The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 14 July 2006

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]

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]

Parque Provincial El Tromen. 02/02/06; Provincia del Neuquén; 30,000 hectáreas; 37°05'S 070°06'W. Área Natural Protegida. Alcanzando una altura máxima de 3,978 msnm, este humedal forma un complejo sistema hidrológico en el cual el agua de deshielo se infiltra a través de grietas basálticas para volver a aflorar cerca del pie de los cerros y construir aguadas que alimentan a lagunas, bañados y mallines. Además de ser un humedal altoandino representativo de la región patagónica, contener una rica biodiversidad y servir como sitio de descanso y alimentación a diversas aves, este humedal también califica como sitio Ramsar bajo el recientemente adicionado Criterio 9 al ser el único sitio conocido donde se encuentra la lagartija Liolaemus punmahuida. Aunque el plan de manejo del sitio se encuentra en proceso de ser aprobado, guardaparques provinciales vigilan el cumplimiento de algunas medidas como una veda total de caza. Sitio Ramsar no. 1626.

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]

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]

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]

Report of the Secretariat visit to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Dubai, UAE.Invited by the Dubai Municipal Government, Ramsar's Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, and Senior Advisor for Asia, Mr Guangchun Lei, visited the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary from June 4-5th, 2006. They met representatives from the UAE Federal Environment Agency,Dubai Municipal Government, Sama Dubai (government developer), EIA consultants, and WWF UAE to discuss the current situation of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and the potential for its designation as a Ramsar Site in the future. They also took the opportunity to encourage the accession of the United Arab Emirates to the Convention. Full report available here. [28/06/06]

Ramsar and GTOS sign a Memorandum of Cooperation. The Secretary General visited FAO 13 - 14 June to sign an MoC with GTOS, the Global Terrestrial Observing System, of which FAO is a keystone member. GTOS, an international programme on global environmental change, sponsored by FAO, UNESCO, UNEP, WMO and the International Council for Science (ICSU), plays a major role in monitoring and assessing wetland ecosystems in order to address loss and degradation. A detailed report on the MOC signature is available here and the text of the MOC can be viewed here.

The Secretary General also visited areas of FAO dealing with Fisheries and Forestry, with special reference to work on mangrove ecosystems and agricultural biodiversity. The Secretary General was also briefed on the work being undertaken by FAO on Avian Influenza, which is showing very positive results in most previously affected countries. A key focus remains on understanding the dynamics of the virus in the wild, and understanding where the key sources for the virus remain. [21/06/06]

Business opportunities and constraints for sustainable use of wetlands. What business opportunities hold wetlands, their products and biodiversity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)? was the theme of a workshop funded by the European Commission in the framework of its Strategy for Sustainable Development, in particular the commitment to protect and restore habitats and natural systems and halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. The workshop took place in Austria on 9-10 June 2006, in the National Park centre of Illmitz, in the transboundary National Park and Ramsar Site Neusiedlersee-Sewinkel (Austria) & Fertö-Hansag (Hungary). Organized by the EU project partners Fauna & Flora International, the European Bureau for Conservation & Development and the European Foundation for Management Development, the workshop brought together 50 persons presenting and debating a number of varied and interesting case studies. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé attended the meeting and provides a detailed report with links to further information. [19/06/06]

Sudan names Sudd marshes for the Ramsar List. The Secretariat is very pleased to report that, in ceremonies in Khartoum on 5 June 2006, World Environment Day, Sudan's Minister of Environment and Physical Development, Dr. Ahmed Babikar Nehar, announced the designation of the Sudd marshes as his country's second Wetland of International Importance, along with the Dinder National Park Ramsar site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. As summarized by Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio from the Ramsar Information Sheet that accompanied the designation, Sudd (5,700,000 hectares, 07°34'N 030°39'E) is one of the largest tropical wetlands in the world, located in Southern Sudan in the lower reaches of Bahr el Jebel, the name given to the White Nile as it flows northwards. The Ramsar Secretariat was represented at the World Environment Day ceremonies by Denis Landenbergue of WWF International, presenting the Minister with the Ramsar site certificate, and his address on behalf of Ramsar's Senior Advisor for Africa, Abou Bamba, is also available here. Description and photos of the Sudd Ramsar site. Address and photos of the WED ceremonies. [15/06/06]

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