The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 17 December 2007

Ramsar address to UNFCCC COP13. On 14 December 2007, the Secretary General, Mr Anada Tiéga, addressed the ministerial segment of the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In his remarks he stressed the importance of wetlands to climate mitigation and adaptation, the role of peatlands in climate change, and the necessity for integrated, multisectoral partnership approaches to tackling climate change impacts. Here is the text of his address. [14/12/07]


Ramsar Africa Regional Meeting reported. The "Africa Regional Meeting in preparation of Ramsar COP10" took place in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 26-30 November 2007. The conclusions of the meeting are ready in French and are presently being translated into English, and the official report of the meeting will also soon be along in both languages. Here, in the meantime, is Mr Abou Bamba's brief report of the proceedings and quite a few photographs of the meeting, the celebrities, and the field trip in the Ebogo mangrove wetlands by Ramsar's Alexia Dufour. [12/12/07]


Switzerland approves "Swiss Grant for Africa" for 2007. The Secretariat's Africa team is pleased to announce that the Federal Government of Switzerland (Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication) through the Swiss Agency for the Environment (OFEV) has agreed to assist the Convention's activities in Africa for another year through the Swiss Grant for Africa. The 2007 Swiss Grant for Africa will allow the Secretariat to support three projects on the continent and supported the organization of the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting for COP10 held from 26 to 30 November 2007, in Yaoundé, Cameroon. This will make an important contribution to the team's strategic objectives for Africa. See Abou Bamba's description of the supported projects here. [12/12/07]


National Wetland Directory of Sri Lanka. The Directory of Asian Wetlands (comp. D. A. Scott, IUCN, 1989) identified 41 wetland sites of international importance in Sri Lanka, covering 274,000 ha in total. In 1990, Sri Lanka joined the Ramsar Convention and designated Bundala as its first Ramsar site. A major advance in the conservation of wetlands in Sri Lanka was the establishment of a National Policy on Wetlands in 2004, the National Wetlands Steering Committee was also revived in 2003, and a draft wetland conservation strategy and action plan was undertaken. To progress the conservation of wetlands in the country, the Steering Committee requested the services of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to facilitate the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) in preparing an updated information base on wetlands in Sri Lanka. The wetland directory was jointly funded by the CEA and IUCN (through financial assistance from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Sri Lanka), while the digital database was funded by IWMI. The National Wetland Directory of Sri Lanka is a 342-page book that presents an overview of the country's wetlands by S W Kotagama and C N B Bambaradeniya, followed by data sheets and maps on 62 significant wetlands in a format consistent with the Ramsar Information Sheet. For more information about the availability of the Directory, contact iucn@iucnsl.org. [13/12/07]


Global Peatland Fund launched. Wetlands International and BioX Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop the Global Peatland Fund with the goal to invest in the restoration and conservation of peatland projects. With the fund, both partners aim for large scale restoration of degraded tropical peat swamp forests in order to prevent further greenhouse gas emissions. The geographical focus of the Global Peatland Fund will initially be on Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia, where Wetlands International has successfully carried out community-based peat swamp forest conservation and restoration projects in cooperation with local governments, NGOs and communities. The target of the Fund is to restore and protect approximately 500,000 hectares of these peat swamps by 2012. The rest of Wetlands International's press release can be seen here. [11/12/07]


Ceremonies for Morava-Dyje-Danube initiative. The 8th meeting of the trilateral Ramsar Platform for the Transboundary Ramsar Site "Floodplains of the Morava-Dyje-Danube Confluence" was held on November 15th 2007 in Devin, Slovakia. Twenty-six members of the platform - representing the state administration, expert governmental and non-governmental institutions from the Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovakia - took part along with the other invited guests. The meeting was aimed at exchanging news on the present situation and at presenting current common activities on restoration of the area, flood control, etc. The next step, the elaboration of a common management plan, will begin during the next meeting in the Czech Republic in 2008. Alexia Dufour represented the Convention at the ceremonies and provides this illustrated report. [07/12/07]


Austria welcomes a Russian wetland expert delegation for a study tour.In November 2007, a delegation of wetland experts from different parts of Russia arrived in Austria for a one-week study tour about wetlands, protected areas, and their management. The delegation was composed of around 20 experts at different levels, from governments, from site managers to NGO experts and from different regions of the Russian Federation, including important wetland areas on the Kamchatka peninsula, central Siberia, and the Volga Delta. Ramsar's Alexia Dufour was there for part of the tour and provides this illustrated report. [06/12/07]


Training course on Management plans for Ramsar Sites in central, southern and eastern Europe. Organized by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in cooperation with the Ramsar Secretariat, this course took place from 18 to 22 October 2007 at the International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA), situated on the small island of Vilm, located in the shallow Greifswald bay off the German Baltic Sea coast. Participants included 31 project and protected areas managers, civil servants from Ramsar administrative authorities, NGO coordinators, and wetland experts, bringing together a very diverse field of experience and knowledge with regard to wetland management from 19 countries. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé assisted at this course and has provided a more detailed, illustrated report. [23/11/07]


Germany adds its 33rd Ramsar site. The Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, und Reaktorsicherheit has designated the "Bayerische Wildalm" (7 hectares, 47°35'N 011°47'E), effective 9 October 2007, as Germany's next Wetland of International Importance. As Ramsar's Monica Zavagli reports, based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, the small site is an area of remarkable peatland concentration in the southern state of Bavaria which extends across the frontier to the Austrian Ramsar site of the same name. The site is a karst depression, or polje, with a natural brook that vanishes into one big and several small ponors (swallow hole). The bottom of the polje is covered completely by a fen which is hydrologically controlled both by water coming from the sloping fens along the polje slopes and by periodic floods of the brook. The mires show typical features of mire type representative for the Limestone Alps, with many endangered plant species, which form the chief basis for the site's nomination to the List. [19/11/07]

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,342

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