The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 September 2003

Three sites in Ukraine removed from the Montreux Record. The Ramsar Bureau is happy to announce that the Ukrainian Ramsar Sites Karkinitska and Dzharylgatska Bays, Tendrivska Bay and Yagorlytska Bay, at the request of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and in consultation with the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), have now been removed from the Montreux Record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur, established through Resolution IV.8 during COP4 (1990). In 1996, COP6 adopted Resolution VI.1 which provides in its Annex "Working definitions, guidelines for describing and maintaining the ecological character of listed sites, and guidelines for operation of the Montreux Record". The latter asks Contracting Parties to submit information, according to a specific "Montreux Record-Questionnaire", for assessing possible inclusion or removal of a listed site from the Montreux Record. This procedure has now been completed by Ukrainian authorities and the three sites have been removed as of 29 August 2003. More details about the sites and the steps that have been taken are available here. [01/09/03]

Slovenia joins AEWA. Bert Lenten, Executive Secretary of AEWA in Bonn (aewa@unep.dc, reports: "On 23rd of July 2003 Slovenia deposited its instrument of accession to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), and Slovenia will become as of 1 October 2003 the 41st Contracting Party to AEWA. Slovenia has a short coastal strip on the Adriatic Sea, an alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, mixed mountains and valleys with numerous rivers to the east. Despite its small extent covering only 20,256 km2, Slovenia has a rich biodiversity. Regularly a total of 103 species of birds of European concern breed in Slovenia, amongst others e.g. the Corn Crake (Crex crex). The minimum total population of this AEWA species in Slovenia is estimated at 500 calling males. The UNEP/ AEWA Secretariat welcomes Slovenia in the AEWA family and looks forward to a fruitful cooperation." [25/08/03]

10th WATC wetland management course under way. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé represented the Ramsar Bureau at the opening ceremony of the 10th International Course on Wetland Management run by the Dutch Water Management Agency's (RIZA) Wetland Advisory and Training Centre (WATC) in Lelystad. This edition of the course is likely to be a very successful one, based on the long experience accumulated by RIZA staff and course consultants over the past ten years, and this year's group of participants is particularly promising, wetland managers, reserve administrators, NGO educators and CEPA people, and others from Brazil (2), Bulgaria (1), China (2), Georgia (1), India (2), Lithuania (1), Mongolia (1), Philippines (3), Russia (2), Senegal (1), Switzerland (1), Turkey (1), and Ukraine (2). The good news is that this course stands as an international reference for wetland training in Ramsar principles and practice, and has been improved ever since its first edition ten years ago. The bad news is that, as a result of shifting priorities within the government, this will probably be the last year for the successful International Course on Wetland Management. Here's more detail and a few photos. [22/08/03]

Wetland Conservation Policy: Examples and Progress on the World Scene -- An Open Invitation to Submit Papers for a special session during the INTECOL VII International Wetlands Conference, Utrecht, The Netherlands, July 25-30, 2004. Organizer: Clayton Rubec, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Canada. E-mail: Phone: 1-819-953-0485. "Wetland Policy is one of the key instruments that nations can use to assist in implementing the wise use of wetlands and is a cornerstone of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The Convention adopted Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of National Wetland Policies in 1999 and has published this as part of the Ramsar Toolkit Series. Many countries are making progress in planning and delivering such policies or strategies and update reports have become standard information at Ramsar meetings of the Contracting Parties. However, an in-depth look at experience in applying these Guidelines and in understanding their utility as well as development of further actions to foster national wetland policies and strategies is essential. Colleagues with experience in leading forward policy initiatives and in their implementation, particularly where the Ramsar Guidelines have been used, are invited to contribute and present a paper in this Special Session during the INTECOL VII Wetlands Conference next year. A maximum of 10 papers will be accepted with an objective that they be gathered and edited for publication. Clayton Rubec of Canada, acting as the organizer of this session, invites you to contact him directly and be prepared to submit an abstract through the conference web server (" [21/08/03]

'Flow: the essentials of environmental flows'. IUCN and its Water and Nature Initiative have published a very handy new guide to "environmental flows" -- the "water regimes provided within a river, wetland or coastal zone to maintain ecosystems and their benefits where there are competing water uses and where flows are regulated". Flow has been edited by Megan Dyson, Ger Bergkamp, and John Scanlon and includes a chapter on international legal instruments, including the Ramsar Convention, by Alejandro Iza and John Scanlon of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre in Bonn, with research assistance by Angela Casser, a recent ELC intern and Ramsar Bureau sort-of-intern. Mike Acreman (co-author of the Ramsar book Economic Valuation of Wetlands) is lead author for the chapter on "Defining Water Requirements" and assisted with the chapter on "Building Capacity". Here you will find a launch press release by Elroy Bos of IUCN as well as a link to opportunities to download a 1.3MB PDF version of the book and/or to order the hardcopy version from the IUCN Publication Services Unit in Cambridge, UK, for 30 Euros. [20/08/03]

The 10th Anniversary of the Ramsar COP5, Kushiro Conference -- International Workshop on Wise Use of Lagoon Wetlands, 23-25 July 2003. A workshop was held to provide an opportunity to learn, exchange ideas, and explore the solution for the conservation, restoration, and wise use of the lagoon wetlands in Asia including Japan, as well as aiming at expanding the network among researchers, NGO staffs, and governmental officials who cope with these issues nationally and internationally. The Organizing Committee was comprised of Kushiro International Wetland Centre, Foundation of Hokkaido River Disaster Prevention Research Centre, Hokkaido Development Engineering Centre, and Ramsar Center Japan. Some Anatidae Network Sites and from other key sites for Anatidae in Japan also joined. Hopefully, more details on the workshop will follow here soon. For further information in the meantime, contact: Ms. Reiko Nakamura, Ramsar Center Japan. [18/08/03]

China holds training course on monitoring of Ramsar sites. Bao Daming of the State Forestry Administration, the Convention's Administrative Authority in the People Republic of China, has reported on a recent training workshop held for managers and technical workers in China's 20 Ramsar sites. Here is the brief summary, with a few photos. [14/08/03]

Iran re-routes highway to preserve Anzali Mordab Ramsar site. Dr. Massoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President and Head of the Department of the Environment (DOE) of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has informed the Ramsar Bureau on 11 August 2003 about some recent achievements in the conservation and wise use of wetlands in her country. The Anzali Mordab (Talab) Complex in Gilan province is a large and scenic wetland with significant biodiversity. In recognition of its importance the site was designated as a Wetland of International Importance in 1975 - one of the first Ramsar sites - and added to the Montreux Record in 1993. In recent years road construction was undertaken in the area, with plans to route part of it though particularly sensitive areas of the wetland. Due to a likely adverse environmental impact on the wetland, this road-building project has now been stopped. The Government of Iran, with the full support of the President, has approved the recommendation of the DOE to create a detour, and the budget necessary for this re-routing will be provided by the Ministry of Roads and Transportation. Remaining parts of the new road will be constructed in line with environmental regulations and best practice. The DOE has initiated a comprehensive plan for protection and management of this wetland, located on the Caspian coast, which is being supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. According to government officials, these measures will ensure the conservation and wise use of the wetland in accordance with the principles of the Ramsar Convention. [13/08/03]

Conservation Finance Alliance. IUCN has recently reported: "The most recent credible estimate of the total annual costs to operate an effective, representative global protected areas system is US $45 billion, yet current expenditures to manage the existing global protected areas network are estimated at US $6.5 billion. The quantum leap required to attain a level of funding sufficient to ensure a sustainable future and halt global biodiversity loss has driven 19 institutions, including IUCN and the Ramsar Convention, to establish the Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA). The Alliance strives to accelerate the delivery of conservation finance solutions by collaborating in areas where working together is more effective than working alone. The CFA will catalyze increased and sustainable public and private financing for large-scale biodiversity conservation efforts, including Multilateral Environment Agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Financing is also an issue that will be debated at the upcoming 5th IUCN World Parks Congress to be held in South Africa in September." Ramsar's Alain Lambert is Chair of the CFA, and present members include The Nature Conservancy, USAID, Ramsar, RedLac, the Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF, Conservation International, Germany's GTZ, the UN Development Programme, and the National Parks Conservation Association. A PDF version of the CFA's brochure is available on the IUCN Web site,, and the CFA Web site, hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, can be seen at (12/08/03)

Belarus, Lithuania and Russia complete transfrontier wetland project. The Small Grants Fund 2001 "Inventory of important transfrontier wetlands in Belarus, Kaliningrad Region of Russia and Lithuania" is the second part of a two-year project launched by OMPO (Migratory Birds of the Western Palearctic), an environmental NGO which develops programmes for the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory birds and their habitats. A detailed inventory using the Ramsar criteria and classification of 11 important transboundary wetlands (total area over 100,000 ha) was performed -- seven wetlands shared by Lithuania and Belarus and four shared by Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Region of Russia. For each of them, a complete Ramsar Information Sheet was prepared. Ramsar's Estelle Gironnet provides more details on the projects, the sites, and the prospects for the future, with some excellent photographs supplied by Dr. Saulius Svazas, program coordinator OMPO/Vilnius, Lithuanian Institute of Ecology. [12/08/03]

Anada Tiéga's farewell and next assignment. The Ramsar Bureau's Regional Coordinator for Africa is leaving the Convention's direct employment at the end of this month and moving on to manage a GEF project that will allow him to continue some of the most important work that he has been developing in recent years for Ramsar. As project manager of the Reversal of Land and Water Degradation Trends In the Lake Chad Basin Ecosystem project, he expects to be well placed to ensure that Ramsar principles and practices are fully embodied in the continuing transboundary cooperation amongst the members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. Here is his brief message of farewell and description of his new post. [11/08/03]

Equatorial Guinea joins the Convention as its 138th Contracting Party. The Ramsar Bureau is very pleased to announce that the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has completed the accession process, as of 2 June 2003, and UNESCO has informed the secretariat that the Convention on Wetlands, as amended in 1982 and 1987, will enter into force for Equatorial Guinea on 2 October 2003. The new Party has designated three Ramsar sites at the time of accession, though details about them are presently rather sketchy. The territory of Equatorial Guinea comprises the mainland area of Río Muni bordering Cameroon and Gabon, the island of Bioko in the Bight of Biafra, where lies the capital city Malabo, and several other smaller islands in the Gulf of Guinea, some quite distant from the coast. Two of the three new Ramsar sites are located at the northern and southern extremes of the mainland, and the third is not part of the mainland at all -- The Isla de Annobón, which lies some 350km off the coast, is a small island of some 7km by 3km with touristic importance, all or some of which has been designated as a Nature Reserve for its large numbers of migratory birds and important vascular plants. The Reserva Natural del Estuario del Muni (80,000 hectares) in the mainland south is an area of estuaries and near-coastal highlands characterized by dense forest, inundated forest, and peat meadows; Río Ntem o Campo is a Nature Reserve along the Ntem river, which forms the frontier with Cameroon in the nation's north. The Bureau's African regional team will very soon be following up with authorities in the new Party to establish the information about these sites that is required by Resolutions of the Conference of the Parties, but here is what is known about them at the present time. The Convention on Wetlands extends its warm welcome to Equatorial Guinea as it joins the Ramsar family. [06/08/03] [français] [español]

Technical manual for sampling water quality at Ramsar sites [version en español]. Numerous Resolutions and Recommendations of the Convention have called for greater technical attention by the Parties to the quantity and quality of the water associated with wetlands. In particular, Resolution VII.25 (1999) on Measuring environmental quality in wetlands requested the Contracting Parties to intensify studies on the presence and significance of toxic substances in the water, sediments and biota of wetlands. Now SEHUMED, the Sede para el Estudio de los Humedales Mediterráneos (the "Seat" for the Study of Mediterranean Wetlands) at the University of Valencia, has produced a succinct and practical text the purpose of which is to provide a technical review of methods for carrying out such sampling and making biological, physical and chemical determinations. Recommendations for sampling water, biota and bottom sediments in Ramsar wetlands / Recomendaciones para la toma de muestras de agua, biota y sedimentos en humedales Ramsar is a 226-page illustrated softcover volume that includes both the Spanish original and English translation - it was prepared primarily by Drs Enrique Andreu Moliner and Antonio Camacho González, with the collaboration of Spanish academic colleagues, and published on behalf of SEHUMED, MEDWET, and the Ramsar Convention by the Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza (DGCN) of Spain's Ministerio de Medio Ambiente in Madrid. It includes prefatory words by DGCN director Inés González Doncel and Ramsar's Delmar Blasco and covers a full range of technical aspects of water sampling techniques and chain of custody, sampling of organisms and ecotoxicity, and dealing with muds and sediments.

Summary of Ramsar COP8 from IUCN's Environmental Law Programme. Dr Alejandro O. Iza's brief article summarizing the results of Ramsar Convention's 8th COP in November has been published in the IUCN's Environmental Law Programme Newsletter. Dr Iza, of the Environmental Law Centre in Bonn, approaches the strengths and weaknesses of the COP results from the point of view of the international legal questions that were considered there, and his short paper adds an interesting perspective. It is reprinted here. [05/08/04]

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