The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 August 2007
Swiss Grant for Africa.Inventory of wetlands in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Ramsar Convention, under the Swiss Grants for Africa programme financed by the government of Switzerland, is helping to coordinate and fund projects aimed at sustainable use and management of wetland resources in the Congo basin. A new project just beginning involves the inventory and mapping of wetlands in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the main project executors are the WWF-DRC office, a team from WWF-US, the DRC Ministry of Environment and Nature Conservation, and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, supported with technical input from the European Space Agency (ESA) and OSFAC (Satellite Observatories for Central African Forests) for the production of maps. Ramsar's Evelyn Moloko Parh provides more detail here. [02/08/07]
Anada Tiéga, the new Secretary General, and Alexia Dufour, the new Regional Affairs Officer, have taken up their posts as of the first of August 2007. [01/08/07]
Dave Pritchard of RSPB and BirdLife International is finishing up another two-week period of secondment in the Ramsar Secretariat, working on STRP-related guidance projects concerning change in the ecological character of wetlands, consolidation of past Resolutions of the COP, and the cultural aspects of wetlands. [01/08/07]
Now available.IV Pan American Regional Meeting of the Convention on Wetlands. The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) are organizing the IV Pan American Regional Meeting of the Convention on Wetlands to take place in Merida, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from 18-21 September 2007. The meeting will be held in preparation for the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP10), which will take place in Changwon, Republic of Korea, in 2008. Descriptive information and forms are available here in Spanish and English. [26/07/07]
Lessons learnt from recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1. New guidance from the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza has summarised practical lessons learnt from outbreaks of infection by highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1. A recent workshop brought together a wide range of international experience in dealing with different aspects of H5N1 infections. The conclusions and recommendations (PDF) from that meeting contain much useful guidance, as called for by Ramsar COP9's Resolution IX.23 on avian influenza. The meeting condemned the continued misplaced practice of actively killing wild birds and destroying their nest sites and wetland habitats in response to, or in avoidance of, infection within a country, a practice which is contrary to the recommendations of many international bodies including the Ramsar Convention. Such approaches to the prevention or control of avian influenza are wasteful, damaging to conservation, and have no scientific basis. They may also exacerbate the problem by causing further dispersion of infected birds. The STRP's David Stroud provides further details here. [25/07/07]
Wetlands, poverty reduction and sustainable tourism development. Tourism is a principal source of income for 83% of the developing countries; wetlands like coasts, rivers and lakes play a vital part in this success. The development of tourism is increasingly considered as a solution to poverty in wetland areas, but there are threats as well as opportunities. To address these issues, Wetlands International is launching the brochure 'Wetlands, poverty reduction and sustainable tourism development' in English, French and Spanish, developed through cooperation between Wetlands International, IUCN Netherlands Committee (IUCN NL), the Dutch development organisation Cordaid, the travel organization TUI Nederland, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, and the Tourism & Environment Group of the Wageningen University and Research Centre. Together these organisations, along with many others, support the wise use and conservation of wetlands and the alleviation of poverty, through - among other means - the development of tourism.
White Gold - the Salt of the Langobards. Ms Lucilla Previati, director of the Po Delta Park (Parco del Delta del Po) in Italy (Emilia-Romagna Region), informs that they have launched a new product, historically known as "white gold", i.e. finest sea salt produced according to traditional processes (using essentially solar energy) in the near-natural salt pans of Comacchio at the Adriatic Sea. The brand name "Salt of the Langobards" harbours proudly the Ramsar logo, based on the fact that the saltworks are part of the Ramsar site "Valli residue del comprensorio di Comacchio", i.e. the remnants of an extensive complex of coastal lagoons and marshes drained in the 19th century for agriculture. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé provides the details. [23/07/07]
National wetlands strategy for Benin. The Benin government, through the Benin Environmental Agency of the Ministry of Environment, Habitat and Town Planning, has updated her National Strategy for Wetlands Management (NSWM) in Benin, aimed at the wise use of wetlands towards the reduction of poverty. The vision of Benin's NSWM is to ensure that by the year 2025, wetlands are habitable environments, endowed with natural resources necessary to fight against poverty at national level and contributing towards biodiversity conservation at the global level. Abou Bamba and Evelyn Moloko Parh, Ramsar's regional team for Africa, provide the details here. [23/07/07]
Database on Mali's wetlands. The Department of Nature Conservation of the Ministry of Equipment, Land-Use and Environment (the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Mali) recently developed the first version of the database on Mali's wetlands, in accordance Resolution VII.20 (1999) which encouraged Contracting Parties to give high priority to the compilation of comprehensive national wetlands inventories which would provide sufficient data for related activities such as policy development and wetland designations.This first version is up and running but will continue to be developed further for some time. Ramsar's Evelyn Moloko Parh provides the background, further details, and the link to the new Web site. [18/07/07]
Gratitude.STRP questionnaire on Ramsar guidance. The Ramsar Secretariat and the Chair of Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel express their thanks to the many people who have taken the time to complete the questionnaire on "Ramsar guidance: an evaluation of use and utility". All questionnaires received by 18th July 2007 will be included in the analysis by our consultant, and a final report will be sent to all respondents and made broadly available via the Ramsar Web site and mailing lists. [18/07/07]
Peru names high-altitude lagoons. The government of Peru has designated a complex of high Andean lagoons and ponds as its 12th Wetland of International Importance. As summarized by Ramsar's Mila Llorens,Lagunas Las Arreviatadas(1,250 hectares, 05°14'S 79°17'W) is a Santuario Nacional in Cajamarca Department, a paramo wetland complex, located in the austral region of the Northern Andes Ecoregional Complex and Northwest Peru. It contains 4 main high Andean lagoons of glacial origin and a series of small lagoons and minor ponds, surrounded by peaks of more than 4,000 m of altitude. It is habitat for many vulnerable or endangered species, such as the Andean tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), the little red brocket deer (Mazama rufina) and the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), an emblematic species of the Andes, as well as the golden-plumed parakeet (Leptosittaca branickii) and the red-faced parrot (Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops). Two endemic botanical species Calceolaria rhododendroides and Halenia bella have been found in the site, as well as 23 species of endemic birds for the country, 4 for the region, and a new bird species for the country: Anas andinum. The site assists in regulation of the local climate and promotes other hydrological processes, including aquifer recharge, capture and storage of pluvial water and permanent water supply for the water courses that go down to the floor of the valleys of the region. To date, there are no threats affecting this area. It is considered under category III (Natural Monument) of IUCN Protected Area categories. [17/07/07]
Ramsar capacity building for francophone Africa. The Ramsar Convention, in collaboration with the French Government through ATEN ("Ateliers Techniques des Espaces Naturels", a department in the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development), has completed the first draft of the training module for Ramsar National Focal Points (NFPs, "Administrative Authorities") and National Wetland Committees (NWCs) in French, entitled Programme de Renforcement des Capacités des Pays Francophones d'Afrique pour la mise en œuvre de la Convention Ramsar. This module targets Ramsar Contracting Parties in French-speaking Africa (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, and Tunisia) but would be extendable to other countries, regions and conventions. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Africa, Evelyn Moloko, explains the purpose and progress of the venture and gives due credit to our collaborators. [17/07/07]
WacoWet launched. Following Resolution VIII.30 (2002), which recognized the importance of regional initiatives in promoting the objectives of the Convention, the West Africa countries (all Ramsar Parties) which belong to the Gulf of Guinea ecological continuum (from Mauritania to Nigeria) decided to prepare a regional initiative to focus on marine and coastal wetlands in the region. The government of Benin was given the mandate to lead the initiative and prepare the required documents, which were then discussed and approved at the COP9 Africa regional preparatory meeting inApril 2005 in Tanzania. A meeting on 20-22 June 2007 brought together participants from Benin, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, and Togo, which reviewed and approved WacoWet's charter, protocol, strategic plan and rules of procedure and resulted in the official launching of the WacoWet initiative. Ramsar's Abou Bamba reports on the launch and includes the relevant documents agreed at that meeting. [17/07/07]
Applications invited for MedWet Coordinator. Applications are invited for the position of Coordinator, Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), to be based in the MedWet Secretariat in Kifissia, Athens, Greece. MedWet is guided by the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (MedWet/Com), which brings together 26 governments from the region, the Palestinian Authority, the European Commission, the Barcelona and Berne Conventions, as well as international NGOs and Mediterranean wetland centres, and the Coordinator is responsible to the MedWet/Com and the Steering Group. It is initially a three-year position, renewable, to begin as soon as possible after 1 October 2007, and the deadline for applications is 15 August 2007. The full announcement is available here in PDF format. [11/07/07]
Ramsar and SBSTTA 12. Ramsar's Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Heather MacKay, Chair of the Scientific & Technical Review Panel participated in the 12th meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), hosted by UNESCO in Paris (2-6 July 2007). Amongst topics under discussion were several of high relevance to the implementation of collaboration between the Ramsar Convention and CBD through our 4th Joint Work Plan. Nick Davidson, the Deputy Secretary General, reviews the events from Ramsar's point of view, including background on the CBD/Ramsar/WI side event on wetlands and climate change and the related meeting of the chairs of the scientific subsidiary bodies of the biodiversity-related conventions and a link to the Secretary General's intervention on the ecosystem approach. [12/07/07]
Ural River Basin Workshop in Orenburg, Russia. Looking for ways to improve the catastrophic decline of Caspian sturgeon populations, a transboundary project to secure sturgeon migration routes along the Ural river and its tributaries was initiated. Viktor Lagutov (Central European University in Budapest) and his father Vladimir (DonEco, in Rostov), with financial support from the Caspian Environment Programme and NATO-ARW, organized the first international Ural river basin workshop in Orenburg on 13-16 June 2007. More than 60 specialists from Russia and Kazakhstan, fisheries and conservation experts from the FAO, the Ramsar Convention, the International Association for Danube Research (IAD), the Regional Environment Centre, Yerevan State University, and the Orenburg Agricultural University participated under the auspices of the Russian Federal Environment Inspection and the Federal Fisheries Agency, the Orenburg Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Orenburg Agricultural University. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé provides this brief illustrated report on the issues, the meeting, and its conclusions. [12/07/07]
MedWet Interim Coordinator.Dr Dionyssia Hatzilacou has taken up the post of Interim MedWet Coordinator to carry the MedWet Secretariat through to the appointment of a new permanent MedWet Coordinator (see recruitment announcement), who will hopefully be in place in late 2007. Dr Hatzilacou, a Greek national, has a strong scientific background in the management and conservation of wetland habitats and of forested, mountain and semi-mountainous Special Protection Areas, and has carried out research on public participatory tools for integrated river basin governance. She is past president of the Hellenic Ornithological Society and a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Pelican Specialist Group. Dr Hatzilacou is presently head of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas section of the National Center for the Environment and Sustainable Development and is in fact based in the same building, Villa Kazouli in Kifissias, Athens, that houses the MedWet Secretariat. She will be working with the MedWet Secretariat staff and the MedWet Steering Group over the next several months to ensure that MedWet programmes continue with no loss of momentum.[12/07/07]
Now available. Wetlands and landscape ecology. Peter Bridgewater, the Secretary General, is particating in the World Congress of the International Association of Landscape Ecology, taking place in Wageningen, The Netherlands, 8-12 July 2007, and the text of his presentation on "Landscape Ecology and wetlands: A landscape approach to wetland conservation and wise use through the Ramsar Convention" can be found here (PDF). [12/07/07]
Poland extends boundaries for four Ramsar sites. In the course of providing updated Ramsar Information Sheets for its 13 Wetlands of International Importance, as the Parties agreed in Resolution VI.13 (1996) to do at least every six years, the government of Poland has used the occasion to extend the boundaries of four of its Ramsar sites, and to rename some of them. Lake of Seven Islands Nature Reserve (Rezerwat pyzyrody "Jezioro Siedmiu Wysp"), designated in 1984, has been extended from 999 to 1,618 hectares; Luknajno Lake Nature Reserve (Rezerwat przyrody "Jezioro Luknajno"), designated in 1977, from 710 to 1,189 ha; Slowinski National Park (Slowinski Park Narodowy), 1995, from 18,247 to 32,744 ha; and Warta River Mouth National Park (Park Narodowy "Ujscie Warty"), 1984, from 4,235 ha under the name "Slonsk Reserve" to 7,956 ha. Poland's 13 Ramsar sites now cover 145,075 hectares. Brief descriptions of Poland's Ramsar sites can be found here. [11/07/07]
From the Wetlands Forum. Case studies on wetlands and agriculture / aquaculture. Prof Adrian Wood, Director of the Centre for Wetlands, Environment and Livelihoods at the University of Huddersfield, is seeking case studies of wetlands being managed in whole or part for agriculture or aquaculture. This request is made by a joint initiative of the Ramsar Convention with other organisations which is trying to develop Guidelines for Agriculture and Wetland Interactions (GAWI). The joint initiative team working on this includes FAO, IWMI, Wetlands International, Wageningen University, MedWet and Wetland Action. See his full message here. [10/07/07]
ChadWet/Com2 - NigerWet/Com2. From 9th to 12th July 2007, the NigerWet/Com2 - ChadWet/Com2 meeting will be held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This is as a follow-up of the NigerWet/Com1-ChadWet/Com1 meeting that was jointly held on 14th November 2005 in Kampala, Uganda, as a side-event of the Ramsar COP9. The conclusions (in French only) of that COP9 side-event are attached here for reference. The Ouagadougou meeting will gather over 50 participants, including amongst others the Ramsar Focal Points of all 10 countries sharing the Niger River Basin and the Lake Chad Basin, representatives from the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) and from the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), Coordinators of the GEF/International Waters projects currently under way in these two basins, representatives of several NGOs including (so far confirmed) WWF, Wetlands International, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Naturama, as well as the Regional Ramsar Senior Adviser for Africa, Abou Bamba.
Du 9 au 12 juillet 2007 se tiendra à Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, la réunion NigerWet/Com2 - ChadWet/Com2. Cette rencontre s'inscritdans le suivi de la réunion NigerWet/Com1-ChadWet/Com1 organisée le 14 novembre 2005 à Kampala, Ouganda, sous la forme d'un événement parallèle (side-event) de la COP9 de Ramsar. Les conclusions de cet événement de la COP9 sont jointes ici pour reférence. La rencontre de Ouagadougou réunira plus de 50 participants comprenant entre autres les Points Focaux Ramsar des 10 pays se partageant le bassin du fleuve Niger et celui du lac Tchad, des représentants de l'Autorité du Bassin du Niger (ABN) et de la Commission du Bassin du Lac Tchad (CBLT), les Coordinateurs des projet FEM/Eaux Internationales actuellement en cours d'exécution dans ces deux bassins, des représentants de plusieurs ONG parmi lesquelles (confirmées à ce jour) le WWF, Wetlands International, la Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Natura, ainsi que le Conseiller Regional du Secretariat Ramsar pour l'Afrique, Abou Bamba. [09/07/07]
Reminder.Ramsar Secretariat seeks Senior Advisor for Asia. This is a reminder that the deadline for applications for the Ramsar post of Senior Advisor for Asia, based in Gland, Switzerland, is 13 July 2007. Full details of the position vacancy and the application procedures are available at: http://www.ramsar.org/wn/w.n.vacancy_ramsar_asia.htm. [09/07/07]
Poland completes updating of Ramsar site data. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that the government of Poland has fully completed the update of its 13 Ramsar sites with the recent submission of the last eight Ramsar Information Sheets; it will be recalled that, in Resolution VI.13 (1996), the Contracting Parties committed themselves to updating the data for all of their Wetlands of International Importance at least every six years. For half of the newest RISs from Poland, the area size and boundary have been extended and in some cases doubled, like the Slowinski National Park, in conformity with Nature 2000 sites; news about these significant extensions will be coming along in due course. We hope that this much appreciated commitment will be taken as an example for many other Contracting Parties around the regions. The present status of updated data on Ramsar sites can be found here. [05/07/07]
News from the SGF.Restoration project in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The Institute of Agroecology and Soil Sciences of the Faculty of Agriculture in Banja Luka carried out and successfully concluded a Ramsar Small Grants Fund project on the "restoration and rehabilitation of the wetland region Bardaca", composed of fishponds, flood meadows and riverine forests, cultivated land and inhabited areas located in the north where the Sava river forms the border between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia not far from the confluence with the Vrbas river. Ramsar's Monica Zavagli provides an illustrated report with all of the details. [05/07/07]
International Course on Ecohydrological Approaches. UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme (IHP) developed ecohydrology as a transdisciplinary, scientific approach to achieve water quality improvement, biodiversity enhancement and sustainable development by using the understanding of relationships between hydrological and biological processes at the scale of water catchment basins. Ecohydrology, as an applied concept for environmental problem-solving, has its roots in wetland-related research established under the auspices of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MaB), mainly at the institutes of Botany and of Systems Biology and Landscape Ecology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Here, the untiring Jan Kvet, one of Europe's pioneers in modern wetland ecology, was inspired to team up with Martina Eiseltová (of the Environment and Wetland Training Centre), Jan Pokorný (former Ramsar STRP member), and Libuše Vlasáková (member of Ramsar's Standing Committee), to prepare together an international course on ecohydrological approaches for wetlands wise use. The "International Course on Ecohydrological Approaches to Wise Use, Restoration, Management and Conservation of Wetlands" was held 4-9 June 2007 near the Trebon Ramsar site in the Czech Republic, and here are illustrated reports on the concepts and the course itself from Ramsar's Tobias Salathé and from Libuše Vlasáková. [03/07/07]
Succession of Montenegro. On 18 June 2007, the Republic of Montenegro informed UNESCO, the depositary of the Ramsar Convention, that Montenegro succeeds to the Ramsar Convention and other conventions that the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was a party to and "undertakes faithfully to perform and carry out the stipulations therein contained as from 3 June 2006, the date upon which the Republic of Montenegro assumed responsibility for its international relations". Montenegro's sole Ramsar site, Skadarsko Jezero, was added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance in December 1995. With this confirmation of Montenegro's succession, the Convention presently has 155 Contracting Parties or member States. [29/06/07]
Austria's Klagenfurt University - MSc course in management of protected areas. The University of Klagenfurt offers a two-year MSc course in protected areas management, with collaboration with Ramsar, the CBD, IUCN, WWF, EuroParc, PanPark, and the staffs of major nature conservation areas throughout Europe. It is organized into a number of modules of two weeks each, and it is thus addressed to professionals wishing to obtain a degree whilst continuing in their jobs. The programme is aimed at European citizens plus Uganda (with a specific grant for Ugandan students from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The first two-year course has just been completed, and Ramsar's Sandra Hails reports on the graduation ceremony and the meeting of Advisory Board, of which the Ramsar Secretariat is a member. In addition, the call for applications for the next session, beginning 21 September 2007, has just gone out and can be seen here (PDF). More details can be found on the programme's Web site: http://www.mpa.uni-klu.ac.at. [29/06/07]
Announcement.2nd Anglophone Practitioners Training on Wetlands and Poverty Reduction.Wetlands International in collaboration with its Partners rolls out the 2nd Anglophone Practitioners Training on Wetlands and Poverty Reduction 5th August - 19th August 2007 under its Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project (WPRP).Wetlands International on behalf of the WPRP African Training Board announces the call for applications for a training course on Wetlands and Poverty Reduction. This training course is part of a series of training courses being developed within the Wetlands and Poverty Reduction project. The main modules were developed in collaboration with various partners such as Wageningen International, UNESCO-IHE, Oxfam America, Kenya Wildlife Service Institute, Foundation for Sustainable Development, Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, Uganda Wetlands Inspection Division and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre through a series of stakeholder consultations and have further undergone processes to ensure their relevance to local contexts. Here is the full announcement, with the registration form. [28/06/07]
Ghana's new National Wetlands Conservation Strategy. The Government of Ghana completed and adopted a National Wetlands Conservation Strategy in 1999. Six years on (1999 - 2006), the strategy has been revised in the light of new and emerging challenges, new government policy directions, lessons learnt and experiences gained over the period with a Swiss Government Grant of CHF 18,000 (about 13,820 USD) obtained through the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in February 2006. The revision was carried out through a multi-stakeholder consultative and participatory process, which involved strategically selected resource persons from government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), institutions, district assemblies and civil society organizations, including NGOs and individual experts. Here, through the good offices of Charles Amankwah, Ghana's Wetlands Coordinator, is a brief report with photographs of the launch of the new strategy document. [28/06/07]
Austrian National Ramsar Committee. The Austrian Administrative Authority for the Ramsar Convention has had 19 years of experience in running its National Ramsar Committee -- they have good cross-sectoral representation, as well as representation from their semi-autonomous states and their key NGOs, and they meet face-to-face on a regular basis, usually once or twice per year. They hold the meeting in different states/provinces on a rotational basis and take ‘time out’ from the meeting room, papers and powerpoint presentations, to visit Ramsar sites, to talk to each other more informally and share their many experiences that have importance for implementing the Convention. Here is Ramsar's Sandra Hails' report on the most recent Ramsar Committee meeting, 13-14 June 2007. [25/06/07]
International Danube Day 2007 to celebrate cultures and cooperation. (VIENNA, 25 June 2007) The rich and varied histories and traditions of the countries sharing the Danube River Basin will be at the heart of festivities marking the fourth annual International Danube Day (June 29). Under the theme "Celebrating Danube Cultures", many educational, entertainment and recreational activities will be held this week to commemorate the anniversary of the Danube River Protection Convention, which was signed in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1994. ICPDR press release here (PDF). [25/06/07]
Photographs of the Pantanal. The Pantanal of South America is one of the most internationally important wetlands of them all -- one of the most immense, relatively unspoilt, and biologically active environments on earth. It is a vast complex of broad savannahs, huge wetlands, rainforest-like riverine forests and dry decidious forests, as well as a mosaic of rivers, lakes and shallow lagoons, all nurtured by annual cycles of inundation and drought. A large portion of Bolivia's share of the system, the 3-million-hectare "Pantanal Boliviano", was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance in 2001, and two areas within the Pantanal of Brazil's Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states have also been included in the List. A new book, Pantanal: Das Herz Südamerikas (texts in German), by world-famous nature photographer Günter Ziesler and author Angelika Hofer, captures the beauty and wild diversity of the landscape and especially its wildlife in 138 pages of stunning photographs - the hardcover edition is available for only €38.50 from Tecklenborg Verlag in Steinfurt, Germany. It includes a foreword from Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary General, welcoming the book for its powerful celebration of the values and wonder of one of the world's great wetland systems. [25/06/07]
Ramsar at the "Fête du developpement durable" in Geneva. On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th June 2007, the beautiful Botanic Garden of Geneva, Switzerland, hosted for the first time the very well known sustainable development festival (Fête du developpement durable). The 6th edition of this very much appreciated event offered two full days of debates, concerts, artistic interventions and an incredibly lively atmosphere bringing together individuals and local, regional and international organizations involved in the promotion of sustainable development and nature conservation. Again this year, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat was present together with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) amongst more than 60 stands focused on the themes of biodiversity, renewable energies, climate change, social responsibility, organic food, recycling, etc. At the Ramsar and IUCN stand the volunteers provided information and distributed brochures, stickers, and leaflets about the importance of wetlands and biodiversity, their functions and values, the different approaches in Europe and in other regions worldwide, threats and finally future goals. A brief illustrated report from the Ramsar team: Mila Llorens, Catherine Loetscher, Adrian Ruiz Carvajal, Pragati Tuladhar, and Monica Zavagli. [22/06/07]
Ramsar-related activities in the Oceania region - an update. Ramsar staff members provide weekly updates on their activities for internal use within the Secretariat, but this condensed summary from Vainuupo Jungblut, Associate Ramsar Officer based in the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa, offers a useful summary of recent Ramsar-related activities in the Oceania region. Among his activities in late May and early June 2007, Vai lists: Circulating to partners for comments a draft mangrove monitoring protocol (in the form of a generic manual) for the Pacific Islands region; drafting terms of reference for a consultancy to coordinate the update of the Oceania Wetlands Directory; developing a draft agenda for an Oceania Ramsar Site/Wetland Managers Workshop (now tentatively scheduled for 12-16 November); assisting with the Kiribati Ramsar Small Grants Fund project - work plan fine-tuning and other implementation issues; developing a briefing paper on Ramsar issues for the Cook Islands environment minister to facilitate moves towards accession to the Convention; developing a concept paper for a Pacific Islands regional mangrove initiative to be discussed further with IUCN Oceania and other partners; participating in a regional workshop for Pacific Island LDCs on CBD implementation organized by SPREP and UNEP (Nairobi); assisting Marshall Islands in planning a community-based wetlands management workshop to be held at Jaluit Atoll Ramsar site from 9-13 August; assisting Fiji to submit a Small Grants Fund proposal for improved management of their first Ramsar site, Upper Navua CA; organizing a mangrove clean up and replanting in partnership with the Samoan environment ministry and UNDP to celebrate World Environment day (5th June). [18/06/07]
New Director for Ramsar Regional Centre in Iran. The Collaborative Management Board of the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in Western and Central Asia (RRC-CWA) (an independent institution in the city of Ramsar, Iran, that is also one of the Ramsar "regional initiatives") is pleased to announce that Ms.Yasaman Rajabkhah has been appointed as the Executive Director of the centre, and has taken up the post as of the beginning of June 2007. Ms. Rajabkhah, an Iranian citizen, has a university degree in Natural Resources Engineering / Environment from Azad University in Tehran. She has been the national focal point for the Ramsar Convention at the Department of Environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the past five years, and she has been strongly involved with Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programme development. In addition, she has been working within the region for the initial development of the regional initiative since 2005.
The Web site of the Regional Centre for West and Central Asia can be seen at http://www.ramsarcenter-cwa.org/. [13/06/07]
Now available.Spanish and French versions of the Ramsar Technical Report 'Valuing wetlands'. Valoración de humedales: Lineamientos para valorar los beneficios derivados de los servicios de los ecosistemas de humedales (2007). Évaluation des zones humides : Orientations sur l’estimation des avantages issus des services écosystémiques des zones humides (2007).
Announcement.International Conference on Managing Wetlands for Sustainable Development. "MWSD 2008" (International Conference on Managing Wetlands for Sustainable Development: Innovative Research and Lessons Learned, Effective Partnerships, and the Need for Co-Management) will be held from 9 to 11 January 2008 at Thumrin Thana Hotel, Trang, Thailand in conjunction with 40th anniversary celebration of Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. The deadline for abstracts is 30 June 2007. Details are available from: http://www.envi.psu.ac.th/mwsd2008, and further enquiries can be directed to "Conference Secretariat" by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Visa Sae-Chang, Faculty of Environmental Management, Prince of Songkla University (http://www.envi.psu.ac.th). [12/06/07]
Secretary General's visit to Uganda. From 30 May to 3 June 2007, the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, visited Uganda for discussions with the authorities there about the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in that country. In this brief report (PDF), Paul Mafabi describes the programme of the events, including a meeting with the Minister of State for Environment, the Hon. Jesicca Eriyo, and a visit to the newly-designated Mabamba Bay Ramsar site. [08/06/07]
Training in management plans for Ramsar sites in Europe. The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation will be holding a training course entitled "Managements plans for Ramsar sites in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe (a contribution to the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas)", 18 to 22 October 2007, at its International Academy for Nature Conservation on the Isle of Vilm. The programme of topics to be covered is a very thorough one, and the trainers will be Tobias Salathé of the Ramsar Secretariat and Stephan Amend, a specialist in management plan issues. The deadline for applications is 20 August 2007. The announcement is here, with links to the registration form and programme of activities. [07/06/07]
Now available. Report on stakeholder training in Republic of Korea. An illustrated report from Ramsar's CEPA Programme Officer, Sandra Hails, on a training course for local stakeholders at the Ganghwa Tidal Flat Centre, Gangwha Island, 25-27 May 2007, sponsored by the Korean Federation of Environmental Movement (KFEM) -- here it is. [06/06/07]
Tour of Transboundary Ramsar Sites in Europe. A study tour of transboundary Ramsar sites took place in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina from 28 April to 5 May 2007 under the coordination of Ms Libuse Vlasáková, Ramsar Administrative Authority in the Czech Republic. The idea of the study tour was born in June 2004 when the Trilateral Ramsar Platform (TRP) for the Morava-Dyje-Danube floodplains was signed and the three Contracting Parties involved, Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, expressed the need to gain more field experience in transboundary management through the observation of existing Transboundary Ramsar Sites in the region. The tour brought together 18 participants from Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, all of them directly involved in the TRP management through local institutions, government and NGOs, as well as a representative from the IUCN Regional Office in Belgrade and a representative from the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.
Monica Zavagli reports on the tour from Ramsar's point of view, with photographs, and Libuse Vlasáková has provided a group report, drawing upon the input from Monica and other participants, with a list of those participants. [05/06/07]
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 ).