The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 5 February 1999
Headline story:Shorebird Conservation in the Asia-Pacific Region. Mark Barter, Chair of the Asia-Pacific Shorebird Working Group, reports to the Ramsar Forum on the progress of the Shorebird Action Plan. [2/2/99]
Ex-Headline story:Bureau celebrates WWD '99. Without mentioning rivers of champagne coursing through the absent Secretary General's office, and party hats and Ramsar scarves waving madly out the windows, the Ramsar Bureau is marking the third World Wetlands Day with . . . a bunch of press releases! All new material, commissioned articles and interviews, and photographs, of the Wetland Conservation Award winners for 1999. An innovative public-private partnership in the designation of a new Ramsar site in Australia. A background paper on this year's "People and Wetlands" theme, by Sandra Hails. And the traditional wetlandtide message from the Secretary General, suitable for quoting, even framing. See it here. [2/2/99]
Ex-Headline story:Gwydir wetlands in NSW, a public-private partnership. Working in partnership, four farming families, two conservation groups, the New South Wales State Government, and the Commonwealth Government of Australia have developed an historic Memorandum of Understanding that will maintain conservation management of the unique Gwydir wetlands, 500 kilometres northwest of Sydney in Australia’s semi-arid regions. The Ramsar designation will be announced on World Wetlands Day. [2/2/99]
Footnote: Bureau diversity. Talk about diversity in the work place. The Bureau staff presently sports the following nationalities: Argentina (1), Australia (1), Belgium (1/2), Canada (1/2), Honduras (1), Hungary (1), Iran (1), Korea, Rep. of (1), Malaysia (1), Niger (1), Scotland (1), Spain (1), Switzerland (2), United Kingdom (3), USA (1), Zambia (1). The UK has a plurality, but not a majority by a long margin. [2/2/99]
United Kingdom adds eight new Ramsar sites. The United Kingdom has completed paperwork on 8 new Ramsar sites that were designated between June 1997 and March ’98, and these have now been added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, bringing the UK’s total number of sites to 127, covering 530,305 hectares. In England, there are Somerset Levels and Moors (6,388 ha) and Duddon Estuary (6,806 ha); in Scotland, Ronas Hill - North Roe & Tingon (5,470 ha), East Sanday Coast (1,515 ha), South Uist Machair & Lochs in the Hebrides islands (3,352 ha), and Ythan Estuary & Meikle Loch (314 ha); and in Northern Ireland, Strangford Loch (15,581 ha) and Carlingford Loch (827 ha).
In addition, two existing Ramsar sites have been extended: Broadland, to 4623 ha, and River Crouch Marshes, now to be called "Crouch & Roach Estuaries (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 3)", to 1,735 ha. The Convention now has 965 Ramsar sites worldwide, covering 70,471,806 hectares. [30/1/99]
Integrated Coastal Management conference planned. A conference entitled "Integrated Coastal Management in the Mediterranean Region: Strategies, Solutions, and Technologies" is being organized by the Battelle organization with sponsorship by MedCoast and the Urban Harbors Institute. Set for Alghero, Sardinia, 4-7 May 1999, the forum will feature discussions and sharing of experiences, panel presentations, problem-solving sessions, and demonstrations of technologies and approaches applied to sustainable coastal development. An attractive Web site has been set up to provide further information: http://www.battelle.org/environment/technology/ICMconference [30/1/99]
"Wetlands of Argentina" published. Wetlands International - Americas has published Los Humedales de la Argentina: clasificación, situación actual, conservación y legislación, which covers biological and functional issues of wetlands, as well as social and economic factors. More information can be had from Daniel Blanco, head of the South America Programme of Humedales Internacional - Américas (email@example.com). [30/1/99]
"Vulnerability Assessment of Major Wetlands in the Asia-Pacific Region". That's the name of the project of the Asia Pacific Network (APN) for Global Climate Change, coordinated by the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (ERISS), that held a workshop on the vulnerability assessment of the Yellow River Delta in Beijing, China, on 22 January 1999. Wetlands International-China Programme has kindly provided a very brief report on the meeting, with contacts for further info, right here. [29/1/99]
Danone-Evian/FFEM workshop on "Closed Sea Deltas". Tim Jones, Ramsar Regional Coordinator for Europe, recently attended the first workshop of the network of 'Closed Sea Deltas' established under the Danone-Evian/FFEM programme, 20-23 January 1999, in Campagna Lupia, Italy. Delta managers from the Rhône, Axios, Po, Danube, Volga, Ebro, and Dnepr attended, and here is a very brief report. [26/1/99].
Inventory of potential Ramsar sites in France. At the request of Ramsar’s Administrative Authority in France, and under the supervision of the French Ramsar Committee, the National Natural History Museum has recently completed an updating of the list of wetlands in France (including its Overseas Départements and Territories) which meet the Ramsar Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance. The final report, published in December, lists 119 wetlands in Metropolitan France and a further 39 sites overseas. It includes an annotated list, ordered by administrative region, and simple maps are provided to show the location of each site. It is expected that this work will lead to new site designations in due course. France currently has 18 Ramsar sites, of which 3 are in overseas Départements. Copies of the report are available from M Charles THIÉBAUT at the Administrative Authority, the Direction de la Nature et des Paysages, Ministère de l'Aménagement du Territoire et de l'Environnement (Fax: +33-1-126.96.36.199). [26/1/99]
Photos from October 1998's 21st Standing Committee meeting. Here we are, three months later, and a bunch of photos of the 21st SC meeting have been reposing idly on a certain someone's desk all this busy while -- STARING up with a gently understanding but nonetheless incriminating gaze -- but now we have them, neatly low-rez Mustek jpeg'd for all the participants and their many friends and admirers. Not great photos, but oh well, in any case, here they are. See how many of these blurry faces you can identify, and win the Ramsar blurry face award (to be presented in San José, May 1999). [25/1/99]
Pan-Asia Regional Meeting. The orphan of Ramsar regional meetings for this triennium, the Pan-Asian meeting is now looming in upon us -- set for Manila, 22-24 February (unless it's a leap year), the meeting will cover a number of key themes in the run-up to COP7. Here is some essential info for the participants -- where to get your taxi, what clothes to bring, etc. -- a little less indispensable for the general Web reader. [22/1/99]
Helper needed for shorebird count. Matt Wheeler, Coordinator of the Wetlands International - Cambodia and Mekong Programme based in Phnom Penh, is looking for an experienced counter of shorebirds who might have 30 days to spare in March of this year. Wetlands International, in collaboration with Birdlife International, are soon to commence a one-month study of shorebirds in southern Vietnam to nominate sites for the Shorebird Reserve Network; the work is being managed by Wetlands International from the Canberra office, specifically by Doug Watkins.
Help is needed from someone who is already living or traveling in the region and would like the experience of being part of the project. They have not got much funding for salaries but do have enough to cover all expenses: food, accommodation, and transport. If you should know of anyone who might be interested in helping out, please ask him or her to contact Matt directly (phone/fax: (855) 23 427 137, Mobile: (855) 15 830 410, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
Staffing for the Neotropical Region. Dr Monserrat Carbonell, Regional Coordinator for the Neotropics, has left the Bureau, and applications are being accepted for her position until the end of January. For the meantime, Ms Nancy Vallejo has joined the secretariat as Senior Advisor for the Americas for the period through to the COP in May. Get a little more detail on that arrangement, right here in English, right here in Español. [20/1/99]
Nice new Web site: Republic of Korea. An interesting Web site on the wetlands of the Republic of Korea has newly been established by the Korean Wetlands Alliance, an umbrella group of NGOs set up following Ramsar's COP6 to advance the cause of wetlands and the Convention in the country. Visit it at http://ecoserve.kfem.or.kr/wetland/ [22/1/99]
Positions available: WWF seeks a "Scorecards Officer". Martin Winther, WWF Freshwater Information Officer, writes that the WWF European Freshwater Team are looking for a Scorecards Officer (to be based in Denmark) who will produce a Scorecard, the intention of which is to highlight the status of government activities with respect to freshwater and wetlands and to demonstrate the strong and weak points of freshwater policy and management on a country by country basis. Here is a more detailed job description and, into the bargain, a profile of the proposed WWF Freshwater Scorecards Project. [15/1/99]
New intern joins the Bureau. Bureau staff has been strengthened for January and February 1999 by the arrival of Hye-Jung Yang, a new intern from the Republic of Korea. A student in the Graduate School of International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul (which is picking up the tab for her sojourn amongst us), Hye-Jung has bachelor degrees in English and Swahili and is presently pursuing an advanced course of study in African affairs. She also has experience as an intern in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Seoul, in the Middle East and Africa Division. Though lamentably she will be with us only for a few months, she is already hard at work at helping to sort out some of our more enigmatic National Reports from the region. You'll see Hye-Jung's picture here if we should happen to have a staff party anytime soon. [14/1/99]
World Wetlands Day not far off. In October 1996, the Ramsar Standing Committee officially designated World Wetlands Day for 2 February of every year, the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, as an opportunity for governments, organizations, and citizens to undertake big and small actions intended to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. In February 1997, only a few months later, a considerable number of countries undertook a wide range of activities aimed at using WWD to raise public awareness, and the worldwide response in 1998 was enormous -- just the WWD activities reported to the Bureau cover more than 50 countries.
The great hope, of course, is that the response will be even better in 1999. The suggested theme for activities is "People and Wetlands: the Vital Link", the same as the theme of the 7th COP set for May in Costa Rica, but of course that is a suggestion only. The Bureau, groaning under the burden of the preparations for COP7, will try to contribute in a modest way by providing a press release/statement from the Secretary General which may, as in the past two years, provide a useful source for quotations, and we will again make available both the same WWD poster from last year and a little brochure of suggested activities (request from Montserrat Riera, email@example.com). We also plan to use WWD to make available more background and biographical material on the five winners of the Wetland Conservation Award, who will be honored at the COP.
Once again, we would like to urge all groups and individuals who are planning activities of any kind for World Wetlands Day to let the Bureau know about them, either as plans beforehand or reports afterwards or preferably both, and we will post them on a special section of the Ramsar Web site (http://ramsar.org/wwd_index.htm). You can see our reporting on WWD 1998 at http://ramsar.org/wwd98_report.htm and /wwd98_plans.htm. [12/1/99]
Positions Available: Wetlands International: Operations and Finance Manager. [7/1/99] [This position has been filled.]
Ramsar's new logo enters into force. The Ramsar Standing Committee, in Decision 21.4 of its October 1998 meeting, adopted a new logo which better expresses the evolving mission of the Convention. Today, 1 January 1999, the new logo comes into force and will be used from now on as Ramsar's corporate graphical identity on letterhead paper, publications, Web site, business cards, etc. Here's some explanatory text on the new logo, prepared for our first announcement of the change posted here on 27 November. [1/1/99]
Yueyang Declaration reprinted here. The Sixth Northeast Asia and North Pacific Environmental Forum was held in Yueyang City, Hunan Province, China from 17-20 December 1998. It was attended by 92 representatives from governmental and non-governmental organisations, and environmental experts from China, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United States, and also from international organisations. The meeting was organised by Wetlands International – China Programme, the China Environmental Protection Foundation and the Asia Foundation, with the endorsement of the Chinese government. Funding was provided by the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund and Asia Foundation-Japan Office. The resulting resolution, called the Yueyang Declaration, has been provided for reprinting here by Faizal Parish and by Chen Kelin, Coordinator, Wetlands International-China Programme (Secretariat of Yueyang Workshop). [26/12/98]
"Kintyre Goose Roosts". The UK has designated "Kintyre Goose Roosts", a 311-hectare site in Scotland, as its 119th Wetland of International Importance, effective 28 October. Tim Jones reports: The Ramsar site comprises five hill lochs (freshwater lakes) on the Kintyre peninsula in southwest Scotland: Loch Garasdale, Loch an Fhraoich, Loch Lussa, Black Loch and Tangy Loch. The lochs are of international importance as a winter roost site for the globally vulnerable Greenland white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons flavirostris). During the five-winter period 1991/92 - 1995/96 the site held an average of 8% of the world population, thereby qualifying under Ramsar criterion 3c. Additional biodiversity values of national importance include the presence of European otters (Lutra lutra) and, at Tangy Loch, a nationally rare aquatic plant, the slender naiad (Najas flexilis).
The most prevalent human activities within the site are forestry and sport hunting, with sport fishing, fishery production and livestock grazing as secondary uses. The area also has significant aesthetic, landscape and general non-consumptive recreation value.There are no known significant threats to the site at present, although further monitoring may be required to determine the effects of disturbance from forestry and hunting. [23/12/98]
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.