The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 February 2001

Ramsar / Man and the Biosphere joint Web site unveiled. In a press release issued for World Wetlands Day, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, announced the launch of a new joint Web site dedicated to providing accurate information on the world’s wetland sites that are both Biosphere Reserves under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. The new Web site, hosted by MAB and developed by Katarina Vestin and Ivette Fabbri, has brief texts and links to longer texts on each of the 59 sites that are inscribed in both Lists (soon to be joined by the new Ramsar site, Domica, in Slovakia), and it's all been very tastefully designed and clearly set up. This new initiative is part of the rapidly increasing and very fruitful cooperation between Ramsar and MAB, in which a joint work plan is presently under development. UNESCO press release: . Joint Ramsar-MAB Web site: . [03/02/01]

Karen Denyer of Environment Waikato reports on the results of what was probably the very first World Wetlands Day 2001 celebration in the world, a breakfast function in New Zealand that included the presentation of the awards for the Winning Wetlands Competition. Here is her brief report.

Algeria names ten new sites for World Wetlands Day. Ramsar's Anada Tiéga and Denis Landenbergue of WWF's Living Waters Campaign are participating in ceremonies in Algiers in which the Government is announcing the designation of ten new Wetlands of International Importance, which were added to the Ramsar List earlier today. These new sites are extremely important additions to the List, as they include an impressive array of under-represented wetland types typical of arid lands, including salt-bed chotts, oases, and "gueltas", totalling more than 1.8 million hectares. The Bureau hasn't yet had time to prepare individual descriptions of these new sites, but they should be ready within the next few days. The Government of Algeria is to be commended for this impressive action, and the Living Waters Campaign must be thanked for its support to Algeria throughout the process of preparing these new sites for designation. [02/02/01]

Uganda launches Strategic Plan on WWD. The National Wetlands Programme and high-level members of the Government of Uganda have taken the occasion of their "World Wetlands Week", 29 January to 4 February, to host activities in Kampala, Entebbe, and Lutembe Bay Wetlands including a canoe regatta, fireworks, and craft exhibitions, but most importantly the launching of the Wetlands Sector Strategic Plan 2001-2010 on 1 February. The Convention's Secretary General, Mr Delmar Blasco, addressed the gathering in Kampala, which was presided over by the Minister of Information the Hon. Basoga Nsadhu, and congratulated Uganda for its foresight and world leadership in wetland policy planning and financing methods, and paid tribute to the Government of the Netherlands and IUCN-The World Conservation Union for their support of Uganda's pioneering efforts. The text of Mr Blasco's address is available here, as is his World Wetlands Day address at Lutembe Bay Wetlands. [02/02/01]

New Ramsar policy to be announced for Wales. Jon Young (, Countryside Division, Nature Conservation Branch, National Assembly for Wales, has forwarded very welcome news about a new Ramsar policy for Wales modelled upon the UK's recent Ramsar policy for England. "The National Assembly for Wales will be issuing its Ramsar Policy Statement tomorrow, to coincide with World Wetlands Day. The Policy follows the lines issued by DETR. You may wish to include this in the World Wetlands Day events page on your website. Our Environment Minister will be writing to the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention enclosing a copy of the statement in due course." [02/02/01]

Crossborder Cooperation between Austria and Czech Republic. "On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on February 2nd, the Trebon Biosphere Reserve Administration, the town of Trebon (both Czech Republic), the town of Schrems, and the WWF Austria (both Austria) will sign a treaty on cooperation in establishing and running the Ramsar Centre in Schems and the visitor centre "Landscape and man" in Trebon. Within this crossborder area, 3 Ramsar sites are situated, with the river Lainsitz/Luznice forming the backbone of a beautiful wetland landscape with meandering rivers, fishponds and peat bogs. The Ramsar centre in Schrems is planned as a cooperation between nature conservation, environmental conservation, tourism and agriculture. The visitor centre in Trebon is a cooperation between the town of Trebon and several nature conservation organizations, both govemmental and NGO. All four partners of the cooperation treaty consider the crossborder realization of the two centres as one big project that is both a valuable contribution to each one's area but also an important step in the development of bilateral relationships between the two countries. [30/01/01]

St. Lucia set to form a National Wetlands Committee. Consistent with the Ramsar COP's Recommendation 5.7, Lyndon John, Research Officer with the Forestry Department in Castries, St. Lucia, reports that the Permanent Secretary has approved the formation of a National Wetland Committee, which it is intended should be launched on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2001, preparatory to planning for accession to the Ramsar Convention. [27/01/01]

Colombia designates Laguna de la Cocha. The Bureau is delighted to announce that Colombia has designated as its second Ramsar site, effective 8 January 2001, Laguna de la Cocha (39,000 hectares, 01°03’N 077°12’W), located in the Department of Nariño, close to its capital city Pasto. The new site is largely made up of a volcanic lake and the surrounding highland Andean peatlands and forest. The lake and its surrounding area support a diverse range of associated flora and fauna, mammals such as the endangered tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), near-threatened Northern pudu (Pudu mephistotels), and the endangered spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus). Important bird species such as Grebe (Podiceps occidentalis), the golden peck duck (Anas georgica spicauda), several species of snipes (Gallinago gallinago paraguaiae, Gallinago nobilis, Gallinago gallinago delicata) and the endemic ducks (Anascyanoptera borreroi, Oxyura jamaicensis ferruginea). Regarding plants there are two important endemic species of frailejon (Espeletia cochensis, Espeletia schultesiana) andTotora (Scirpus californicus, Juncus bogotensis). Human uses include agriculture and aquaculture. The breeding of "cuyes" (Cavia porcelus) generates about 23% of the agricultural product in the Department. The site also has an important cultural value as the indigenous groups of the area, which consider it sacred, use it for purification and fertility. The archaeological values of the site are also considerable, as it that was inhabited by Precolombian communities. [25/01/01]

US National Ramsar Committee announces Small Grants awards. Seven U.S. Ramsar sites – from Connecticut to California – received small grants averaging US$ 1500 in the first round of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee’s Small Grants Program, financed by the Committee with matching funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Judith Taggart of the Terrene Institute announces the winning projects on behalf of the Committee. [17/1/01]

First results of the Caribbean Training Workshop. As part of the Wetlands for the Future initiative, this past December 11th to the 15th the Ramsar/SPAW Caribbean Training Workshop successfully took place at the Normandie Hotel in Trinidad. With an attendance of over 30 participants from 20 Caribbean nations and territories, the workshop served as an introduction to the Ramsar Convention in the region, a research mission on wetland-related needs in the Caribbean, and an opportunity for some training of local professionals on several wetland management issues. All the technical sessions and working groups were very well-chaired by representatives of Parties to the Convention in the Caribbean. Margarita Astrálaga (Regional Coordinator for the Americas) and Marco A. Flores (Assistant for the Americas Region) represented the Ramsar Bureau at this event, co-organized with Dr. Herb Raffaele of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Sheriff Faizool and Nadra Nathai-Gyan, and her excellent support team, from the Trinidad Ministry of Agriculture, Land, and Marine Resources. The workshop summary is presently in preparation, but photos are already available here. [5/1/01]

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