The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 May 2000

Memo of Cooperation signed with Cartagena Convention. At ceremonies yesterday (1 May 2000) at the International Environment House in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, and Mr Nelson Andrade, Regional Coordinator for the United Nation Environment Programme's Caribbean Action Plan, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation intended to help Contracting Parties to the Conventions to identify and strengthen conservation of those sites of international importance that are relevant to both Conventions. The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, known as the Cartagena Convention from its place of adoption in Colombia in 1983, came into force in 1986 and, through its secretariat, serves to facilitate the direction and coordination of the legal implementation of the Caribbean Action Plan. The new MOC contains a 'Statement of Work' which itemizes eight areas of intended cooperation and information sharing, all intended to assist in identifying potential wetlands for nomination as Ramsar sites or as protected areas under the SPAW Protocol, avoiding duplication of efforts and maximizing joint efforts where appropriate, and mutally supporting both Conventions amongst their Parties. Here are some news and photos, and here's the text of the MOC. [2/5/00]


Headline story. Ramsar Sözlesmesi El Kitabi: Sulak Alanlar Sözlesmesi Için Rehber. That's only the beginning. Here's another: A Ramsari Egyezmény kézikönyve: Kézikönyv a vizes területekröl szóló egyezményhez. The 2nd edition of the Ramsar Manual has just been published in Turkish and Hungarian by the authorities in those countries, and most recently in Chinese as well by the Ramsar Administrative Authority in China. (The Ramsar Manual has been superseded by the events of the 7th Conference of the Parties in May 1999, and it probably won't be updated, since the Ramsar Info Pack and the Ramsar "Toolkit" of handbooks now serve the same purpose, but with proper cautions it can still be immensely valuable in countries where the Convention's 3 working languages may not be commonly spoken.)


New Ramsar brochure ready. The updated Ramsar brochure, designed by Saatchi and Saatchi, with all the very latest Ramsar info for the neophyte and wetland tyro, is now available in any reasonable quantities to all practitioners and wetland theoreticians who may wish to plod through the malls handing them out to any citizens willing to receive them. The text is already available on this Web site in the three Ramsar languages, but here we have something you can fold up and put in your pocket and take away with you.  If you should want some of these, please write to Ms Valerie Higgins, higgins@ramsar.org, and specify quantity and language (English, French, Spanish).


Hint on Canada. Wetkit now online. Click on http://wetlandnetwork.ca/ and type in "ramsar" as the search keyword, and see lots of good Ramsar-related things about Canada. Pauline Lynch-Stewart announces the advent of Wetkit: Tools for Working with Wetlands, a collection of practical wetland-related tools sponsored by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Canada) and Envirokit Solutions Inc. [28/4/00]


Progress towards "The River Basin Initiative". The Ramsar Convention Bureau, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the support of a number of partners, is presently planning to launch what may be called "The River Basin Initiative". The initiative will aim at establishing a network to link and support activities and projects in which the principles and practice of integrated management of biodiversity, wetlands, and river basins/ catchments/ watersheds will be demonstrated. The overall objective of the initiative will be to promote and facilitate integrated management of wetlands, biodiversity and river basins worldwide. Its expected outcome in the short term will be a number of successful initiatives in at least 20 countries to achieve this objective, as well as significant progress by Contracting Parties in implementing relevant provisions of the CBD and Ramsar, enhanced partnerships in the area of integrated wetland/ biodiversity and river basin management, and the establishment of an information network to facilitate exchange of information and experience.

The secretariat of the initiative will be based at the Global Environment Centre in Malaysia, with the support of the Ramsar and the CBD secretariats. It is expected that the initiative will be formally launched on the occasion of the 5th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CBD, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15-26 May, 2000. For more information on the "River Basin Initiative" (title to be confirmed), write to Faizal Parish, Global Environment Centre, in Malaysia: e-mail fparish@genet.po.my , Fax +60-3 757 7003. -- Reprinted from World Water Watch, March 2000. [25/4/00]


Ramsar and World Heritage cooperation. Following on from the memorandum of cooperation between the Ramsar Bureau and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, signed on 14 May 1999, mutual assistance between the two Conventions has been growing ever closer. Quite a large number of World Heritage natural properties overlap with Ramsar sites (see list), as do World Heritage In Danger sites with Ramsar sites on the Montreux Record, and discussions are frequent and ongoing between Ramsar Regional Coordinators and members of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), the World Heritage advisory body for natural heritage. Anada Tiéga, Ramsar’s Regional Coordinator for Africa, has recently returned from a joint advisory mission with World Heritage to Ichkeul in Tunisia, and is presently in Paris, 17-20 April 2000, for the World Heritage "International Task Force Meeting on the World Heritage Action Programme for capacity building for outreach, Natural Heritage networking, education, cooperation and training (CONNECT)". Dwight Peck, Ramsar’s Web Editor, has just returned from participating in the "International Expert Meeting on the Revision of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention", hosted by English Heritage in Canterbury, England, 10-14 April. Plans are under way to find still more new areas of cooperation to advance to shared objectives of both Conventions. [18/4/00]


Mediterranean Wetland Committee 3, Djerba, Tunisia, 1-5 April. Resolution VII.22 of Ramsar COP7, entitled Collaborative structure for Mediterranean wetlands, approved "the establishment of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (MedWet/Com) within the framework of the Convention, as a forum for collaboration on wetland issues in the Mediterranean and as an advisor to the Convention in this region". MedWet/Com held its 3rd meeting in the island of Djerba in Tunisia, at the invitation of the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country, the Directorate General of Forests. Twenty-three countries from the Mediterranean basin were present, plus other intergovernmental and non-governmental MedWet/Com members, making a total of some 100 participants. The meeting reviewed the work done during the past year under the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative and approved a series of recommendations for action until 31 December 2001. The meeting included a Technical Session on "The cultural aspects of Mediterranean wetlands and their potential contribution to the sustainable use of wetlands resources", which approved a series of recommendations for action in this area of the social sciences, which would constitute a new area for the Convention’s work, traditionally focused on the biological aspects, and more recently the hydrological aspects, of wetlands.


The UK plans to designate the Thames Estuary. The Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions has announced: "A significant boost was given to important wetland habitats on the Thames Estuary today, with the classification of the Thames Estuary and Marshes as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Birds and also as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. The new site was formally classified by Environment Minister Chris Mullin. Covering over 5,500 hectares, the site is of special importance within Britain and the EC for the number of wildfowl and wader species which use it, both for over-wintering and as a migratory staging post. In winter the site regularly supports over 20,000 waterfowl. The wintering birds include Avocet, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Knot. Other species who regularly visit the site include breeding common tern, wintering Bewick’s swan, hen harrier and short-eared owl. Mr Mullin said: 'This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to recognising the international importance of these wetland and ornithological sites. I am pleased to give this important site the status it deserves.'" The Ramsar Bureau looks forward to receiving the designation papers for this important site. [6/4/00]

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