The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 March 2002

Review of national wetland inventory in Europe. As part of the on-going review of national wetland inventory information in Europe (being conducted under the RIZA-funded project "Pilot Study Towards a Pan-European Wetland Inventory"), Scott Frazier and Claire Nivet of Wetlands International have posted draft "country chapters" on the Web site and have appealed via the Ramsar Forum for comments and corrections. Here is their message and the links to the European chapters. [02/03/02]

Reprints of National Wetlands Policies of Colombia and Costa Rica (in Spanish) and Trinidad and Tobago (English); New section - Special Subjects and Features; Reprint of the 2001 management plan of Ecuador's Laguna de Cube. [01/03/02]

Sri Lanka publishes guide to Bundala National Park. In coordination with its final Ramsar Small Grants Fund project report, in early 2002 IUCN-Sri Lanka, on behalf of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, has published an attractive 54-page book entitled Guide to Bundala: a guide to the biodiversity of Bundala National Park, a Ramsar wetland in Sri Lanka (ISBN 955-8177-12-1), compiled and edited by Channa N. B. Bambaradeniya, with financial support from the Ramsar Bureau. Nicely illustrated with maps and photos, this small book will be useful, not only as a visitors' guide, but also for researchers interested in Sri Lanka's wealth of wetland flora and fauna. A few more details here. [28/02/02]

Society for the Protection of Prespa announces job opening. The Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP), which provides secretarial, organisational and logistical support to the trilateral co-operation between Greece, Albania and the FYR of Macedonia within the context of the transboundary Prespa Park, wishes to employ a collaborator for strengthening its human capacity in the aforementioned activities. Fluency in Greek and English is required, the position will be based chiefly in Athens, and the deadline for applications is 10 March 2002. Here are further details.[link later removed] [27/02/02]

Asia Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy reports on 2001. Dr Taej Mundkur reports that "2001 has been an eventful year to promote the conservation of migratory waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia Pacific region. The new Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001-2005 was launched", and specific targets have been set for the 5-year period in eight areas of work. Here is his brief report to the Ramsar Forum. [25/02/02]

Nariva Swamp removed from the Montreux Record. The Montreux Record was established in 1990 as a register of wetlands on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where "changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference". The Nariva Swamp (6,234 hectares) in Trinidad and Tobago was added to the Montreux Record at the Government's request because of a number of adverse changes in ecological character. Now, having implemented a number of recommendations of the Ramsar Advisory Mission report of 1995, the Government, and particularly the dedicated Nadra Nathai-Gyan of the Wildlife Section of the Forestry Division, began the procedure for removing Ramsar sites from the Montreux Record, which was completed with the adoption on 11 July 2001 of a "National Policy and Programmes on Wetland Conservation for Trinidad and Tobago". Thus, on the recommendation of Ramsar Regional Coordinator Margarita Astrálaga, the Secretary General has warmly welcomed Trinidad and Tobago's request and instructed that the Nariva Swamp be deleted from the Montreux Record effective 7 January 2002. The Bureau sends its congratulations to Trinidad and Tobago for these positive developments and its best wishes for continued progress with Nariva Swamp and the other wetlands with its territory. Here is the story. [français & español disponible] [21/02/02]

Portugal unveils new Centro de Zonas Humidas. On Monday, 18 February 2002,the Secretary General for the Environment and Land Planning of Portugal, Mr. Pedro Silva Pereira, inaugurated the new Portuguese Wetlands Centre (Centro de Zonas Humidas) in Almada, which will be part of the Nature Conservation Institute (ICN) of the Portuguese Ministry of Environment. Here is a brief report from the MedWet Coordinator, Spyros Kouvelis. [20/02/02]

Guinea declares the designation of six Niger Basin sites. On 16 February at the summit meeting of the Heads of State of the nine-nation Niger Basin Authority in Abuja, Nigeria, the Prime Minister of Guinea announced that formal papers and datasheets have been submitted to the Ramsar Bureau for the designation of six new Wetlands of International Importance, all located in the headwaters of the Niger River. Totaling over 4.5 million hectares in area, these new sites are of extraordinarily great significance because they represent Guinea's recognition of the vital importance of sustainable management of the entire vast catchment of the Niger Basin and help to ensure adequate water supply downstream. In efforts supported materially by the Living Waters Programme of the World Wide Fund for Nature, the designation of this suite of Ramsar sites can be seen in the context of a basin-wide effort for the wise use and sustainable management of the entire system, similar to ongoing Living Waters/Ramsar work in cooperation with the Lake Chad Basin Commission reported elsewhere on this Web site. The six new Ramsar sites will be added to the Ramsar List and reported more fully as soon as the paperwork has been completed. [16/02/02] See also WWF's press release, 16/02/02.

West and Central Asia subregion agrees "Tehran Communiqué" for World Wetlands Day. During the West and Central Asian Subregional Meeting, 3-5 February, the Department of the Environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran hosted, on 3 February, a celebration of the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Convention in its city of Ramsar, which included a reading of the "Tehran Communiqué" which had been agreed by the meeting's participants. The communiqué outlines key issues for West and Central Asia about the delivery of wetland conservation and wise use in the region. Nick Davidson reports that the meeting was most successful, with lively discussions and strong consensus on matters of common concern throughout the region, notably the severe impact on many wetlands of the persistent drought in the region, and the priority for international cooperation throughout the region, in relation to action on transboundary wetlands and river basins, capacity-building and assistance from Parties to their neighbouring countries who are working towards accession to the Convention. The meeting, attended by some 60 participants from Parties, non-Parties, International Organization Partners and other regional and national NGOs, international organizations and staff of the Department of the Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was a success in no small part because of the excellent local organizing of venue and arrangements, and received considerable media attention including featuring on national television news. A full report will follow, and the Tehran Communiqué can be found here. [08/02/02] [français et/y español]

France hosts meeting on National Wetlands Plan. The Water Management Agency of the Rhone-Mediterranean-Corsica (RMC) catchment basin in France (Agence de l'eau RMC) hosted a perfectly organised meeting on 29 January, as a contribution to World Wetlands Day, in Lyon's state-of-the-art Conference Palace and brought together 650 people to discuss the National Wetlands Plan [Plan Coordinator Marie-Odile Guth, left], representing many different administrations, elected councillors and mayors, river, water and wetland technicians, managers and scientists, industrials, local stakeholders, farmers, fishermen, hunters, NGOs and user-groups, coming essentially from the extensive catchment basin covering about a fourth of France's territory. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé describes the meeting and the issues involved, providing a timely update on wetland policy-making in France. [06/02/02]

Workshop set for October 2002 in Czech Republic. The Czech National Committee for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the Czech Ramsar Committee have issued a first announcement of the workshop "The Role of Wetlands in Biosphere Reserves", to be held in the Mikulov Chateau, Pálava Biosphere Reserve, in the Czech Republic. The announcement is available here, with a registration form attached. [06/02/02]

MAB Programme launches new book for WWD2002. Located in the southern part of the Czech Republic, the Trebon Basin has been influenced and modified by human activities for more than eight centuries. The result is a diverse semi-natural countryside - a mosaic of more than 500 artificial fishponds, deciduous and coniferous forests, meadows, fields and wetlands crossed by numerous small streams, canals and dykes. Trebon Basin has long been the focus of intensive ecological research, and in 1977 was designated as a biosphere reserve within UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme. Trebon is also one of about 60 biosphere reserves worldwide which include areas that are also inscribed on the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Katarina Vestin announces that the MAB Programme took the occasion of World Wetlands Day to launch the publication of a new book on the Trebon Basin Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar site on the MAB/Ramsar joint Web site -- J. Kvet, J. Jeník and L. Soukupová. (Eds.), 2002. Freshwater wetlands and their sustainable future - a case study of Trebon Basin Biosphere Reserve, Czech Republic -- and here is a description of the book taken directly from the MAB Web site. [05/02/02]

West and Central Asian Subregional Meeting takes off. The Islamic Republic of Iran is convening and hosting the second Asian subregional meeting in preparation for Ramsar's 8th Conference of the Parties, with participation, from 3 to 5 February, by representatives of all or nearly all of the Contracting Parties and non-contracting parties in the subregion. On 3 February, Vice President and Head of the Department of the Environment, H. E. Dr Masoumeh Ebtekar, will assist in celebrations of World Wetlands Day and the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Convention in Ramsar, Iran. Topics for discussion include reports of achievements in the subregion, the COP8 National Report format, the draft Strategic Plan 2003-2008, preparations for the COP8 Technical Sessions, inter alia. Other featured participants include Taej Mundkur (Wetlands Int'l), Dave Pritchard (BirdLife Int'l), Zbig Karpowicz (Fauna & Flora Int'l), C. L. Trisal (Wetlands Int'l), Biksham Gujja (WWF Int'l), Hassan Partow (UNEP), and Abdu Al Assiri (SRAP/UNCCD). On 6-7 February an optional visit to the city of Ramsar on the Caspian shore will be organized by the hosts. A report of the meeting will arrive in due course. [03/02/02]

Nicaragua names 7 new sites for World Wetlands Day. The Ramsar Bureau is especially glad to announce that the Government of Nicaragua has designated seven new Wetlands of International Importance, effective 8 November 2001, to be announced in ceremonies on World Wetlands Day 2 February 2002, comprising a very impressive array of wetland types and values. An enormous effort has gone into the compilation of the very thorough, almost book-length Ramsar Information Sheets, totaling a coverage of 361,752 hectares in all parts of the country, carried out by MARENA (the Ministerio del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) assisted by a large number of non-governmental organizations, namely the Asociación Ambientalista Audubon Nicaragua (ASAAN), the Fundación del Río, Amigos de la Tierra, PROGOLFO, the Coordinación Nacional del Corredor Biológico Mesoamericano, the Centro Inter Universitario Moravo de la Bluefields Indians & Caribbean University, and the Proyecto de Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal PROCODEFOR. In particular, very substantial financial and technical support was provided to the preparation for these designations by IUCN Mesoamerica and its Nicaraguan Wetlands Working Group. Nicaragua, which joined the Convention in 1997, now has eight Ramsar sites totaling 405,502 hectares. Here is a brief description of the seven new sites. [01/02/02]

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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