The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 16 August 2006

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]


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]


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]


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]


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]

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