The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 14 November 2007
Headline story.Guinea names two Bafing River Ramsar sites. The government of Guinea has added two further sites to the Ramsar List and now has 16, covering an area of 6,422,361 hectares. Bafing-Falémé (517,300 hectares, 12°00'N 011°30'W) is an extensive area of rolling terrain in Labé region, 800m-1000m altitude, including gallery forest, shrub and wooded savannah, and floodplains, near where the Bafing River descends from the Fouta Djallon massif northward to become the Senegal River in northwestern Mali. The area has an important influence on the hydrology of the Senegal River basin, and it also supports an array of threatened species such as chimpanzees, lions, and vultures. Human uses include agriculture and pastoral pursuits in the floodplain areas. There is presently no management plan for the whole site, but steps are being taken to alleviate threats from unmanaged forestry, brush fires, poaching of protected species and out of season hunting.
Bafing-Source (317,200 hectares, 10°36'N 11°50'W), just north of Mamou, comprises an extended highland area, 800m-1500m altitude, of varied hilly terrain with shrub and wooded savannah, gallery forest, and wet meadow. The site supports a number of threatened species, including the Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) and the West African Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus). The region is semi-arid, especially during the dry season November to May, and several large and small ponds provide refuge that is vital as the fragmentation of habitats due to demographic pressures has made free movement difficult for many species. Small-scale agriculture and pasturage, as well as fishing and working with wood products, are the chief uses of the site's resources, but unplanned land uses such as deforestation of steep slopes and river banks have had damaging effects, including increased flooding. Increasingly weak and irregular precipitation is seen as one of the principal threats to the character of the site, as well as growing population pressure.
Headline story.Togo names two more Ramsar sites. The government of Togo has designated two new Wetlands of International Importance, the large catchment of the Oti-Mandouri River in the north of the country and the entire coastal area in the south. Togo, which joined the Convention in 1995, now has 4 Ramsar sites covering 1,210,400 hectares. According to Ramsar's Evelyn Parh Moloko, based on the data sheets provided by the government, the Bassin versant Oti-Mandouri (425,000 hectares, 10°37'N 000°38'E), a Réserve de Faune in Savanes region, is a complex of several permanent and temporary rivers (including River Oti Mandouri and its tributaries), marshes, gallery forests, tree and shrub savannahs and undergrowth, which confer a habitat for 27 mammal species, 37 known fish species, crustacean, mollusks, birds and reptiles amongst others. Vulnerable species like the Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) and African Elephant (Loxodonta africana), in addition to their conservation value, play an important role in the culture of the people. Plant species such as the Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) and a sacred wood species called Togobegue are worshiped by the surrounding populations. The main products presently exploited by the inhabitants include fuel and work wood, bush meat, fish, mollusks and crustaceans, mainly for subsistence but also for sale in neighboring villages. The permanent presence of guards at this site contributes to combating deforestation, illegal hunting and unsustainable exploitation of fish resources. In addition to this, there are sacred forests where the local population carries out community rituals.
The Zones Humides du Littoral du Togo site (591,000 ha, 06°34'N 001°25'E) comprises the entire coastline of Togo and is characterized by natural and artificial mangroves dominated by Rhizophora racemosa and Avicennia germinans species, rivers, lakes, lagoons, marshes, ponds, and a long sandy beach. These different ecosystems of the littoral zone are of great natural biological, ecological and economic value and host a wide variety of bird, mammal, reptile, fish, mollusk and crustacean species. Endangered species found here include marine turtles (Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys olivacea and Dermochelys coriacea), the African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), hippopotamus, etc. This zone contributes over 85 % of the total annual fish production in Togo and is also important for transportation of people and goods. The site is also exploited for fuel wood, construction wood, mollusks, crustaceans, bush meat and medicinal plants, both for subsistence and commercial purposes. There is presently no management plan for the site, but personnel from the Ministère de l'Environnement et des Ressources Forestières combat unsustainable logging and fishing and illegal hunting. The Ministry has also produced a strategy for wetland management, with an emphasis on mangroves, which should lead to the preparation of an action plan.
The collection of data for the preparation of these designations was materially aided by a project of WWF International's Global Freshwater Programme in 2005. [12/11/07]
Headline story.Annulment of decisions for building near Ramsar site on Bonaire was justified.On 11 September 2007 Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signed a royal decree rejecting the appeal by the Government of Bonaire against the annulment by the Governor-General of the Netherlands Antilles of the decisions by the Government of Bonaire to approve a resort to be built immediately adjacent to the mangroves of "Het Lac", a Ramsar site since 1980 (nr 199). Eric C. Newton of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development describes the case and notes that "one interesting position of the [Netherlands] Council of State was that resolutions, decisions and guidelines accepted unanimously by the Conference of Parties to the Convention, a body established by the Convention and which includes representation by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, should be considered part of the obligations under the Convention." Read his brief report here. [12/11/07]
Anada Tiega, the Secretary General, is en route to the Republic of Korea for discussions with national, provincial, and municipal officials, 6-13 November 2007, about the progress of preparations for the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, set for Changwon in October-November 2008. [05/11/07]
Deputy Secretary General Nick Davidson and Scientific & Technical Officer Edgar Kaeslin are in Changwon, Republic of Korea (venue of Ramsar COP10), 9-15 November 2007, along with a number of STRP members and invited experts for a series of three-day STRP technical workshops on the COP10 theme of "Healthy wetlands, healthy people". For the first two days small working groups will focus on reviewing and developing further guidance on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and then reviewing the draft STRP report on "Wetlands and human health". The third day will be a workshop with invited Korean colleagues, reviewing the outcomes of these workshops and developing key issues and recommendations to be brought forwards for COP10 consideration. The Secretariat and STRP are very grateful to Korea for hosting these workshops. [08/11/07]
Abou Bamba, Senior Advisor for Africa, is in Tunisia, 13-15 November 2007, for ceremonies surrounding the designation of 19 new Ramsar sites. [05/11/07]
Reminder.Mangrove restoration workshop in USA. "Just a reminder that the sixth annual workshop on "Mangrove Forest Ecology, Management and Restoration" will be held on March 3-6, 2008, in Hollywood, Florida, USA. Details at www.mangroverestoration.com. Registration closes December 31, 2007." -- Roy R. "Robin" Lewis III. [13/11/07]
Wetland conservation network for the Yangtze River. The first Wetland Conservation Network along the Central and Lower Yangtze River was established on November 3 2007 with a memorandum of cooperation endorsed by 20 wetland reserves to tackle the climate change across the region. The Secretary General of Ramsar Convention, Mr Anada Tiega, and more than 100 delegates from forestry bureaus at different levels as well as twenty nature reserves of the region attended this significant event in Chongming, Shanghai. Here is a press release, with two photos, from the WWF Wuhan office. [09/11/07].
Now available.Ramsar Technical Report on low-cost GIS in Spanish. The Spanish version of the Ramsar publication Low-cost GIS software and data for wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring, by John Lowry (2006), is now available in Spanish in the form of a 1.5mb PDF: La utilización de programas y datos de SIG de bajo costo para el inventario, la evaluación y el monitoreo de humedales. [09/11/07]
Two Polish sites removed from Montreux Record. Poland has completed the formalities for the removal of its two Ramsar sites that have been on the Montreux Record of sites "where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur" for quite a few years. According to documentation provided by the Administrative Authority in the Ministry of Environment, managers at Lake of Seven Islands Nature Reserve (Rezerwat przyrody "Jezioro Siedmiu Wysp") and Warta River Mouth National Park (Park Narodowy "Ujscie Warty") have made substantial progress in resolving the problems for which the sites were added to the Record in 1990 and 1993 respectively, and after consultations with the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) they have been removed from the Record as of 5 November 2007. Ramsar's Monica Zavagli provides the details and background. [07/11/07]
News from Wetlands for the Future.Wetlands for the Future Project enhances the importance of coastal Patagonian wetlands for migratory birds. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to present the results of the project “Importance of coastal Patagonian wetlands as critical areas for the survival of coastal birds. Towards a strong awareness raising action for communities, governmental and intermediate entities” (WFF/04/AR/4), coordinated by Dr. Luis Bala from the National Patagonian Center. The project has stressed the critical roll that coastal Patagonian wetlands play for the survival of coastal migratory birds and has achieved a significant raise in the awareness of functionaries, professionals, NGOs and public in general about the importance of the conservation and wise use of this ecosystems. If you would like to read more about it, we invite you to visit the Web page of the project: http://www.humedalesdelsur.com.ar. Information available in Spanish only. [08/11/07]
Proyecto del Fondo de Humedales para el Futuro destaca la importancia de los humedales patagónicos para las aves migratorias. La Secretaría de Ramsar se complace en dar a conocer los resultados del proyecto “Importancia de los humedales costeros patagónicos como sitios críticos para la supervivencia de aves playeras. Hacia una fuerte acción concientizadora dirigida a la comunidad y entidades gubernamentales e intermedias” (WFF/04/AR/4) a cargo del Dr. Luis Bala del Centro Nacional Patagónico. El proyecto ha destacado el papel crítico que desempeñan los humedales costeros patagónicos para la supervivencia de aves playeras migratorias y ha logrado elevar significativamente la conciencia de funcionarios, profesionales, ONG y público en general sobre la importancia de conservar y manejar racionalmente estos ecosistemas. Si desea obtener mayor información, le invitamos a visitar la página de Internet de este proyecto http://www.humedalesdelsur.com.ar.
Progress with the 2006-2008 work of the Convention's Scientific & Technical Review Panel. The Secretariat and STRP have recently compiled a summary of the progress and anticipated products during this triennium being pursued under the Panel's 2006-2008 Work Plan. This indicates the substantive amount of work currently being undertaken by the Panel, and also provides a list of anticipated products and documents that will be produced by the Panel for COP10 consideration and through other processes. The Panel will meet for its 14th session between 28 January and 1 February 2008 at the Secretariat headquarters in Gland to further review and finalise the drafting of its outputs. The provisional Agenda for this meeting has now been issued. Progress will be further reported by the STRP Chair to the 36th meeting of the Standing Committee in February 2008. STRP progress report, September 2007 (PDF). -- Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General. [08/11/07]
Call for nominations.AEWA Waterbird Conservation Award. The AEWA Secretariat is glad to announce call for nominations for the AEWA Waterbird Conservation Award 2008. For more information please visit the AEWA web site at: http://www.unep-aewa.org/news/news_elements/2007/aewa_award_2008.htm. -- Sergey Dereliev, Technical Officer, UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, UN Campus, Bonn. [08/11/07]
Tunisia names 19 new Ramsar sites. The government of Tunisia, which joined the Ramsar Convention in 1981, has designated 19 new Wetlands of International Importance, which will be celebrated tomorrow, 7 November 2007, as part of national commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the present government. Tunisia now has 20 Ramsar sites, covering an area of 726,541 hectares. Michael Smart, who assisted the authorities of the Direction Générale des Forêts in compiling the requisite data for the new sites, emphasizes that "there is a very wide spread of sites all over the territory of the country, and the regional authorities have been much involved in site selection and the preparation of documentation". He notes: "There is also a very wide variety of wetland types, from peatbogs in the north like Dar Fatma and Mejen Ech Chitan (how many people knew there were peat bogs in North Africa?); to a major delta, the Mejerdah; to coastal lagoons like Korba; to typical North African salt depressions on the desert edge like Kelbia, Noual and Sidi Mansour, not forgetting the biggest one of them all, Chott El Jerid; to karstic wetlands like Ain Dahab; to oasis wetlands, the Kebili group; artificial wetlands like the Thyna saltpans and the Lebna water reservoir; and finally a major group of tidal sites. I would give a special word to the tidal sites, which are extremely rare in the Mediterranean and very important for their birds, fish and shellfish: they include Kneiss Islands (probably the most important tidal site in the whole of the Mediterranean), the three Djerba sites, and Bahiret el Bibane." Brief site descriptions and some photographs can be seen here.
The preparations for the new designations have been materially assisted by WWF International's Global Freshwater Programme and WWF's Mediterranean Programme Office (MedPO), with generous support from the MAVA Foundation. The Ramsar Secretariat warmly congratulates the government of Tunisia and all involved in this significant step forward. [06/11/07]
Vacancy announcement.UNECE Water Convention. The Secretariat of the Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (the "Water Convention") at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva, Switzerland, is seeking an Environmental Affairs Officer. The announcement can be seen here, and the deadline for applications is 3 December 2007. [07/11/07]
Now available.Standing Committee 36 draft agenda. The draft agenda for the 36th meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, set for 25-29 February 2008 at the Secretariat's facilities in Gland, Switzerland, is now available in English, French, and Spanish. [06/11/07]
News from Wetlands for the Future. Participatory Management in the Caribbean.Participatory Wetlands Management in the Caribbean is a key output of a Ramsar Wetlands for the Future project carried out by CANARI, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute. Published as Policy Brief No 9, this attractive document summarises the key findings of a project that looked at the policies and institutions for wetlands management in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago. Through desk studies and a number of workshops, the project assessed the actual and potential contribution of the Ramsar Convention in facilitating participatory approaches to an integrated management of wetlands in the three countries. The project concluded with a regional workshop for natural resource managers from the three project countries as well as from Dominica, St Kitts & Nevis, and St Vincent & the Grenadines on Polices and Institutions for Participatory Wetlands Management: Lessons from implementation of the Ramsar Convention in the insular Caribbean. The policy brief can be downloaded in PDF format from http://www.canari.org/policybrief9.pdf. [05/11/07]
La obra La gestión participativa de los humedales del Caribe es un producto de gran importancia del proyecto Humedales para el Futuro que ejecutó CANARI, el Instituto de Recursos Naturales del Caribe. Publicado en forma de Nota Informativa sobre Políticas Nº 9, este documento resume las principales conclusiones de un proyecto que sometió a análisis las políticas y las instituciones que guardan relación con la ordenación de los humedales en Jamaica, Santa Lucía y Trinidad y Tobago. Mediante estudios teóricos y varios talleres prácticos, en el proyecto se evaluó la contribución, real y en potencia, de la Convención de Ramsar en lo referente a facilitar enfoques participativos de una ordenación integrada de los humedales en esos tres países. El proyecto concluyó con un taller regional de creación de capacidades destinado a administradores de recursos naturales de los tres países abarcados por el proyecto y de Dominica, San Kitts y Nevis y San Vicente y las Granadinas, cuyo tema fue Políticas e instituciones en materia de ordenación en participación de los humedales: Enseñanzas de la aplicación de la Convención de Ramsar en el Caribe insular. Pueden descargar la nota Informativa en formato PDF en: http://www.canari.org/pautas9.pdf
Our waters: joining hands across borders. During the 6th Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” in Belgrade, Serbia, on 10 October 2007, the Water Convention launched the first ever in-depth report on transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters, Our waters: joining hands across borders, covering 140 transboundary rivers and 30 transboundary lakes in the European and Asian parts of the UNECE region, as well as 70 transboundary aquifers located in Southeastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. This Assessment provides a clear overview of transboundary water resources. It highlights the achievements and challenges that countries still face in operating adequate monitoring systems, examines existing pressure factors on transboundary water bodies, and provides information on trends in their ecological and chemical status. Tobias Salathé provides this review, with links for further information. [02/11/07]
3rd Conference on Migratory Birds of the North Pacific Region. The Third Conference on Migratory Birds of the North Pacific Region was held in Yakutsk on August 8-13, 2007 within the framework of the International Forum on the Study and Conservation of Arctic Wildlife, convened by the Government of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). The Conference consisted of seven sessions, covering: fauna and populations of birds, bird migration, bird ecology, conservation of rare and endangered bird species, diseases and parasites, use of bird resources, and wetlands of international importance, key ornithological sites and specially protected habitats of rare cranes in NE Asia. Here is a brief report from Crawford Prentice, with links to further information. [02/11/07]
From the CEPA e-mail list.Wetlands and multiculturalism - request for information. "I am currently working on several pieces for children and their families relating to wetlands dealing with multiculturalism and for teaching English as a Second Language. Hopefully these will be launched on World Wetlands Day. Your site is a great resources but I am looking for something specific and wondered if you could help. I know you refer to some of these in your Cultural Heritage section but I wondered if you have an easily accessible list. I am looking for quotes from different cultures that express valuing of wetlands or closely related aspects - e.g. species that live there, water, rivers. I would expect these would be from great writers, cultural icons, scientists, religious documents, popular or traditional songs, etc. I am looking for all languages but most specifically for French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Punjabi and Korean." -- Merebeth Switzer, National Education Coordinator, Ducks Unlimited Canada. The full message is here. [02/11/07]
From the Ramsar Forum. 3rd World Congress on Biosphere Reserves.Dr. Miguel Clüsener-Godt, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, UNESCO, writes that the 3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves: Biosphere Futures, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Sustainable Development will be hosted in Madrid, 4-9 February 2008, by Spain's Ministry of Environment and the UNESCO MAB Programme. "The work of the Congress will focus on the Five Points Agenda, which will elaborate an Action Plan for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves for the period 2008-2012." See his announcement here. [01/11/07]
Expressions of interest. Rwanda wetland inventory."Rapid inventory of wetlands and the drafting of the related ministerial orders of Rwanda". The Ministry of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water and Mines (MINITERE) in collaboration with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) with the support of the Integrated Management of Critical Ecosystems (IMCE) Project would like to recruit a consultancy firm to: a) Establish a rapid national wetlands inventory and classification of the Rwandan wetlands based on biophysical, ecological and socio-economic criteria - this inventory will be used as essential baseline for activities necessary to achieve the wise use of wetlands; and b) Draft five Wetlands-Related Ministerial Orders that will constitute part of the implementation instruments for Rwandan National Laws related to wetland management. Request for expressions of interest (PDF).Terms of reference (PDF). [31/10/07]
"Inventaire rapide des marais et la préparation de l'arrêté ministériel relatifs aux marais du Rwanda". Le Ministère des Terres, de l'Environnement, des Forêts, de l'Eau et des Mines (MINITERE) en collaboration avec l'Office Rwandais de la Protection de l'Environnement (REMA) avec l'appui du Projet de Gestion Intégrée des Écosystèmes Critiques (IMCE) voudrait recruter un bureau de consultance pour: a) Établir un inventaire rapide et une classification des marais nationaux du Rwanda basée sur les critères biophysiques, écologiques et socio-économiques. Cet inventaire sera utilisé comme base essentielle pour les activités nécessaires d'une meilleure utilisation des marais. b) Préparer les arrêtés ministériels relatifs aux marais qui constitueront une partie des instruments des lois régissant la mise en œuvre de la gestion des marais. Demande de manifestation d'intérêt. Termes de référence.
Brief notes on the Pan-American Ramsar regional meeting. The IV Regional Pan-American Meeting of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) was held in Merida, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, 18-21 of September 2007. And just before that the IV Workshop of the Strategy for the Conservation and Wise Use of High Andean Wetlands was held in the same place, 15-18 September. Here are some brief notes and a few group photos. Full reports of both meetings will follow shortly.
Algunas noticias sobre la Reunión Regional Panamericana de Ramsar. La IV Reunión Panamericana de la Convención sobre los Humedales (Ramsar, Irán, 1971) se llevó a cabo del 18 al 21 de septiembre de 2007 en la ciudad de Mérida, República Bolivariana de Venezuela, en donde previamente se realizó el IV Taller sobre la Estrategia para la Conservación y Uso sostenible de Humedales del 15 al 18 de septiembre. Acá encontrará algunas notas. Próximamente estarán disponibles los informes finales de ambas reuniones. [31/10/07]
Iraq joins the Ramsar Convention. The Secretariat is delighted to welcome the Republic of Iraq to the Convention as our 157th Contracting Party. In its formal communication UNESCO, the depositary of the Convention, confirmed that on 17 October 2007 Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs completed the necessary formalities for its accession to the Convention as amended in 1982 and 1987, and thus the Convention will come into force for Iraq on 17 February 2008. Iraq's obligatory first Wetland of International Importance, Hawizeh Marsh (Haur Al-Hawizeh) (137,700 hectares, 31°25'N 047°38'E), in the southern Governorates of Basra and Amara, is an integral part of the Mesopotamian marshlands complex centered at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. A transboundary wetland, the marshes are ca.75-80% located in Iraq and extend partly into the Islamic Republic of Iran, where they are known as Hawr Al-Azim. Representing the only significant area to have survived recent drainage actions and the most intact part of the original Mesopotamian system, they are a biodiversity reservoir of priority importance for conservation. The results of recent reflooding have been promising so far, and many displaced Ma'dan or Marsh Arabs have returned to resume their traditional ancient ways of life. The site is of international importance as a staging and wintering area for at least 79 species of waterfowl and 9 species of birds of prey on their way between Western Siberia/Central Asia and eastern and southern Africa. The northern half of the marsh was never completely dried and is being used as a reference for monitoring the flora and fauna of the newly re-inundated southern sector. The effects of extensive drainage in the 1990s and warfare destruction, as well as dam-building activities upstream in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey, are seen as the chief potential threats to the site.
An extraordinary number of national and international government agencies and non-governmental organizations have played important roles in achieving this very promising milestone, but the assistance to the Ministry of Water Resources by the government of Canada and the United Nations Environment Programme deserve special mention. [Photos of Hawizeh Marsh by Ekram Kaissm, World Wetlands Day 2006] [29/10/07]
UK extends Humber Estuary Ramsar site. The government of the United Kingdom has renamed and significantly extended the area of the Ramsar site designated in 1994 as "Humber Flats, Marshes & Coast (Phase 1)". Now named "Humber Estuary", the area included within the Ramsar site has been extended from 15,203 hectares to 37,988 hectares. [29/10/07]
Croatia's Kopacki rit extended. The government of Croatia has extended the area of the Kopacki rit Ramsar site, at the confluence of the Danube and Drava rivers, which was designated in 1993 with 17,770 hectares. Renamed "Nature Park Kopacki rit", the area within the site has been extended to 23,894 hectares. [29/10/07]
Australia's Murray River "commence-to-flow atlas".Bruce Gray, Assistant Director, Wetlands Section, Department of the Environment and Water Resources in Australia, writes: "The NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group (one of our NGO groups) recently released an atlas of River Murray Wetland Commence-to-Flow levels. See www.mwwg.org.au/database.php and http://www.mdbc.gov.au/__data/page/29/MR-New_Murray_wetlands_atlas_helps_map_crucial_drought_water_.pdf for details. Commence-to-Flow levels indicate the level of flow required to begin inundating a given area of wetland, and are often mapped using GIS products such as satellite imagery, topographic mapping, and Digital Elevation Models. The Atlas is an A3 size publication with a protective glaze on all pages, making it weather and dustproof, durable and practical for use in the field. If you would like a copy, the Atlas can be purchased from the Wetlands Working Group. Please contact either Deb Nias on + 61 2 6051 223 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessica MacGregor at email@example.com." [26/10/07]
Now available. Report of the European STRP focal points meeting. Generously hosted by Austria, a number of National Focal Points of the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) met in Mittersill, 17-19 September 2007, to discuss ways in which the NFPs can become better networked and more involved in the Convention's scientific and technical work. Here is the report of that meeting, with its action points and recommendations. [26/10/07]
New international postgraduate programme ‘MSc Landscape Ecology and Nature Conservation’ at Greifswald University (Germany) qualifies experts in the analysis and solution of the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. The 2-year programme is held in English and addresses postgraduates (MSc or comparable degree) and well-trained graduates (BSc) with practical work experience from all parts of the world. Based on multidisciplinarity and individual mentoring, students will be prepared for careers in international administration and organisations as well as in research institutes and private companies. Start of next study period: 1st of October 2008. Funding opportunities are provided by the DAAD Study Scholarships ‘Studies and Research in Sustainability’ which target students from China, India, Mongolia, Russia, South Africa and Brazil (deadline: 15th of November 2007). For more information including application and further funding options please check at: http://www.botanik.uni-greifswald.de/msclenc or write an e-mail to the programme coordinator Dr. Tiemo Timmermann (firstname.lastname@example.org). [26/10/07]
Grant for US National Ramsar Committee. The Ramsar Administrative Authority in the USA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, has awarded a grant of US$ 99,400 to the US National Ramsar Committee, a largely NGO body. Suzanne Pittenger-Slear, President of Environmental Concern, writes: "The grant funds will be made available to support the designation of US Ramsar Sites and to promote Wetlands Communication, Education, and Public Awareness programs and initiatives associated with current U.S. Ramsar sites. Environmental Concern (EC), a Ramsar Committee member and the first wetland-focused non-profit organization in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, will be administering the grant on behalf of the Committee. In addition, EC will be developing a National CEPA Plan as part of the grant conditions.
The Ramsar Committee is pleased to be the recipient of this award. As we continue to increase public awareness of the importance of wetlands through Ramsar designations and wetland education initiatives, the grant funds will assist the Committee in facilitating these important goals." Read the brief press release here (PDF). Web sites of the US National Ramsar Committee and Environmental Concern. Small grant application forms (deadline 30 November 2007). [25/10/07]
Cameroon waterbird coastal survey.Chi Napoleon Forpah of the Watershed Task Group in Douala, Cameroon, reports "The coastal survey carried out in January and February 2007 was initiated by the Foundation Working Group for International Wader and Waterfowl Research (WIWO) and carried out in January and February 2007 by the Watershed Task Group in collaboration with the Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society (CWCS), the Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society (CBCS), the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINEF), and a team of expatriate ornithologists. The project received financial support from Wetlands International, Koop Cameroun and Pecten Cameroun. Cameroon has recently ratified the Ramsar Convention, the international convention that aims to protect wetlands of international importance, and is now in the process of identifying such wetlands within its borders. The aim of the waterbird count was to identify wetlands of international importance on the Cameroon coast." Here is the full press release (PDF).[25/10/07]
Complex of Northern Ireland lakes for Ramsar List. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that the government of the United Kingdom has designated its 166th Wetland of International Importance. Magheraveely Marl Loughs (59 hectares, 54°11'N 007°16'W) is a complex of six loughs in Northern Ireland, of which three are intersected by the border with the Republic of Ireland - they represent the best remaining examples of a relatively rare lake type in Northern Ireland characterised by the presence of calcium carbonate deposits, or marl, which, precipitated out of the calcium-rich water, produces marl loughs. Biological interest is related to the presence of vegetation which reflects these calcareous conditions, including rich and extensive stonewort (charophyte) communities. The loughs are surrounded by an inundation zone containing significant stands of alkaline fen vegetation. The clean unpolluted waters of the loughs support populations of White-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes, a species which is becoming increasingly rare throughout its geographical range.
Ramsar and UNEP-GRASP co-producing documentary film in Gabon. The United Nation's Environment Programme - Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) have signed an MOU with the Ramsar Secretariat to produce a documentary film which will highlight the correlations that exist between the sustainable management of wetlands and the great apes. Ramsar and UNEP are each contributing equally to the project. The funds will be used to produce a short and bilingual joint documentary film focusing on Petit Loango (Ramsar site no. 352), a Wetland of International Importance hosting great apes in the Republic of Gabon. [24/10/07]
Search tool for convention decisions. Alex de Sherbinin reports that the "Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators" branch of the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) of Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) has developed a useful searchable database of the COP decisions of a number of global environmental conventions. The "Conference of Party (COP) Decision Search Tool" allows the searching by term or phrase of all of the COP decisions of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal; the CBD; CITES; the CMS; the Kyoto Protocol; the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer; the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands; the UNCCD to combat desertification; the UNFCCC on climate change; and the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. You can find the search tool at http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gsametasearch/cop_start.jsp. [24/10/07]
Survey of Ramsar sites in Africa. The Ramsar Convention and the US National Ramsar Committee launch a survey of selected African sites listed as Wetlands of International Importance.The survey seeks to identify the effects of the designation on these sites, and the Africa unit of the Secretariat of the Convention would greatly appreciate your participation in this study. Further information.
Enquête sur certains sites Ramsar en Afrique. La Convention sur les Zones Humides et le Comité National Ramsar des USA lancent une enquête sur certains sites Ramsar d’importance internationale en Afrique.L’enquête vise à identifier les effets de ces désignations sur les sites et le l’Unité Afrique de la Convention vous remercie par avance de votre participation à cette étude. Plus d'informations. [19/10/07]
Position announcement.BirdLife seeks Communications Officer. Communications Officer (Media relations and web). Salary indication: £22,500 (+12 % pension). Closing date: 13 November 2007. The BirdLife International Secretariat (Cambridge, UK) is looking to appoint a new Communications Officer. The position will be part of the organisation's Communication team. The successful candidate will be responsible for the editing and maintenance of the BirdLife web site (www.birdlife.org), which has become a major news outlet in its own right for bird conservation news. This is not a particularly technical role, as a Content Management System is used to update the site - although good computer literacy would be a advantage. The successful candidate will also be responsible with other staff on the promotion of BirdLife International through the media. This will include writing press releases and features, fielding enquiries from journalists, and liaising with other BirdLife staff to ensure a good flow of information around the organisation. Good written and editorial skills are essential. For a full job description visit www.birdlife.org. How to apply: To apply send a CV and covering letter (preferably by email) to email@example.com. [22 October 2007)
1er cours régional francophone sur les zones humides et la Réduction de la Pauvreté.Wetlands International en collaboration avec ses partenaires organise le 1er cours régional francophone sur les zones humides et la Réduction de la Pauvreté à l’intention des praticiens du 20 novembre au 04 décembre 2007 à Thiès, Sénégal, dans le cadre du projet Zones humides et Lutte contre la Pauvreté (WPRP). Informations, formulaire d'inscription, site Web. [19/10/07]
Ramsar Award for 2008: call for nominations. The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was established by the Conference of the Parties in 1996 to recognize and honor the contributions of individuals, organizations, and governments around the world towards promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. The Award has been conferred in each of three categories at the COPs in 1999, 2002, and 2005, and it will be again at COP10 in Changwon, Republic of Korea, in October-November 2008 - and as in the past it will be complemented by the Evian Special Prize, a cash prize of US$ 10,000 for each of the categories, donated once again by the Danone Group.
Once again, too, the Award will be given in the categories of management, science, and education. Nominations are encouraged of persons or government or non-government organizations that have taken initiatives that have contributed significantly to the long-term conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, especially those initiatives that might serve as inspirational and practical examples for others. Nominations need to reach the Secretariat by 31 January 2008 (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the latest, and further details, selection criteria, and nomination forms, as well as reports on the past winners and testimonials by some of them about what winning the Award has meant to them, can all be found here. [18/10/07]
SGF project seminar in the Unguri-Holosnita Ramsar site in northwest Moldova. In the framework of the Ramsar 2006 Small Grant Fund project "Management Scenario Development for the Unguri-Holosnita New Ramsar Site and Awareness Raising on the Ramsar Convention Wise Use Policy", the second seminar was held the 26th September 2007 in the village of Rudi, part of the Unguri-Holosnita Ramsar site (no1500), a wetland ecosystem which extends northwest where the Dniester River forms the natural borders between Moldova and Ukraine. Ramsar's Monica Zavagli participated in the seminar and prepared this illustrated report. [16/10/07]
Ramsar Crane Bank Award finalized. July 10th 2007 saw the Ramsar Crane Bank Award officially materialise at the Crane Bank chambers in Kampala, Uganda, marked by a ceremony of presentation of the Crane Bank support by the Managing Director of Crane Bank Ltd. The Government of Uganda and the Ramsar Secretariat were represented by the Honourable Jessica Eriyo (the Minister of State for Environment) and Mr. Paul Mafabi (the Uganda's Ramsar focal point and chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee). Here is a brief report. [16/10/07]
Now available.COP10 provisional agenda. The provisional agenda for the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties is now available. The text will be reviewed and developed further by the Standing Committee at its 36th meeting, 25-29 February 2008. [15/10/07]
Call for Proposals. In the framework of the project Engaging Civil Society in Water Management in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the implementing partner, Wetlands International, is seeking project proposals from Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The project selection criteria, format for proposal submission, and proposal selection process can be found here (PDF). The deadline for submission of proposals is 5 November 2007. [16/10/07]
NorBalWet conference on monitoring of wetlands. In 2006 took place two very successful meetings under the Nordic-Baltic Wetlands Initiative (NorBalWet), one in Sweden focusing on the restoration of wet forests and mires, and one in Norway focusing on restoration of rivers, floodplains, lakes and deltas. This has been followed on 20-22 September 2007 by a conference on monitoring of wetlands held at Lepanina, on the southern Baltic coast of Estonia, organized by the Nature Conservation Department of the Estonian Ministry of the Envrionment, the administrative authority for the Ramsar Convention. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé was there and provides this brief report, with photos and the meeting's conclusions. [12/10/07]
All-Ireland cooperation on biodiversity. The first Joint Meeting of the Biodiversity Forum (RoI), chaired by Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, and the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group, chaired by Bob Brown, took place in Athlone the 3rd of October 2007 as part of the Annual Biodiversity Conference organized by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government from the Republic of Ireland. Attended by a group of 16 people representing the two advisory bodies, the meeting aimed at launching a common strategy on potential issues for all Ireland cooperation. Ramsar's Monica Zavagli participated and has prepared this brief report, with photo. [12/10/07]
4th Asia Regional Conservation Forum. The 4th Asia Regional Conservation Forum, an international conference on environment and sustainable development focusing on the Asia region, was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 10-14 September 2007 with the theme "Synergies for Sustainable Asia". The meeting was organized by The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the government of Nepal. Its main aim was to generate a platform for meaningful dialogue on approaches towards critical conservation and development issues in the Asia region, as well as potential solutions, and also to share and foster partnership with different stakeholders. Ms Pragati Tuladhar represented the Ramsar Convention there and filed this illustrated report. [11/10/07]
Clean-up day for Lac Léman. Promoted by the Organisation des Yacht-Clubs et Ports Ecologiques, the annual initiative of "Net' Léman - journée du grand nettoyage du Lac" took place around the Geneva lake (Lac Léman) on the 22nd September 2007. Throughout the day, almost 700 volunteers of every age and provenance were busy with diving and shore clean-up activities. The Ramsar Secretariat, together with other local environmental organizations like ASL, CIPEL, Equiterre, I love my Planet, Pro Natura, and Serbeco, had stands at the lake side with the aim of raising public awareness amongst citizens and portraying educational activities for kids from 5 to12 years old. Monica Zavagli and Evelyn Parh Moloko were there. [11/10/07]
Mediterranean Coast Day, 24 October. "Coast Day is a celebration of life on the coast. It is a day dedicated to the protection of natural coastal environment and its interaction with human culture and socio-economic activities. It aims to raise awareness of policy makers and the public on the value of the coast and on the necessity of using an integrated approach in managing the coastal area. The launch of the Coast Day, organized by PAP/RAC, is planned for October 24th, in Mediterranean countries. The intention is that Coast Day spreads into other countries and that lives on in the years to come." More information at http://www.coastday.org/. [11/10/07]
CREHO course on EIA. CREHO invites applications for an International Course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Strategic Assessment (ESA) for Wetlands Management. This intensive course will run from November 19 - December 5, 2007 in Panama City and forms part of the Regional Wetlands Training Program for the Western Hemisphere developed by CREHO (the Ramsar Regional Center for Wetlands Training and Research for the Western Hemisphere). Designed for decision-makers and mid-level officials from the governmental, non-governmental, private and international sectors, professionals or technicians working in wetlands-related issues, the programme is 50% theoretical and 50% practical and includes field activities at wetlands showing key environmental, ecological, cultural and economic characteristics, especially vis-à-vis development processes taking place in Latin American countries. The course will take place in Spanish and is financially supported by the Ramsar Convention and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Full details about the course and an application form for sponsorship are available in Spanish and English here. [10/10/07]
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 ).