The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 June 2003

Wetland management planning for West Africa. The International Course on Wetland Management, run by the Dutch government's Wetlands Advisory and Training Centre (WATC) annually since 1994, has introduced some 165 participants from 60 countries to the Ramsar principles of wetland management. Many of the graduates have returned to their countries and made enormous contributions, and some have also contributed at the international level, including quite a few who have subsequently served as interns in the Ramsar Bureau. In fact, in his Foreword to Wetland Management Planning: five years of case studies from West Africa, WATC Director Bart Fokkens says that at Ramsar COP8 in November 2002, he met 24 of the course alumni. This impressive new book, edited by Pieter Terpstra and published by Wetlands International through its West Africa programme in Dakar, includes the full texts, tables, and photos of 19 draft wetland management plans covering West African wetlands, including many Ramsar sites, that students of the International Course produced in the course of their studies. It's extremely valuable for its information on those key sites, and equally welcome as a big step forward in their wise use management. The 358-page A4 book, ISBN 910 5882 9642, can be purchased from NHBS (the Natural History Book Service), http://www.nhbs.com, and further information can be sought on the Wetlands International Web site, http://www.wetlands.org. [Note: the Ramsar Secretary General is a member of the board of the WATC International Course.] [02/06/03]


Taller Nacional sobre la problemática de los ecosistemas de manglar en las áreas de reserva federales y estatales (Workshop on issues related to mangrove ecosystems in federal and state reserves, June 26-28, 2003 - Tapachula Chiapas, México). El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Ecosur Tapachula, El Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua y la Reserva de la Biosfera La Encrucijada (Sitio Ramsar) invitan a: Directores y Administradores de áreas de reservas, Investigadores, Profesionistas, Estudiantes, Tomadores de decisiones, Líderes de Organizaciones de sociales y Organizaciones no gubernamentales a participar en el taller que se llevará a cabo del 26 al 28 de junio de 2003 en El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Ecosur en la Ciudad de Tapachula Chiapas, México. Más. [23/05/03]


Wetland restoration course set for Ontario, Canada. The Temperate Wetland Restoration Training Course (Ontario, Canada) will take place September 7-12, 2003. "This intensive 6 day training course, involving significant fieldwork and some classroom instruction, is a collaborative effort, developed by staff from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment Canada, Trent University and Ducks Unlimited. The course, in its 7th year, is administered through the Watershed Science Centre at Trent University. The course examines methods of restoring wetland function in both agricultural and urbanized settings and offers practical instruction within the framework of existing Ontario guidelines and policies. Wetland restoration principles learned at this course can be applied in any environment." The course instructors will be Kevin Erwin and Dan Mansell. The announcement has been reprinted here, and more information is available from http://www.trentu.ca/wsc/training.shtml and from Leslie Collins, Course Coordinator, Watershed Science Centre, Trent University (lcollins@trentu.ca). Final date for applications: June 6th, 2003. [Please note that the course is not sponsored by the Ramsar Bureau. Please contact the organizers directly.] [23/05/03]


Progress report on Madagascar's work for the wise use of wetlands.Simon Rafanomezantsoa, WWF- Madagascar Freshwater Officer and until recently an intern in the Ramsar Bureau, has provided a progress report on an ambitious project the purpose of which is to develop a National Wetland Strategy, conduct a national wetland inventory, designate six new Wetlands of International Importance (with management plans for some of them), and extend the country's two existing Ramsar sites - for a total of over 800,000 hectares. The government's Direction Générale des Eaux et Forêts (DGEF) and the Comité National Ramsar (CONARAMS) have been working with financial and technical support from WWF's Living Waters Programme and the collaboration of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, The Peregrine Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF-Madagascar and plan eventually to donate over a million Ramsar hectares as a WWF "Gift to the Earth". Anada Tiéga, the Ramsar Bureau's Regional Coordinator for Africa, points out three very encouraging features of this report: 1) It shows the impressive extent to which the new Contracting Party Madagascar is taking seriously its obligations under the Convention; 2) it demonstrates the catalytic effect of the Bureau's internship programme, as former interns return to their home countries and work to advance the Convention's objectives; and 3) it illustrates the continuing excellent cooperation between the Convention and its International Organization Partners, in this case the WWF Living Waters Programme and WWF-Madagascar. The progress report, with some photos, is available right here (French only). [22/05/03]


International Day for Biological Diversity. 22 May is Biological Diversity Day, by a decision of the UN General Assembly in 2000, intended to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the theme for this year is "Biodiversity and poverty alleviation - challenges for sustainable development". "Many of the Parties to the Convention have fostered creative local public events to mark the occasion, emphasizing that governments, special interest groups, academic institutions, communities and individuals are all stakeholders and have a responsibility to conserve biodiversity and to use our biological resources in a sustainable way. The Secretariat encourages the Parties and stakeholders to reach out to young people by assisting teachers to develop biodiversity information and activity programs for students of all ages, by involving them in local celebrations of International Biological Diversity Day, and by publicly recognizing outstanding biodiversity-related school projects." Background info, a press release, and an inspirational statement from Secretary-General Kofi Annan are available on the CBD's Web site at http://www.biodiv.org/outreach/awareness/biodiv-day-2003.asp.[22/05/03]


Economic valuation of wetlands on the river basin scale. "In all regions of the world, human populations are suffering social, economic and environmental hardship resulting from the destruction and mismanagement of their natural resources, notably including their wetlands and water resources. This destruction, which is continuing at alarming rates in many countries, is contributing to escalating poverty and water supply and food security problems, as well as robbing the planet of the biological diversity with which wetlands are endowed. . . . Although wetlands are amongst the richest life-supporting ecosystems on earth, they are amongst the most threatened and destroyed. Why do human beings destroy what are essential elements of their ecosystems? The answer is relatively simple: because they do not value wetland goods and services in economic and monetary terms." Alain Lambert, Ramsar's Senior Advisor for Environment and Development Cooperation, lays out the need for economic valuation of wetlands and summarizes the issues involved in this discussion paper, which will be presented and discussed at the World Parks Congress in Durban and other fora in the autumn. [21/05/03]


3rd Australian Wetlands Forum features top Ramsar speakers."Ramsar working in Australia - linking local wetlands to the Ramsar international family" is the theme of the Third Australian Wetlands Forum, organized by Wetland Care Australia, in conjunction with WWF Australia, Australian Society of Limnology, and the Society of Wetland Scientists, Australia, and to be held at the Banrock Station Wine & Wetland Centre in South Australia, 13 June 2003. (Banrock won one of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards in 2002 for its innovative private sector involvement in wetland conservation.) The programme focuses on the impact of recent Ramsar innovations on the wetland conservation movement in Australia, particularly with regard to the private sector, landowners, and the NGOs. Speakers include such well-informed friends of the Ramsar Convention as Max Finlayson (chair of our STRP), Bill Phillips (our former Deputy Secretary General), Chris Prietto of The Wetlands Centre, Michelle Handley of WWF, Doug Watkins of Wetlands International, and Sarah Young of Environment Australia, among others. The interesting programme has been reprinted here, and further information can be sought from Justine Graham, Wetland Care Australia, justinegraham@wetlandcare.com.au. [20/05/03]


Costa Rica names high-altitude peatlands as its 11th Ramsar site. The Ramsar Bureau is delighted to announce that Costa Rica has designated the Turberas de Talamanca ("Talamanca peatlands") for the Ramsar List, bringing its total number of Ramsar sites to eleven, covering 510,050 hectares. The new site, covering 192,520 hectares between 700 and 3281 meters above sea level in San José, Cartago, and Limón provinces in the interior of the country, exhibits a rich array of non-forested peatlands, paramos, meadows, cloud forests, and rain forests, and supports a large number of interesting plants and mammals, some of them threatened. Two National Parks lie within the Ramsar site. A brief description of the site by Ramsar's Julio Montes de Oca is available here in English and Spanish. The Convention now has 1,284 Wetlands of International Importance in 136 Contracting Parties, totaling 108.9 million hectares, more than the surface area of France, Germany, and Switzerland combined. [19/05/03] [français et/y español]



Workshop on lagoon wetlands set for 10th anniversary of Kushiro COP. The "International Workshop on Wise Use of Lagoon Wetlands" will be held in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan on 23-25 July 2003, and will be organized as a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention. Ramsar Center Japan is performing the secretariat duties for the organizing committee, along with the Kushiro International Wetland Center, the Foundation of Hokkaido River Disaster Prevention Research Center, and the Hokkaido Development Engineering Center. The RCJ's secretary general, Ms Reiko Nakamura, has provided a description of the event, and a form for registering yourself, your paper, and/or your poster presentation. Here it is. [14/05/03]


'Ramsar meets Venice: for sustainable management of the environmental heritage' . . .. was the theme of a meeting organized in the Arsenale di Venezia by the Provincial Government of Venice on 9 May 2003. Since 1998, the Province of Venice has included in its strategic plan the designation of the entire Lagoon of Venice (about 50,000 ha) as a Wetland of International Importance. About 80 participants, scientists and experts, administrators from different sectors, stakeholders and locally elected people gathered in the historic Naval Library. It was an important milestone towards the goal of conferring Ramsar status to the Venice Lagoon. The meeting was chaired by Luigino Busatto, the President of Venice Province, and organized by the Department for Hunting and Fishing, under the leadership of Assesora Delia Murer of the Provincial Government. In preparation of the meeting, two Ramsar experts, María José Viñals (STRP member) and Michael Smart (former Senior Advisor in the Ramsar Bureau), were asked by the Province to prepare planning guidelines for the management of Venice Lagoon. Following the meeting, a study tour of the Venice Lagoon was arranged for the Ramsar visitors -- Tobias Salathé's brief report, with photos, is available here. [13/05/03]


Sustainable tourism toolkit available in Spanish. Maria Anagnostopoulou, Ramsar's MedWet Communications Officer based in the MedWet Coordination Unit in Athens, Greece, reports that "We have uploaded to our Web site the Spanish version of the recent MedWet toolkit (5 volumes) for sustainable tourism in wetlands, published in 2002 by SEHUMED (the Spanish wetland centre - member of the MedWet Technical Network), in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Valencia and with the support of the Ramsar Bureau, and it's available at: http://www.medwet.org/online/online.htm." [12/05/03]


Wetland info for the Oceania region. The Oceania Wetlands Help-line, managed by Bill Phillips of Mainstream Environmental Consulting (MainStream@mainstream.com.au), has now been launched and can be reached through http://www.wetlandshelp-line.com. The site is designed to assist people within the Oceania region, though some of the information may have more general interest for practitioners from other regions. The site is set up to be a Web-based 'filing cabinet' for advice, guidance and other information which is 'out there', but not always easy to find if you don't have the contacts. Bill Phillips hopes that others who know of useful resource materials will let him know about them. Through the site one will find everything from the (English versions) of the Ramsar Wise Use 'toolkit' handbooks, additional guidance adopted at COP8, lots of regional information about Ramsar sites, how to designate more, management planning, organisations that can help, opportunities for seeking financial assistance.....and lots, lots more. While it is already a large site, it is still very much under construction, so some pages are still growing. Bill writes to the Ramsar Forum: "The part of the site I am seeking particular help with is the so-called Virtual tour of Ramsar sites in Oceania. I need photos of these sites so that this can become an exciting and interesting entry point for people who know little about Ramsar and the concept of Wetlands of International Importance. If anyone has photos for the Ramsar sites in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea or Palau, please let me know. The photographers will retain copyright of any material put up on the site. The photos will also be used at sufficiently low resolution to minimise piracy." [12/05/03]


Memorandum of Agreement 2003 - 2008 between the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and Wetlands International. On 29 April 2003, at a meeting of the United Kingdom National Ramsar Committee in Peterborough, United Kingdom, the recently concluded Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between JNCC (United Kingdom) and Wetlands International was officially launched. The MoA outlines the details of programme support from the United Kingdom through JNCC for a period of five years with a total budget of over GBP 250,000. This MoA supports three major programmes and two projects of Wetlands International: Programmes: -International Waterbird Census - Specialist Groups activities within Wetlands International - Global Waterbird Flyway Conference 2004; Projects: -Regular update on phasing out of lead gunshot -Review of the European Status of Ruddy Duck. The meeting was well attended by representatives of government agencies and NGOs from all over the United Kingdom. Wetlands International's representative, Dr. Gerard C. Boere, presented a comprehensive overview of Wetlands International's present organisation and programme activities both on regional and global level. He expressed great appreciation on behalf of Wetlands International for the continued substantial support from the UK for the global activities. Futhermore he strongly called on other country members of Wetlands International to follow this example of long term programme support. [10/05/03]


Waterbird Population Estimates - Third Edition is now available for downloading from the Wetlands International Website. The Wetlands International publication Waterbird Population Estimates - Third Edition was launched in hardcopy at Ramsar COP8 in Valencia last November. The publication is now available for consultation and downloading on Wetlands International's Web site. Bookmarks in the PDF files make it easy to find a particular species you may be looking for. The importance of this publication especially for the Ramsar Convention is that it provides the basis of Criterion 6 whereby any wetland regularly supporting 1% or more of a waterbird biogeographical population qualifies as a Wetland of International Importance. This new, much expanded and improved edition in full colour includes a distribution map for each species kindly provided by Lynx Edicions, publishers of Handbook of the Birds of the World. It identifies 2,271 biogeographical populations of 868 species recognised as waterbirds occurring throughout the world. It provides estimates of the numerical abundance of 1,725 (76%) of these populations, and estimates population trends (whether declining, stable or increasing) for 1,138 (50%). The publication sets 1% levels for use in applying Criterion 6 for identifying Wetlands of International Importance, and provides information fundamental to the application of other Multilateral Environmental Agreements such as the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) under the Bonn Convention (CMS). Finally, Waterbird Population Estimates - Third Editionidentifies gaps in knowledge of populations, species and geographical regions, and users are encouraged to contribute to future editions by helping to fill these gaps. -- reported by Wetlands International. [07/05/03]


News from the Lower Neretva Valley. Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina have successfully completed their Ramsar Small Grants Fund 2000 project "Preparation of the project Transboundary Management Plan for the Lower Neretva Valley". The project has been jointly implemented by two counterpart institutions: from Croatian side - the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Physical Planning, and from Bosnia & Herzegovina's side - the Ministry of Civil Engineering, Physical Planning and Environmental Protection of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton through its authorized institution the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Mostar. A short summary by Sergei Dereliev, based on the final report, reveals some of the major project activities and achievements and has some very nice photos. At the same time, MedWet Senior Advisor Thymio Papayannis reports on the 3 May meeting between authorities from Croatia and Bosnia & Herzogovina, to advance the progress of transboundary management cooperation for the area. [06/05/03]


Pakistan designates three new Ramsar sites. The Ramsar Bureau is particularly pleased to announce three new Wetlands of International Importance in Pakistan totaling over 1 million hectares, all wildlife sanctuaries and all in Sindh Province, designated effective 5 November 2002. Deh Akro-II Desert Wetland Complex (20,500 ha, 26°50'N 068°20'E) consists of east-west dune systems punctuated by 36 permanent lakes in the inter-dunal valleys, home to a number of rare species. Indus Delta (~472,800 ha, 24°06'N 067°42'E) is the 5th largest delta system in the world and home to the 7th largest mangrove forest system. The Runn of Kutch (566,375 ha; 24°23'N 070°05'E), part of the great Thar desert and part of the very large transfrontier wetland system also known as the Rann of Kutch, is likewise characterized by sand dune systems broken up by inter-dunal depressions with alluvial soil. Sindh authorities were materially assisted in the preparation of these site designations by WWF-Pakistan with the benefit of financial assistance from WWF International's Living Waters Programme. Pakistan now has 19 Ramsar sites covering 1,343,627 hectares, and the Convention's 1283 sites now cover a surface area of 108,751,595 hectares. Further details on the three new sites are available here. (Note: WWF is also working with the Indian Government to prepare the designation of several new wetlands of international importance in India, including the Indian side of the Rann of Kutch. WWF is expecting that the process under way in India may be completed very soon.) [05/05/03] [français et/y español]


Republic of Moldova completes Dniester restoration SGF project. Moldova has successfully completed an SGF 2000 project "Restoration, Rehabilitation and Implementation of Protective Measures in the Core Wetland Areas in the Dniester River Downstream in Moldova". This project has been implemented by the Moldova's Ecological Society "Biotica", which has a long-standing leading role among NGOs in wetland conservation in the country. Sergei Dereliev offers a short summary based on the final report on the major project activities and achievements, with photos. [05/05/03]


Inauguration of Japanese Lawmakers' League for Increasing Ramsar Sites. Kei Inami (inami.kei@nifty.ne.jp), writing on behalf of Hiroyuki Tani, new Secretary General of the Japanese Lawmakers' League for Increasing Ramsar Sites, informs the Bureau that 102 people attended the inaugural meeting of the League on 16 April, including 35 members of the Diet (or Parliament) and 22 secretaries of Diet members, as well as many from the media. Ms Kayoko Shimizu was elected the chairwoman of the League and Mr Tani was elected secretary general. Congratulatory letters from Delmar Blasco and from Akiko Domoto, Governor of Chiba Prefecture, were read out, and a few photos (one of Mr Tani and Mr Blasco) can be seen at http://www.tani-hiroyuki.com/ramsar.htm (text in Japanese). [05/05/03]


The Netherlands adds 11 more wetlands to the Ramsar List. The Ramsar Bureau is very glad to announce the next batch of newly designated Ramsar sites in The Netherlands, following the listing of 14 new sites and 1 extension announced in February 2003. The Government of The Netherlands has made another significant contribution to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance with 11 more coastal and inland sites covering 127,680 hectares. The Ramsar Bureau's European regional team stresses that it's worth mentioning the superior quality of the GIS maps for these sites. Currently the Netherlands has 49 sites totaling 818,908 hectares. Soon, after the updates on the other existing sites in the country have been studied and accepted, it is expected that the total number of sites will drop by 2 sites to 47 due to the reconfiguration of the Ramsar site of Waddenzee (Wadden Sea) which will swallow up two smaller ones - Boschplaat and Griend. The Bureau once again heartily welcomes these significant commitments by the Government of The Netherlands to the health of its environment. Here find brief descriptions of the eleven new Dutch sites, prepared by Ramsar's Sergei Dereliev from the Ramsar Information Sheets. [02/05/03]


Wetland management training for East Africa.The East African Wetland Management Course (EAWMC) is a regional training initiative for wetland managers. It is a Ramsar Convention-endorsed programme and it is designed based on the Ramsar New Guidelines for management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands (Resolution VIII.14). The EAWMC has been developed and organized primarily by the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute (KWSTI) in conjunction with the Wetland Advisory and Training Centre (RIZA), the Netherlands, with subsequent contribution from Uganda and Tanzania to suit the African situation. This year's six-week (42-days) residential course, based in Naivasha, Kenya, is scheduled for 17th September to 28th October 2003.More information here in English and Français. [02/05/03]


Global Biodiversity Forum for Eastern Europe and the CIS. On 23-25 April 2003, the GBF held its first Regional Session for Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (of the former USSR) in Chisinau (Kishinev in Russian), the capital of the Republic of Moldova which joined the Ramsar Convention in 2000. The meeting was perfectly organized by IUCN-the World Conservation Union, through their Moscow-based office for Russia and the CIS, and by Biotica, the Ecological Society of Moldova. It brought together more than 150 participants from Moldova, Russia, most of the CIS states, Estonia, Lithuania, and Romania, as well as representatives of the World Bank, UNDP, UNEP, GEF, UNESCO Man and Biosphere, the European Centre for Nature Conservation, the Ramsar Convention and others. Here Ramsar's Tobias Salathé supplies a brief report on the meeting and a subsequent field visit to the Prut River floodplain, with a few photos. [01/05/03]

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