The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 June 1999

Costa Rica names two new sites. Just days before the opening of COP7 in San José, Costa Rica sanctified the occasion by designating two new Wetlands of International Importance, effective 6 May 1999. The first is "Manglar de Potrero Grande" (130 hectares) in the northwest of the country on the Pacific Coast, on the peninsula of Santa Elena in Guanacaste province; it’s listed as mainly an Intertidal Forested Wetland in the Ramsar Classification System, but includes Intertidal Marshes, Shallow Marine Waters, and Estuarine Waters. It has been selected under nearly all of the available criteria so there’s no use listing them here. The second new site is "Laguna Respringue" (75 hectares) in the same region, listed as a Coastal Freshwater Lagoon and qualified under Criteria 1a, 1c, 1d, and 2c. Costa Rica’s efforts here deserve applause, and its hospitality throughout the COP itself (all ca.1000 delegates will agree) beggars mere gratitude.

This brings the total number of Ramsar sites to 982, so all those Contracting Parties presently striving to prepare the designation of the landmark "Ramsar Site 1000" (‘R1K’) need to calibrate their efforts very closely now. (Hint to the betting fraternity: The smart money is still on Sweden, but the field is gaining fast.) [3/6/99]


Lebanon signs on to the Convention.  The Bureau has been informed by UNESCO that, on 16 April 1999, Lebanon deposited its instrument of accession, and the Convention on Wetlands will come into force for Lebanon on 16 August 1999. Three wetlands have been designated as its first Ramsar sites. 1) Ammiq Wetland (280 ha?) "is the last remaining significant wetland in the country, a remnant of much more extensive marshes and lakes that once existed in the Bekaa Valley". 2) Deir el Nouriyeh cliffs of Ras Chekaa is part of a coastal limestone promontory just north of Beirut, "a mosaic of woodland and olive groves" amid the highly developed narrow coastal plain between Beirut and Tripoli. 3) Tyre Beach (380 ha) around Ras el Ain, part of the best preserved stretch of sandy coastline in southern Lebanon, is remarkable for its biodiversity but threatened by its proximity to the city of Tyre and the Rachidieh refugee camp. The Convention heartily welcomes Lebanon as its 115th Contracting Party. [1/6/99]


MOU with the World Heritage Convention. Right in the middle of the COP deliberations, 14 May 1999, the secretariat of UNESCO's World Heritage Convention took time out to celebrate the signing in San José of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ramsar Convention [1/6/99]


Ramsar's COP7 a great success.  COP7 drew to a close on 18 May, in San José, Costa Rica, having discussed and finally approved more than 30 resolutions and recommendations, some with important guidelines attached.  After a suitable rest, Bureau staff will be finalizing the results of the meetings and posting them here as soon as they're ready.  In the meantime, daily reports of the COP sessions and a summary were provided by Earth Negotiations Bulletin and can be viewed at http://www.iisd.ca/ramsar/cop7 .  [28/5/99]


Mongolia designates two new Ramsar sites.  Mongolia joined the Convention on Wetlands in December 1997 and named Mongol Daguur (210,000 hectares) as its first Wetland of International Importance.  Not long thereafter, on 6 July 1998, Mongolia designated three more Ramsar sites - Ogii Nuur, Terhiyn Tsagaan Nuur, and Valley of Lakes - to bring its total to 264,220 hectares. Here's how to learn more about the two new sites: 1) telephone Mongolia or 2) read this brief description by Rebecca D'Cruz of the Bureau, based upon the Ramsar Information Sheets submitted with the designations. Mongolia’s 6 sites now cover an estimable 630,580 ha. and bring the Convention’s 977 sites to 71,029,948 ha. [29/4/99]


Ramsar info pack in Chinese. Li Lukang writes that "in mid-April 1999, a Chinese version of the Ramsar Information Pack was printed and published by Wetlands International-China Programme. Mr. Chen Kelin, the Director of the Programme, wrote a foreword for this publication: 'In order to widely disseminate and publicize the knowledge of Ramsar and improve the awareness of government agencies and public citizens on the importance of wetlands conservation and wise use in China, the Wetlands International-China Programme is authorized to carry out the translation and production of the Ramsar Information Pack with the financial support from the Ramsar Convention Bureau. Now WI- China Programme has distributed the information package to government agencies, research institutes, universities, nature reserves, NGOs and other institutions relevant to wetlands. Due to limited number of printed copies, the Information Pack will be distributed to those who made their written request on the first-come-first-serve basis. The receivers have to pay mailing charges.'"   Financial support for this effort came from the Evian Project. [22/4/99]


Tribute to Cyril de Klemm. "Cyril was a man of talent and passion", says Delmar Blasco, Ramsar’s present Secretary General.  "Cyril was especially remarkable in that he could bridge the very wide gap between science and law," says Daniel Navid, the Convention's first Secretary General. "He had a passion for the natural world along with an incredibly creative mind. His vision led to the adoption of a huge array of new legal approaches for environmental management. Cyril was also a kind and gentle man, and he will be greatly missed". Cyril de Klemm, certainly, among many other things, the world's foremost legal authority on the Ramsar treaty, passed away on 1 April 1999, and here is a too-brief tribute to his many contributions to the Convention. [13/4/99]


Half-hour BBC show on Ramsar and the wise use concept. The newly completed BBC TV show "Still Waters", which is devoted to explaining and illustrating wetland functions and benefits and the wise use concept, and which highlights the role of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, will be aired on BBC World television’s Earth Report series several times early in the coming week. The schedule is as follows, all times Greenwich Mean Time: Monday, 12 April, 19:30 GMT, and Tuesday, 13 April 1999, at 5:30, 8:30, and 12:30 GMT. In the show, interview spots with Delmar Blasco and Rebecca D’Cruz of the Bureau, Mike Moser (until recently of Wetlands International), and the heads of IUCN, the World Bank, and the World Commission on Dams complement a very attractive and educational overview of wetland conservation and wise use and the urgent human issues that are involved, as well as the contributions being made by the Ramsar Convention towards international cooperation and national action in this regard. [10/4/99]

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,342

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