News from Congo-Brazzaville
Congo's progress in implementing the Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Secretary General of the Convention has signed a contract with the Government of Congo under Ramsar's Swiss Grant for Africa scheme. The funds are going to assist this country, rich in water and natural resources, to assess the impacts of the armed conflict on its wetlands. This one-year project has been elaborated by the Ramsar Senior Advisor for Africa and the Congo Focal Point and will be critical in identifying the environmental and health risks that the conflict of 1996-1997 has posed for Congo's wetlands, and it will enable the country to come up with rehabilitation priorities for degraded wetlands that are integrated within the national reconstruction programmes. This project will also be key to laying the foundations for a national wetlands policy for the country and will assist in finding appropriate financing mechanisms for the implementation of the Convention.
The Congo set up a National Wetlands Committee (NWC) in June 2003, composed of representatives from different ministries, including among others, agriculture, fishing, protected areas, scientific research, tourism and education; representatives from Ramsar's International Organisation Partners (IOPs); local environmental NGO representatives; Congo's MEA (multilateral environmental agreements) focal points; and Ramsar site managers. The NWC will be responsible for developing the national wetlands policy, for augmenting the number of Ramsar sites in the country and for their management, and for all other Ramsar-related tasks.
Congo is currently also implementing another project, financed by WWF's Global Freshwater Programme, which is aimed at identifying and designating 2,000,000 hectares of wetlands under the Ramsar Convention. This is another sign of Congo's great commitment towards fulfilling the objectives of the Ramsar Convention.
It is worth noting that Congo, which joined the Convention in 1998, has for the moment only one Ramsar site (Réserve Communautaire du Lac Télé/ Likouala-aux-Herbes) which, was designated in June 1998.
-- Lucia Scodanibbio, Assistant Advisor for Africa
Healthy mangroves in Conkouati Lagoon, a soon-to-be-designed Ramsar site (Photo by Tim Dodman)
Lagoon embouchure / opening at Conkouati Lagoon (Photo by Tim Dodman)
Raphia palm swamp forest in Conkouati Lagoon (Photo by Tim Dodman)
Dug-out canoe & mangroves on the River Noumbi (Photo by Tim Dodman)