The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 October 1999

Guatemala significantly extends the El Tigre Ramsar site. Ing. José Juventino Galvez Ruano, Secretario Ejecutivo of the Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas in the office of the President of the Republic of Guatemala has informed the Bureau that the Ramsar site Biotopo Laguna del Tigre, designated on 26 June 1990 with an area 48,372 hectares, has been extended to include the Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre (289,912 ha) to a total area of 335,080 hectares. [3/10/99]

Ramsar signs MOU with Eurosite.  Eurosite, the network of organizations that manage Europe's natural heritage, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ramsar Convention secretariat.  At a ceremony in Steenwijk, the Netherlands, 24 September 1999, Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, delivered a sparkling address and performed the ritual signatures -- here are the text of the MOU and the SG's address. [30/9/99]

Kluwer Academic Publishers has just published a new physical book edited by Bill Streever of the US Army Corps of Engineers research station in Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA, and chair of the International Comittee of the Society of Wetland Scientists, stuffed full with 337 pages of 30 case studies on wetland rehabilitation all round the world.  'Rehabilitation' seems to mean something between 'conservation' and 'restoration', but you can judge that for yourself. The new book includes chapters by many old friends of Ramsar, including Eric Gilman, Geoff Cowan, George  ['Georgios'] Zalidis, Peter Bacon, Alfredo Quarto, Eduardo da Silva, and Tom Crisman. The case studies cover the Marianas, Australasia, the Mekong, the Philippines, the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Europe, England, the Carribean, New Zealand, Thailand, Mozambique, Botswana, Kenya, Israel, Turkey, the Netherlands, Brazil, and the Canadian Arctic, to name only a few!!, and there are a host of thematic chapters as well. As with Rolls Royces, if you have to ask the price you probably can't afford it, but notwithstanding, the book will be procurable from all kind and worthy booksellers under ISBN 0-7923-5724-8. This is probably not the ideal Christmas present for friends, family, and neighbors you haven't met yet, but your institution's library has got to have it or retire in shame. The Ramsar Bureau has one copy, but we will guard till the sun sets over the last wetland. [30/9/99]

Society of Wetland Scientists kicks off Ramsar-related grants programme.  The SWS, an association of more than 4,500 scientifically-oriented wetland enthusiasts mostly in North America, has announced a new grants programme of US$5,000 per year to support Ramsar-related activities by SWS members in developing countries.  Only SWS members are eligible, but the Society also hosts a Gratis Membership Programme for developing countries, so that may not be a problem. Note that applications for this year's cycle must be received by 19 November 1999. The Society of Wetland Scientists and the Ramsar Convention signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on 11 and 30 June 1999, and the chair of the SWS International Committee, Dr Bill Streever, has just been participating in the work of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) as an Observer Organization.  Here is Eric Gilman's announcement to the Ramsar Forum announcing the new grant programme. [27/9/99]

The 8th meeting of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel ended its work on Friday, 24 September, under the capable leadership of newly-elected chairperson Dr Jorge Jiménez of Costa Rica, replacing Dr Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu of Ghana, who guided the STRP over the past triennium. With enthusiastic participation by 12 STRP members elected by COP7 as individual experts from the six Ramsar regions of the world, as well as 12 representatives of the four International Organization Partners (BirdLife International, IUCN, Wetlands International, and WWF International) which also serve as partner members, a good deal of work was accomplished. Other official participating observers from the Society of Wetland Scientists, the International Association of Limnology, the Global Wetlands Economics Network, the International Mire Conservation Group, the International Peat Society, and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University in New York, USA, also contributed substantially.  The minutes will be here by the end of next week, and the hilarious tell-all photos won't be far behind. [24/9/99]

Feature article on Costa Rica's Mata Redonda.  Here's a brief article (Spanish language only) by Gabby Somarribas and Juan Bravo introducing a project on researching and encouraging stakeholders participation in wetland management. The site of the project is the Mata Redonda Lagoon in the Tempisque river basin in Costa Rica. The site is particularly important for some 60 species of aquatic birds. At the same time the Lagoon area is used for extensive cattle ranching, which is a very useful means to maintain control over some very aggressive plant species.  Landowners are also cultivating rice in very extensive rice fields. The wetland is being drastically altered by the various land uses in the area. The main aim of this Ramsar Small Grants Fund-assisted project is to extend the wetland area under protection, with the consent and active involvement of stakeholders. [22/9/99]

Danone Partnership. Internet assistance for Contracting Parties.  Thus far in 1998 and '99, the Ramsar Administrative Authorities in eleven Contracting Parties have been assisted by the Ramsar Bureau in gaining access to the Internet, through financial assistance for the purchase of hardward and software, telephone and ISP charges, and related expenses.  The funds have been provided from communications module of the Evian Project [background info here], a joint venture of the Danone Group, the Ramsar Bureau, and the French Global Environment Facility. The Parties that have benefited from this programme so far are Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Comores, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, the Russian Federation, and Togo. [17/9/99]

Wetlands, Water and the Law.  That's the title of a brilliant new book from the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. Written by Clare Shine and the late Cyrille de Klemm, this very well written and thoroughly researched 330-page new study offers an astonishing breadth of coverage over the role of law in wetland conservation throughout the world, amply illustrated with examples and case studies from nearly every nation.  Focused primarily, of course, on the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, it also covers the contributions of other global and regional legal regimes, and investigates such thematic issues as land-use planning, river basin and coastal zone management, EIA, permit systems, economic incentives, enforcement, transboundary wetlands, and much more. Get some more information here. [17/9/99]

Ramsar and the Barcelona Convention. As part of Ramsar Bureau efforts to pursue closer working partnership with other environment conventions, both international and regional, Bill Phillips, the Deputy Secretary General, attended the first day of the meeting of National Focal Points under the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) of the Barcelona Convention in Athens earlier this week. In his statement to the opening session, the DSG urged a closer working partnership, especially between the MAP and its related programmes, on the one hand, and the Ramsar Convention and its Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet) on the other. He noted that both programmes are now seen as models for international cooperation on the regional scale, and that governments, NGOs, scientific centers, and the two convention secretariats need to strive for collaboration, synergistic activities, and joint work planning. The DSG also pointed out that just as Ramsar's COP7 adopted a toolkit for its Parties, the Barcelona Convention also has an impressive toolkit, and that working together to promote these instruments will have great benefits and avoid duplication of effort. The Ramsar Bureau will be represented at the upcoming COP of the Barcelona Convention in Malta in late October and will once again convey messages of partnership and collaboration. [9/9/99]

AEWA enters into force soon.  Bert Lenten, secretary of the Interim Secretariat of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, has announced that on 30 August 1999 Congo (Brazzaville) signed and ratified the AEWA, which means that the Agreement will enter into force on 1 November 1999.   Congratulations to the AEWA and the Convention on Migratory Species, and may many more nations add their signatures in the near future.  [6/9/99]

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