The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 4 August 2005
Talks on the Lake Chad Basin. On 26 July 2005, the Ramsar Secretariat proudly received the visit of Eng. Sani Adamu, the Lake Chad Basin Commission's Executive Secretary. Given the prominent role of this institution in the region, which has as its members not only the countries sharing Lake Chad, but also a number of those which are part of its catchment area, many items were on the agenda for discussion. One of the first points raised by the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, was the Secretariat's concern with the ecological health of the basin and the activities which are taking place around it, which have the potential to further undermine its environment and the local users' capacity to sustain their livelihoods. We learnt more about the proposal being pushed forward by the member states as a solution to the lake's shrinking levels: an inter-basin water transfer to carry water from the Oubangui River in the DRC. While the Secretariat holds some reservations about the effects of this plan, it looks forward to inputting to the terms of reference currently being drafted for the feasibility study. Regarding oil exploration in different sections of the basin, we share LCBC's concerns, and both institutions will continue monitoring the activities taking place, with what we hope will be increasing support from the Ramsar focal points in the countries involved. Accession of new Parties in the region was also discussed, as well as some of the difficulties encountered by the Ramsar Secretariat to get countries like Cameroon and the Central African Republic on board. Their adhesion to the Convention, especially as far as Cameroon is involved, will ensure that the whole basin becomes a designated Ramsar site. We look forward to meeting the LCBC at COP9 in Uganda in November, where a number of these issues will surely be brought up for discussion again! -- Lucia Scodanibbio, Ramsar. [29/07/05]
Meeting on a High Andean Strategy for the Northern Andes. More progress in implementing Resolution VIII:39: Colombia's Meeting report on Strategic High Andean Wetlands in the Ecorregional Complex of the Northern Andes, June 15 -17 2005, Ubaté – Cundinamarca, Colombia is now available [in Spanish]!
Más avances en la implementación de la Resolución VIII.39: la Las memorias del taller corredor de humedales altoandinos estratégicos en el complejo ecorregional andes del norte, Junio 15 - 17 de 2005, Ubaté – Cundinamarca, Colombia esta ahora disponible. [28/07/05]
Capacity-building in mangrove-based Kenyan communities. Kenya has just brought to completion a very successful project aimed at empowering local communities to use mangrove resources sustainably for their and the environment's benefit. The project's objective was to provide training and technical assistance focused on skills and knowledge related to beekeeping, beehive construction, crab culture, crab cage and pen construction, mangrove re-forestation, conservation and sustainable exploitation. As stated in the final report submitted to the Secretariat, the project, headed by Dr. Joseph Rasowo of Moi University, was carried out in a participatory way by involving government institutions and local NGOs which either already had working partnerships with mangrove-based community groups or assisted in choosing grassroots groups for training by this project. Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio summarizes the projects results here, accompanied by the illustrated final report of the project team. [27/07/05]
Moldava reports on SGF project for the Lower Prut Lakes. The Republic of Moldova has completed its 2003 Ramsar Small Grants Fund project "Evaluation Study to Support Implementation of Management Plan for the Lower Prut Lakes Ramsar Site towards Wise Use and Sustainable Development". It was carried out by the Moldavian Center for Strategic Environmental Studies ECOS in Chisinau, which undertook a range of field trips to carry out various analyses on water quality and identification of causing contaminants; of soil and soil erosion as well as sediments in the Ramsar site lakes and Cahul ponds. Meetings and discussions on wetland issues with stakeholders accompanied the process in all stages of the project and assisted to involve them in the development of the Priority Action Plan, but also in the identification and prioritisation sources of contamination of Ramsar Lakes. A brief report of the project by Ramsar's Dorothea August can be seen here, with the project report executive summary and some photographs into the bargain. [26/07/05]
Biodiversity Liaison Group report from May 2005. The "Liaison Group of the Biodiversity-Related Conventions" was established following a request of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity to enhance cooperation among the five biodiversity-related conventions. The third meeting of the liaison group took place on 10 May 2005 in Gland, Switzerland, at the headquarters of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The heads of the secretariats of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and Ramsar were present, as well as representatives of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the World Heritage Convention (WHC), and the meeting was chaired by Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the host convention. The report of the meeting is now available in PDF format. [21/07/05]
Austria names two mire complexes as new Ramsar sites. The Convention Secretariat is very pleased to announce that the Government of Austria has designated two very interesting mire sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, effective 13 and 15 December 2004. One of them, "Bayerische Wildalm and Wildalmfilz" in the Tyrol in the west of the country, is part of a mire ecosystem which may become a collaboratively managed transboundary Ramsar site with German Bavaria just to the north of Innsbruck. The other, "Moor- und Seenlandschaft Keutschach-Schiefling", is a mosaic of varied wetland types along a small valley in the south, in Carinthia or Kärnten near Klagenfurt. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe, Dorothea August, has prepared brief descriptions of the sites based upon the Ramsar Information Sheets submitted with the site-designation instruments, with a few photographs. HERE. [14/07/05]
Iraq Marshlands Training Course. Iraq is not yet a Ramsar Contracting Party but its government has indicated strong interest in accession in the near future. As part of Iraq's development of a national wetland program, training a cadre of wetland managers and scientists has been seen as a key tool. Through its partnerships with the academic, government and non-government community inside and outside Iraq, training programs are now being implemented. The first Iraqi National Marshland Managers Training Course was held 26 June - 6 July 2005 in the city of Basrah, Iraq. Clayton Rubec, Associate Director of the Canada-Iraq Marshlands Initiative, describes this first edition of what will be an annual event. [07/07/05]
In a separate development, the Ramsar Secretariat, under an MOU with UNEP-IETC, worked with Wetlands International (WI), the International Agricultural Centre (IAC), and Institute for Inland Water and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA) to develop and present a "training module on wetland management" for Iraqi wetland and water managers in Cairo, Egypt, 19-26 June 2005; here is that report from a fortnight ago.
Swedish National Wetland Inventory online. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce that the Swedish National Wetland Inventory is now available on the Internet at http://www-vmi.slu.se (information so far in Swedish only). Here is a description by Ann Wahlström of the Swedish Aquatic Environment Section of the Naturvårdsverket or Swedish EPA. [08/07/05]
Presentations from the Ramsar Asian regional meeting. In response to popular demand and universal clamor, the presentations made at the Asian meeting held in Beijing, China, in mid-May 2005, mostly PowerPoint PPTs with a few PDFs, can now be downloaded from the Ramsar Web site. They range from great big bloated PPTs (49MB) to smaller big bloated PPTs (20MB) to relatively tiny bloated PPTs (8MB) and a small handful of realistically downloadable PPTs and PDFs, and they will be available from this link to the IUCN Indaba server until the end of August 2005. Similarly, PDF versions of the PowerPoints at the African regional meeting in Arusha in early April 2005 will also remain available until the end of August, when they too, for reasons of server space, will have to go off to join their PPT friends in the electronic filing cabinets of the wetland world. [08/07/05]
Liberia inaugurates National Wetlands Committee. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that Liberia has recently established a National Wetlands Committee. Despite the instability the country has experienced in relation to its civil conflict, Liberia ratified the Ramsar Convention on the 2nd November 2003. In January 2005, the Liberian Government began a Post-Conflict Wetland Assessment Project funded by the Ramsar Swiss Grant for Africa (SGA) and the Ramsar Small Grant Funds (SGF), and as part of that process in early June a multisectoral National Wetlands Committee was created. More details here. [06/07/05]
Wetland information for the francophone world. "Zones Humides Infos" is a quarterly newsletter produced since 1993 by a wetland specialists' expert group set up by the French Ministry of Environment in order to provide advice on the implementation and further development of France's National Wetland Action Plan and national policies having an impact on wetlands. The newsletter grew from a small leaflet to a substantial forum providing information and in-depth debates in French on specific wetland related issues, spanning from legal aspects, to agricultural policies, economic valuation, pond fisheries and aquaculture, cultural heritage, water management and river basin planning. The first issue of 2005 is devoted to the Ramsar Convention. Here are further details (in French). [06/07/05]