The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 July 2000
Headline story.STRP9 completes its meetings. The Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), and 2-busloads of representatives of the other conventions and additional invited experts, have just spent the week in Gland for the 9th meeting of the Panel -- plenary sessions through to Friday, followed today by a special workshop on inventory for some of the participants. The main business was assessing the progress so far in getting through the enormous work plan of tasks requested by the 7th Conference of the Parties (1999) and the Strategic Plan 1997-2002, and charting the way forward in order to be ready in time for COP8 (2002). A brief report will be here soon, and the full minutes not too long thereafter. [01/07/00]
New on the Site: Nothing. As long as STRP9 persists in pursuing its dream of perfection, there won't be much time to update this Web site.
International Navigation Association working group meeting. On 21-22 June the Bureau hosted the 2nd meeting of the Wetland Restoration Working Group of PIANC, the Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses (also known as the International Navigation Association), which groups all the major business interests in harbours, maritime and river navigation. The group is ably chaired by Russ Theriot of the Waterways Experiment Station (US Army Corps of Engineers), and is mandated over the next two years to produce guidelines on wetland restoration for the use of private sector concerns involved in harbour development and maintenance. Ramsar’s Dr Tobias Salathé, among others in the group, brings the perspective of environmental organizations and sees this kind of cooperative participation in industry’s efforts to be environmentally-friendly as a promising field of endeavor. View some pix and a few more details. [22/6/00]
Ecuador names La Segua as its 5th Ramsar site. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce that as of 7 June 2000, Ecuador has designated its fifth Wetland of International Importance. La Segua (1836 hectares) is a freshwater wetland located in the confluence of the rivers Carrizal and Chone, consisting of a central marsh that is flooded most of the time and an extensive plain that is inundated in the rainy season. More detail and a few pictures are available. [français et/y español] [19/6/00]
Store your Toolkit in a tasteful new box. The so-called 'Ramsar 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. Nobody wants his or her nine brochures (plus the Convention Work Plan!) to get scattered all over the rec room or go walkabout somewhere in the West Wing of the condo. So the Bureau has created a nice box to hold them in. Many collectors, however, will disdain that lowbrow utilitarianism and just lacquer them up and hang them, with tasteful lighting, just as they are. See more! [17/6/00]
Further update on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) is a four-year international scientific study, subtitled "A joint assessment of condition and change in ecosystem goods and services undertaken for the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention to Combat Desertification, Convention on Wetlands, and other partners, facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme". Just recently we reprinted here an update on developments in the project from Nairobi -- here is a further good update on the status of the project direct from Valerie Thompson of the World Resources Institute, on behalf of the MA secretariat. [15/6/00]
UNFCCC's subsidiary scientific body is meeting now. Dr Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary General, has been attending the 12th meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, now meeting in Bonn, Germany, and here is the text of his address pointing out potential areas of closer cooperation between SBSTA and Ramsar's STRP. And here is a brief report reprinted from our friends at Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the SBSTA-12 side event sponsored by IUCN on 'Wetlands and Climate Change'. [15/6/00]
Update on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) is a four-year international scientific study, subtitled "A joint assessment of condition and change in ecosystem goods and services undertaken for the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention to Combat Desertification, Convention on Wetlands, and other partners, facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme". The project is now almost ready to be launched, with more than 50% of the USD 20 million budget practically secured. At the 1st Board Meeting, set for Trondheim on 16-17 July 2000, the Ramsar Convention will be represented by the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General, and STRP Member Dr. Yara Schaeffer-Novelli (Brazil), representing the Chair of Ramsar’s STRP, Dr Jorge Jiménez, who is unable to attend. Here’s some further news on these interesting developments. [8/6/00]
2nd Ramsar/CBD Joint Work Plan approved in Nairobi. Deputy Secretary General Dr Nick Davidson reports: "The Convention on Biological Diversity’s recent COP5 in Nairobi (15-26 May 2000) marks an important step in the development of collaboration between intergovernmental conventions and in particular that between the Ramsar Convention and the CBD. CBD Contracting Parties strongly endorsed the second CBD/Ramsar Joint Work Plan (2000-2001), noting that it provides a useful example of future cooperation between conventions – a theme that receives repeated mention elsewhere in CBD’s COP5 Decisions.
Of particular importance in this second joint work plan is the recognition that the common ground between the two conventions goes far beyond the inland waters that were the focus of the first joint work plan and into several other ecosystem themes (marine and coastal, forests, dry and sub-humid lands) and a variety of cross-cutting issues such as alien species; incentive measures; indicators, monitoring and assessment, impact assessment and sustainable use. The work plan also includes a number of actions designed to harmonise institutional processes, notably in enhancing collaborative action between the scientific and technical subsidiary bodies of the two conventions.
Our challenge is now to take forwards the many tangible actions set out in the joint work plan to deliver further assistance to countries in implementing sustainable use of wetlands and biodiversity. The Ramsar Bureau looks forward to working closely with our counterparts in the CBD Secretariat in implementing the joint work plan, and is committed to further developing similarly strong working links between Ramsar and the other environmental conventions. The approved Joint Work Plan is now being prepared for publication in hard copy, and its text is available on the Ramsar Web site in the 3 Ramsar languages." [Traducciones] [6/6/00]
Ministerial Danube meeting in Bucharest. In celebration of World Environment Day, Environment Ministers from Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine are gathering in Bucharest, 4-5 June, in a meeting jointly sponsored by WWF-The World Wide Fund for Nature and with participation by the Ramsar Bureau. On the agenda are signing ceremonies for two major documents: 1) an "Agreement on the Establishment and Joint Management of a Transboundary Protected Area in the Danube Delta and Lower Prut River", by the Governments of Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine, and 2) a "Declaration on the Cooperation for the Creation of a Lower Danube Green Corridor", by Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. Secretary General Delmar Blasco and Regional Coordinator Tobias Salathé are representing the Ramsar Bureau, and additional speakers come from the participating governments as well as from UNDP, UNEP, OSCE, the World Bank, USAID, RIZA, and the Council of Europe. The Ramsar Convention Bureau has been asked to serve as the Depositary for the new 4-state Declaration and has accepted to do so. [Traductions]. Here is the English text of the 4-party Declaration. [5/6/00, 12/6/00]
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. [Traductions] [30/5/00]
BirdLife International identifies European IBAs. BirdLife International has published a vital reference work that will have significant value for everyone concerned with the implementation of the Ramsar Convention. Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority Sites for Conservation, edited by Melanie F. Heath and Michael I. Evans with others, is a 1600-page 2-volume compendium of country analyses and individual site descriptions of more than 3,600 sites that meet BirdLife's criteria for IBAs, which largely overlap with the Ramsar Convention's Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance, especially Criteria 6, and with the EC Birds Directive's guidance for Special Protection Areas (SPAs). Ramsar’s Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance, adopted by the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention at the 7th COP in 1999, advocates a systematic and strategic approach to selecting and designating new Ramsar sites and recognizes that this requires solid scientific data and inventories of wetlands within their territories that qualify under the Ramsar Criteria. For the European region, this new publication will go very far towards meeting that need. As is stated in the Summary to volume I, "Many IBAs are wetlands of international importance yet only 30% of these have been designated under the Ramsar Convention. Given the compatibility of IBA criteria with Ramsar criteria, it is possible to estimate that a further 1,000 IBAs in Europe should be considered for designation as Ramsar sites because of the internationally important numbers of waterbirds that they hold." Here's more detail, availability, and a photo. [29/5/00]
Interesting Web site.The Spanish Ramsar site at S'Albufera de Mallorca has a very interesting Web site at http://www.mallorcaweb.net/salbufera/ . An English-language section is provided. [31/05/00] [Updated 09/12/04]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org). Updated regularly by Dwight Peck, Ramsar Bureau.