The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 14 March 2006
Headline story.UNEP workshop on issue-based modules for MEAs, February 2006. With the assistance of Belgium, UNEP has started a project to structure available information on common topics shared between several biodiversity-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). The objective of the project is to facilitate the coherent implementation of the biodiversity commitments, taken under different international and regional biodiversity agreements, by all actors. The first phase of the project focused on the development of four modules on issues of common concern to the five biodiversity MEAs (the Ramsar Convention, Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on Migratory Species, Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, and the World Heritage Convention), namely inland waters, biodiversity and climate change, invasive alien species, and sustainable use. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé reports on the UNEP workshop on "issue based modules for coherent implementation of biodiversity conventions" held 20-21 February 2006 in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia. [14/03/06]
Headline story.International Conference on the Danube Delta. Sparked by major development projects in the Danube Delta (such as the oil terminal in Gjurgjurlesti, or the opening of the Bystre mouth of the Danube for deep water navigation), an ad hoc group of international organizations with an interest in the Danube Delta was established during a meeting at UNEP's Regional Office for Europe in September 2004 (including the Ramsar Secretariat, UNESCO, the Danube Commission ICPDR, European Commission, Council of Europe, UNECE Aarhus and Espoo Convention Secretariats, WWF, IUCN, Wetlands International and others). A fruitful cooperation began of the international group with the Ukrainian, and also the Romanian and Moldovan authorities, in preparation for this international conference, which was held on 27-28 February 2006 in Odesa (Ukraine). Intended to elaborate visions for sustainable development and mechanisms for transboundary cooperation in the Danube Delta, the conference was convened by the Government of Ukraine in cooperation with the Governments of Romania and the Republic of Moldova, under the auspices of the Danube Commission (ICPDR), and with financial support by UNESCO and the European Commission. An helpful illustrated report of the outcomes by participant Tobias Salathé, as well as the conclusions of the meeting, can be found here. [13/03/06]
Peter Bridgewater, the Secretary General, is in Paris, 14 March 2006, for the launch of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network's analysis of post-tsunami effects (Australian Embassy). On 15 March he is traveling to México for the Fourth World Water Forum until 23 March, and will then go to Curitiba, Brazil for the high-level segment of COP8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. He will be back in the Secretariat on 31 March. [14/03/06]
Margarita Astrálaga, Senior Advisor for the Americas, is in Campeche, México, 13-17 March 2006, for the IV Taller Internacional CONyMA (Contaminación y Protección del Medio Ambiente) on the theme "Las algas nocivas y los humedales costeros", sponsored by the Estado de Campeche and the Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras de Cuba. She is presenting a paper on "La Convención Ramsar y los Ecosistemas de Manglar", which can be read here in Spanish (PDF).
Ramsar MOC with IWMI. On 28 February, Peter Bridgewater, the Secretary General, and Frank Rijsberman, Director General of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), signed a new memorandum of cooperation at the Secretariat facilities in Gland, updating the previous MOC of January 2004. IWMI recently became the Convention's fifth International Organization Partner (joining BirdLife International, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Wetlands International, and WWF International) by virtue of Resolution IX.16 at COP9 in November 2005. The text of the MOC and two photos of the signing ceremony can be seen here. [13/03/06]
Now available.Standing Committee 34 documentation. The 34th meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee will take place 10-13 April 2006 in the Secretariat facilities in Switzerland, and now, one month before the opening of the meeting, as required, the agenda papers can be seen in their glory. Click on the SC34 button to verify that -- recidivists can just use the similar button on the Ramsar front page and save a couple of clicks. [10/03/06]
Now available.Ramsar MOC with the European Environment Agency.Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, and Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, have signed a memorandum of cooperation, effective 27 February 2006, which covers a number of areas chiefly relating to the improvement, exchange, and use of Ramsar sites data. The text is available here. [09/03/06]
Mexico names 65th Ramsar site. The Secretariat is pleased to report that the Government of Mexico has designated its 65th Wetland of International Importance. According to Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for the Americas, Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal, Laguna de Atotonilco (2,850 hectares, 20º22'N 103º39'W) in Jalisco state is situated along the neovolcanic axis, and the area around the site presents geothermal springs often used for recreational activities. Noteworthy fauna includes reptiles such as a nationally endangered toad (Bufo marinus), snake (Thamnophis eques), striped lizard (Cnemidophorus communis) and an endemic frog (Rana megapoda) also considered vulnerable by IUCN. In addition, the aquatic vegetation also provides spawning ground for several fish species. Archeological excavations have unearthed rudimentary objects (arrow heads and clay figures), as well as mammoth, rhino and bison fossil remains. Deforestation and water infrastructure works are two of the greatest threats to the integrity of the site. Ramsar site No. 1607. [07/03/06]
México designa su Sitio Ramsar número 65. La Secretaría se complace en informar que el Gobierno de México ha designado su Humedal de Importancia Internacional número 65. De acuerdo con el Consejero Asistente para las Américas, Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal, la “Laguna de Atotonilco” (Jalisco; 2,850 ha; 20º22'N 103º39'W). El Área Prioritaria para la Conservación está situada sobre el Eje Neovolcánico, presentando el área aledaña al sitio manantiales geotérmicos frecuentemente utilizados con fines recreativos por los visitantes. Dentro de la fauna del sitio destacan reptiles considerados amenazados en la legislación mexicana como el sapo (Bufo marinus), la culebra (Thamnophis eques), la lagartija rayada (Cnemidophorus communis) y la rana endémica (Rana megapoda), ésta última también considerada vulnerable por la UICN (Unión Mundial para la Conservación). Adicionalmente, la vegetación emergente de la laguna proporciona sitios para desove y crianza de varias especies de peces. Las excavaciones arqueológicas han encontrado objetos rudimentarios (puntas de flecha y figurillas de barro), así como restos fósiles de bisontes, mamuts y rinocerontes. La deforestación e infraestructura hídrica son dos de las principales amenazas a la integridad del humedal. Sitio Ramsar No. 1607.
Ramsar "Chairs Handover Meeting". On 14 February, the incoming and outgoing chairs of the Ramsar Standing Committee and its Subgroup on Finance met at the Secretariat's premises in Switzerland to carry out a "handover" of experiences for the new team in advance of the first full SC meeting (SC34), 10-13 April. As summed up by the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, "three of the past and present chairs met on feb 14 (with Canada, the past chair of the Subgroup on Finance, able to join by telephone), many useful items and methods of working were discussed, including setting terms of reference for the chairs and the vice-chair of standing committee, and issues dealing with the upcoming SC34. This meeting was an interesting innovation which should help to start this new triennium off to a very good start." A photo of the participants. [06/03/06]
New STRP appointed. The Scientific and Technical Review Panel of the Ramsar Convention was established by COP5 in 1993 as a subsidiary body of the Convention to provide scientific and technical guidance to the Conference of the Parties, the Standing Committee, and the Ramsar secretariat. Members provide expertise on their own behalf, rather than as national representatives, and are expected to seek additional input from the national and regional networks of which they are a part. The Convention's STRP Oversight Committee has now appointed the members of the STRP for the triennium 2006-2008, from a strong field of candidates nominated by Ramsar Administrative Authorities, STRP National Focal Points, and STRP members and observers, following the STRP structure outlined in its revised modus operandi (Resolution IX.11, COP9). In addition the Oversight Committee has chosen as Chair of the Panel Dr Heather Mackay (Vice Chair for the 2003-2005 period) and Ms Rebecca D'Cruz as Vice Chair. The full list can be found here. [03/03/06]
WWD headline story. New CD on Ramsar sites in Bolivia.Omar Rocha (email@example.com), Director Ejecutivo, BIOTA, está escribiendo: "El Centro de Estudios en Biología Teórica y Aplicada (BIOTA) y la Dirección General de Biodiversidad del Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible de Bolivia, con el apoyo de WCS/Bolivia, WWF/Bolivia y la Convención Ramsar, conmemorando el Día Mundial de los Humedales, han lanzado dos materiales de difusión: Catálogo Bibliográfico sobre los Humedales de Bolivia.- Es un documento que incluye 915 citas bibliográficas en diferentes disciplinas relacionadas a los humedales del país, un análisis sobre la publicación de temas y las tendencias del número de publicaciones por períodos. Sitios Ramsar de Bolivia.- Es la segunda edición del CD interactivo que contiene la descripción general de los Sitios Ramsar, mapas de ubicación, características físicas, hidrológicas, flora, fauna, valores culturales, legislación boliviana sobre humedales y otros aspectos, además de una interesante serie de fotografías de los humedales." Mas. [27/02/06]
WWD headline story.World Wetlands Day in Iraq. Clayton Rubec of Environment Canada (Clay.Rubec@ec.gc.ca) and Dr. Hassan Janabi of the Iraq Ministry of Water Resources in Baghdad report that: "On February 2, 2006, colleagues in Iraq joined in celebrating World Wetlands Day for the first time. At a meeting organized by Centre for the Restoration of the Iraqi Marshes of the Ministry of Water Resources, representatives of government agencies, non-government organizations and universities discussed Iraq's programs focusing on restoration of the Mesopotamian marshes. This follows on from Iraq's stated strong commitment to Ramsar Convention goals presented by its delegation at the COP9 meetings of Ramsar in Kampala, Uganda, last November. It is expected that Iraq will be able to complete the internal mechanisms to proceed with Ramsar Convention accession within a few months. The February 2 WWD meeting was well covered by the media including local and international television. Several high profile government officials attended as well as representatives of the Marsh Arabs from the southern marshes. Presentations by the Ministry of Water Resources and Nature Iraq on the status of marsh restoration programs were included in the agenda." [23/02/06]
Now available. Ramsar support for mangrove projects. The Secretariat's Americas team has compiled a listing of all of the projects involving mangroves that have been supported by the Ramsar Convention over the years, through its Wetlands for the Future Fund for the Americas and the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for developing countries in all of the regions. It's available here in PDF format. [22/02/06]
Vacancy announcement. The Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere (CREHO), located in the City of Knowledge, Panama City, is tasked to "promote research on the management and wise use of wetlands throughout the Americas, through training and the development of impact assessment tools, methodologies and economic assessment, and the establishment of communication mechanisms". The Executive Director, Ms Rosa Montañez, announces a vacancy for a Technical Officer to begin 1 May 2006, with an application deadline of 20 March 2006. Here is the position description, with links to the application form in Word and PDF, in English and Español. [20/02/06]
New guide highlights wetlands and Ramsar.Philip's Guide to Wetlands (c2005) is a well-made and very attractive 304-page, inexpensive paperback, featuring good maps and graphics and lots of photographs. After a 50-page section about wetlands generally (types, functioning, flora and fauna, loss rates, etc.), there are 250 pages of regional atlas, with maps for each area showing all Ramsar sites (as of mid-2005) and texts with overviews and regional features, all compiled by Dr Patrick Dugan and written by a who's-who of wetland scientists and the "Ramsar family". From the book's cover: "Wetlands are home to an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna. They exist in every continent and, since 1971, many have been conserved under the Ramsar Convention. A significant number have been declared national parks and now attract increasing numbers of visitors. This guide describes the ecology of wetlands, and explains how plants and animals adapt to survive in them. It summarizes the factors leading to the loss of wetland environments, and how they can be conserved. Detailed topographical maps show the world's most significant wetland environments, and a gazetteer lists many of the most interesting wetlands to visit. 70 maps show locations of Ramsar protected sites; Wetland wildlife, especially birds, described in detail; 175 colour photographs and explanatory artworks." The book is available from the NHBS Environment Bookstore, http://www.nhbs.com/, amongst other places. [20/02/06]
WWD headline story.South Africa workshop on Wetlands, Water, and Livelihoods. Between 30 January and 2 February 2006, the shores of one of the most beautiful wetlands in southern Africa, St. Lucia, a Ramsar and World Heritage site, were the venue for a productive workshop organized by one of Ramsar's partner organizations (IOPs), Wetlands International, and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, SANBI. This "Wetlands, Water and Livelihoods" workshop brought together over 80 participants from 30 countries and included representatives from governments, NGOs (including all five of Ramsar's IOPs), intra-governmental institutions, aid organizations, and research institutions. The workshop included a demonstration visit to a Working for Wetlands project site and ended with the celebration of World Wetlands Day, with speeches from Leseho Sello, the Head of the Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation, and the reading out of the Secretary General's message for WWD by Abou Bamba, with a final big "cheers" by all the participants and songs and dances by schoolchildren and the lodge's kitchen staff alike! Here is an illustrated report by Lucia Scodanibbio. [17/02/06]
Ramsar visit to the Gulf region. In early February the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, attended the UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Forum in Dubai,and whilst in the region held discussions about potential accession to the Convention by both the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Here is his brief report. [16/02/06]
WWD headline story. WWD2006 with Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan. Ms Shahzia Khan, Ramsar Assistant Advisor for Asia, represented the Secretariat at a two-day event in Zabol city in Sistan-Balouchistan province, near the transboundary Hamun wetlands, which was attended by national and provincial environmental and protected area authorities from both Iran and Afghanistan, as well as representatives of UNEP, other international agencies, and local NGOs. Following WWD celebrations involving local handicrafts demonstrations, children's painting exhibitions, and information booths, a training workshop was held on management of wetland centres and the Hamun wetlands. With support provided by UNEP, bilateral cooperation began last year between these two countries and progress is being made for developing joint cooperation on management and restoration of the Hamun wetlands, where two Ramsar sites in Iran have long been listed on the Montreux Record due to severe desiccation. Shahzia's well-illustrated report is here. [15/02/06]
Now available.Report of Panama Bay Ramsar site Workshop now available. Recognizing the importance that the Higher Panama Bay holds for the local and regional biodiversity, at the end of 2005 the “Grupo para la Investigación Tecnoecológica y la Conservación” – GITEC- organized a workshop to familiarize the local Chinina and Aquendo communities with various tools to understand and use their wetland wisely. By applying a participative approach, the workshop covered such topics as the sustainable use of the mangroves, the environmental problems of wetlands, and options for their management. The theoretical sessions were complemented by field visits. The report can be seen here [in Spanish]. [09/02/06]
El Informe del Taller sobre el sitio Ramsar de Bahía de Panamá ya está disponible. Reconociendo la gran importancia de la Parte Alta de la Bahía de Panamá para la diversidad de especies de flora y fauna locales y regionales, a finales de 2005 el Grupo para la Investigación Tecnoecológica y la Conservación – GITEC- organizó un taller para proveer a las comunidades locales Chinina y Oquendo las herramientas necesarias para comprender y hacer un uso racional de su humedal. Aplicando un enfoque participativo, el taller abordó problemáticas como el uso sostenible del manglar, los problemas ambientales de los humedales, y opciones para su manejo. Las sesiones teóricas fueron complementadas con visitas de campo. Aquí.
New MOC between Ramsar and Barcelona Conventions. On 7 February in Nairobi, the Ramsar Secretary General and the Coordinator of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) signed a new Memorandum of Cooperation between the two secretariats, which supersedes the MOC of February 2001. Peter Bridgewater's brief illustrated report is here. [08/02/06]
WWD headline story. Slovenia's World Wetlands Day celebrations. The Slovenian Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, together with the NGO "Danube Environmental Forum" represented in Slovenia by the "Society for Bird Studies and Nature Conservation", organized on World Wetlands Day 2006, in the freshly renovated City Museum of Ljubljana, a seminar on the functions provided by wetlands for life and development. Activities continued in Cerknica, home of the newly-designated Ramsar site, and then near the Skocjan caves Ramsar site. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé provides this brief illustrated report. [08/02/06]
WWD headline story. Albania fêtes designation of new Ramsar site. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé was present at two-day World Wetlands Day ceremonies in the town of Shkoder and provides this brief illustrated report of what happened. [07/02/06]
Now available.Transboundary Environmental Cooperation for the Conservation of Common Watersheds: An Analysis of the Costa Rica – Nicaragua Border. This recent study analyzes the experience of Costa Rica and Nicaragua in managing their shared wetlands, which constitute more than a third of their geographical border. Although most of these ecosystems are subject to some protection, including the recognition of some of them as Ramsar sites, experiences in the past 30 years have often led to disappointment. It is in this context that informal transboundary cooperation emerges as an option for some conservation initiatives. However, the backing of governmental institutions, or at least of a regional support structure that promotes transboundary cooperation as defined by local actors, is identified as greatly facilitating this task. For more information contact: Alejandro Jiménez Hernández: firstname.lastname@example.org. [07/02/06]
Cooperación transfronteriza ambiental para la conservación de humedales en cuencas compartidas: Un análisis desde la frontera Costa Rica – Nicaragua. Esta reciente investigación analiza la experiencia de Costa Rica y Nicaragua en el manejo de sus humedales compartidos, mismos que constituyen más de la tercera parte de su frontera. Aunque la mayoría de estos ecosistemas se encuentran bajo alguna figura de protección, incluyendo el reconocimiento de algunos de ellos como sitios Ramsar, las experiencias en los últimos 30 años muchas veces han sido decepcionantes. Es en este contexto que la cooperación transfronteriza informal surge como una opción para algunas iniciativas de conservación. Sin embargo, el respaldo de las instituciones gubernamentales, o bien de una estructura regional que impulse agendas de cooperación transfronteriza definidas por los actores locales, es identificada como un factor que facilitaría mucho esta compleja tarea. Para mayor información contactar a: Alejandro Jiménez Hernández: email@example.com.
Slovenia names intermittent karst lake to the Ramsar List. The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that on World Wetlands Day the government of Slovenia designated its third Wetland of International Importance, another one in which the distinctive karst landscape of the region has played an essential role. Cerkniško jezero z okolico (Lake Cerknica and its environs)(7,250 hectares, 45º45'N 014º23'E), already a Natura 2000 site, and Ecologically Important Area, and a Regional Park, is the largest and most typical intermittent karst lake in its region. Here is Dorothea August's description of the new site, with a number of photographs courtesy of the Notranjski Regional Park. [06/02/06]
World Wetlands Day today. Today, 2 February, is World Wetlands Day, a day (or in some cases, a week) when governments at all levels, nongovernmental organizations, wetland site managers, and citizens carry out celebrations to raise the public's awareness about the values of wetlands in general and about the Convention on Wetlands in particular. 2 February is the anniversary of the signing of the Convention in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, an appropriate date for WWD but not always a convenient one, especially in the northern countries. Nonetheless, in the coming weeks you'll be able to see reports of the imaginative activities that have been reported to us from all over the world.
The Secretary General, Dr Peter Bridgewater, is sending a special message on this day to everyone involved in WWD activities, one which relates this year's theme of 'wetlands and poverty alleviation' to the experience of people everywhere. In addition, readers will be interested to find additional insights in today's messages on the Convention's CEPA e-mail list. And we are very pleased to be able to announce that a number of new Ramsar sites have been designated for addition to the List of Wetlands of International Importance as of 2 February 2006 and will be announced today at ceremonies and presentations of site certificates in those countries. Details on these new sites can be found on the following pages:
Albania: Lake Shkodra and River Buna
France: Les étangs littoraux de la Narbonnaise
Guatemala: Parque Nacional Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo
Jamaica: Portland Bight Wetlands and Cays
Mexico: Cascadas de Texolo y su entorno; Estero de Punta Banda; Isla Rasa; and Manglares y Humedales de Tuxpan
Republic of Korea: Suncheon Bay
Romania: Dumbravita Fishpond Complex; and Mures Floodplain
Slovenia: Cerknisko jezero z okolico
Ramsar Secretariat staff are also participating personally in WWD celebrations today in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Slovenia, and Switzerland, and reports on these events will appear here soon. [02/02/06]
Republic of Korea announces new Ramsar site on WWD. The Ramsar Secretariat is very pleased to announce that the Ministry of Environment, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the authorities of Suncheon City, has designated the Suncheon Bay as a Wetland of International Importance, as of 20 January 2006. This is the fourth Ramsar Site in the Republic of Korea, with a combined surface area of 4,519 hectares. On the occasion of World Wetlands Day, 2nd February 2006, the site management authorities are organising a designation ceremony to announce the Ramsar listing - the event, followed by the Korean Wetland Symposium, will be attended by the Senior Advisor for Asia-Pacific, Dr. Guangchun Lei of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat. [01/02/06]
New publication. In the front line: Shoreline protection and other ecosystem services from mangroves and coral reefs. The economic value and life saving function of coral reefs and mangroves is brought into sharp focus in a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), one which underlines the vital role that these natural features play in tourism, stemming coastal erosion, and acting as nurseries for fish, including those in the multi-million dollar aquaria trade. The study gives a stark reminder of how coral reefs and mangroves are fast disappearing. Produced by UNEP's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in collaboration with the International Coral Reef Action Network and IUCN-the World Conservation Union, the report can be downloaded in PDF format. Here are further details and a link to the download. [31/01/06]
Global Oceans Forum. The Third Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands took place 23-28 January 2006 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and the Ramsar Convention was represented by Peter Bridgewater, the Secretary General, and Margarita Astrálaga, the Senior Advisor for the Americas. Here is the Secretary General's brief report on the event. [31/01/06]
Albania designates its share of Lake Shkodra. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that Albania's Ministry of Environment has placed the Albanian portion of a valuable transboundary wetland system onto the List of Wetlands of International Importance. As described by Ramsar's Dorothea August, Lake Shkodra and River Buna site (49,562 hectares, centered at 40°52'N 019°22'E) comprises the eastern side of the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula, shared with Serbia and Montenegro (Skadarsko Jezero Ramsar site), as well as the River Buna with its near natural delta on the East Adriatic coast. The area includes a variety of habitats: freshwater, brackish water, woodland, freshwater marshes, wet pastures, sandy shore and rocky habitats supporting about 900-1000 plant species. Connection with the River Drin ensures the migration of mainly fish species from the Adriatic via Shkodra Lake to and from Ohrid and Prespa Lakes, such as the endangered Acipenser stellatus and Salmothymus obtusirostris as well as the critically endangered species Acipenser studio and Chondrostoma scodrensis. The site hosts about 25,000 wintering waterbirds, amongst them the endangered Oxyura leucocephala and the critically endangered Numenius tenuirostris. Threats arise from past and present practices of drainage for agriculture, uncontrolled development, changes in water regime, deforestation, illegal hunting and fishing, and introduced species. Shkodra (Skadar, Scutari) is known for its cultural heritage of more than 2000 years, e.g. the Illyrian walls and the ruins of a 600-year-old catholic church. Today the main activities are agriculture, stock raising, fishing and tourism.
Algeria adds 16 additional Ramsar sites. Although the Republic of Algeria joined the Ramsar Convention in 1983, prior to the year 2000 there were only three Wetlands of International Importance in the country. Between 2001 and 2003, however, a greatly renewed interest in the Convention within the Direction Générale des Forêts and the active support of WWF's Global Freshwater Programme brought about the designation of an additional 23 Ramsar sites and the production of atlases of Algerian wetlands and Ramsar sites. In late 2004, an additional 16 new sites were designated and are now ready for adding to the Ramsar List, bringing Algeria's total number of Ramsar sites to 42, covering a surface area of 2,959,615 hectares. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Africa, Lucia Scodannibio, has provided a summary article and brief descriptions of all 16 new sites, based on the Ramsar Information Sheets that accompanied the designations. [26/01/06]
Small Grants Fund call for proposals. The Ramsar Small Grants Fund was established by Ramsar COP4 in 1990 as a mechanism to assist developing countries and those with economies in transition in implementing the Convention and to enable the conservation and wise use of wetland resources - since that time, it has provided funding and co-funding, up to 40,000 Swiss francs (about US$ 34,000) per project, for something like 180 projects totaling about 7.5 million francs. The Secretariat is now calling for proposals for the 2006 cycle, with an application deadline of 30 June 2006 - the full announcement can be found here, and the SGF Guidelines and all of the relevant forms can be downloaded in Word and PDF formats from the SGF index page. [25/01/06]
Chad's newest Wetlands of International Importance. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that during a side event organized by DCFAP (Directorate for Fauna Conservation and Protected Areas, Ramsar's administrative authority in Chad) on the 14th of November 2005, which took place at Ramsar's 9th Conference of the Parties, Chad formally received the site certificates for two new Ramsar sites. The two large sites, situated in Chad's southwest, are the Plaines d'inondation du Logone et les dépressions Toupouri and the Réserve de faune de Binder-Léré. WWF's Global Freshwater Program provided valuable assistance to the government of Chad in the preparations for the designations. Chad now has four Ramsar sites with a surface area covering 4,957,068 hectares. Brief descriptions of the sites, prepared by Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio from the Ramsar Information Sheets that accompanied the designation letters, can be found here. [24/01/06]
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 ).