The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 August 2007

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.

Wetlands International's press release, and links to download the pdf files, can be found here. [24/07/07]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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