World Summit on Sustainable Development -- WWF recognizes Bolivia's conservation of wetlands

27/08/2002

Press Release
Embargo until 26 August 2002

Bolivia to be Recognized at the Johannesburg World Summit for its Role in Wetland Conservation

On Tuesday, August 27th, WWF will recognize Bolivia's efforts during the World Summit on Sustainable Development highlighting its enormous contribution to wetland conservation.

On September 17, 2001, Bolivia declared Ramsar sites covering 4.7 million hectares of wetlands consisting of the following areas: Pantanal, Bañados del Izozog-Rio Parapeti, and El Palmar de las Islas-Salinas de San Jose. This was recognized internationally by WWF as a Gift to the Earth in recognition of Bolivia's commitment in conserving these wetlands ensuring a clear interest in guaranteeing that water, food and appropriate environment exists for the survival current population and future generations. It also represented a concrete interest to support the sustainable management of resources and thus, conservation of life on earth.

Of the above mentioned wetlands, the Pantanal is one of the most important both at the ecoregional and world level due to its excellent state of conservation and also because of the area it covers, making it one of the largest declared Ramsar sites in Latin America. It is also the watershed for the trinational wetland which also encompasses Brazil and Paraguay. Thus, the conservation of the wetland in Bolivia is even more importance. This has made the area a priority ecoregion for WWF and since 1998 the organization has been supporting conservation efforts in the area, focusing on the management of two representative protected areas - Otuquis and San Matias.

In addition to the mentioned wetlands, Bolivia has also declared other Ramsar sites such as Laguna Colorada (the first Ramsar site in Bolivia, nominated in 1990), the Bolivian portion of the Lago Titicaca (1998), and the Taczara watershed in Tarija (2000). And recently, Bolivia again made international headlines with the nomination on May 6, 2002 of the Laguna Concepcion and the watershed of the Lago Poopo as new Ramsar sites.

WETLANDS IN BOLIVIA DECLARED AS RAMSAR SITES

Bañados del Izozog y el río Parapetí 17/09/01 Santa Cruz 615,882 ha
Cuenca de Tajzara 13/06/00 Tarija 5,500 ha
Lago Titicaca (Sector Boliviano) 26/08/98 La Paz 800,000 ha
Lagos Poopó y Uru Uru 11/07/02 Oruru 967,607 ha
Laguna Colorada 27/06/90 Sud Lípez 51,318 ha
Laguna Concepción 06/05/02 Santa Cruz 31,124 ha
Palmar de las Islas - Salinas de San José 17/09/01 Santa Cruz 856,754 ha
Pantanal Boliviano
17/09/01 Santa Cruz 3,189,888 ha

At the moment there are a total of 103 million hectares of wetlands declared as Ramsar sites worldwide, of which 6,518,073 hectares belong to Bolivia and position the country in fifth place within the list of countries with the highest number of well-preserved wetlands worldwide and of international importance.

The Summit will take place in Johannesburg from August 26 through September 4 uniting most of the countries of the world to discuss five key themes upon which agreements and solutions are hoped to be reached: water, energy, health, agriculture and biological diversity. On Tuesday, August 27 Bolivia's efforts along with those of eight other countires (Peru, Argentina, Algeria, Chad, China, Guinea, Tanzania, and Zambia) will be honored by WWF and other environmental organizations.

The representatives from Bolivia assisting the Summit are led by the Minister of Sustainable Development and Planning, Mr. Jose Guilllermo Justiniano, and will also receive on behalf of Bolivia the mentioned honor awarded by WWF and the countries committed to the conservation of wetlands.

WWF is also assisting the Summit on Sustainable Development with the objective of positioning two topics considered of global importance: ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on behalf of those countries responsible for emitting the highest rate of global warming gases (climate change) and wetland conservation of international importance.

*Ramsar Convention to designate wetlands as protected areas due to their global importance.

Further informatioin from:
Ana Alicia Eid Chajtur
Coordinadora de Comunicaciones
Communications Officer
WWF Bolivia
Calle Los Pitones #2070
Tlfs: (591) 3 3430609 - 3430406 - 3430641
Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Sud América
aliciaeid@wwfbolivia.org

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