The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 November 1999

Ramsar and UNFCCC COP5. Deputy Secretary General Bill Phillips was in Bonn last week for the opening days of the Climate Change Convention's 5th Conference of the Parties, and whilst there he addressed the UNFCCC's Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice on the importance of wetlands in the climate change equation.  Here is the text of his speech.  This week, the Secretary General, Delmar Blasco, will be addressing the COP's ministerial session with a similar message from a different point of view -- watch for it. [1/11/99]

IUCN policy paper on wetlands and climate change; the text of Uganda's National Wetland Policy, 1995, the first or one of the first NWPs in the world; it joins Australia's and Canada's NWPs in the Wise Use Resource Centre as models for other Contracting Parties. [21/10/99]

Wetlands and climate change. On the eve of the 5th COP of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, set for 25 October to 5 November in Bonn, Germany, the Bureau is making available an important new policy paper on "Wetlands and Climate Change: exploring collaboration between the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change", newly written by Ger Bergkamp and Brett Orlando of IUCN-The World Conservation Union.  This paper has been sent to all the Administrative Authorities in the Ramsar Contracting Parties, with the request that they encourage their counterpart national delegates to the UNFCCC COP to seek ways to build cooperation on wetland issues with the Ramsar Convention into the emerging UNFCCC agenda, as the CBD, CCD, CMS, and World Heritage have recently done.  The IUCN paper proposes concrete suggestions for cooperation, but it's perhaps even more valuable as a background scientific briefing paper on the effects of climate change on wetlands and their valuable resources to humans round the world.  Here is the English original of IUCN's paper, and a translation into Spanish; the French version will appear here within days; Arabic, Chinese, and Russian versions will be available to the participants in UNFCCC's COP5 in hard copy format.  The Ramsar Deputy Secretary General, Bill Phillips, and the Secretary General, Delmar Blasco, will be handing off the baton during the two-week COP5 and closely watching for opportunities to inject our vital wetland issues into the emerging Climate Change political agenda. [21/10/99]

Second Evian Encounter gets under way. The second of the Ramsar "Evian Encounters" seminar series began yesterday in Evian, France, and runs throughout the week. With funding from the "Evian Initiative" sponsored by the Danone Group for Ramsar outreach efforts, the Evian Encounters bring high-level decision-makers together for presentation of a number of Ramsar-related and wise use issues.  Following the successful first gathering this time last year, for representatives from the Neotropical region, this meeting is aimed at Francophone Africa and will combine two days of discussions followed by a field excursion to the Camargue and the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat in southern France.  Speakers include Messrs Blasco, Tiéga, and Salathé from the Bureau; Christophe Lefébvre of the Conservatoire de l'Espace Littoral; Mme Marie Odile Guth, Directrice de la Protection de la Nature et des Paysages, France; Lambert Tam of the Commission du Bassin du Lac Tchad; Dr Awaiss Aboubacar, STRP member from Niger; Mme Alison Duncan of LPO, Eurosite, and BirdLife International - France; and Remy Gouin, of the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial.  [26/10/99]

Management Plan for Dongzhaigang Ramsar Site, China. With funds provided through the Ramsar Small Grants Fund, the Wetlands International - China Programme, in partnership with the Hainan Forestry Bureau and the State Forestry Administration, has developed a five-year management plan for the Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve in southern China. This mangrove site is one of seven Ramsar sites in China and the sixth to have a management plan in place. The plan was developed through consultation with local stakeholders and comprises five Operational Objectives. Under these, 28 management activities have been identified each with its own budget, time frame and responsible authority. Through the project, staff of the Hainan Forestry Bureau were trained in management planning and community outreach.  Here's a reprint of the plan. [23/10/99]

World Wetlands Day is coming round again. World Wetlands Day, the 2nd of February of every year, has been celebrated all round the world since 1997 in more and more countries, at more and more levels of government and community.  Last year's WWD theme, "People and Wetlands", proved to be especially helpful in communicating the key Ramsar wise use message to the wetlandophile public, and the theme for WWD 2000, "Celebrating our Wetlands of International Importance", will hopefully provide an opportunity to make Ramsar's "Vision for the List" -- a global network of interrelated internationally important wetlands -- more widely understood by our fellow citizens.  The Ramsar Bureau will soon announce generous offers of WWD posters, colorful stickers for your lunchboxes, inspirational pep talks by the Secretary General, and once again we will offer to post a summary of your WWD activities along with others from the rest of the world on our Web site.  In the meantime, content yourselves with reading over New Zealand's planning for WWD 2000,  the "public awareness strategy" from one of our favorite Contracting Parties down-under. [20/10/99]

Increased cooperation between Ramsar and BirdLife urged. In his statement to the World Conference of Birdlife International in Malaysia, which concluded in Malaysia on Saturday, Dr Bill Phillips, Ramsar’s Deputy Secretary General urged even further strengthening of the already strong partnership between the Convention and BirdLife. In his statement, the DSG highlighted the opportunity to use BirdLife's Important Bird Area (IBA) programme to identify priority sites for Ramsar listing. This programme has already identified over 5000 IBAs (with many more to come once global coverage is achieved) using criteria based on the Ramsar "biodiversity" site criteria. The IBAs therefore provide a readymade "shadow list" for Contracting Parties to consider in implementing the Strategic Framework for the List adopted at COP7. The DSG also urged BirdLife to promote the Ramsar "toolkit" about to be published, the Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands which embody the products of COP7, and to help secure more Parties to the Convention. Here is the text of the address. [19/10/99]

Latest International Waterfowl Census results.  Latest IWC results from the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia have just been published, including twenty-year population trends. The International Waterbird Census (IWC) has taken place in January in the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia in every year since 1967. The latest IWC results from the region have just been published, presenting detailed summaries of counts made by over 11,000 observers in 47 countries in January 1995 and January 1996. Midwinter numbers and distribution are summarised for 174 species of waterbird of which 23 million were counted in the region in 1995 and 19 million in 1996. In addition, detailed estimates of population trends between 1974 and 1996 of 24 species of Anatidae and Common Coot in five areas of the Western Palearctic are presented. Here's some more detail and information on how to order.  [6/10/99]

Ramsar book now available in Chinese. The Chinese version of Ramsar’s Economic Valuation of Wetlands has been printed and is ready for wide distribution. Translated by Li Lukang, the publication has two parts – first, a translation of the Ramsar book, Economic Valuation of Wetlands: a guide for Policy Makers and Planners, by Barbier, Acreman, and Knowler; and second, a research report entitled "An Indicator System of Evaluation of Wetland Benefits and Values in China" written by Chinese experts. Mr. Chen Kelin, the Director of Wetlands International - China Programme, wrote a preface for the book, emphasizing that while the concept of wetland functions has been known by people to some extent, very few people know about the value of wetlands. The book will help wetland senior managers and planners in their policy-making. Mr. Chen expressed his appreciation on behalf of the China Programme to the Embassy of Royal Netherlands to China and to Wetlands International - Asia Pacific for their financial assistance. (Reported by Li Lukang) [4/10/99]

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