Ramsar Tsunami Reference Group

20/01/2005

As part of the global response to the disaster, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat has asked Wetlands International to work with Ramsar International Organisation Partners (IOPs) to coordinate efforts to bring together scientifically sound advice on wetlands in the region in order to assist governments in choosing the most effective response measures. See http://www.wetlands.org/tsunami/.

The Ramsar Tsunami Reference Group has been established involving Wetlands International, WWF, IUCN, BirdLife International and the International Water Management Institute to combine resources, share information and produce timely advice as and when it is needed.

The highest and immediate priority of this group is to coordinate rapid assessment of the affected areas with involvement and assistance of all remote sensing specialists, interested agencies and organisations. Coordinated information will help inform the settlement and re-development plans in the region and can also be used when deciding on preventative measures in other parts of the world.

A web-section with more detailed information on the available information has been developed on the Wetlands International website http://www.wetlands.org/tsunami/. A map service with links to other easily accessible images at various resolutions is now available. More information will be added. The IOPs have posted a lot of useful information and assessments on their web sites on this issue and these are being updated regularly.

To provide an opportunity of interaction, debate and cooperation, eight internet-based discussion groups the following subjects are available on http://www.wetlands.org/tsunami/

1. Impacts of the tsunami on the livelihoods of coastal communities dependent on natural assets
2. Wetland species - conservation and management
3. Coastal wetland assessment and ecological restoration
4. Mangroves
5. Coral reef and sea grass beds
6. Integrated coastal zone management
7. Freshwater wetland resources impacted by the tsunami
8. Coastal reconstruction

The success of the discussion groups will depend on the active participation and contribution by Contracting Parties, technical experts and others. If you wish to join any of these, kindly send an email to tsunami@wetlands.org.

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