The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 4 September 2001

Ramsar Mission report on Ebro Delta, here, now! The long-awaited Ramsar Mission Report no 43 on the Delta del Ebro, Cataluña, España, has leapt in an exuberant manner over its last official hurdles and has now become part of the public record. Led by the Bureau's Dr Tobias Salathé and invited experts Dr Patrick Dugan, consultant, and Dra María José Viñals of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia/SEHUMED, with the participation of a number of Spanish experts, the mission visited the site in September 2000 and has been passing its semi-semi-final report back and forth amongst scientific personnel and government officials at all levels over the past year, and the report is now poised to become part of our common environmental heritage. Here is the final report in Spanish, and here is the English summary. [4/9/01]

The United Kingdom stands by international status of listed wetlands. On 12 July 2001 the UK Government announced decisions on the first of its Multi-Modal Studies examining some of the most severe transport problems around the country. The study looked at transport issues in Kent and the area around Hastings in southeast England. Although the proposed highway bypasses would offer the opportunity for environmental improvement within Hastings, they would themselves cut through areas of designated high environmental value. Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, said: "Both 'A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England' and the Ten Year Plan provide a strong presumption against harming sensitive sites including sites of special scientific interest, AONBs and habitats given international protection. The requirements of the Ramsar convention would only permit damage to the Pevensey levels site in the 'urgent national interest' and the Ramsar policy statement issued by DETR in November 2000 makes it clear that derogation of the urgent national interest can be used only where there are no alternatives and the benefits of the development demonstrably outweigh the acknowledged international status of the site. In my view, the balance of the arguments presented in favour of the bypasses is not sufficient to outweigh these very strong environmental requirements. I believe, therefore, we must look for alternative means to prevent the further decline of the area and to optimise its economic potential." [29/08/01]

Latvia completes SGF project for Teici Reserve. The Ramsar Small Grants Fund 1999 project "Measures to improve the management of the Teici Nature Reserve Ramsar site and surrounding wetlands" has been successfully completed. It was carried out by the Administration of Teici Nature Reserve and partly financed by the European Habitat Conservation Stamp programme, run jointly by FACE (Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU) and Wetlands International. During the project implementation, The Teici Wetland Foundation (TWF) was established as the financial instrument for purchase/lease and management of land for nature conservation around the Teici Reserve Ramsar site. The SGF project contributed to the purchase of two most valuable land properties in Teici and provided seed money for future work. View a brief report and an annex of photographs and further detail, right here. [27/08/01]

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia declares succession. On 3 July 2001 the Director-General of UNESCO received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia a notification that the FR of Yugoslavia accepted the Ramsar Convention as a successor State to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia "and undertakes faithfully to perform and carry out the stipulations therein contained as from April 27, 1992, the date upon which the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia assumed responsibility for its international relations". Yugoslavia confirmed the Ramsar status of its four existing listed sites, Ludasko Lake, Obedska Bara, Skadarsko Jezero, and Stari Begej. [27/08/01]

Argentina ratifies the Regina Amendments. The Government of the Argentine Republic, in the person of President Fernando de la Rua, has deposited with UNESCO its instruments of acceptance of the amendments to Articles 6 and 7 (1987); in accordance with the terms of Article 10bis, the amendments will enter into force for Argentina on the first day of the fourth month following the date of deposit of its instrument, i.e., 1 October 2001. The Argentine Republic availed itself of the opportunity to renew its reservation concerning the United Kingdom’s extension of its ratification of the Regina Amendments "to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and reasserts its sovereignty over those islands" (UNESCO translation). [24/08/01]

Mission to Czech Republic -- report available. In June 2001, the Ramsar Bureau carried out a Ramsar Advisory Mission to the Sumava (or Shumava) Peatlands Ramsar site, at the invitation of the Czech Government, and studied recent problems of outbreaks of bark beetle populations, as well as the potential environmental impacts of proposed remedies, and the need for transboundary management with Germany on related problems. The RAM report, prepared by invited expert Hans Joosten and Tobias Salathé of the Ramsar Bureau, with the help of government and NGO experts from the Czech Republic, is now available on this Web site (with some photos). [22/08/01]

Armenia completes Ramsar project on management plans for Lake Sevan wetlands. A Ramsar project in Armenia on the "Implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan in the management of wetlands in Sevan National Park" has been finalised. Carried out by Orientation (the Professional and Entrepreneurial Orientation Union) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Nature Protection and with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the project was a follow-up of the SGF 1997 project "Inventory of Armenian Ramsar Sites", with a focus on the Lake Sevan Ramsar Site. During the SGF97 project, the threats and values of Armenia’s main wetlands were assessed, and based on these findings, six draft management plans were elaborated for wetlands in Sevan National Park. Read a bit more detail here. [18/08/01]

TESEO study under way. The European Space Agency held a meeting on 8 August in Frascati, Rome, to kick off the ESA TESEO (Treaty Enforcement Services using Earth Observation) study that will seek to develop remote sensing support for the implementation of four intergovernmental environmental agreements (Ramsar, UNFCCC/Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, and MARPOL 73/78), in particular to develop remote-sensing tools for assessment and monitoring of wetlands, carbon, desertification, and marine pollution. (An announcement of the EAS TESEO programme and call for tenders, posted here in April 2001, provides more detail.) Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary General, reports that the project holds great promise for eventually providing the Parties with useful tools and techniques. He will report here soon on the project that has been chosen for implementation and suggest ways in which the Ramsar Parties might be able to assist. [12/08/01]
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