The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 6 October 2003

Sustainable management seminar concluded in Argentina. The International Seminar on Wetland Sustainable Management in Latin America took place in Paraná, 25-27 September 2003, organized by Fundación Proteger-Amigos de la Tierra, Argentina, with the support of Wetlands International and the Ramsar Convention. More than 700 participants from several parts of the world discussed and shared experiences regarding wetland sustainable management alternatives, and a number of important recommendations were concluded, including political commitments for a major Ramsar site designation along the 'Paraná Floodplain Fluvial Wetlands Corridor'. The press release from the Fundación Proteger can be seen here in English and Español, with photos, as well as a reprint of an article in English from the Buenos Aires Herald. [06/1003]


Les zones humides et la ressource en eau - Guide technique. Les Agences de l'eau (France) proposent un guide à l'usage des gestionnaires sur " Les zones humides et la ressource en eau". Ce guide présente une synthèse des connaissances sur les zones humides et propose un ensemble de techniques à mettre en œuvre pour contribuer à une meilleure gestion de leur rôle fonctionnel et patrimonial. ICI. [29/09/03]

The Water Agencies (France) present a French-language guide book addressed to managers dealing with "Wetlands and water resource". This guide proposes a synthesis of the knowledge on wetlands and reports a set of techniques to be implemented in order to improve the management of their functional and patrimonial roles. It answers the most frequent questions through a hundred convenient cards about typology, functions, threats, actions, monitoring. HERE.



Czech Biosphere Reserve expanded to include Ramsar sites. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé reports that the Biosphere Reserve Palava (covering essentially limestone hills with an important biodiversity and many sub-mediterranean species), in the south of the Czech Republic, has recently been expanded to include the Dyje-Morava floodplains with its extensive oak forests (again with a specific assembly of important species supported). This brings the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve more in line with (and largely overlapping) the Ramsar sites "Lednice fishponds" and "Floodplain of the lower Dyje River" and can partly also be seen as a result of the international workshop organized in October 2003 by the Czech Man and Biosphere National Committee (with the participation of the Ramsar Bureau and others, reported here). Josef Chytil, until recently secretary of the Czech Ramsar Committee, working in the management authority of the now extended Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar site, has provided further detail and some excellent photographs, and a map as well. [26/09/03]



Framework for Himalayan Action Plan. In August 2002, the WWF International, the Ramsar Bureau, and the Government of the People's Republic of China organized a regional workshop in Urumqi, China, on 'Conservation of High Altitude Wetlands in the Himalayas'. This workshop marked the initiation of a regional cooperation on wetland conservation in the high mountain areas with a wide range of participation from countries in the Himalayan-Tianshan continuum. The workshop resulted in the 'Urumqi Call' for specific collaborative actions. In order to implement the Urumqi Call and the Ramsar Resolution VIII.12 on Himalayan wetlands, WWF International, the Ramsar Bureau, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) jointly organized a follow-up workshop on 'Wetland Conservation and Wise Use in the Himalayan High Mountains' from August 30 to September 1, 2003, in Kathmandu (reported here). Now one of the outputs of that workshop, the Framework for an Action Plan on "Wetland Conservation and Wise Use in the Himalayan High Mountains", is available here and on the Web sites of the other workshop organizers. [25/09/03]


Nepal's Ghodaghodi Lake."Ghodaghodi Lake Area" is a new 2,563-hectare Ramsar site in Kailali District, a large and shallow oxbow lake with associated marshes and meadows surrounded by tropical deciduous forest on the lower slopes of Siwalik, the youngest mountain range of the Himalaya in Western Nepal. Its designation, with two other sites in Nepal, was reported here, and now K. C. Sandip has sent us some of his very good photographs of the site. Here they are. [25/09/03]



Luxembourg joins AEWA. On 12 September 2003 Luxembourg deposited its instruments of ratification of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). Luxembourg will become as of 1 of December 2003 the 42nd Contracting Party to the Agreement. Luxembourg is one of the Europe's smallest sovereign states, with a total area of 2,586 km2, lying between Belgium, France and Germany, a Party to the Ramsar Convention since 1998. It holds one breeding species of global conservation concern, the Corn Crake (Crex crex), and 83 bird species of European conservation concern also occur or breed throughout the country, e.g., Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutes), White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), etc. There are only a few wetland sites in Luxembourg but the site Weiler-la-tour is an important roosting place for Common Crane with up to 1,200 specimens observed here during the autumn migration. The UNEP/ AEWA Secretariat welcomes Luxembourg to the 'AEWA Family' and looks forward to a fruitful cooperation. -- reported by Bert Lenten, AEWA. [24/09/03]

Training course on environmental education for the North East Asian Crane Site Network, Mongolia. Since its launch in 1997, the North East Asian Crane Site Network has organized activities such as workshops, symposia, children art exhibitions, and training courses to promote conservation of cranes and their habitats in North East Asia. Recently, with financial support from the Société des Eaux Minerales d'Evian of the Danone Corporate Group (France), through the Ramsar Convention Bureau, and the Nippon Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation (Japan), a training course in environmental education was held at the Daguur Strictly Protected Area, Dornod Province, Mongolia, from 25 August to 1 September 2003. The Siberian Crane GEF Program, China Wetland GEF Program, the UNDP Eastern Steppe Biodiversity Conservation Program in Mongolia, and the International Crane Foundation all contributed in sponsoring participants and assisting the training course. For one week all participants stayed on the Mongolian steppe by Duruu Lake at the Daguur Strictly Protected Area, living in Mongolian gers and tents. Simba Chan has provided this brief report with photos and list of Crane Network sites. [20/09/03]


Nepal designates three new Ramsar sites. The Ramsar Bureau is very pleased to announce that the Kingdom of Nepal, which acceded to the Convention in 1987 with its famous Koshi Tappu wetlands, has now added three more sites to its network of Wetlands of International Importance. Dr T M Maskey, Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, informs the Bureau that as of 13 August 2003 two forested oxbow lake systems, Beeshazar and Associated Lakes (3,200 hectares, 27°37'N 084°26'E), a legal buffer zone of the Royal Chitawan National Park and World Heritage site, and Ghodaghodi Lake Area (2,563 ha, 28°41'N 080°57'E) in Kailali district, as well as a small irrigation reservoir, Jagadishpur Reservoir (225 ha, 27°35'N 083°05'E) in Kapilvastu, can be added to the Ramsar List, chiefly because of their support for threatened and endangered species of birds and mammals, bringing Nepal's total to four Ramsar sites covering 23,488 hectares. IUCN-Nepal has been very helpful to the government in preparing the data sheets for these significant new designations. Ramsar's Liazzat Rabbiosi has provided these brief descriptions of these new sites, which bring the present global Ramsar total to 1313 sites covering 110,971,197 hectares, or 1.1 million square kilometres. [17/09/03] [français et/y español]


MOC between IUCN and the Ramsar Bureau signed at World Parks Congress. Collaboration between the Ramsar Bureau and three of the four "International Organization Partners" (BirdLife International, Wetlands International, and WWF International), as well as with many other organizations and convention secretariats, is shaped by formal agreements signed over the past few years (more info here), but Ramsar relations with IUCN-The World Conservation Union, which has been hosting the Bureau since the permanent secretariat was established in 1988 (and performing secretariat duties for many years before that), have until now been governed by a woefully inadequate administrative agreement dating all the way back to 1991 (here), when many of our readers were still in short trousers. That's all been changed now. In ceremonies held during the World Parks Conference in Durban, Secretary General Peter Bridgewater and IUCN Director General Achim Steiner are signing a new Memorandum of Cooperation which enunciates in detail all the ways in which the two organizations have been, are, and will continue to fulfill the 21 operational objectives of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2003-2008. Here is a reprint of IUCN's press release on the signing and the text of the new MOC and its technical annex. [13/09/03]


Wetlands International signs MOU with China for wetland conservation and wise use. Zhang Xiaohong, Senior Project Officer, Wetlands International-China, and Yuan Jun, Central Project Management Unit, UNDP/GEF China Wetland Project, State Forestry Administration, write: "Mr.Marcel Silvius, Senior Programme Manager, on behalf of Wetlands International, has signed the agreement document with Mr Li Yucai,Vice Minister of the State Forestry Administration of China, on Conservation and Sustainable Development on 8th of September 2003. Both sides exchanged ideas on the common issues concerned in a friendly atmosphere. Both parties expressed confidence that a close cooperation on wetlands conservation and wise use would be strengthened in the coming years. Please make the announcement on the Ramsar Forum." An unofficial reprint of the new MOU is available on this Web site. [12/09/03]


From the World Parks Congress, 10 September. "Peter Bridgewater, Ramsar Convention Secretary General, introduced the stream on linkages in the landscape and seascape. He stressed the importance of management beyond PA boundaries, and noted the interlinkages between terrestrial and marine PAs. He suggested considering the negative consequences of building corridors, and highlighted that biodiversity conservation should address the genetic, species, community and landscape and seascape levels." (Text & photo from Earth Negotiations Bulletin.) In addition, on 10 September, the side event "Freshwater: WWF, Ramsar sites and International Basin Management" was to be held in the VIP Lounge, a joint initiative between the Bureau of the Ramsar Convention and WWF International. It was intended to be a high profile occasion with an Opening speech by Chief Emeka Anyaoku, WWF President, and a statement from Dr. Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention. It was meant to assess progress in Ramsar site designations undertaken with the support of WWF/Living Waters & Ramsar Convention Bureau globally. A special recognition of the significant achievements made by the Ramsar Contracting Parties was to be made. One looks for a report on this event in due course. [12/09/03]


Madagascar designates its third Ramsar site. The Ramsar Bureau is very pleased to announce that Madagascar, which joined the Convention in 1998, has named its third Wetland of International Importance, as of 9 September 2003. Nassima Aghanim reports, based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, that "Le Lac Alaotra: les zones humides et bassins versants" (722,500 hectares, 17°28'S 048°31'E) in Ambatondrazaka prefecture comprises a large lake of some 20,000 hectares, surrounded by 23,500 ha. of marsh and 117,000 ha. of rice plantations, and including over 500,000 ha. of the surrounding catchment and water courses, between 750 and 1250m altitude. The site is an excellent representative example of the natural wetlands of the eastern Madagascar biogeographical region and includes nine of twenty inland wetland types identified in the Ramsar system of classification, as well as seven of the 10 human-made wetland types. The site provides habitat for three endemic species, all of which are seriously threatened - the grey lemur Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis, the Alaotra grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus, and the Madagascar pochard Aythya innotata - as well as for five very rare, indigenous species of fish and some 30 species of waterbirds. The wetlands surrounding the lake have religious significance. The rice plantations, the premier rice-producing area in the country, are under a cooperative water-management association of rice-producers and other users. The introduction of alien fish species, and to some extent alien plant species as well, are seen to be a potential threat for the future.


Brief report of Kushiro's lagoons workshop. Reiko Nakamurawrites: "I am very pleased to inform you that the International Workshop on the Wise Use of Lagoon Wetlands was held successfully, to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Ramsar COP 5, at the Kushiro Conference Room of Kushiro Tourism and International Relations Center, Kushiro, Japan, on 23 - 25 July, 2003.Many participants attended this workshop, 90 participants from Japan and 20 participants from overseas, and numerous study cases were introduced through oral presentations and a poster session. We all concurred on extremely important functions of lagoon wetlands, especially for maintaining biodiversity and for biological production including many marine fish species. Moreover, we agreed to regard the government and the local communities as the most important stakeholders for the wise use of lagoon wetlands, and to use sound scientific and factual information such as economic valuations of lagoons in order to influence decision makers on sustainable lagoon management." A brief report and a few photos can be seen here. [10/09/03]


Two new projects for MedWet. The MedWet Coordination Unit announces the start of two new projects in the Mediterranean region, very different in scale of funding, but both potentially very significant for the future work and implementation of the Ramsar Convention: 1. 'Agriculture, Water and Wetlands' will be funded by Inwent-Capacity Building International to the sum of 100,000 EUR for a rapid project to initiate and launch a local dialogue leading to tangible solutions for reducing the conflicts of interest at the field level between water uses and other economic uses of wetlands (especially as related to agriculture practices) and environmental protection, and conduct a regional workshop; and 2. 'North African Wetlands Network (NAWN)', "Maghreb wetlands - Reinforcing capacities for the management of wetlands in North Africa", funded by the EU's LIFE project and the participating countries (Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia), with a total budget of just over 1,280,000 EUR for 3 years. The general objective of the project is assist and consolidate the implementation of policies for the management of wetlands in those countries, with special emphasis on the Ramsar site Merja Zerga (Morocco), Sebkhat El Kelbia (Tunisia), and the Ramsar site Reghaia (Algeria). Further detail has been provided by the MedWet Coordinator, Spyros Kouvelis. [09/09/03]


Now available.Sexto Período de Sesiones de la Conferencia de las Partes de la Convención de Lucha contra la Desertificación, La Habana, Cuba, 25 de agosto a 5 de septiembre de 2003 -- Declaración de la Convención Ramsar sobre Humedales (Ramsar, Irán 1971), Margarita Astrálaga. [05/09/03]

Back to top
Follow us 
Ramsar online photo gallery 

The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,181 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,545,658

Ramsar Secretariat

Rue Mauverney 28
CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 999 0170
Fax: +41 22 999 0169
E-Mail: ramsar@ramsar.org
Map: click here

Ramsar Forum: subscribe