The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards, 2005

14/06/2005


International Community awards wetlands conservation…

146 countries award long term contribution to the wise use of wetlands.

-- Sebastià Semene Guitart, Convention Development Officer

Gland (Switzerland), 10/06/05 (Ramsar Convention Secretariat): The Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention announced today the winners of the 2005 edition of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award for actions that have significantly contributed to long-term conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The committee had to analyse and make its decision from a short list of 78 candidates, for the 3 categories of the prize: management, science and education.

Prof. Shuming Cai, from the Chinese Academy of Science, was awarded in the "science" category for his research studies on the Yangtze River. Prof. Cai was also recognized by the International Community for his in-depth research on the effects of the Three-Gorge dam project on the environment, assessment and mitigation of natural disasters (e.g. flood and water logging in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River). A respected figure and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC), Prof. Cai has used his scientific achievements to reach practical results for wetland conservation.

Dr. SH.A. Nezami Baloochi, from the Department of Environment of the Province of Gilan, Iran, was awarded in the "management" category for his major and pivotal role in the establishment of an effective conservation and wise use scheme for the 15.000ha Anzali Wetland Ramsar site, designated in 1975. Dr. Nezami has been highly instrumental in the creation of a number of protected areas, education and public awareness-raising initiatives (including, particularly, the creation of the first Wetland Education Centre in Iran), the establishment of a National History Museum, directing a management plan, successfully opposing developments threatening the wetland and military use of wetland area, as well as fighting illegal fishing and smuggling.

The Ramsar Award in the "education" category has been jointly given to both the Wetlands Centre Australia and to Ms. Reiko Nakamura, from the Ramsar Centre Japan.

Initiated in 1984, the Wetlands Centre Australia has, since its inception, relied on volunteers and community involvement to develop its activities of communication, education and public awareness. The Centre's strong philosophy underpins all its action towards the rehabilitation of degraded wetlands and a shift of perceptions of the local communities about wetlands. The Wetlands Centre has now expanded its activities in its region, in Australia as a founding member of the Australian Wetlands Alliance and an advisor on wetlands and Ramsar matters to the Federal Government. Throughout its 20 years of existence, the Centre has demonstrated that the successful achievement of the goals and principles of the Ramsar Convention is dependent on effective partnerships across all sectors; it has demonstrated the value of education and community participation for wetland conservation, and stands as a model in this field.

Ms. Reiko Nakamura left her career as an environmental journalist in 1990 to found the Ramsar Centre Japan, a membership NGO which now has 120 members in 12 countries of Asia, including also Australia. Through her long-term vision, foresight, intellectual leadership, tireless efforts and charismatic personality, Ms. Nakamura has achieved an exceptional contribution to the conservation and wise use of wetlands in Asia. Her efforts were directed at bringing together institutions and countries at various stages of development, focussing always on participation of all stakeholders and on conservation for the benefits of local communities.

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was established in 1996 in order to recognize and honour the contributions of individuals, organisations and governments around the world towards promoting the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The prize is given every 3 years, in conjunction with the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Ramsar Convention. The winners of the 2005 edition of the Ramsar Award will receive their prize, as well as 10.000USD, during the 9th Ramsar COP to be held in Kampala (Uganda) from 8th to 15th November 2005.

Pictures available. Please contact: ssg@ramsar.org.
The Ramsar Award is supported by the DANONE Group through the DANONE/Evian Fund for Water.

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