The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 June 2000

Libya accedes to the Ramsar Convention. The Bureau is very pleased to announce that the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya completed its accession formalities on 5 April 2000, and the Convention on Wetlands, as amended by the Paris Protocol of 1982, will come into force for the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on 5 August 2000. The new Party has informed UNESCO, the Convention’s Depositary, that two wetlands have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance – Ain Elshakika and Ain Elzarga, both on or near the Mediterranean coast in the general area of Darnah and Tubruq – but Ramsar Information Sheets have not yet been received for them. The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya becomes the Convention’s 121st Contracting Party, and these are the 1026th and 1027th Ramsar sites globally. [30/5/00]

New archival stuff: Spanish versions of early Recommendations of the COP;   Participants in the Groningen COP2;Conference report of the 3rd COP, Regina; the French version of the COP5 Kushiro conference report. (30/5/00)

River Restoration 2000 conference reported. The European Centre for River Restoration (ECRR), under the umbrella of the Dutch Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA), organised from 15 to 19 May 2000 an international conference on practical approaches to river restoration throughout Europe, including a few review papers on river restoration aspects in North America, China, and Australia. More than 100 specialists (engineers, biologists and administration staff) exchanged their respective experiences and visited different river and floodplain restoration sites in the southern Netherlands along the rivers Maas (Meuse) and Rhine (Waal, Rijn). Here's a brief report. [22/5/00]

Ramsar's address to the CBD's 5th COP. Ramsar's Secretary General, Delmar Blasco, addressed the plenary session on the opening day of the CBD's COP5, 15 May 2000. Here's the text of his remarks.[17/5/00]

Australia extends its Macquarie Marshes site in public/private partnership. Australia has extended the Macquarie Marshes site (1/8/86, 18,143 hectares) by an additional 583 hectares, largely by virtue of the kind of stewardship agreement between government and private landowners that is showing considerable promise in several countries, including Australia, the UK, and the USA. Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill writes: "I would like to take this opportunity to commend Eric Fisher and his family, the owners of Wilgara, for their stewardship of this wetland and their future commitment under the Convention to the long-term conservation of Wilgara. I would also like to commend the work undertaken by the NSW [New South Wales] National Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with the National Parks Association and World Wide Fund for Nature to secure the Ramsar nomination for private lands such as 'Wilgara'. The work between the community, non-government organizations, and all spheres of government clearly demonstrates that wetland conservation and sustainable use can be achieved through cooperation with dedicated landholders." [16/5/00]

SEHUMED's Valencia CD-ROM is now ready. SEHUMED (Sede para el Estudio de los Humedales Mediterráneos), which recently joined the Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre (EKBY) and the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat as a third secretariat on Ramsar's MedWet Team, has just published an exemplary educational tool on the wetlands of its home-ground Valencia region in Spain, and in particular on L'Albufera de Valencia, one of Spain's Ramsar sites since 1989. With Spanish, English, and French versions on the same disk, and run-time versions of QuickTime and other necessary plug-ins, the package provides an attractive and informative introduction to the region's ecology as well as to important issues common to many other wetland systems. For more information, consult or write to [16/5/00]

Wetlands in Russia, volume 2: Important Peatlands. The 91-page second volume has appeared in the superb trilogy on Russian wetlands produced by the extraordinarily productive Wetlands International - Russia Programme: Important Peatlands has been managed by the late Prof. Marina Botch and edited by Tatiana Minaeva and Irina Kamennova, the latter of whom also made the accurate and fluid translation into English, with editorial help by Marcel Silvius. 51 peat wetlands are listed and described according to the structure of the Ramsar Information Sheet, forming a sort of shadow list of potential Ramsar sites. You can discuss availability with the Russia Programme directly at or fax +7 095 7270938. [16/5/00]

Tanzania joins the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention is very pleased to welcome the United Republic of Tanzania as its 120th Contracting Party. Tanzania's instrument of accession to the Ramsar Convention, as amended by the Paris Protocol, was accepted by UNESCO as of 13 April 2000, so the treaty will come into force for Tanzania on 13 August 2000. As its obligatory first Wetland of International Importance, the new Party has designated the vast Malagarasi-Muyovozi Wetlands (3,250,000 hectares), which is listed as fulfilling all eight of the Ramsar Criteria. More detail on this new site is available here. [11/5/00]

UK designates Thames Estuary and Marshes. The Bureau is pleased to announce that the United Kingdom has designated its 151st Ramsar site, "Thames Estuary and Marshes" (5589 hectares), also a Special Protection Area under the EC Birds Directive. The site comprises a complex of brackish floodplain, grazing marsh ditches, saline lagoons and intertidal saltmarsh and mudflat along the River Thames between Gravesend and Sheerness in Essex and Kent. The habitats support internationally important numbers of wintering waterfowl, and the saltmarsh and grazing marsh are of international importance for their diverse assemblages of wetland plants and invertebrates. The site performs important hydrological functions, including shoreline stablization, sediment trapping, flood water storage and desynchronization of flood peaks, and maintenance of water quality by removal of nutrients. Human uses include yachting, angling, wildfowling (seasonal), jet skiing, waterskiing, and birdwatching; disturbance from some of these is a current issue but is being addressed through negotation and awareness-raising. This is the Convention's 1025th Wetland of International Importance and brings the UK's total surface coverage to 726,229 hectares. [12/5/00]

Ramsar signs three-way MOU with CIESIN and Wetlands International. The Ramsar Bureau has signed a memorandum of understanding with Wetlands International, which maintains the Ramsar Sites Database under contract with the Convention, and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (Columbia University, USA) for "Cooperation for the Development and Operation of a Data Gateway for Ramsar Site Information". The MOU's general objectives are to "develop an on-line Ramsar Wetland Data Gateway through a multilevel, multidisciplinary, diverse resource base, including spatial, tabular and graphic data, all of which can be accessed through a common search interface"; to "encourage innovation in information dissemination and decision-making by sharing expertise on relevant information technologies, including interactive, on-line tools for encouraging dialogue and participation among diverse user groups"; and to "facilitate the development of more powerful data-sharing capabilities within the Ramsar community by sharing expertise on such new technologies. Examples of this may include the development of applications using the Spatial Database Engine (SDE®) and OpenGIS®, incorporation of wetlands data catalogs into the Ramsar Wetland Data Gateway, and sharing of expertise on metadata management". Dr Antoinette Wannebo, CIESIN's focal point on the project, has been active over the past year as an invited expert on the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), as has Wetlands International's focal point, Scott Frazier, Senior Wetland Inventory Officer at WI. Here's the text of the MOU. [9/5/00]

Wetlands International joins forces with Australian wine company to raise funds for the Weerribben Ramsar site, Netherlands.Banrock Station is an Australian winery which, as part of its public benefit activities, supports the conservation of wetlands (see related story). It has done so at its own vineyards in South Australia, but also elsewhere in Australia. Since mid-1999, Banrock Station, Staatsbosbeheer (the Dutch Forestry Service), and Wetlands International - AEME are cooperating on a wetland restoration project in De Weerribben National Park in the northeastern part of The Netherlands. For every bottle of Banrock wines sold through Albert Heijn, a Dutch grocery chain, NLG 0.10 goes to this project. A first cheque for NLG 50,000 was handed over during a ceremony in De Weerribben in November. The money is being used to recreate open water and perpetuate the cycle of open water - land formation - erosion - open water. Because of increased flood control and closing off of the Zuyderzee, this cycle has been disrupted, leading to disappearance of open water and loss of biodiversity. More information can be found on the WI-AEME website ( ), and of course in the brand new Visitor Centre of De Weerribben, recently opened by Staatsbosbeheer. [9/5/00]

Major event in Ramsar history. The Ramsar ‘Toolkit’ is finally ready – the English version anyway: French and Spanish versions will be ready in the next few months.The so-called Toolkit embodies nearly all of the various guidelines that have been adopted by the Conference of the Contracting Parties to assist wetland managers, national authorities, and others in implementing the Convention’s mission and objectives. Formally entitled the Ramsar Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands, the nine brochures are organized along the lines of the three "pillars" of the Convention: 1) The wise use of wetlands; 2) Wetlands of International Importance; and 3) International cooperation. Read the whole story here [4/5/00]

Back to top
Follow us 
Ramsar Awards 

The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

Ramsar Secretariat

Rue Mauverney 28
CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 999 0170
Fax: +41 22 999 0169
Map: click here

Ramsar Forum: subscribe