The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 5 February 1999
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]
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). [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]
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]