General's short, punchy message of encouragement [with buttons to French and Spanish versions of both] as well as Doug Hulyer's WWD fact sheet, filled with scary water stats that can't really be read in one sitting without the spectre of Suicide raising its Ghastly Head. [2/2/98]
Coming Soon: The Africa volume of the 1993 Directory; reprints of some of the technical publications promised in the Wise Use Resource Library;
Who's Where . . . . .
Delmar Blasco, the Secretary General, returned tonight (Friday) from a meeting of the Spanish national Ramsar committee in Barcelona, and leaves Saturday night for Pretoria to attend the Southern African Ramsar Subregional Meeting next week.
Anada Tiéga, Regional Coordinator for Africa, has just completed his participation in the "Expert Meeting on Strategic Approaches to Freshwater Management" in Harare, Zimbabwe, and is preceding Mr Blasco to Pretoria for the Ramsar Subregional Meeting.
Tim Jones, RC for Europe, is headed for Albania next week for a national wetland seminar and MedWet meetings.
Bill Phillips, Deputy Secretary General, will be attending meetings in Gland early in the week aimed at developing a paper for the World Water Council, and will then be attending the WCMC workshop in Geneva, 5-6 February, on harmonization of the environmental conventions.
Mike Moser of Wetlands International AEME will be visiting the Ramsar Bureau and IUCN HQ in Gland on 3-4 February. [31/1/98]
Secretary General's visit in South America. In late December 1997 and the first half of January '98, Mr Delmar Blasco combined home leave in Argentina with extensive contacts and meetings in Brazil, Peru, and Argentina. Here is a brief summary of his meetings. [27/1/98]
Last Announcement on this Subject: Economic Valuation of Wetlands in Spanish, now on the stands. After a very long year's travails in the various languages, the Spanish version of the Valuation book (already available in the Ramsar Library on this Web site) has appeared from the printers and can be purchased from the IUCN Publication Services Unit in the UK. A limited number of copies, thanks to the generous support of the banque Caixa Catalunya in Barcelona, are available for free distribution from the Bureau, especially to developing countries. [Hint: Whoever you are, write in and we'll get one to you.] [23/1/98]
Ramsar Bureau staff news. Database expert added as part-time consultant. This morning the Secretary General released this note concerning A. J. Hails, who edited our recently-published book on wetlands biodiversity and has successfully created the Wetland Experts Database on a consultancy basis: "I am delighted to advise that Sandra Hails has agreed to accept an offer to continue working with us as a part-time consultant over a period of time. She will continue to maintain, operate, and expand the Experts database to be launched on World Wetlands Day. Also, as a priority task, she will be setting up our central database of mailing lists and contacts - a much-needed communications tool for us all. After this task is done, I envisage Sandra continuing with us to take on some of the discrete project activities from the Bureau's Communications and Awareness Raising Action Plan." It's about time somebody took all these mailing lists in hand! [23/1/98]
Wetlands International AEME launches Web site.We are delighted to forward the news the Wetlands International - Africa, Europe, Middle East has launched its own Web site at http://www.wetlands.agro.nl/. [update: http://www.wetlands.org] "The site contains background information on the organization; information on technical programme activities; publications and reports; upcoming meetings; key links to other wetland-related sites; news from the AEME region and detailed information on the 2nd International Conference on Wetlands and Development to be held later this year. . . . Future developments on the site will include the introduction of a wetlands search tool and on-line access to the Ramsar Wetland Sites Database." Info from Simon Nash (firstname.lastname@example.org). [20/1/98]
Wetland Action Asia meeting postponed. "The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Malaysia, regrets to announce that it has had to postpone the meeting, planned for 16-20 February 1998, as a consequence of the currency turmoil which has affected the Southeast Asia region." Malaysia has invited the Bureau to identify another host country for the event, and the Bureau hopes to be able to announce a new venue and date soon. [20/1/98]
Wetlands International Staff News:Tim Dodman, AEME Africa Programme Development Officer, is departing the Wageningen headquarters and moving to or near Dakar, Senegal, to help establish the new regional project for West Africa, up and running from about 15 February (no e-mail address yet). In the meantime, Africa Programme issues can be addressed to Cor de Vaan email@example.com or Claire Nivet firstname.lastname@example.org . Faizal Parish, Director of Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, is going on sabbatical leave to write a book, and new administrative arrangements are still being worked out in the Kuala Lumpur headquarters. [21/1/98]
New Book.Waterfowl Population Estimates (2nd ed.), by P.M. Rose and D.A. Scott. Price UK£10.00. Wetlands International has just published the second edition of Waterfowl Population Estimates, the source reference for the 1% levels of all the waterbird populations of the world, which form the basis for application of Ramsar Criterion 3c for the identification of wetlands of international importance. The publication is a direct response to Resolution VI.4, which inter alia "CALLS ON Contracting Parties to use these estimates and thresholds, upon their publication, as a basis for designation of sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance in the succeeding three triennia." Copies of the publication can be ordered from NATURAL HISTORY BOOK SERVICE LTD quoting NHBS Order # 56837 at 2–3 Wills Road, Totnes, Devon TQ9 5XN. U.K. (tel: + 44-1803-865913, fax: + 44-1803-865280, e-mail: email@example.com, Web: http://www.nhbs.com). [20/1/98]
Anada Tiéga joins the Bureau. Mr Anada Tiéga has taken up his duties in the Ramsar Bureau as Regional Coordinator for the African region, replacing Tom Kabii, who is returning to university for further studies in Perth, Australia. Mr Tiéga has a BS from the University of Niamey and an MSc in Forest-Watershed Management from the University of Arizona in Tucson, USA; he also has more than 17 years' professional experience in formulation of conservation and sustainable use strategies at local, national, and regional level, management of technical programmes, and negotiation with government organizations and multilateral financial institutions, as well as expertise in technical subjects related to forestry, arid lands, wildlife and protected areas, and wetlands management. Fluent in Hausa and French, Mr Tiéga also speaks and writes excellent English. He has been serving as IUCN Country Representative in Niger since 1992 and has been IUCN's Regional Coordinator for West Africa. We welcome our new colleague to the secretariat. [14/1/98]
Year-end Ramsar Web statistics. Dan Hinckley, electronic communications coordinator at IUCN, compiles monthly statistics on the IUCN Web site, of which Ramsar's site is a part, and now he's just come up with stats for all of 1997. The Ramsar homepage, "/index.html", took about 15,000 hits over the year, in 11,000 user sessions; monthly hits to the main entry page have progressed from 600 or so early in the year to about 2,200 hits per month at present. The most popular Ramsar areas, by crude hit counts, have been the What's New and Bulletin Board pages, the Key Documents section, About Ramsar, Ramsar Links, and the Ramsar List download page in that order. We have offered the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance as a download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format since February 1996, but in May 1997 we began offering the unwieldy thing in five other common formats as well. The List was downloaded by 772 people in 1997, in these proportions: 41.0% in Adobe PDF, available over the whole 12 months, then (though available only over the past 7 months), 33.0% in Microsoft Word 7.0 for Windows 95, 10.2% in Microsoft Word 2.0 for Windows 3.1, 6.0% in Microsoft Word 5.1 for Macintosh, 5.7% in WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, and 3.9% in Microsoft crossplatform RTF format. [14/1/98]
Mongolia joins the Ramsar Convention.The Bureau is delighted to announce that on 8 December 1997 Mongolia deposited with the Director-General of UNESCO its instrument of accession as the 106th Ramsar Contracting Party, and the Convention will come into force for Mongolia on 8 April 1998. Mongolia’s first Wetland of International Importance is the 210,000-hectare Mongol Daguur (Mongolian Dauria) in Eastern Mongolia near the border with Russia, and further details are available here. [7/1/98]
OECD Guidelines for Aid Agencies . . . . Recommendation 6.16 (Brisbane, 1996) welcomed the presentation made at Ramsar COP6 by representatives of the OECD of the "Guidelines for Aid Agencies for Improved Conservation and Sustainable Use of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Wetlands" (1996), prepared for the OECD by IUCN, and urged the Ramsar Standing Committee to seek comments about the Guidelines from the Contracting Parties and present the results to the 7th COP. The Standing Committee’s Decision 19.28 (November 1996) requested the Bureau to solicit such comments about the Guidelines from the Contracting Parties and present the results to the Standing Committee. In Decision 20.24 (October 1997), the SC expressed its gratitude to IUCN for having arranged for a Spanish translation of the Guidelines and requested the Ramsar Bureau to assist IUCN in distributing these texts as widely as possible.
IUCN and the OECD have been proceeding with the distribution of these texts in English, French, and Spanish for some time already, but the Ramsar Bureau would like now to invite readers of this page to request a copy of the 80-page booklet from us if they have not yet got their copies. This is no. 9 in the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s "Guidelines on Aid and Environment" series, entitled in French "Lignes directrices établies à l’intention des organismes d’aide pour une meilleure préservation et une utilisation durable des zones humides tropicales et subtropicales", and in Spanish, "Directrices para Organismos de Ayuda para majorar la conservación y el uso sostenible de los humedales tropicales y subtropicales." Please send your request to Valerie Higgins and don’t forget your postal address and the language-version required. [8/1/98]
Spanish and French editions of the Economic Valuation book. The famous Economic Valuation of Wetlands: a guide for policy makers and planners (Ramsar, 1997), by Edward Barbier, Mike Acreman, and Duncan Knowler, was published in book form in May 1997 and also made available on this Web site in November 1997. The French translation by Danièle Devitre has now been published in book form and is available for sale from IUCN Publications Services in Cambridge, and an HTML version has also been posted on this Web site. The Spanish translation by Juan Carlos Valdovinos is also being published in book form, with financial assistance from the bank Caixa Catalunya, España, in Barcelona, and will be available by mid-January 1998, and it too has been published in HTML on this Web site as of last week -- click on the Ramsar Library button on our home page and proceed directly to it. [5/1/98]
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.