The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 July 2004

Peru releases the Management Plan of the Reserva Nacional de Paracas, Ramsar site no. 545. This excellent management plan, prepared by INRENA using a participatory approach, includes detailed zoning of the site and a set of specific programmes required to be implemented to guarantee the sustainable use of the area. Paracas is also a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve, an area of vital importance for the productivity of its marine environment due to the Humboldt Current and for being a resting habitat of migratory birds. More than 300 species of fish and various species of seaweed can be found in the site, and more than 20 species of Nearctic's-breeding shorebirds stage and winter here. Other notable fauna include two species of marine turtles. The area is archaeologically important. Human activities include traditional fishing and shellfish harvesting. [30/06/04]

Perú publica el Plan de Manejo del Sitio Ramsar Reserva Nacional de Paracas, no. 545. Este excelente Plan Maestro o de Gestión fue preparado por el INRENA, Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales, y su formulación se hizo por medio de un amplio proceso participativo. El plan incluye una zonificación detallada del sitio y un conjunto de programas requeridos para lograr el uso sustentable del área. Paracas también es una Reserva de Aves Acuáticas del Hemisferio Occidental. La Reserva es un área natural de vital importancia tanto por la productividad de su ambiente marino debido a la corriente de Humboldt, como por ser un punto clave de parada para aves acuáticas migratorias. En el área se encuentran más de 300 especies de peces y varias especies de algas marinas. Más de 20 especies de aves playeras del Neárctico descansan y pasan el invierno allí. Otra fauna importante del sitio incluye dos especies de tortugas marinas. El área es arqueológicamente importante, y las actividades humanas incluyen pesca tradicional y colecta de mariscos.

Photos of Madagascar's Lac Tsimantampetsotsa. Further to the report of the Ramsar celebration in Madagascar (reported on the 15th of June), Jamie Pittock, WWF Living Waters Programme's Director, reports on his visit to one of that country's Ramsar sites, and provides photos: "On June 12th I visited Lac Tsimantampetsotsa, a Ramsar site of nearly 46,000 ha on the southwest coast, Province of Toliara, Madagascar. This site highlights the commitment of the government of Madagascar to conserve its natural environment and provide more sustainable livelihoods for its people." Here is Jamie's brief report of his visit and 12 photos of the site's sights. [30/06/04]

Lesotho's steps towards Ramsar accession. In its celebration of World Wetlands Day 2004, Lesotho's Ministry of Natural Resources, Water Affairs, Wetland Unit together with Lesotho National University, IUCN ROSA, national NGOs and other bodies concerning with nature gathered in a seminar at the Lesotho National Convention Centre on 2 February to mark Lesotho's commitment to nature conservation at the national and global levels. The Lesotho population also took part in the celebration and expressed itself in different activities of the workshop. H.E. Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Monyane Moleleki, H.E. Minister of Tourism Environment and Culture, H.E. Assistant Minister of Justice, Ms. Lebohang Nts'inyi, Human Rights, Law and Constitutional Affairs, Ms. Mpeo Mahase attended the seminar. Through this event, a declaration to join Ramsar Convention was made and the documents related to Lesotho's accession to the Convention were signed. The Letseng-la-Letsie wetland was announced to be Lesotho's first Ramsar site, and the Ramsar Secretariat has recently received the Ramsar Information Sheet and map for that sites. Lesotho's report on its WWD celebration and photos of the candidate Ramsar Site can be seen here. -- reported by Ahmed El-Sabban, Ramsar. [24/06/04]

Rwanda progresses towards joining the Convention. In the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda, 1 March 2004, the government has posted its authorization for the ratification of the Ramsar Convention: "Under article one of the law nº 37/2003 of 29/12/2003, the President; the Parliament and the Senate of Rwanda have authorized the ratification of the Ramsar Convention of February 2, 1971 on wetlands of international importance. Article 2 of the same law indicates that the law comes into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda and becomes effective in accordance with article 10 of the Protocol mentioned in article one of this law." As Ramsar's Abou Bamba indicated in his report of the recent pre-accession workshop held in Rwanda, that country has chosen its first Ramsar Site and is rapidly progressing towards joining the Ramsar family. [23/06/04]

Suggested theme for World Wetlands Day 2005. World Wetlands Day takes place on or about the 2nd of February every year and offers governments at all levels, NGOs, schools, and citizens alike an opportunity "to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular." For February 2005, as for the past seven years, the Ramsar Secretariat will be making promotional materials available free of charge - this year, in addition to inspirational messages suitable for quoting in press releases, there will be a new poster and stickers, available in physical format in English, French, and Spanish and electronically in QuarkXpress for those who may wish to produce them in their own languages or with local content added. This year the Standing Committee has adopted the suggested overall theme of "cultural and biological diversity of wetlands", and our poster will be promoting the slogan "There's wealth in wetland diversity - don't lose it!"

Now's a good time for all of our WWD collaborators to begin planning their WWD activities, and we will be striving mightily to have our materials ready for mailing by mid-October 2004. Our general index page for World Wetlands Day can be found here, and reports on WWD activities this past February in over 80 countries can be found here and will provide ample suggestions and examples - especially for those unimaginative far northerners who keep complaining that February is a bad time of the year for a party in a wetland. Examples of what some of our collaborators have recently done in producing their own customized WWD materials based upon ours can also be viewed here. Some of the free materials left over from WWD 2004 - here - will also be available next year as long as supplies last. As always, we will welcome learning of your plans beforehand and receiving reports and photos afterward for posting on our Web site, and, as in past years, the production of Ramsar WWD materials is being generously supported by the Evian Ramsar Project of the Danone Group (France). [22/06/04]

News from Wetlands for the Future. Studies on Brazilian coral reefs: training and application of remote sensing techniques. The Brazilian Ministry of the Environment published recently the "Atlas of Coral Reef Protected Areas in Brazil" - Atlas dos Recifes de Coral nas Unidades de Conservação Brasileiras, in partnership with the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), and the Coastal Reefs Project. Financing from the Ramsar Convention's Wetlands for the Future Fund (WFF/00-2BRA/2) was instrumental in the data acquisition for the project. Here is Iván Dario Valencia's brief summary of the project, with illustrations. [21/06/04]

IUCN's new Belgrade office hosts seminar on transboundary cooperation. A basic question debated in an international meeting held 13-17 June 2004 in Belgrade and the Tara National Park of Serbia was the need for transborder cooperation and the benefits it might entail. One of the key reasons was the joint management of water resources, and in particular wetlands, in shared hydrological basins. The meeting, organised in an efficient and hospitable manner by the new IUCN Regional Office for Europe (ROfE), in close collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in Europe (ROSTE), the Serbian Institute for Nature Conservation, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), had as its theme ‘MAB Biosphere Reserves and transboundary cooperation in the SEE Region’. [21/06/04]

"Sustainable development festival", Geneva, 12 and 13th of June. Inspired by great success of the World Environment Day (5th of June/ Ramsar and IUCN headquarters, Gland), the Ramsar regional assistants engaged themselves to making the crucial objectives of the Ramsar Convention better known to the public of the 2nd edition of the "Sustainable development festival", which took place on 12-13 June in Geneva. The joint stand of the Geneva Environment Network together with other co-organizers of the event (Agenda 21 for the city of Geneva and the Sustainable Development Service of the Canton of Geneva) was enriched with the Ramsar posters and information material, as well as the special exhibit on sustainable rice production and trade focused on the example of the Ebro Delta in Spain (Ramsar Site designated in 1993). Again, as on World Environment Day, it gained a great public interest partly thanks to the interactive quiz which invited people to think of the values of wetlands and the need for their conservation. Hundreds of exhibits and stands on initiatives for sustainable development in terms of mobility, renewable energy, resource and waste management, at local, regional and national scale were shown, and the international input of the Ramsar Convention was highly appreciated., Reported by Liazzat Rabbiosi, Estelle Gironnet and Iván Dario Valencia. [17/06/04]

China sets national targets for wetland conservation. The Ramsar Convention Implementation Office (the State Forestry Administration) has recently formulated China’s National Wetland Conservation Programme for 2002-2030, jointly working with the National Commission of Development and Reform, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Land Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Construction, State Environment Protection Administration, and the State Oceanic Administration. A very brief summary of the major targets for 2010, 2020, and 2030 can be seen and reflected upon here. [16/06/04]

WWF Annual Conference applauds Madagascar Ramsar plans. Under deep blue skies and brilliant sunlight, WWF International celebrated the end of its 2004 Annual Conference, 6-10 June 2004, with an event dedicated to the Convention on Wetlands. It took place in the small urban wetland of Tsarasaotra, in the outskirts of Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar, which has been proposed as a Ramsar site. During the ceremony, the president of WWF International chief Emeka Anyaoku proclaimed as a 'Gift to the Earth' the decision of the Malagasy government to designate more than 1 million hectares of wetlands as Ramsar sites (among which Lake Alaotra of 772,000 hectares) and to develop rapidly a National Wetland Strategy for the sustainable management of Madagascar's wetlands. From the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, Ms. Sahondra Rabesihanaka, Ramsar focal point for this country, explained in detail the measures taken by the government concerning wetlands and the positive perspectives for the future, later confirmed by the secretary general of the Ministry. Thymio Papayannis reports on the occasion, with photographs. [15/06/04]

Handbook of Mangroves in the Philippines - Panay. A handy compendium has recently been published on the 30 species of mangroves on the island of Panay in the Philippines -- compiled by Jurgenne H Primavera, Resurreccion S Sadaba, Ma. Junemie Lebata, and Jon P Altamirano, this 106-page full-color softcover book contains key information, photographs, and distribution maps of each of the species as well as discussions of issues like legislation, aquaculture, and rehabilitation and a generous set of references. Supported by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere ASPACO Project and published by the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in Tigbauan, Iloilo, the publication should prove practically useful to practitioners and students alike and to others as a model. Han Qunli of UNESCO's Regional Office for Science and Technology for Southeast Asia writes in the Foreword: "It is amazing to see the rich mangrove diversity in Panay, where almost no pristine mangroves remain owing to other development activities over the years. It is believed that the Handbook will help promote mangrove rehabilitation in Panay, and set a model for other areas in the Philippines as well. This handbook is well designed for non-specialist readers, with precise firsthand scientific data and illustrative descriptions as well as visual presentation." Information about purchase is available from [15/06/04]

"The Turtle People" wins Ramsar/Medwet cinema prize. On the evening of World Environment Day, Saturday 5 June 2004, "Aamakaar, the Turtle People" was chosen by the jury of the EcoCinema Festival in Rhodes, Greece, as this year's best movie on wetlands and water. Surabhi Sharma's film took top honors because of its innovative focus on the inextricable link between people and nature, one of the main features of Ramsar's wise use principle. The attractive award and a monetary prize of €4,000 was conveyed in recognition of how well Sharma's film evokes the everyday life of the so-called Turtle People, in North Kerala (India), fighting for the survival of an Olive Ridley Turtle nesting beach while their own survival is threatened by the sinking of their village due to the erosion of the shore from sand mining activity in their estuary. The film juxtaposes the community's struggle against elements threatening their village and its natural resources with the cycle of life of the turtles. Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Convention, as he conferred the award, highlighted the fact that "the film insists on the relation between people and nature, showing human activities and populations as an inextricable part of the environmental equilibrium." The details and some photos are here. [09/06/04]

Colombia designa Sitio Ramsar en la costa del Pacífico. Colombia, cuya costa del Pacífico es una de las zonas más ricas en biodiversidad en el planeta, designó al Delta del Río Baudó como el tercer sitio Ramsar del país, noticia muy oportuna en el Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente, cuyo énfasis este año está en los océanos. El sitio (8,888 ha, 04°50' N; 077° 20' W) es el estuario del Río Baudó, que como los demás en la cuenca del Pacífico colombiano es relativamente corto pero de muy alto caudal. El delta tiene ambientes de vegas inundables, playas de arena, pantanos arbustivos y bosques anegados. El proceso de designación fue realizado por el Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial con al apoyo del Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF Internacional/Programa Aguas Para la Vida y WWF-Colombia), el Instituto de Estudios Ambientales del Pacífico, Codechocó, la Alcaldía de Pizarro y la Asociación Calidris. [04/06/04]

Colombia designates Pacific Coast Ramsar Site.Colombia, whose Pacific coastline is a hotspot for biological diversity, designated the Baudó River Delta as the country's third Ramsar Site, a timely designation for World Environment Day, the focus of which this year is on the oceans. The site (8,888 ha, 04°50' N; 077° 20' W) is the estuary of the Baudó river, which like the rest in the Pacific basin of Colombia is relatively short but has a very high flow. The delta comprises flood banks, sand beaches, shrub-swamps and swamp forests. The designation process was carried out by the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development and supported by WWF International's Living Waters Programme and WWF-Colombia, the Pizarro municipality, CODECHOCO, Asociación Calidris and the Instituto de Estudios Ambientales del Pacífico.

Transboundary collaboration for the Prespa Lakes. The Coordination Committee of the Prespa Park (PPCC) held its sixth regular meeting in the city of Korçe in southwestern Albania on 31 May and 1 June 2004. Since February 2000, when the prime ministers of Albania, Greece and the FYR of Macedonia declared the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans, considerable progress has been made in building trust and joint institutions among government, local authorities and civic society in the three countries involved and in launching common activities. Here is MedWet Senior Advisor Thymio Papayannis' brief report on the success of the meeting. [04/06/04]

Reghaia Lake clean-up in Algeria. On 6 May 2004, a one-day clean-up campaign was organised at the Algerian Ramsar site of the Reghaia lake, in the framework of the MedWet Life 3rd countries project entitled "Protection and sustainable development of wetlands in North Africa", operating since January this year. Ms Nassima Aghanim, Executive Secretary of the North African Wetlands Network Focal Point of Algeria, provided a brief report, and photos, to the MedWet Web site. [03/06/04]

Wetland Ambassador Campaign for 2004. The opening ceremony for the 2004 Wetland Ambassador Campaign for the Mekong and Yangtze basins took place on 28 May 2004 in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China. The Wetland Ambassador Campaign is a conservation, education and awareness-raising initiative that works by engaging with university students to conduct projects on important wetland issues and themes, and it has been working in China since 2001. Through its expansion to the Mekong region, this year is the first time that the Wetland Ambassador Campaign has been organized across international borders. It has been organized with joint support from Danone-Evian and WWF Living Waters Programme, in partnership with the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, the Mekong River Commission, the State Forest Administration of China, WWF China, WWF Indochina and WWF Thailand. A brief illustrated report from WWF's Denis Landenbergue is available here. [02/06/04]

New Ramsar Centre begun in Lower Austria. On Friday 21st of May 2004, the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Ramsar Centre took place in the town of Schrems (Austria). Together with representatives from the town of Schrems, WWF Austria, Ramsar OEG, and representatives both from nature conservation and tourism of the Government of Lower Austria, and with guests from the Czech Ministery of Environment, the Austrian Minister of Environment Josef Pröll (photo) marked the important step for this outstanding project. The project is funded by the town of Schrems and WWF Austria and financially supported by the Ecoplus, the Business Agency of Lower Austria. Here are more details and some photographs from Michaela Bodner,Ramsar-Stadtgemeinde Schrems OEG.[02/06/04]

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