The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 March 1999

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 (kimberly_mcclurg@fws.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]


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]


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]


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]

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