The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 October 2002
Ramsar contributes to GEF International Waters Conference. Anada Tiéga, Ramsar Regional Coordinator for Africa, is in China, 23-30 September 2002, invited along with Denis Landenbergue (WWF), Mr Muhamad Sani Adamu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), and Mr Muhammad Bello Tuga, Executive Secretary of the Niger Basin Authority (ABN) by the Global Environment Facility and its Implementing Agencies (UNDP, UNEP, and the World Bank) to participate in the second GEF Biennial International Waters Conference, to be held September 25-29, 2002 in Dalian, China. In particular, in the session on transboundary freshwater management, these participants will make a joint presentation on their collaborative work on the Lake Chad Basin to explain how river /lake basin organizations (Lake Chad and Niger River), GEF implementing agencies (World Bank and UNDP), an international NGO (WWF), and a Convention Secretariat (the Ramsar Convention Bureau) are working together to promote the integration of wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management. More detail here. [24/09/02]
Australia reviews incentive measures for conserving freshwater ecosystems. In a recently completed study Australia has done a comprehensive stock-taking of 27 incentive measures operating, or which could be introduced, to promote the conservation and wise use of freshwater ecosystems by private landholders. Many of these measures are currently available in Australia, whilst others are in use in other countries but only now beginning to be considered there. Each incentive measure is considered against the criteria of ecological efficiency, economic efficiency, social impact, flexibility, accountability and potential for community involvement, and for each incentive option recommendations have been formulated that are designed to offer guidance to policymakers at all levels of government for making these measures more affective. The project was undertaken by three leading environmental economists and WWF personnel and was coordinated by Dr Bill Phillips (former DSG of the Ramsar Convention), and the report can be found at http://www.ea.gov.au/water/policy/incentive/index.html.
As a companion to this policy paper, which targets national and jurisdictional governments, the authors developed a series of fact sheets as an Information Kit called "Wetland management assistance for private landholders". These are being prepared for Web publication at present and should be available shortly. [20/09/02]
Nanjing International Wetlands Symposium. The Nanjing International Wetlands Symposium (NIWS), which was sponsored by the Chinese State Forestry Administration, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jiangsu Provincial Government, Society of Wetland Scientists, and organized by Nanjing Forestry University, was convened successfully in Nanjing, China, September 10-13, 2002. All the participants of NIWS were more than 100, including from China, US, UK, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia, Australia, etc. The conference focused on Wetland Restoration and Management: Addressing Asian Issues through International Collaboration. The objective of NIWS was to provide a forum for synthesizing existing knowledge about ecosystem processes as a foundation for effective wetland restoration and management in Asia. Here is Bao Daming's brief report, with a few photos. [18/09/02]
Ramsar mission to Caribbean island states. As requested by the Pan-American Meeting of the Ramsar Convention, held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, 1-5 July 2002, a Ramsar Mission to key Caribbean Island States is taking place from 16-19 September 2002 to encourage them to accede to the Convention on Wetlands before its next COP to be held in Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2202. The participants an official from Trinidad and Tobago, as the Party which acts as Regional Representative in the Ramsar Standing Committee; an official from the Bahamas, as the first Caribbean Island State that joined the Convention; an official from the United States of America, as the main donor for projects in the region; and Ms. Margarita Astrálaga, Regional Coordinator for the Americas at the Ramsar Bureau. More detail is available here. [16/09/02]
Ramsar site extensions in the Americas. As of 5 September, Mexico has extended the boundaries of the Ramsar site Ría Lagartos, now to be called Humedal de Importancia Especialmente para la Conservación de Aves Acuáticas Reserva Ría Lagartos, from an area of 47,840 to 60,348 hectares. Costa Rica has extended the Palo Verde Ramsar site from 19,800 hectares to 24,519, as of 13 September 2002. [17/09/02]
Delta chiama Delta ("Delta calls Delta") founded in Comacchio, Italy. On 6 September 2002, the first official international network of Ramsar Sites came into being in the Italian town of Comacchio with the constitution of the Association "Delta chiama Delta" for the conservation and sustainable development of costal and delta areas. Its statutes, finalised with the help of legal experts during the morning's meeting, make special reference to the Ramsar Convention and to the need to take into account environmental, social, historical, cultural, and economical values of wetlands. Here is Ramsar's Tobias Salathé's brief, illustrated report of the launch, of its meaning for the Convention and for deltas everywhere, and of the surrounding countryside. [13/09/02]
Symposium on financial instruments for European Biosphere Reserves. A symposium entitled "Financial Instruments for Biosphere Reserves in EU-Accession Countries" was held 2-7 September 2002 on the Island of Vilm in the Baltic Sea, hosted by the German Bundesamt für Naturschutz (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) and the International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm. The secretariat of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, in opening statements, expressed its wish to look seriously at the possibility of promoting the sustainable trade of Biosphere Reserve products and at the possibility of establishing more environmental funds as a sustainable financing instrument for Biosphere Reserves. The Ramsar Bureau's Alain Lambert made presentations on several financial/economic instruments and options (such as bilateral donors, re-insurance schemes, debt swaps, campaigns, biorights, water-related fees, sustainable trade, market-based instruments, tourism-related fees, NGOs, foundations, and research programmes) and on the elaboration of financial strategies for protected areas. Other speakers included Mihály Végh of the European Centre for Nature Conservation in Budapest on the European Biodiversity Resourcing Initiative. Mr Lambert and MAB secretariat and regional personnel have agreed to pursue bilateral discussions further, and Alain considers this to be "an excellent opportunity to collaborate with Biosphere Reserve managers from EU-Accession countries and to implement the existing MOU with MAB. Excellent prospects ahead !!!" [12/09/02]
WWF / Ramsar / Switzerland partnership with southern African states. Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania announced a partnership with WWF, the Ramsar Secretariat, and the Swiss Agency for the Environment on 31 August in Johannesburg. They will be working on joint conservation of Lake Malawi/Niassa/Nyasa, as the lake is variously known, on a transboundary basis. The three countries will be supported in designating their respective parts of the lake as Ramsar sites. The project starts immediately in Tanzania, and similar support will be provided in 2003 to Malawi and Mozambique. The lake boasts up to 800 unique fish species found nowhere else in the world. The partnership illustrates the objectives of the Swiss/Ramsar/WWF policy paper that was presented in Johannesburg and will be a model for the collaborative management of transboundary rivers and lakes. [text and photo from WWF]. [11/09/02]
Norway names 14 new Ramsar sites. The Ramsar Bureau is absolutely delighted to announce that the Government of Norway has designated 14 new Wetlands of International Importance, to be dated as of 6 August 2002. Senior Adviser Øystein Størkersen of the Directorate for Nature Management in Trondheim notes that all of these new Ramsar sites, which extend from the populous and more developed regions of the south to the sparsely developed regions of the north, are presently protected as Nature Reserves, and most are being designated for their importance for migratory birds, though many other functions and values (such as flood control and water cleansing) have been listed as well. In addition, Norway is considerably extending the Ramsar site formerly known as Jæren (designated in 1985), now renamed Jæren Wetland System, with the addition of 18 new "units", bringing the area encompassed from 400 to 3256 hectares. Here's a bit more detail on the lot of them. [09/09/02] [français et/y español]
Black storks in Africa -- final report of the project. For the past few years the Government of the Walloon Region of Belgium has been contributing SFR 20,000 annually to the Small Grants Fund for earmarked studies on the situation of the Black Stork Ciconia nigra in Africa. The project is being executed by the Wetlands International West Africa Programme -- the goals are to determine the status of and threats to these birds in Africa, initiate actions for their conservation, and build awareness of this "charismatic" migratory species. The specific objectives are to determine the conservation status of the species in West Africa; identify key sites; identify threats; develop a conservation strategy/action plan; and increase awareness of the Black Stork and the importance of wetlands in West Africa. The report of the project segment for 2000 is entitled Situation de la Cigogne noire Ciconia nigra en Afrique - Synthèse des données des dénombrements des oiseaux d'eau (1991-2000), by Cheikh Hamallah Diagana and Seydina Issa Syllah, and is now available here (French only). [06/09/02]
News from WSSD."In the last two activities in the framework of the Summit, the Secretary General attended the launch of the European Union partnership on water with Africa and with the Eastern European and Central Asian States. Ramsar is listed as one of the partners in the EU Water Initiative and hopes to play a role in ensuring that ecosystem conservation and sound management is not forgotten. Finally, the SG attended the launch of a partnership among Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama for the conservation and sustainable use of the marine corridor that involves the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), the Isla del Coco Ramsar site (Costa Rica), and other islands along the Pacific coast of Colombia and Panama. The partnership is supported by UNEP's Regional Office based in Mexico, IUCN, and Conservation International, with Ramsar as another supporting institution. The Presidents of Costa Rica and Ecuador, the Vice President of Panama, and the Vice Minister of Environment of Colombia were in attendance at the event held at the IUCN Centre for the Summit.The Secretary General reports on the end of the Summit.
The Summit is now over. The Secretary General will prepare a report highlighting the points of interest for Ramsar in the outputs of the Summit, which are many, and this will be circulated as a Ramsar COP8 document. In addition, the Minister of Environment and Tourism of South Africa, H.E. M. Valli Moosa, has confirmed to the Secretary General that he has accepted the Convention's invitation to come to Valencia to address the COP on the opening day on the results of the Johannesburg Summit." [05/09/02]
Thailand names four new coastal Ramsar sites. The Government of Thailand, which joined the Convention on Wetlands just four years ago, has yet again increased its number of Wetlands of International Importance by designating four very interesting new coastal Ramsar sites, all of them including Marine National Parks at least partially and one of them already a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve. All include mangrove forests, coral reefs, and seagrass beds, many of them are lively ecotourism destinations, and all of them provide support for threatened or endangered species of flora or fauna or both. Thailand now has 10 Ramsar sites, covering a surface area of 370,600 hectares, and the Convention's 133 Contracting Parties have designated 1184 sites in all, covering 103,330,803 hectares. Here's a brief description of the four new Thai sites, drawn from information included in the "Ramsar Information Sheets" provided with the designation documents. [04/09/02]