The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 July 2001

Use of the Swiss Grant for Africa fund for 2000. Read it here. Four exemplary projects funded by the Government of Switzerland through the Ramsar Bureau, totaling 140,000 Swiss francs: 1. Continuation of the work on the formulation of an integrated management plan for the Okavango Delta in Botswana. 2. Formulation of a management plan for the Manambolomaty Ramsar Site in Madagascar. 3. Coordinating mechanisms for a joint implementation of environment-related conventions. 4. Communication capacity in Sierra Leone. Excellent Africa wetlands information here! [03/07/01]

International Association for Impact Assessment signs Memo with Ramsar. In recognition of the fact that the IAIA and the Ramsar Convention share many common objectives in ensuring that the ecological, social, and economic effects of development projects on wetlands are taken into account in the decision-making process – and seeking to solidify the fruitful cooperation that has been growing between the two bodies, particularly because of IAIA participation in the work of Ramsar’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) – the President of IAIA, Elvis Au, and the Secretary General of the Convention, Delmar Blasco, have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on 22 June 2001 which lays out those common objectives and formalizes future cooperation and a framework for joint activities. The text of the new agreement is available here. [27/06/01]

Report on China Workshop and the "Korla Declaration". The International Workshop on Conservation of Wetlands and their Wise Use was held in Korla City, the capital of Bayangolin Prefecture of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, from 5-12 June 2001. The workshop adopted an important document, the Korla Declaration, and was attended by 134 participants from throughout China as well as overseas. International and overseas organizations participating included representatives from the Ramsar Bureau (Mr Najam Khurshid), Wetlands International, CBD-Ramsar River Basin Initiative/Global Environment Centre, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), IUCN-Netherlands Committee, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Ramsar Centre-Japan. Here is a report from Li Lukang, with the text of the Korla Declaration, some photos of the speakers, and some excellent photos of the wetlands viewed during the participants' extensive field trip. [26/06/01]

Spain bans lead shot in protected wetlands.Andy Green of the Doñana Biological Station in Sevilla reports that "the Royal Decree 581/2001 banning lead shot in protected Spanish wetlands was published in the Boletin Oficial del Estado on 15.6.01. A copy of the decree (in Spanish) can be obtained from: . The ban comes into force on 1 October 2001. It applies both to Ramsar sites and to other wetlands protected under regional or national legislation. This includes the great majority of key sites for marbled teal, white-headed duck and wintering waterbirds in general. Thus it is an excellent piece of news." [21/06/01]

Workshop on Ramsar implementation in Cuba. As part of the "III Congress on Environment and Development: 10 years after Rio" in Havana, Cuba, Ramsar’s Margarita Astrálaga, Denis Landenbergue of WWF’s Living Waters Campaign, and Julia Langer of WWF Cuba are collaborating in a special session for Cuban professionals on "Wetland Conservation and Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Cuba", 21 June 2001. The primary objective of the session is to discuss future actions and management activities in the Ciénaga de Zapata (452,000 ha) in Matanzas province, Cuba’s first Ramsar site recently designated with assistance from WWF’s Living Waters Campaign and WWF Canada. The second objective is to advance the process of Ramsar designation for the five other Cuban wetlands that are part of the Living Waters Campaign’s project and, if possible, coordinate their designation with 12 August 2001 ceremonies to celebrate the Convention’s entry into force for Cuba. The third objective is to sketch out priority needs beyond those six designations. [19/06/01]

Algeria places Oasis de Ouled Saïd on Montreux Record. The Government of Algeria has completed formalities for inscribing the Oasis de Ouled Saïd (brief description), newly designated for the Ramsar List on World Wetlands Day 2001, in the Montreux Record of sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. Montreux listing was requested at the time of designation, as the need for a special intervention was perceived by the authorities as an urgent matter. Indeed, one of the chief reasons for the designation of this site was to raise awareness of its important values and to reach a consensus on the need to undertake a management programme that will include actions aimed at amelioriating or removing the threats to the site.

Ramsar in the Asia Pacific region.On World Wetlands Day 2001 (2 February), the Office of Environmental Policy and Planning of Thailand hosted a seminar in Bangkok for over 200 participants from government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Dr Taej Mundkur, interim executive director of Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, was invited by OEPP to participate as a guest speaker, and the Ramsar Bureau seized the opportunity to support his contribution to the meeting. His address, co-authored with Ms Ayu Rahayu, Communications Director at WI-AP, summarizes the Convention's contributions for the benefit of the Thai audience and then offers an assessment of Ramsar's present and future role in the Asia Pacific region. His remarks will soon be published by OEPP in the Proceedings of the seminar and are reprinted here with the kind permission of OEPP. [14/06/01]

Ramsar Advisory Mission to the Sumava Peat Bogs, Czech Republic. The Ramsar Convention gives special attention to assisting Contracting Parties in the management and conservation of listed sites whose ecological character is changing or likely to change as a result of technological development, pollution or other human interference. This is carried out through a technical assistance mechanism called the Ramsar Advisory Missions (RAM), formally established in 1990. Presently Ramsar’s Regional Coordinator for Europe, Dr Tobias Salathé, is leading a RAM mission to the Sumava Peat Bogs in the Czech Republic, 5-8 June 2001, to provide guidance on how best to deal with specific management problems related to recent outbreaks of bark beetle (Ips typographus) populations. Informative background on the site, the problem, and the mission’s objectives is available here. [06/06/01]

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment launch on World Environment Day. "The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is the most extensive study of the world’s ecosystems thus far. The four-year effort, costing $21 million, will examine the processes that support life on earth. The study will provide decision-makers with authoritative scientific knowledge concerning the impact of changes to the world’s ecosystems on human livelihoods and the environment. Pilot studies conducted by the World Resources Institute indicate that in many regions of the world, the capacity of ecosystems to meet human needs is being diminished, threats to biodiversity and human health are growing, and vulnerability to environmental disasters is increasing." On 5 June at UN HQ in New York City (USA), Secretary General Kofi Annan will officially launch the MEA, in ceremonies including Angela Cropper (MEA Assessment Panel), Mohamed El-Ashry (Global Environment Facility), Jonathan Lash (World Resources Institute), Hamdallah Zedan (Convention on Biological Diversity), and Timothy Wirth (United Nations Foundation). A day earlier, 4 June, Klaus Töpfer (UNEP) and Delmar Blasco (Ramsar Convention) will hold a press conference on the Assessment launch in Torino, Italy. Here, for a limited time only, is a smorgasbord of brief documents in PDF format (you’ll need to get out your Adobe Acrobats), none larger than 40kb: the UN media advisory, an MEA fact sheet, a good FAQs, and a list of MEA Board members, featuring Ramsar’s Delmar Blasco and Jorge Jiménez, chair of Ramsar’s STRP, amongst others. [links later removed] [04/06/01]

MedWet assists Libya with wetland inventory. In a memo of cooperation signed in El Bayda on 26 May 2001, MedWet has committed to assisting the Environment General Authority of Libya in carrying out an inventory of Libyan wetlands using the MedWet Inventory System. UNEP, IUCN, and WWF are also involved, and more detail has been provided here by Thymio Papayannis. [05/06/01]

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