The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 May 2004

Nordic Wetland Conservation. The Nordic Council of Ministers has recently published an excellent, well-illustrated 176-page book entitled Nordic Wetland Conservation, covering 30 years of conservation experience in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden and including self-governing territories like Greenland, Åland, and the Faeroes. Available from bookstores in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and English versions, it provides superb coverage of the general wetland issues, the wise use concept, the Ramsar Convention and other international regimes, and the status of wetlands in each of the Nordic countries. The back cover offers the following brief description: "Conservation of wetlands has formed an important part of the Nordic nature conservation effort, particularly in the last 30 years. This work by the Nordic countries has been closely linked with the task of fulfilling their obligations as signatories of the Ramsar Convention and, as regards the nations that are EU members, the requirements of the more recent Birds and Habitat Directives. . . . This report attempts to sum up the status of wetland conservation in the Nordic region after 30 years. It also points out a number of unfulfilled tasks and makes recommendations for how the work should proceed in the years ahead." A brief review, with illustrations and reprints of the prefaces and recommendations, and with ordering information, can be seen here. [01/05/04]

Cooperation for water resources management. At a 27 April side event at the 12th meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, New York, USA, co-organized by the Swiss Agency of Environment, Forests and Landscape, the Japanese Ministry of Environment, and the Ramsar Convention, and chaired by IUCN's Director General Achim Steiner, the focus was upon the need to have an integrated international approach to managing the world's scarce water resources. Following presentations by Ambassador Beat Nobs (left) of Switzerland and Mr Tomohiro Shishima of Japan on experiences in their countries, Peter Bridgewater, Ramsar's Secretary General, emphasized the unique and lengthy experience the Convention has had with cooperation on water resources management. Here is Sebastià Semene's brief illustrated report on the side event and his media release in PDF format. [29/04/04]

SWS Ramsar Grants for 2004. The Society of Wetland Scientists' Ramsar Support Grant Programme was established in 1999 to help advance the Convention's objectives in the developing world, and since that time some 18 grants, totaling US$ 90,000 have been made with funding assistance from the Society and the US Fish and Wildlife Services. The grants for the 2004 cycle have just been announced by Eric Gilman, the grant programme manager, and the winners are Ms Thu Hue Nguyen for work at the Xuan Thuy National Park Ramsar Site in Viet Nam; Mr Carlos Bento and Dr Richard Beilfuss for work in Mozambique's Marromeu Complex of the Zambezi Delta; and Mr Alvin Lopez in order to provide assistance for the accession of Lao PDR to the Convention. The details are available here. [26/04/04]

Ramsar participates in GEF lake basin steering committee. At the World Bank in Washington, USA, 22-23 April 2004, Secretary General Peter Bridgewater and Sebastià Semene Guitart participated in the second Steering Committee meeting for the Global Environment Facility medium-size project entitled Towards a Lake Basin Management Initiative. The project is designed to draw together global expertise on the management of lakes, in a lake basin context, and to produce a report which can act as guidelines and future support for all interested in the subject of lake basin management. It is to be based on the experiences gained and lessons learned from some 28 GEF projects on lakes, and will provide more general experience and advice from practitioners, covering a range of subjects from the natural and social science bases needed, through policy development, CEPA and management interventions. Here is Sebastià's brief report on the results. [27/04/04]

Côte d'Ivoire names National Ramsar Committee. In response to Recommendation 5.13 of Ramsar COP5, Kushiro, Japan, 9-16 June 1993, the government of Côte d'Ivoire has just established its National Ramsar Committee - by Ministerial Decree no. 00336/MINEF/CAB, 19 April 2004, the Ministry of Water and Forests has nominated the new members who include, in addition to government authorities, researchers, university professors, government organizations and NGO representatives with different qualifications in the field of wetland management and who have taken up their new responsibilities from the date the decree was signed. The committee will work on the designation of new Ramsar Sites, preparation of an inventory of the wetlands in Côte d'Ivoire, and reactivation of the Convention's implementation in the country. The Ramsar Secretariat urges other Parties that have not yet established their National Wetlands/Ramsar Committees to do so soon, as they are useful tools for facilitating the implementation of the Convention at the national level. [26/04/04]

New report on Venice Lagoon. "The Lagoon of Venice as a Ramsar Site" is the title of a 63-page illustrated report prepared by Ramsar experts Michael Smart and María José Viñals, now published by the Province of Venice in Italian and English. As a follow-up to last year's seminar "Ramsar meets Venice" (cf. our short report, also providing an introduction to the Lagoon and its values:, Asessora Delia Murer of the Provincial Government, in charge of Hunting, Fishing and the Provincial Police, presented the document to the media on a fishing boat during a trip in the northern part of Venice Lagoon on 14 April 2004, followed by a rich tasting of the Lagoon's varied food products in a fishermens' hut near Mazzorbo island. Here is Tobias Salathé's report on the launch and lunch and a reprint of the English version can be read here. [21/04/04]

Mongolia names five new Ramsar Sites. The Ramsar Secretariat is extremely pleased to announce that Mongolia has designated five new Wetlands of International Importance, covering nearly 809,000 ha, bringing the number of Ramsar Wetlands in the country to eleven. The nominations and Ramsar data sheets were prepared with the help of WWF Mongolia as part of a project co-funded by the Ramsar Small Grants Fund jointly with the WWF International 'Living Waters Programme'. Mongolia, which joined the Convention on Wetlands in 1998, now has 11 Ramsar Sites covering a surface area of 1,439,530 hectares. Ms Liazzat Rabbiosi of the Ramsar Secretariat has prepared brief site descriptions based on the Ramsar Information Sheets submitted by the Administrative Authority in Mongolia, the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Nature and Environment, from research by B. Ouyngerel and N. Tseveenmyadag of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Batnasan N., Freshwater Officer for the WWF Mongolia Programme Office. Liazzat's brief site descriptions are accompanied by some very beautiful photographs as well, so click here at once. [15/04/04]

The United Kingdom has completed a review of its structure of Ramsar Sites and consolidated some which had formerly been counted as separate sites for legal reasons -- this process reduces the UK's and global totals by 11 formerly distinct RSs and 12,129 hectares, with no loss of actual wetland area covered. Similarly, Switzerland has restudied its 8 Ramsar Sites and submitted revised RISs, including several changes in the names of RSs and the correction of a surface area of the Rive sud du lac de Neuchâtel from 3,063ha to 1,705ha. [14/04/04]

Closer cooperation between Ramsar and the Danube Commission. The Danube Commission (ICPDR) established for the period 2001-2004 an Ecological Expert Group - ECO EG (cf. our earlier report on the group's earlier meeting in Bavaria, which also supplies some background on the Danube Convention). The ECO EG met on 22-23 March 2004 in the South Moravian city of Brno (Czech Republic) to review the progress of its work before the 7th ICPDR COP and Ministerial Conference to be held in Vienna, 13-14 December 2004, and begin planning its future tasks and responsibilities for the period 2005 and beyond. Austria proposed to reinforce cooperation with the Ramsar Convention, notably in view of Ramsar issues to be fed into the Joint Action Programme of the Danube river basin states - a very interesting proposal that will be explored in more detail during the upcoming meeting of the ECO EG, scheduled for 6-7 September 2004 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Here is Tobias Salathé's brief but rewarding report of the ECO EG meeting and its context, with some very good photographs to go along with it. [08/04/04]

Launch of Asian Waterbird Census 1997-2001. The Asian Waterbird Census, organized by Wetlands International, takes place annually in January and is carried out by volunteers interested in collecting information on waterbirds and wetlands as a basis for contributing to their conservation. Since it began in 1987, the AWC has covered more than 5,700 wetlands in 25 countries, and the publication edited by David Li Zuo Wei and Taej Mundkur and launched at the Global Flyways Conference on 4 April 2004 summarizes the results of counts from 1,392 sites in 22 countries, including 61 Ramsar Sites. The AWC is a vital part of the assembly of data for the global Waterbird Population Estimates, regularly published by Wetlands International and now in its 3rd edition, which are used by Ramsar Contracting Parties to evaluate potential Ramsar Sites according for Criteria 5 and 6 for designating Wetlands of International Importance (Resolution VIII.38). The 166-page softcover publication is available from the Natural History Book Service,, and perhaps available for PDF download soon as well (to be confirmed). Here you will find a reprint of the Foreword by Ramsar's Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, and the Summary of results and here is a press release from WI. [06/04/04]

WetKit Ramsar launched in Canada. Wetkit Ramsar is a brand new Web site designed to help Canadians find information and resources on the Ramsar Convention and their own Wetlands of International Importance. This extremely attractive and well-organized site provides resources for learning about wetlands and wetland conservation; for nominating a Ramsar site; for managing wetlands in a sustainable manner; and for assessing Canada`s progress on the Ramsar Convention. WetKit Ramsar is supported by the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Canada), and Ducks Unlimited Canada, and is a subset of the popular WetKit Web site. Here is the announcement. [02/04/04]

UK designates salt lake on Cyprus. The Ramsar Secretariat is extremely pleased to announce that the United Kingdom has designated as it latest Wetland of International Importance a salt lake and associated marsh located within its Sovereign Base Area of the Royal Air Force on the Akrotiri Peninsula in southernmost Cyprus. "Akrotiri" (2,171 hectares; 34°37'N 032°58'E), also an Important Bird Area, is being added to the Ramsar List today but its designation is effective as of a year ago, 20 March 2003, because of some minor technicalities in sorting out the RIS data for the site. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe, Estelle Gironnet, has prepared a succinct description of the site based upon the RIS information provided by the UK's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), right here. In addition, in June 2002 the Senior Advisor for Europe, Dr Tobias Salathé, was invited to visit Akrotiri and advise the authorities and local NGOs and stakeholders on its conservation and wise use, and his report on that visit can also be viewed here. [01/04/04]

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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