Ramsar 'Toolkits' hit the news stands and kiosks
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 Conventions 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.
Over the past year since the 7th Conference of the Contracting Parties in San José, Costa Rica, May 1999, Editor Sandra Hails and project leader Bill Phillips (until recently Deputy Secretary General of the Convention) have painstakingly fleshed out the guidelines adopted there with some of the most important guidelines from earlier COPs, supporting background documents, photographs, case studies, and crossreferences amongst the other volumes. Taken together, the Handbooks are intended to provide many of the pieces of the puzzle in achieving the mission shared by all of the nations that have joined the Convention: "the conservation and wise use of wetlands by national action and international cooperation as a means to achieving sustainable development throughout the world".
The Handbooks have been published in physical form with financial support from the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Environment in Spain and from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI), and under the terms of that support they were printed in Costa Rica (by Industrias Gazaka S.A., in San José). Design and layout have been done by our old friends at LIV Communications in Morges, Switzerland, and the Spanish and French versions are being translated by our favorite translators, whose work is well known to all friends of Ramsar, Juan Carlos Valdovinos in Mallorca and Danièle and Richard Devitre in Montreal.
The contents of the nine volumes are as follows:
1. Wise Use of Wetlands: Guidelines for Implementation of the Wise Use Concept (24 pages), incorporating the original Guidelines from COP4 (1990) and the Additional Guidance from COP5 (1993), sort of merged together on similar themes and filled with crossreferences to serve as a guide to the other Handbooks in the series.
2. Developing and Implementing National Wetland Policies (64p), containing the guidelines adopted by Resolution VII.6, with photos and sideboxes on related issues.
Handbook series editor A. J. Hails, shirt untucked, welcomes the first shipment of the Toolkit, stored in the garage because the IUCN headquarters floors are not certified for such astonishing weights (books, not Ms Hails). (Photo: D. Peck)
3. Reviewing Laws and Institutions to Promote the Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands (46p), including the Guidelines as well Clare Shines excellent background paper from COP7 and 7 case studies. And photos (of laws?). The full texts of the case studies are available on this Web site.
4. Integrating Wetland Conservation and Wise Use into River Basin Management (32p), with the Guidelines from Resolution VII.18 plus 7 case studies and leads to additional resource materials. The full texts of the case studies are available on this Web site.
5. Establishing and Strengthening Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Participation in the Management of Wetlands (92p), including the now-famous Guidelines from Resolution VII.8, the COP7 background paper by Alex de Sherbinin and Gordon Claridge, a whacking great lot of sideboxes on additional resources, and 23 case study summaries. The full texts of the case studies are available on this Web site.
6. Promoting the Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands through Communication, Education and Public Awareness the Outreach Programme of the Convention on Wetlands (36p), basically the Conventions overly-ambitious Outreach work plan filled out with many sideboxes on exemplary efforts being made by other organizations, with a view to helping people create synergies with existing programmes.
7. Strategic Framework and Guidelines for the Future Development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance (60p) Here is the key Strategic Framework and the Vision for the List, amplified by the latest versions of the Ramsar Criteria, the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type, the Ramsar Information Sheet forms and explanations, and some unrelated photos. Our core document, I suppose.
Regional Coordinator Tobias Salathé and Deputy Secretary General Nick Davidson (facing 180° away) facilitate the shipment of the fabulous Ramsar Handbooks series into the IUCN basement garage.
8. Frameworks for Managing Wetlands of International Importance and Other Wetlands (60p) Lots of officially-adopted material on the meaning of ecological character, the preparation of management plans, the design of monitoring programmes, wetland risk assessment, the application of the Montreux Record mechanism, with case studies, success stories, and pix.
9. Guidelines for International Cooperation under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (51p), addressed to meeting the obligations of the treatys Article 5, including the Resolution VII.19 guidelines, illustrated by many sideboxes on examples of international coordination, and a small but unique B+W photo of Crawford Prentice, Mihaly Végh, and Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu right on the title page.
Unnumbered number 10, consistent with but not actually part of the series, is the Conventions Work Plan for 2000-2002 (adopted by Resolution VII.27), which is notable amongst environment conventions because it sets quantifiable targets for most of the actions required of Contracting Parties authorites, NGO partners, and the Bureau, the success of which will be measured at the 8th COP in 2002. Cant wait.
In addition, all of the Handbooks include the texts of the relevant Resolutions and Recommendations enacting the Guidelines contained within them. In many of the volumes, case studies that are summarized in the Handbooks are also available in one format or another on the Ramsar Web site. Stay tuned.
Hizzhonor the Secretary General, supervised by the Series Editor, boosting pallets of our new 'Ramsar Toolkits'.
Whereas once we could supply you with the Ramsar Manual (2nd ed.) to fulfill all of your needs for available Guidelines on the wise use of wetlands, now we offer you a bookshelf full of fairly neat stuff. The English-version Handbooks will be going out through diplomatic channels to the Contracting Parties and Administrative Authorities over the next few days, with the attractive Ministerial Briefing brochure that exhorts high-level government officials to pore over them assiduously. French and Spanish will follow in due course.
But, Environment Ministers aside, you too can have one, two, five, more, or all of the Handbooks for any worthy purposes by writing to our colleague Ms Valerie Higgins (firstname.lastname@example.org) and asking for them. Theyll be sent to you as soon as the big mailing to the Parties has been completed.