The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 August 1999
Headline Story. Penang Statement on Tropical Peatlands. The "International Conference and Workshop on Tropical Peat Swamps" was held in Penang, Malaysia, from 27 to 29 July 1999 and was jointly organized by the School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), and the International Peat Swamp Research Group. It was attended by more than 140 technical experts and representatives from government agencies and international organizations from more than 10 countries mainly in the Southeast Asia region. The meeting urged governments, research institutions, NGOs, private sector and other organizations to achieve the following goal: "To minimize, stop or reverse the loss and degradation of Peat Swamp Forest Resources in Southeast Asia", and recommended ten actions to be undertaken. Here is the text of the "Penang Statement on Tropical Peatlands". [3/8/99]
Ex-Headline Story. Costa Rica launches National Wetlands Programme. At a special ceremony at the Presidential House, the President of Costa Rica and the Minister of Environment and Energy will sign today, 27 July, a Presidential Decree establishing the National Wetlands Programme within that Ministry. The Decree states that Costa Rica, having recently hosted the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention, now has the moral obligation "to provide testimony to the world of the seriousness of our initiatives in favor of the conservation of these important ecosystems [referring to wetlands]". Here are some more details. [27/7/99]
.Announcements. Reviewers sought for limnology series. Reviewers are sought to describe the state of research and training in aquatic resources in various developing countries for the series Limnology in Developing Countries. Dr Brij Gopal gives more details here. [30/7/99]
Position opening for Deputy Secretary General in the Ramsar Bureau -- terms of reference and application. [3/7/99] [This position has been filled.]
Deadline extended. Internship for Africa still open till 31 August. Because Ms. Musonda Mumba, the present intern, will be staying on for a while to complete some pending projects, the deadline for applications for her replacement has been extended till 31 August 1999. [18/6/99]
New on the site. The first of the French-language versions of the Resolutions and Recommendations of COP7. [24/7/99]
Anada Tiéga, Regional Coordinator for Africa, will be in Benin, 29-31 July, to talk with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Rural Development, view some potential Ramsar sites in the coastal zone, and provide assistance for designation of that nation's first Ramsar site upon accession. From 2 to 5 August Mr Tiéga and Denis Landenbergue of WWF International's Living Waters Campaign will be working with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency of Nigeria and viewing a proposed first Ramsar site in that country. [28/7/99]
New Ramsar Intern for Asia.Taeko Takahashi of Saitama, Japan, has accepted the Bureau's offer to spend a year in Gland as the next intern for Asia, replacing Ms Parastu Mirabzadeh of Iran. Ms Takahashi has a postgraduate degree in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and spent time working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development in the United States, before returning to Japan a month ago. Most recently, Ms Takahashi has been researching the destructive impacts of shrimp farming on mangrove ecosystems and the impact of foreign direct investment on environmental standards. She spent a summer working with WWF-Japan, researching the impact of global climate change in national parks and protected areas, and has worked as a volunteer with CARE Japan. She speaks Japanese and English, with knowledge of Spanish and Russian. Taeko will take up her Ramsar duties on 15 November. [26/7/99]
UK names five new Ramsar sites. Great Britain has designated five new Wetlands of International Importance, bringing its total number of Ramsar sites to 148, covering 753,844 hectares. All five have also been classified as Special Protection Areas under the EC Wild Birds Directive. They are: Cromarty Firth (4197 hectares), 20km north of Inverness, Scotland; Inner Moray Firth (2339 ha); Muir of Dinnet (158 ha); North Uist Machair and Islands Phase 1 (1560 ha), on the west and north coasts of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, Western Isles of Scotland; Poole Harbour (2439 ha), on the south coast of England between the town of Poole and the Isle of Purbeck. Read more about them here. [24/7/99]
Two excellent new books available. A superb new book has been published by the MedWet Initiative and the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, with financial support from the Ramsar Bureau and the WWF International Mediterranean Programme: Mediterranean Wetlands at the Dawn of the 21st Century (138 pages), by Thymio Papayannis (presently Ramsar's MedWet Coordinator) and Tobias Salathé (Ramsar's new Regional Coordinator for Europe), covers a wide range of issues and includes contributions by Gordana Beltram, Simone Borelli, Erik Carp, Antonio Fernández de Tejada, Luc Hoffmann, Tim Jones, Mike Moser, Christian Perennou, Jean-Yves Pirot, Jamie Skinner, Mike Smart and many others. With excellent production values and many fine photographs, the book is a must read and a major reference on the MedWet Initiative and much more. Inquire with Tour du Valat, email@example.com. Inventario de Humedales del Ecuador, 1: Humedales Lénticos de la Provincias de Esmeraldas y Manabí, by Ernesto E. Briones and others, has been published in Quito by EcoCiencia, INEFAN, and the Convención de Ramsar, with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Detailed maps and solid scientific data make the work indispensable for students of Ecuador's natural heritage. [22/7/99]
Ramsar Convention celebrates its 1000th Ramsar site. The Government of Honduras has designated the world’s 1000th Wetland of International Importance, as of 10 July 1999. The new Ramsar site, "Sistema de Humedales de la Zona Sur de Honduras" (Wetlands system of the southern region of Honduras), is a complex of seven coastal areas totaling 69,711 hectares along the Honduran portion of the Golfo de Fonseca: Bahía de Chismuyo, Bahía de San Lorenzo, Los Delgaditos, Las Iguanas y Punta Condega, Jicarito, San Bernardo and La Berbería, along the Corredor Biológico Mesoamericano Pacífico de Honduras. More detail is available here. [12/7/99]
Cambodia becomes the 116th Contracting Party. UNESCO has informed the Ramsar Bureau that on 23 June 1999, Cambodia completed the necessary formalities for its accession to the Convention, as amended by the Paris Protocol of 1982 and the amendments to Articles 6 and 7 (the "Regina Amendments", 1987). Cambodia thus becomes the 116th Party to the Convention, and the treaty will come into force for Cambodia on 23 October 1999. Three Wetlands of International Importance were designated at the time of accession: "Boeng Chhmar and Associated River System and Floodplain" (28,000 hectares), "Koh Kapik and Associated Islets" (12,000 ha), and "Middle Stretches of the Mekong River North of Stoeng Treng" (14,600 ha), which are briefly described in this accompanying article. Cambodia’s new designations, totalling 54,600 ha, are the 997th, 998th, and 999th Wetlands of International Importance in the Ramsar List and bring the worldwide total of designated area to 71,220,794 hectares. [8/7/99]
Japan names the 996th Ramsar site. In a ceremony held during the Ramsar Conference of the Parties in San José, the Government of Japan formally designated its 11th Wetland of International Importance: Manko (58 hectares), near the prefectural capital of Naha City in the southern part of the main island of Okinawa. Manko is a brackish tidal flat, covering an extensive area at low tide, and an important transit point for shorebirds whose migration route brings them along the Nansei Islands. Approximately 1% of the world population of the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor regularly visit the site; thus Manko qualifies for the Ramsar List under old Criterion 3(c) [new Criterion 6], and is also listed under 1(d) since the tidal flats are located in an urban area.
Japan chose the same occasion to expand the limits of the existing Ramsar site Kushiro-shitsugen, well known to readers who attended Ramsar’s COP5 in Kushiro City in Hokkaido in 1993, from 7726 to 7863 hectares. Japan thus now has 11 Ramsar sites totalling 83,725 hectares. [8/7/99]
Senior position opening at the Ramsar Bureau. With the departure of Dr. Bill Phillips, the Ramsar Bureau's second-in-command, who's planning to return to Australia in January 2000 for family reasons, the secretariat is going to need a new Deputy Secretary General. It's not an easy job by any means, but on the other hand, there's all the prestige! Here is the Secretary General's announcement of Bill's lamented leaving and, attached to that, a job application form for readers who still aspire to greatness. [3/7/99][This position has been filled.]
New Regional Coordinator for Europe signs up for the Ramsar Bureau. The hunt for a worthy successor for Tim Jones, who between his time with IWRB (now Wetlands International) and 5 years with the Bureau has pumped more than 10 years of hard labor into the Ramsar cause, is now over. Dr Tobias Salathé is the lucky victim, pardon, candidate, and he too has long been closely involved with Ramsar issues. A Swiss national from Bâle, he took his MSc. and PhD from Basle University and has worked with ICBP (now BirdLife International) and DG XI of the European Commission, among other posts, and is now with the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat in Arles, France, which has long been a Ramsar partner and is presently one of the three secretariat units for the MedWet/Com administered by the Ramsar Bureau. Dr Salathé speaks and writes all of the Ramsar languages and a couple more into the bargain (hopefully including Schweizerdeutsch! but Hochdeutsch anyway) and sports a bibliography of research reports and other publications that rivals the production of feminist studies of Shakespeare's plays for two or more years.
As to His Timship, Mr Jones is hanging out his own shingle as an environmental consultant, under the imaginative name of "TJ Environmental", and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org [5/7/99]
Executive Director sought.Wetlands International Africa, Europe, Middle East is seeking to fill a senior vacancy for an Executive Director who, under authority of the governing body (Regional Council), will be responsible for development and coordination of Wetlands International's programme in the Africa, Europe, Middle East region. The post will be based at the regional headquarters in Wageningen, The Netherlands. For an information pack please contact: Nicole Thewessen, Executive Assistant, Wetlands International - AEME, P.O. Box 7002, 700 CA Wageningen, The Netherlands (Fax: +31 317 478885, E-mail: email@example.com ). Closing date for applications: Friday 10 September 1999 [2/7/99] [This position has been filled.]
MOC signed with the Society of Wetland Scientists. Dr Janet Keough, President of the 1998-1999 Executive Board of Directors of the Society of Wetland Scientists, and Mr. Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation the stated aim of which is the "cooperation for the knowledgeable management, conservation, and wise use of wetlands". Resolution VII.2 of the San José COP called for the STRP in particular to develop cooperative relationships with the SWS among other bodies, and Article 1.6 of the new MOC identifies the SWS focal point for Ramsar cooperation as the Chair of the SWS International Committee, presently Dr William Streever of the US Army Engineers Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, USA. The text of the MOC is available here. [1/7/99]
East Asian Anatidae Site Network launched. On 14 May in San José, Environment Agency of Japan and Wetlands International launched the East Asian Anatidae Site Network, which includes 14 sites in Japan, 6 in Russia, 2 in Mongolia, and 1 each in P.R. China, Korea, and Philippines. Here is the original press release, with an photo. There is an excellent Web site for the Network hosted in English and Japanese by the Japanese Association for Wild Geese Protection: http://www.jawgp/org/anet/ [8/7/99] [This link is now out of date.]
Ramsar delivers on the Joint Work Plan with CBD. Dr Bill Phillips, the Deputy Secretary General, reports from Montreal that at the opening of the 4th meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-4), 21 May 1999, Ramsar officially delivered the first products of the Joint Work Plan between the two conventions. Many of the guidelines recently adopted by Ramsar’s COP7 speak directly to issues covered in the JWP’s programme, and several countries, including Canada, Japan, Malawi, the Netherlands, and the USA, spoke in support of the JWP’s progress, urging the CBD to make good use of the new Ramsar "tools". The Ramsar-CBD Joint Work Plan is recognized as a model for international conventions working in partnership. [24/6/99]
The daily progress of SBSTTA-4 is being reported by Earth Negotiations Bulletin at http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/sbstta4/ .
New Ramsar Intern for the Neotropical region. Ms Flor de María Salvador Perez of Lima, Peru, will be joining the Ramsar Bureau on 1 August 1999 as the new Intern for the Neotropics, replacing Carmen Elena Padilla Velasco of Honduras, whose one-year posting is drawing to a close. Ms Salvador has a bachelor of science degree in Botanical Science from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, and is currently in progress on her Master’s degree in Tropical Botany in the same university. She is also presently a collaborator in the university’s Laboratorio de Dicotiledóneas, Departamento de Botánica, Museo de Historia Natural. Ms Salvador will be assisting Ms Margarita Astrálaga, the secretariat’s new Regional Coordinator for the Americas, who will also be taking up her duties on 1 August. [22/6/99]
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.