The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 16 August 2006
Headline story. Liberia names four new Ramsar sites. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that Liberia has designated four new Wetlands of International Importance, bringing its total of designated sites to five. From a small rice-dominated site to a large mangrove forest along three rivers, to an important mangrove area associated with the capital city, Monrovia, the sites bring an interesting variety to the Ramsar List, and all are important for the wildlife they support and the services they provide for the population of Liberia. A Ramsar Small Grants Fund contribution was helpful in the preparation of the data for these listings, and the sites are designated as of 24 August 2006, which is Flag Day in Liberia. Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio has prepared brief descriptions of the new sites, based upon the Ramsar Information Sheets, and these can be seen here. [16/08/06]
Headline story.Equator Prize 2006 - call for nominations. "Awarded biennially, the Equator Prize recognizes five community-based projects that demonstrate extraordinary achievement in reducing poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the equatorial belt. Prize winners receive international recognition for their work and an opportunity to help shape international policy and practice in the field, as well as a monetary award of US$30,000 each." The UNDP has put out a call for nominations for the 2006 edition of the Prize, which can be seen here in English, Français, and Español. [16/08/06]
GlobWetland Symposium: "Looking at Wetlands from Space". Full details, preliminary programme and registration forms for this important symposium, organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) in association with the Ramsar Convention, are now available on-line at http://www.congrex.nl/06a11/. The sessions take place on 19-20 October 2006 at ESA ESRIN in Frascati, Italy. Participation is invited from all those involved in the use of Earth Observation for wetland inventory, assessment, management and monitoring, from EO experts to end-users such as wetland managers and decision-makers.
Over the past few decades, EO images, with increasing capabilities in terms of spatial, temporal and spectral resolution, have become more accessible to a larger community of users, allowing day-by-day a more affordable, efficient and reliable monitoring of the environment over time at global, regional and local scales. In this context, the European Space Agency in collaboration with the Ramsar Convention has launched a number of projects aimed at exploring and demonstrating the benefits of EO technology for achieving the objectives of the Ramsar Convention. The GlobWetland project has been addressing this issue by using satellite imagery to provide detailed wide-area views of individual wetlands to aid national and local conservation efforts across 50 sites in 21 countries worldwide.
The "Looking at Wetlands from Space" symposium will review the outcomes of the GlobWetland project and many other activities and initiatives worldwide which are generating remotely-sensed information products for wetlands, and it will assess what can and cannot be done to support Ramsar implementation with existing technology and identify future challenges for the Earth Observation community. It is planned to publish a proceedings volume from the symposium as a special issue of a relevant scientific journal. [14/08/06]
Swiss Grant for Africa. Congo outlines its National Wetland Policy. In the framework of the Ramsar Swiss Grant for Africa, the Congolese government received a subvention from the Ramsar Secretariat to reactivate the Convention implementation in the country and prepare the outline for its National Wetlands Policy. The Administrative Authority of the Convention in the country, the General Directorate of the Environment, has set up a multidisciplinary team to outline the NWP together with a National Action Plan to facilitate its implementation. Ramsar's Abou Bamba describes the process. [10/08/06]
Position vacancy. Wetlands International seeks Programme Officer. The Wetlands International Africa Programme is seeking applications for a Programme Development Officer, to be based in Dakar, Senegal. The application deadline is 23 August 2006, and the terms of references can be seen here. [10/08/06]
Now available. Report on Ramsar visit to China. The Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, and the Senior Advisor for Asia and the Pacific, Guangchun Lei, visited China between 5 and 13 July. "Four wetland sites in China were visited to learn their conservation issues and solutions, and to exchange views on future directions for wetland conservation, with all levels of governmental officials." Their report is now available here (PDF). [07/08/06]
Perú names another high Andean wetlands. The Secretariat is pleased to report that the government of Perú has designated Humedal Lucre - Huacarpay (1,979 hectares, 13°37'S 071°44'W) as its eleventh Wetland of International Importance, effective 23 September 2006. As summarized by Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal from the RIS, the new site is situated at an altitude of 3,020 meters and comprises four permanent and one temporary lagoons, two swamps and two rivers, and is part of the Pikillaqta Archaeological Park and the National Tourist Reserve. The wetland provides considerable food and refuge to various threatened (Falco femoralis, Falco peregrinus, Jabiru mycteria) and endemic (Oreonympha nobilis, Asthenes ottonis, Poospiza caesar) avian species, making it possible to identify over 70 such species throughout the year. Among the most representative flora are various species of cacti and the "Algarrobo" tree (Prosopis laevigata), which at 3,100 meters AMSL probably has the highest altitude of its distribution in South America. The overexploitation of resources constitutes an important threat to the site, which is in turn facilitated by uncertainty about the ownership of the land. [04/08/06]
Ramsar Technical Reports series launched. The Ramsar Technical Report series is designed to publish, chiefly through electronic media, technical notes, reviews and reports on wetland ecology, conservation, wise use and management, as an enhanced information support service to Contracting Parties and the wider wetland community in support of implementation of the Convention. In particular, the series includes the detailed technical background reviews and reports prepared by the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) at the request of Contracting Parties, which would previously have been made available in most instances only as "Information Papers" for a meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP). Other reports not originating from COP requests to the STRP, but which are considered by the STRP to provide information relevant to supporting implementation of the Convention, may be proposed for inclusion in the series. All Ramsar Technical Reports are peer-reviewed by the members and observers appointed to the STRP.
Ramsar Technical Reports are chiefly published in English in electronic (PDF) format - when resources permit, the reports may also be published in French and Spanish (the other official languages of the Convention) and/or in printed form. The first RTR report, Guidelines for the rapid assessment of inland, coastal and marine wetland biodiversity, was published jointly in May 2006 with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The second, Low-cost GIS software and data for wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring, by John Lowry, is now ready, and a number of additional papers are presently in preparation. Download either or both RTR reports here. [03/08/06]
Announcement.Coastal protection - what role for forests and trees?. The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific plans to convene a four-day regional technical workshop on “Coastal protection in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami: what role for forests and trees?”. The workshop will be held in Khao Lak, Thailand, from 28 through 31 August 2006 with the main objective of improving the understanding of the role of mangroves and other kind of coastal forests and trees in protecting populations and assets from natural hazards, including not only tsunamis but also cyclones, erosion, wind and salt spray. For more information please visit www.fao.org/forestry/tsunami/coastalprotection or contact Ms. Serena Fortuna (email@example.com). [01/08/06]
Guide to the exhibition 'Eden: Marshlands of Mesopotamia' now online. "A new publication by MedWet is now online: the booklet of the photographic exhibition Eden: Marshlands of Mesopotamia, organized by among others MedWet and the Canadian Embassy in the framework of the Ecofilms Festival, can be downloaded from the address below. Produced in English, French and Greek, the booklet contains about 15 of the 37 color prints that appeared in the exhibition hosted among others in the Conference of the Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Kampala, Uganda (November 2005) before opening in Rodos and then Athens. The exhibition is next scheduled to open in Jordan before it returns to Iraq, where it is planned to be offered to the Museum of Natural History. Guide to the exhibition Eden: Marshlands of Mesopotamia." Sofia Spirou (firstname.lastname@example.org), Communications Officer, MedWet Secretariat, Kifissia, Greece. [01/08/06]
What do we know about Wetlands of International Importance? Keeping Ramsar site information up to date. The "Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands" (RIS) is the basic datasheet for Ramsar sites which was adopted by the Contracting Parties back in 1990. It contains the justification for the inclusion of the wetland in the Ramsar List by assessing its international importance against agreed Criteria; it supplies additional data about ecological character, values, and threats that will be needed to manage the site effectively; and it provides a "snapshot" of the site to inform the public. Recognizing the importance of keeping that RIS information up-to-date, the Parties committed themselves in 1996 to preparing new information sheets for their Ramsar sites at least every six years, and many Parties have done so. Nonetheless, there are still many Wetlands of International Importance for which the Secretariat and the public have only very old data -- some dating back as many as thirty years!
In order to support the efforts of Contracting Parties in providing and regularly updating Ramsar site information, the Ramsar Secretariat (following up on suggestions made during COP9) has prepared a progress chart on the provision of Ramsar site information. More details here. [31/07/06]
WI's Seed Funding Facility for poverty reduction. Wetlands International's Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project (WPRP) will support partnerships to prepare project proposals that address poverty-environment issues in wetlands. The WPRP is a 4-year project that aims to influence policy and practice at all levels to enhance the recognition of the interconnection between human well-being and wetland management. Through activities focused on local demonstration, capacity building and awareness-raising, the WPRP will contribute to the wise-use of wetlands and poverty reduction. Over the next 2.5 years, the WPRP's Seed Funding Facility will make €350,000 available to support partnership processes in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The detailed Call for Project Concepts and relevant forms are available here. Additional details on the Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project are available from Wetlands International's Web site at www.wetlands.org/WPRP. [26/07/06]
From the Wetlands Forum.New Web site for WHSRN.Iván Darío Valencia (email@example.com) of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in the USA, announces that the WHSRN has a newly completed Web site, the primary goal of which is to build communications capacity to protect a vital chain of international ecosystems. Further details here. [26/07/06]
From the Ramsar Forum. Papyrus products. Simba Mandota(firstname.lastname@example.org), IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa, writes: "Greeting to you all. I work for IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa based in Harare Zimbabwe. We are implementing a regional Zambezi Basin Wetlands project covering the Zambezi Basin riparian states. One of the key components is to improve the integrity of the ecological ecosystem and improve the livelihoods of the wetland communities. We have targeted one forestry resource called papyrus which grows in the wetland areas. Currently the communities use it for making crafts and as construction materials for houses. One of the key contraints they face is lack of markets which is primarily driven by the fact that the products are of low value. Our intervention will therefore aim to ensure that the products they produce are of diverse nature and of high value as well as maintaining or improving the ecological integrity of the ecosystem. We are interested in getting information of any other valuable products that can be produced from papyrus and posibilities of the markets. This is where we need some support from any of you who maybe involved in activities of such nature in wetland areas. Thank you." [25/07/06]
From the Wetlands Forum.Planting of Avicennia mangroves.Harban Singh (email@example.com), Ramsar Manager, Johor National Parks Corporation, West Malaysia, writes: "Dear all, Greetings from Malaysia. I wish to plant Avicennia trees along the inter tidal sea coast and also just outside the coast towards the “borders”, nearer towards the dry land. Does anyone have experience in planting this species with success? To my knowledge, I am not sure if anyone has planted this variety with success? Thanks for sharing if there’s any particular noteworthy points and guidelines that I should adhere." [25/07/07]
Australia launches wetland management training programme. In late 2005 the Australian Government, through its Natural Heritage Trust Program, approved funding totalling Aud$1.35 million over three years for four projects that are working collaboratively to provide wetland management training across Australia. The umbrella programme is called Wetland Management Solutions, and involves projects being undertaken by WWF Australia, Wetlands International Oceania, Wetland Care Australia and a consortium led by the Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia, recipient of a Ramsar award at the last COP. More details of these individuals projects can be found at www.wetlandmanagementsolutions.org.au.
"The component of this national initiative being led by the Hunter Wetlands Centre, called 'Wetlands.edu' is presently starting to develop training modules, and we are keen to make contact with anyone who has such materials already prepared (in English please) so we can learn from how others have approached wetland training. Ideally we would like to get samples of such training materials to review as we begin assembling the curriculum and contents of our training program. I look forward to hearing from those with such materials. Regards, Bill Phillips, Program coordinator." [24/07/06]
Announcement. Mangrove training workshop set for Florida, USA, March 2007. The fifth "Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration" training workshop will be held at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, in Hollywood, Florida, USA, March 5-8, 2007. The training site is within a 500 hectare mangrove restoration project at West Lake Park operated by Broward County. The award-winning project was designed by Roy R. "Robin" Lewis III, who will be teaching the course. The workshop includes an introduction to mangrove forest ecology, management options and problems, and restoration design issues. More information here. [21/07/06]
Vacancy at BirdLife International. BirdLife International are looking for a Communications Officer (Media relations and Web), to be based in the Secretariat in Cambridge, U.K., as part of the organization's communications team. The successful candidate will be responsible for the editing and maintenance of the BirdLife web site (www.birdlife.org), which has become a major news outlet in its own right for bird conservation news. This is not a particularly technical role, although good computer literacy would be a advantage. Good written and editorial skills are essential. Here are the job description and contact information. [21/07/06]
Nuevo Oficial Técnico en CREHO / New Technical Officer at CREHO.Maria Rivera, a Ramsar STRP regional member from Colombia, has been named the new Technical Officer at the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere (CREHO) based in Panamá. Here is the announcement in English and Español. [20/07/06]
Archaeology in wetlands. Peatlands: archaeological sites, archives of nature, nature conservation comprises the proceedings of the Peatland Conference 2002 in Hannover, Germany, with the illustrated texts of 25 presentations in English, including two on the role of the Ramsar Convention in modern peatland use and conservation. Ramsar's Dorothea August describes the book in greater detail. [19/07/06]
Now available. Photos from STRP13. A few pages of photos from the 13th meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), 30 May to 2 June 2006, and the festive dinner afterward, can be seen here. [18/07/06]
Chile publica su Estrategia Nacional de Humedales. Aprobada en diciembre de 2005 por el Consejo Directivo de CONAMA, la “Estrategia Nacional para la Conservación y Uso Racional de los Humedales en Chile” constituye un paso muy importante para Chile y la culminación de un esfuerzo multisectorial iniciado con el proyecto SGF/97/CHL/1 de la Convención de Ramsar. Partiendo del reconocimiento de estos ecosistemas como espacios que concentran la biodiversidad e influyen significativamente en la calidad de vida de la población, esta Estrategia establece una serie de objetivos específicos y líneas de acción que deberán promover un manejo sustentable y participativo de los humedales en todo el territorio nacional. Puede descargar una copia de este documento aquí. [14/07/06]
Chile issues its National Wetland Strategy. Approved in December 2005 by the Ministerial Council of CONAMA, the “National Strategy for the Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands in Chile” constitutes a very important step for Chile, and the culmination of the multisectoral effort initiated by Ramsar project SGF/97/CHL/1. Recognizing wetland ecosystems as critical in concentrating biodiversity and significantly influencing the quality of life of the population, this Strategy lays down a series of specific objectives and lines of action that should promote the sustainable and participatory management of wetlands within its territory. A copy of the document can be downloaded here.
Future management of the Seine meanders and estuary: Seminar Grand'Mare II. "The Regional Nature Park Les Boucles de la Seine Normande hosted a seminar on the development and management of the Grand'Mare lake on the 28 June 2006. The Grand'Mare lies in the area of the Vernier marshes in an old meander and lowest curve of the Seine river before flowing into the English Channel. Fourteen years after a first international seminar discussing the conservation and management problems of the Vernier marshes and peatlands, including the Grand'Mare lake, this event was organised to look at the results of the activities carried out over the intervening period and to discuss further steps for the future development of the site." Ramsar's Dorothea August provides an illustrated report on the seminar and the future prospects for management of the site. [13/07/06]
From the Ramsar Forum.Call for Application to the Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund (Oct 06). "The 'Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund' has been established to provide financial support to projects at site of importance for migratory waterbirds in the East Asia - Australasian Flyway. Cathay Pacific placed an initial donation of HK$500,000 (approx. US$65,000) into the Fund which is administered by WWF Hong Kong, and further donations are actively being sought to increase the amount in the Fund so that a greater number of worthwhile projects can be supported in future. Each year, up to 25% of the amount in the Fund will be earmarked for disbursement to support approved projects. At present, the maximum amount that can be applied for each project shall not exceed US$4,000. Three projects has been funded in the first round of application in June 2006. You may visit http://www.wwf.org.hk/eng/maipo/awcf/projects.html for details. There will be a single call for applications to the Fund each year with the deadline currently being 31 October 2006. For further information, please check http://www.wwf.org.hk/eng/maipo/awcf/ or contact the AWCF Administrator by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org." -- Katherine Leung, AWCF Administrator. [13/07/06]
Now available.Report of STRP13. The Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) met for its 13th meeting 30 May to 2 June 2006, in order to sort out its priority tasks and agree a work programme for 2006-2008 for approval by the Standing Committee. The Report of the meeting is now ready, as well as the Decisions, the participants and participants' contacts lists, and some photographs of the proceedings. See here.
Argentina names High Andean Ramsar site. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that, effective World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2006, the Parque Provincial El Tromen (30,000 hectares, 37°05S 070°06'W) in Neuquén Province has become Argentina's 15th Wetland of International Importance. Ramsar's Adrián Ruiz-Caravajal summarizes the Ramsar Information Sheet -- Reaching an altitude of up to 3,978 above sea level, this wetland forms a complex hydrological system in which the snowmelt slips through cracks in the basaltic bedrock and rises again at the base of the mountains to create small water bodies that in turn feed a variety of High Andean Wetlands. Apart from being a high Andean wetland representative of the Patagonia region, containing a rich biodiversity and serving as a resting and feeding ground for several waterfowl species, the wetland also qualifies as a Ramsar site under the recently added Criterion 9, being the only site known to host the endemic lizard Liolaemus punmahuida. Although the approval of the management plan is still underway, park rangers enforce some protective measures such as a total ban on hunting. [12/07/06]
Wetlands International's Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project. "As part of the on-going capacity development activities of the Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project – a project of Wetlands International funded by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry (DGIS) - two stakeholder workshops were held in March 2006 in Dakar, Senegal and in Naivasha, Kenya. The purpose of these workshops were to undertake a training and skills need analysis for both West and East Africa to improve the mainstreaming of sustainable wetlands management principles into development agendas and such policy instruments as PRSPs (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers)." Here is a report on the workshops from Tunde Ojei, WI's Capacity Building Coordinator, with a link to the Workshop Declaration and lists of the participants (PDF). [11/07/06]
Now available.Nueva Política Ambiental sobre Océanos y Costas en México. Ya se encuentra disponible la "Política Ambiental Nacional para el Desarrollo Sustentable de Océanos y Costas de México: Estrategias para su conservación y uso sustentable". Este documento detalla la situación de las zonas marinas y costeras del país desde las perspectivas política, legal, económica y social para establecer un marco estratégico y una política para su manejo. Gran parte de los sitios Ramsar de México son humedales costeros que serán beneficiados por la creación de esta política. Puede descargar este documento aquí (PDF, 2MB). [11/07/06]
Now available.UNEP's Africa Environment Outlook 2. The United Nations Environment Programme has launched Africa Environment Outlook 2 – Our Environment, Our Wealth (AEO-2), which "profiles Africa’s environmental resources as an asset for the region’s development. The report highlights the opportunities presented by the natural resource base to support development and the objectives of the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The report underscores the need for sustainable livelihoods, and the importance of environmental initiatives in supporting them. Emphasis is put on what should and can be done with existing (remaining) environmental assets, in the context of identified constraints (issues), rather than focusing on what has been already lost." Links to download the full text, chapters, annexes, and fact sheets can be found here. [11/07/06]
International conference on Danube cooperation. The conference Past and Future in Establishing Institutions on Danube Cooperation, held in Galati, Romania from 27-29 June, brought together river navigation specialists and environmental, water management and wetlands experts, thus recognizing that working together across sectoral interests and national boundaries is becoming more than ever a crucial imperative to find lasting solutions for sustainable development and human wellbeing in the lower Danube region. Alexandru Cucu, General Director in the Ministry of Transport, reported on the recently established cooperation between his Ministry and the Ministry of Environment to elaborate win-win solutions for improvement measures for both, inland navigation on the lower Danube between Braila and Calarasi, as well as for the management of the Ramsar Site Small Island of Braila and other wetland ecosystems of the Lower Danube Green Corridor. Oganized by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Ministries of Environment and Water and of Transport, the conference also provided the opportunity for two additional specialist groups to (a) discuss historical aspects of the institutional evolution since the establishment of the first Danube Commission, and (b) focus on the most recent political Danube Cooperation Process, initiated by the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, after the 1999 Kosovo war. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé attended this conference and has provided an illustrated report. [05/07/06]
Now available.Report of the CEPA Oversight Panel's 1st meeting. Through COP9 Resolution IX.18 and Decision 12 of Standing Committee's 34th meeting, a CEPA Oversight Panel was set up to (a) monitor and report on the implementation of the Convention's Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA) Programme established by Resolution VIII.31, and (b) examine and set priorities for communication, education and capacity building in collaboration with the Wetlands International CEPA Specialist Group and the Ramsar Advisory Board on Capacity Building. The Panel met for the first time on May 29th, 2006, and the report of this meeting, along with background information on the structure and function of the Panel and the Advisory Board, is available here.[04/07/06]
Announcement. Ramsar opening for Intern for Africa. The Ramsar Secretariat welcomes applications for the position of Intern/Assistant Advisor for the Africa Region, a 12-month posting (possibly extendable to up to 24 months) at the Ramsar Secretariat in Switzerland to begin as soon as possible after 1 November 2006. With an upper age limit for applicants of 30 years old, the post offers an opportunity for young graduates to become acquainted with the workings of an intergovernmental treaty dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Candidates for this internship should be nationals of countries in Africa and have lived most of their lives in the region. Full ability to work in both English and French, both written and spoken, is required for this post.
Prospective candidates: please view the General Terms of Reference for Ramsar internships (also available from the Secretariat), which includes conditions of service and salary structure, and send the application form (Word, PDF) attached to the General Terms of Reference, a covering letter both in English and French explaining your interest in an internship with the Ramsar Secretariat and your future career goals, your CV, as well as two letters of reference from your previous supervisors or dean of the faculty where you carried out your studies, to email@example.com. The deadline for applications is 18 August 2006. [04/07/06]
Feedback and suggestions are welcome to the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail ).