The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 March 1999
Headline story:Progress on Okefenokee mining dispute. The Ramsar Administrative Authority in the United States, the Office of International Affairs of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of the Interior, passed on to the Bureau this press release which reports progress in sorting out the proposed titanium-mining dispute near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Record, a Ramsar site in the southern state of Georgia. The press release was issued by Resolve: Center for Environmental and Public Policy Dispute Resolution, Washington, D.C. (http://www.resolv.org/). [1/3/99]
Headline story:Internet facilities for administrative authorities. Following a Bureau survey of the Internet capacities of the Convention's "administrative authorities" (the government agencies charged with implementation of the Convention in the Contracting Parties), an approach was made to the Danone Group (France) to include a budget line in the Evian Project for assisting those Parties which could benefit from funding for hardware and software to get on-line. The Bureau has recently been informed that the Direction de la Faune et de la Chasse in Togo has now got on-line (email@example.com) and that the Ministry of Environment and Forest in Bangladesh expects to be up and running by the end of this month. [24/2/99]
New on the Site: More National Reports: Guatemala, Panama, and Paraguay most recently. Some 89 NRs are presently available on this Web site; 4 more have been received and are presently being processed; 6 more were received only in hard copy; and only 15 have not yet been received, though that number includes Contracting Parties that have joined the Convention only in recent months. [26/2/99]
Who's Where . . .
Delmar Blasco, the Secretary General, Rebecca D'Cruz, Regional Coordinator for Asia, and her assistant, Parastu Mirabzadeh are in Manila for the Pan-Asian Ramsar Regional Meeting, which will continue through much of next week. The meeting's programme is available here. Then both of them on to Beijing, China, at the end of the week. [26/2/99]
Bill Phillips, Deputy Secretary General, has gone to the USA to confer with the US State Department and US Fish and Wildlife Service on the 25th and then give the keynote address to the World Conference on Preservation and Sustainable Development of the Pantanal, 26-28 February, in company with representatives from UNEP, UNDP, OAS, Conservation International, Worldwatch Institute, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and others. [24/2/99]
Anada Tiéga, Regional Coordinator for Africa, is in Tunisia as part of a joint IUCN-World Heritage-Ramsar mission to Ichkeul to review the implementation of the Ramsar recommendations from its Management Guidance Procedure mission in 1996. From 27 February to 6 March, he will be visiting the Djoudj National Park (Senegal) and Diawling National Park (Mauritania) for the second workshop of the East Atlantic Ramsar Network, with financial assistance from the Evian Project (Danone Group).
Tim Jones, Regional Coordinator for Europe, is participating in the conference "Strategy for Wetlands Conservation in the Russian Federation", organized by the State Committee of the Russian Federation on Environmental Protection and the Wetlands International-Russia Programme, Moscow, 24-26 February.
Final announcements for GBF13. The 13th Session of the Global Biodiversity Forum will be held 7-9 May, immediately prior to the Ramsar 7th COP in San José. An impressive array of six workshops are proposed, and in the final announcement and call for papers, posted here at the request of the GBF organizers, these workshops are described and all of the necessary registration and travel forms are supplied. Contact Nadene Canning Wacker of IUCN for more information. [22/2/99]
Secretary General's visit to Costa Rica. Preparations are well-advanced in Costa Rica for the Convention's 7th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, set for May 1999. In the week of 8 February 1999, Mr Delmar Blasco, the Secretary General, visited San José to take counsel on the progress so far, and returned to the Bureau with a glowing report. See a few photos of Mr Blasco at the open-air press conference held by Ms Elizabeth Odio Benito, Vice President and Minister of the Environment and Energy, to brief the Costa Rican media on the coming events. [17/2/99]
Announcement:Call for internship applications. Applications are invited for two of the year-long internship positions in the Ramsar Bureau, those for Europe and the Neotropics. Please consult the terms of reference. [link later removed]
UK names 4 new Ramsar sites for World Wetlands Day. Environment Minister Alan Meale took the occasion of World Wetlands Day, 2 February, to announce the designation of four new Ramsar sites (press release here), at least one of which, as Tim Jones demonstrates, is a very special one. Mr Meale also announced the UK's ratification of the Africa-Eurasian Migratory Waterfowl Agreement (AEWA), which was warmly welcomed by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). It's all here. [16/2/99]
Vietnam and Madagascar wetlands Web site. Dr Roger Safford, Royal Holloway Institute for Environmental Research, University of London (firstname.lastname@example.org), has recently put details of the Darwin Melaleuca Wetlands Project, which finished in 1998, and the Darwin Madagascar Wetlands project (English and French), which is continuing, onto the Web site of the Royal Holloway Institute for Environmental Research: http://www.rhbnc.ac.uk/rhier/darwin.htm [[link later removed]]. The Madgascar Wetlands project in particular is of great interest to the Ramsar community, as the Web page makes clear. [16/2/99]
Note on World Wetlands Day. We've made a start on posting news of World Wetlands Day activities around the world -- check it out -- but we need more reports! Don't put this off till August, when we'll all be too busy preparing for WWD 2000 to spend time posting news of '99. If you're driving in your car, pull over to the side of the highway now, get out your pen and find an old envelope in your jacket pocket, and jot down the notes for a brief survey of what really happened, or almost happened, or should have happened but was prevented, and then, having restarted your car, rush (within the limits of safe and courteous driving) to the office and send it to . And we'll add it to the list, with thanks. See, that was easy. [13/2/99]
Wetlands International AEME gets a new Executive Director. Dr Phillip Edwards has been tagged as the new Executive Director of Wetlands International - Africa, Europe, Middle East, replacing Dr Mike Moser, who is leaving Wetlands International after almost 11 years service to take up a new career direction based in the United Kingdom. Please spare an idle moment and read the official announcement right here. [9/2/99]
El Salvador joins the Ramsar Convention. UNESCO has notified the Bureau that on 22 January 1999, El Salvador deposited its instrument of ratification and became the 114th Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The Convention will come into force for El Salvador on 22 May 1999. The Ramsar Information Sheet on El Salvador’s first Wetland of International Importance has not yet been received in the Bureau, but UNESCO notifies that the new Ramsar site will be "Refugio de Vida Silvestre conocido como área natural de la Laguna del Jocotal". Though the designated Ramsar site may differ from the published profile, according to Derek Scott and Montserrat Carbonell, Directory of Neotropical Wetlands (IUCN/IWRB, 1986), Laguna del Jocotal is a permanent freshwater lake, up to 3m deep, to the north of the Río Grande de San Miguel, at the base of the San Miguel Volcano. The lake is eutrophic and most of the surface is covered with floating vegetation. There is a wildlife sanctuary within the site, created in 1978; in 1986, about 300 families lived around the lake, and most of the land in the area is privately owned. [6/2/99]
UK whomps its ruddy ducks. The UK has announced a major trial of control measures aimed at reducing numbers of the North American ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), an invasive exotic species, whose spread from Britain into continental Europe poses a severe threat to the closely related white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala), a native of Mediterranean wetlands. We're not choosing sides here, just reporting. [6/2/99]
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]
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]
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]
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 [link later removed]. [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].
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.