The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 17 September 2008
Headline story. Celebrations for Austrian-German cooperation. On September 4th 2008, a ceremony took place at the "Austrian-Bavarian Wildalm" Transboundary Ramsar Site, a large mire area situated at 1430 meters asl. covering the whole bottom and the slopes of a karst depression or polje with a natural brook that vanishes into a ponor. The site comprises the two Ramsar sites -- the bog Bayerische Wildalm and Wildalmfilz in Tyrol, Austria, and Bayerische Wildalm in Bavaria, Germany, and the complex supports several endangered plant species. The regional affairs officer of the Ramsar Secretariat, Alexia Dufour, presented diplomas to the Bavarian Secretary of Environment, Marcel Huber, and the Tyrolean Landeshauptmann, Hannes Gschwentner, at the Gufferhütte, Tyrol, a mountain refuge, starting point of excellent hiking trails to the site. Congratulations to Austria and Germany for this initiative of great interest for the promotion of international collaboration for the conservation and wise use of wetlands! [17/09/08]
Headline story. Himalayan Initiative drafts strategy. The 6th meeting of the Himalayan Wetland Initiative, organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and funded by the Asia Pro Eco Europe Aid Cooperative Office, was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 1st to 3rd September, 2008. The main objective was to complete the draft of a strategy for the Himalayan Wetland Initiative so that Contracting Parties in the Himalayan region can consider and endorse the final version during COP10 at the end of October. Here is a report, with photographs, from Ramsar's Lew Young. [17/09/08]
Headline story. Japan Wetland Society launched. "Dear Forum members, Greetings from Japan. The Japan Wetland Society (JAWS) was officially established on 6th September 2008. The inauguration ceremony was held in Tokyo and Prof Tsujii (President of the WI Japan) was selected as the first President of the Society. Among the Board members of the Society are Prof Masatomi (crane expert), Prof Isozaki (environmental laws), Prof Kikuchi (the head of the Japanese delegation at Ramsar COP5), Ms Nakamura (Ramsar Center Japan), Mr Natori (UNU). There were 42 co-founders of the Society including Prof Kawanabe (Director of the Lake Biwa Museum), Prof Higuchi, Prof Washitani, Prof Fujikura, Dr Komoda, Mr Tsuji (President of JAWAN), Mr Kurechi. Other leading wetland researchers, active NGO members and wetland managers throughout Japan have expressed their interests in joining the Japan Wetland Society. The Society aims to promote wetland-related researches and conservation and wise use of wetlands.
Although the Society is still in its embryonic stage, we would like to seek some ways to cooperate with other Ramsar- and wetland- related bodies in other countries in not too distant future." -- Satoshi Kobayashi, Ph.D., Kushiro Public University (email@example.com). [17/09/08]
Headline story. Bosnia & Herzegovina names 3rd Ramsar site. The government of Bosnia & Herzegovina has designated “Livanjsko Polje (Livno karst field)” (45,868 hectares, 43°53’N 016°47’E) in Hercegbosanska canton as its third Wetland of International Importance. As summarized by Ramsar’s Monica Zavagli, based on the accompanying Ramsar Information Sheet, the new site is the largest karst depression in the Dinaric karst region and perhaps the largest periodically flooded karst field in the world. It comprises seasonally flooded agricultural land and alluvial forest, seasonal marshes and pools, permanent streams, karst springs and sinkholes, and the largest peatland in the Balkans. Together with the Sava wetlands, it is the most important wintering, migration, and breeding site for waterbirds and raptors in the country and a key site along the Central European Flyway. The polje is important for the identify of the local community of Livno, well-known for its traditional cheeses, and for a wide range of recreational pursuits. Threats include water extraction for energy production, a planned coal-fired thermoelectric plant, and unsustainable peat excavation. [16/09/08]
Vainuupo Jungblut, Associate Ramsar Officer at SPREP in Samoa, is participating in the Australian Wetlands and Waterbirds Taskforce (WWTF) meeting, 17-18 September 2008, in Sydney, Australia. [17/09/08]
Noticia Lamentable. Sr. Jesús Ramos. Con gran tristeza la Secretaria de Ramsar tuvo conocimiento del fallecimiento el pasado 30 de agosto de 2008 del Sr. Jesús Ramos, Punto Focal Ramsar para Venezuela por varios años. Jesús estuvo relacionado con la implementación de la Convención por cerca de 5 años y jugo un papel clave en la organización de la V Reunión Panamericana celebrada en Mérida, República Bolivariana de Venezuela en Septiembre de 2007. Por muchos años el Sr. Ramos estuvo dedicado y comprometido en la conservación de los recursos naturales de Venezuela como investigador y académico.
La Secretaria de la Convención Ramsar y en especial el equipo de las Américas envían las más sentida condolencias por esta perdida a su familia, colegas y amigos pero pueden estar seguros que siempre será recordado como un excelente colega y amigo de la familia Ramsar. [16/09/08]
Sad News. Mr. Jesus Ramos. It is with great sadness that the Ramsar Secretariat learnt of the death of Mr. Jesus Ramos, former Ramsar National Focal Point in Venezuela who died on 30 August 2008. He was involved with the Ramsar Convention for around 5 years and played a key role in the organization of the V Pan American meeting held in Mérida, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2007. Over the years, Mr. Ramos has been very dedicated to his task and was very engaged in the conservation of Venezuela’s natural resources as a researcher and academic.
The Ramsar Secretariat and especially the Team for the Americas send Mr. Ramos’ family, colleagues and friends our most sincere condolences for this sad loss. Let them be assured that Mr. Ramos will be remembered as an excellent colleague and friend of the Ramsar family.
Germany's National Wetland Committee. A meeting of the German National Wetland Committee was held on September 3rd, 2008, at the Ministry of Environment in Bonn, Germany. About twenty people, representatives of the federal Ministry of Environment, some Federal States (Länder), WWF-Germany, NGOs, the Bundesamt für Naturschutz (federal Agency for nature protection) and a representative of the Ramsar Secretariat attended the meeting. Here is a very brief summary of the event from Ramsar's Alexia Dufour. [16/09/08]
Study shows migratory waterbird declines. A study showing declines of 41 per cent of migratory waterbird populations along their main migration routes in Africa and Eurasia is presented to the Fourth Meeting of the Parties to AEWA (MOP4) in Antananarivo, Madagascar this week (15-19 September 2008). The report: “Conservation Status of Migratory Waterbirds in the African-Eurasian Flyways” prepared by Wetlands International for the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) is being presented to delegates from over 80 countries attending an intergovernmental meeting which began in Antananarivo today. The study reveals that 41 % of the known trends for 522 migratory waterbird populations on the routes across Africa and Eurasia show decreasing trends. The situation is even worse for waterbirds using Western and Central Asian Flyways, where 55 % of populations with known trends are currently declining. . . . Simon Delany, Waterbird Conservation Officer at the Netherlands-based Headquarters of Wetlands International and principal author of the report, said: “The main causes of declining waterbird numbers along the African-Eurasian Flyways are the destruction and unsustainable exploitation of wetlands, which are largely driven by poorly-planned economic development.” Press release (PDF). [15/09/08]
From the Ramsar Forum. International Crane Workshop in Gumi, Korea, October 2008. “Dear friends, An international workshop and symposium on crane conservation will be held ion Gumi City, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Republic of Korea from 23 to 25 October (just before the Ramsar COP10). It will cover the following four areas: Group A. wintering ground management & avoid over-concentration; Group B. Crane conservation involving local communities; Group C. Crane habitat loss and monitoring method in Korea; Group D. Ecotourism and Education program. Gumi is located at the bank of Nakdong River. Every year thousands of cranes (mostly Hooded Crane and White-naped Cranes) make a brief stop at the area before their journey to the main wintering ground in southern Japan. The site has good potential to re-establish a wintering flock of cranes. This is one of the main topics to be discussed at the workshop.
The workshop is co-organized by BirdLife Asia Division, Korean Crane Network and International Crane Foundation. If you are interested to attend the workshop, please contact Dr Lee Ki-sup of the Korean Crane Network for registration: Dr Lee Kisup, Korean Crane Network. Office phone: +82-2-734-0678(f), mobile +82-11-9788-0678, Email firstname.lastname@example.org." -- Simba Chan, Senior Conservation Officer, BirdLife Asia Division. [15/09/08]
Reminder. Credentials for delegates to COP10. It’s good to remind delegates that the Rules of Procedure specify certain things about the official credentials that they must bring with them to Ramsar COP10, and that no representative may exercise the right to vote unless his or her name is clearly and unambiguously listed in those credentials. The Rules stipulate that “The original of the statement of credentials of the head of delegation and other representatives, alternate representatives, and advisers shall be submitted to the Secretary General of the Convention or to his/her designated representative if possible not later than twenty-four hours after the opening of the meeting. . . . The credentials shall be issued either by the Head of State or Government or by the Minister for Foreign Affairs or his/her equivalent. . . . The credentials must bear the name and position of the person who signs the credentials as well as the full signature of the appropriate authority or else be sealed and initialled by that authority.” The full text from the Rules can be seen here in and . [10/09/08]
Floods at Nepal's Koshi Tappu Ramsar site. The Secretariat has recently received a report from the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Nepal informing us of the devastating impact of the Koshi River breaking its defensive embankment in mid-August, flooding and affecting 60,000 people in Nepal and another 3 million people in neighbouring Bihar State, India. Before the break in the embankment, the Koshi River was also the source of the water for the Koshi Tappu, Nepal's first Ramsar site, but only 20% of the water now reaches the site because of the change in the course of the river. Whilst much humanitarian aid is now being given to help the people affected by the flood, the Secretariat is also communicating with the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Nepal to see what assistance can be given to assess the impact to the Koshi Tappu Ramsar site and make suggestions for the future conservation of the site. The report from Dr Annapurna Nand Das of the Dept. of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation can be seen here (PDF), and some photos and a satellite image of the flooding, here. [11/09/08]
Training opportunities. EIA course at CREHO. The International Course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Strategic Assessment (ESA) for Wetlands Management is a two weeks intensive course that will take place in Panama City, 24 November to 5 December 2008, as part of the Regional Wetlands Training Program for the Western Hemisphere developed by the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands for the Western Hemisphere - CREHO. The course has been 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. [10/09/08]
El Curso Internacional sobre Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental (EIA) y Evaluación Ambiental Estratégica (EAE) para Manejo de Humedales es un curso intensivo de dos semanas que se dictará en Ciudad de Panamá, como parte del Programa Regional de Capacitación sobre Humedales para el Hemisferio Occidental del Centro Regional Ramsar para la Capacitación e Investigación sobre Humedales en el Hemisferio Occidental-CREHO. Este curso ha sido diseñado para los tomadores de decisiones y funcionarios de nivel medio, del sector gubernamental, privado, organizaciones no gubernamentales, organismos internacionales, sean de nivel profesional o técnico que se desempeñan en actividades o funciones relacionadas con humedales.
ICIMOD e-conference on "Culture and Risk". ICIMOD and the Mountain Forum are organizing a global e-conference on “Culture and Risk: Understanding the Socio-Cultural Settings that Influence Risk from Natural Hazards” from September 22 to October 3 2008. This e-conference will address cultural vulnerability to natural hazards and the objectives are to: 1) Understand the linkages between culture and risks through sharing and documenting lessons learnt, good practices, stories, and case studies on how belief systems matter in disaster management; 2) Provide recommendations to policy and decision makers on how such sensitive and often deeply personal and identifying cultural aspects can be addressed and, to the extent they pose a barrier to vulnerability reduction efforts, how they can be effectively overcome or circumvented; and, 3) Map key experts, identify key issues, gaps and research questions, in order to develop a workshop agenda/research proposal to be organised in 2009. Should you be interested in the topic, we invite you to take part in the discussion. You can register by filling in the online registration form. You are also welcome to look at our official webpage for more information. -- Ms. Nira Gurung, Communications Officer, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal. [10/09/08]
OCHA teams to Haiti and the Turks and Caicos. “Dear Mr Tiega and colleagues, Please be informed that, upon request of the national authorities/UN Residenct Coordinator, two UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams have been deployed to Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands, respectively, in response to Hurricanes/Tropical Storms Gustav, Hanna and Ike. In the context of these disasters, impact on the wetlands on these islands may be of particular concern. Both teams have an environmental expert among their members to identify any life threatening/urgent environmental issues: Mr. Olivier Bruyere (UN DSS) is part of the UNDAC team for Haiti, and Cecilia Morales, of UNEP PCDMB, is part of the team for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my colleagues with any questions concerning the above. Best regards,” -- Ms. Mirja Peters, Environmental Emergencies Unit (joint UNEP/OCHA) Emergency Preparedness Section, Emergency Services Branch Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland (http://ochaonline.un.org/ochaunep). [08/09/08]
Vacancy announcement. Ramsar opening for Intern for the Americas. The Ramsar Secretariat welcomes applications for the position of Intern/Assistant Advisor for the Americas Region, a 12-month posting (possibly extendable to 18 months) in the Ramsar Secretariat in Switzerland to begin in the second week of January 2009. With an age limit for applicants of 30 years old, the post offers an opportunity for young graduates to become acquainted with the workings of an intergovernmental treaty dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Candidates for this internship should be nationals of countries in the Americas and have lived most of their lives in the region. Full ability to work in Spanish and English is required for this post. Prospective candidates: please view the General Terms of Reference for Ramsar internships (also available from the Secretariat), which includes conditions of service and salary structure, and send the application form (Word, PDF) attached to the General Terms of Reference, a covering letter, both in English and Spanish, explaining your interest in an internship with the Ramsar Secretariat and your future career goals, your CV, as well as two letters of reference from your previous supervisors or dean of the faculty where you carried out your studies, to email@example.com. The deadline for applications is 3 October 2008. [05/09/08]
International migratory waterbird conference in Madagascar. Over 150 representatives of government and non-governmental organizations as well as waterbird experts from 80 countries will meet in Antananarivo, Madagascar, 15-19 September 2008 to discuss urgent conservation responses necessary to reverse the declines of many migratory waterbird species along the African-Eurasian Flyways. “Flyway conservation at work – review of the past, vision for the future” is the theme of the Fourth Meeting of the Parties (MOP4) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (UNEP/AEWA) – the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-backed treaty dedicated to the conservation of species such as ducks, waders, storks, flamingos and many other migratory waterbirds that use the major bird migration routes along the African-Eurasian Flyways.
Highlights of the meeting will include the release of new population trends for all AEWA protected waterbird species (Status Report); the presentation of a new study on the effects of climate change on migratory waterbirds; more than 21 Resolutions on a number of issues affecting migratory waterbirds in Africa and Eurasia, such as the spread of Avian Influenza (H5N1), lead shot hunting in wetlands, and climate change; and more. For more information contact: Mr. Florian Keil, Information Officer, UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit AEWA’s press page: www.unep-aewa.org/press. Today’s press release on MOP4 is available here inand. [04/09/08]
Interesting link. Gumboot showcases Ramsar COP10 preparations in South Africa. The August issue of the on-line newsletter of the Working for Wetlands programme, “Gumboot”, leads with an interesting story on South Africa’s preparations for its participation in COP10. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) is responsible for administering the convention in South Africa, and consequently is leading national preparations to participate in the COP. Working for Wetlands is a joint initiative of the departments of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), Agriculture (DoA) and Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF),and is housed within the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). “In this way it is an expression of the overlapping wetlands-related mandates of these three parent departments and, in addition to giving effect to a range of policy objectives, also honours commitments under several international agreements, especially the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.” [04/09/08]
Headline story. New Finance Officer joins the Ramsar Secretariat. The Secretariat is very pleased to welcome Ms Anna Goodwin as our new Finance Officer, who will be working alongside Paulette Kennedy through the period of the Conference of the Parties in Changwon and taking over in January. “Originally from the wetlands that are the British Isles, I am joining Ramsar as Finance Officer in September 2008 – I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about wetlands (my current credentials include being born within a wave of Portsmouth Harbour, growing up by the Upper Derwent Valley, with holidays at Wicken Fen, and a very recent visit en famille to Champs-Pittet – all Ramsar sites!) and to sharing with my new colleagues my love of numbers. An economics graduate of Warwick University, I worked for 11 years with Arthur Andersen as an auditor and general business advisor, with clients ranging from pop groups to chemical manufacturers, from tractor makers to computer games developers. Recently I have been working for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, looking after the millions being spent there in the East and Horn of Africa. I have spent a happy life travelling the world, living and working in the UK, the Middle East, USA, Japan, and now Switzerland. Married to Tom, an avid sportsman, I have two children, Sophie, 8, and James, 6. I love the outdoors and singing!” [03/09/08]
Call for Applications for MA Subglobal Follow-up. “Dear All, Today I would like to announce that the MA Follow-up Secretariat is inviting applications from sub-global assessment (SGA) initiatives/projects which would like to join the MA follow-up process and contribute to a network of MA sub-global practitioners. I am herewith attaching the SGA policy document and the application form for the application procedure. Applicants are required to complete the application form and return to the MA Sub-global follow-up secretariat at UNU-IAS by e-mail at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org. While there are no cut-off dates for the receipt of applications, the Secretariat will review and respond to submissions during the periods November 2008, March 2009, July 2009, and November 2009. The next application assessment dates will be announced in the last quarter of 2009. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to receiving your application.” -- Maiko Nishi, Scientific Assessment Coordinator, United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), Yokohama, Japan (email@example.com, http://www.ias.unu.edu). [03/09/08]
Vacancy announcement. Project Manager for Tour du Valat. “Dear All, Wetlands International and Tour du Valat are seeking to fill the position of Project Manager for the project “Engage Civil Society in Water Management in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region”, based at Tour du Valat. Attached the job description and details of how to apply. Rubicon Foundation has been asked to take the interim management of the project and for this reason the request arrives from it. We would appreciate if you could post the call in your Web sites and circulate as widely and quickly as possible as the deadline for application is on 20th September. Best regards.” -- Dr. Umberto Gallo-Orsi, Rubicon Foundation (www.rubiconfoundation.org), Wageningen, NL. [01/09/08]
A new Ramsar site for Colombia. The government of Colombia has designated its fifth Wetland of International Importance, a high Andean site (between 3,300 and 4,850 metres above sea level) in the central mountains. As summarized by Ramsar’s Mila Llorens from the RIS data, Complejo de Humedales Laguna del Otún (6,579 hectares, 04º45’N 075º25’W) in Risaralda department is a complex of wetlands located within the Los Nevados National Natural Park in the Central Andes of Colombia. It includes lagoons, swamps, peatlands interconnected or functionally related with one another and influenced by glaciers and páramo vegetation. The site is home to 52 species of birds, of which the most vulnerable are the aquatic species Oxyura jamaicensis andina and Podiceps occipitalis juninensis, with reduced populations and very localized distribution in Colombia – this makes them more susceptible to the degradation of their habitats, generated mainly by agricultural and livestock expansion. Other endangered bird species include Vultur gryphus, Hapalopsittaca fuertesi and Ognorhynchus icteriotis. Among the important flora species found in the site are Espeletia hartwegiana centroandina, Podocarpus oleifolius and Polylepis sericea, which are also found under special protection. In July 2006, the site suffered a fire that damaged more than 3,000 ha. A restoration plan is ongoing.
Support for this site designation was provided to the authorities by WWF International’s Freshwater Programme through WWF-Colombia, as a contribution to the Ramsar Regional Initiative on High Andean Wetlands. WWF-Colombia’s press release on this and a recent Ramsar designation in Ecuador can be seen here (PDF). The photo of Otún above is by Jorge Lotero / PNN. [26/08/08]
New Transboundary Ramsar Site. The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that on 7 August 2008 the governments of Austria and Germany have notified us that “in line with Article 5 of the Convention on Wetlands and Resolution VII.19 on international cooperation, we jointly request [the Secretariat] to register the following wetland site as a Transboundary Ramsar Site: ‘Austrian-Bavarian Wildalm'”. Comprising the existing Ramsar sites ‘Bayerische Wildalm and Wildalmfilz’ (designated in 2004) in Tyrol, Austria, and ‘Bayerische Wildalm’ (designated 2007) in Bavaria, Germany, the wetland is a remarkable peatland concentration in a karst depression, or polje, with many endangered plant species. A ceremony is planned for 4 September at the site in order to “highlight our cooperation and the Ramsar Convention to the public”, and it is hoped that a member of the Secretariat staff will be able to make the travel arrangements to participate. The instrument of notification can be seen here (PDF), and the list of existing Transboundary Ramsar Sites is here. [25/08/08]
Important developments at Ichkeul, Tunisia. Ichkeul in Tunisia is generally recognized (with Camargue in France, Doñana in Spain, and El Kala in Algeria) as one of the four major wetlands of the western Mediterranean basin. It has been listed as a National Park in Tunisia and recognized at international level as a World Heritage site, a Ramsar site and a MAB reserve. Mike Smart reports on recent developments there and argues that the Tunisian authorities should be warmly congratulated by the international community on this major and long-awaited action for the restoration of the original ecological conditions at Ichkeul. [22/08/08]
Réalisations importantes à Ichkeul en Tunisie. Le lac et les marais d’Ichkeul en Tunisie sont généralement considérés (avec la Camargue en France, Doñana en Espagne, et la région d’El Kala en Algérie) comme étant une des quatre principales zones humides du bassin occidental de la Méditerranée. Le Parc national de l’Ichkeul a été établi et, au niveau international, Ichkeul a été inscrit comme site du Patrimoine international, comme Réserve de la Biosphère et comme zone humide d’importance internationale sur la Liste de la Convention de Ramsar. Les autorités tunisiennes méritent les félicitations chaleureuses de la communauté internationale sur l’exécution de cette action majeure et longtemps attendue en faveur de la restauration des conditions écologiques originales d’Ichkeul.
Vacancy announcement. Ramsar opening for Intern for Europe. The Ramsar Secretariat welcomes applications for the position of Intern / Assistant Advisor for Europe, a 12-month posting (possibly extendable up to 18 months) in the Ramsar Secretariat in Switzerland to begin in late January 2009. With an age limit for applicants of 30 years old, the post offers an opportunity for young graduates to become acquainted with the workings of an intergovernmental treaty dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Candidates for this internship should be nationals of countries in Europe and have lived most of their lives in the region. Full ability to work in English is required for this post, and knowledge of either French and/or Spanish would be a definite advantage. Prospective candidates: please view the General Terms of Reference for Ramsar internships (also available from the Secretariat), which includes conditions of service and salary structure, and send the application form (Word, PDF) attached to the General Terms of Reference, a covering letter in English, explaining your interest in an internship with the Ramsar Secretariat and your future career goals, your CV, as well as the contact details of two referees from your previous supervisors or dean of the faculty where you carried out your studies, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is 26 September 2008. [21/08/08]
Now available. Ramsar Mission report on Lake Natron. Tanzania’s Lake Natron Basin was added to the Ramsar List in 2001 as a representative example of a Rift Valley soda lake that is the only significant and regular breeding site for the East African population of lesser flamingo Phoenicopterus minor. This population represents over 75% of the world population of this species. Ramsar Advisory Mission (RAM) No. 59, comprising Ramsar, CMS, and AEWA experts in a joint effort, took place from 17 to 29 February 2008 to provide advice to the Tanzanian government concerning the wise use and future management of the Lake Natron site, with particular reference to the proposed development of a soda ash facility that would abstract liquid brine from Lake Natron and process it nearby.
Based on its consultations, the RAM advised the Ramsar, CMS and AEWA Secretariats to recommend to the Ministers of Environment and Natural Resources and Tourism that the review of the ESIA submitted by Lake Natron Resources Limited in September 2007 be suspended, because the RAM encountered a significant number of unanswered questions that require further clarification before an informed decision can be taken by the Government of Tanzania on the proposed soda ash facility. The 44-page RAM report summarizes the situation in great detail and analyzes all of the potential solutions. [20/08/08]
Vacancy announcement. UNEP, Chief Scientist. "The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is looking for a Chief Scientist - who will report to the UNEP Executive Director and work within the Division of Early Warning and Assessment. Please feel free to circulate the attached TORs within your networks as we are interested in having a good selection. Applications can be made through the UN galaxy website (www.un.org)." -- Peter Gilruth, Director, Division of Early Warning and Assessment, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya. [15/08/08]
Vacancy announcement. ENB team members. Chris Spence, Deputy Director, IISD Reporting Services, writes: “IISD Reporting Services is currently recruiting for several new writers for the Earth Negotiations Bulletinand our other conference reporting services. Please see the attached announcement for details and feel free to forward this announcement to your own networks.” The announcement is reproduced here (PDF). [13/08/08]
New Intern for Africa chosen for Ramsar Secretariat. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that Ms Cynthia Kibata of Kenya has been selected, and has already taken up her post, as the next Intern/Assistant Advisor for Africa, to succeed Moloko Evelyn Parh from Cameroon, who will shortly take maternity leave. Cynthia holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Environmental Studies and has recently obtained a master’s degree in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development, both from universities in Manchester, England.
Cynthia is particularly interested in the field of sustainable development and its promotion amongst marginalized groups in developing nations, and she hopes to learn about the full range of Secretariat activities carried out at the local, regional and global level. We at Ramsar wish Cynthia every success during her time at the Secretariat, and also a lot of courage as she takes on the task of preparation for the Africa region’s contribution to COP10 to be held in Republic of Korea in late October. [08/08/08]
World Wetlands Day 2009. It's not too early to begin thinking about it. “Upstream – Downstream”. Wetlands connect us all. Our suggested theme for this year is river basins and their management. We all live in a river basin (or drainage basin, catchment, watershed, etc.), and most of the people reading this are well aware of the challenges of managing it – and particularly the challenge of making sure that the basin planners think of wetlands and not just water in their planning.
We hope that WWD this year, 2 February 2009 or thereabouts, will be an opportunity for people to look around at their own wetland and its interconnections with the environment around it – how the wetland benefits the surroundings and, of course, how activities throughout the river basin may affect their wetland. Read more here about what the Secretariat is planning to make available. [07/08/08]
Argentina names important flamingo site. The government of Argentina has designated that country’s 17th Ramsar site, bringing the area covered by the Convention there to more than 4 million hectares. As summarized by Mila Llorens, Assistant Advisor for the Americas, Humedal Laguna Melincué (92,000 hectares, 33°43’S 061°30’W) is a Multiple Use Reserve in Santa Fe province. The lagoon constitutes a wetland of regional and continental relevance, and it is of great importance for resident and migratory species. It is one of the two floodplain wetlands that support one of the most important populations of the Andean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus) in its winter distribution. This species is considered to be the rarest of the five flamingo species found at a global level. Among the wetland’s hydrological values are the recharge of aquifers and the moderation of extreme temperatures registered in the area. The threats that negatively affect this site are related to human activities, such as livestock, agriculture, and waste water disposal. [06/08/08]
Vacancy Announcement. UNEP WCMC. The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK, is seeking to recruit a Senior Programme Officer for its Ecosystem Assessment Programme. The announcement can be seen here. [07/08/08]
Announcement. US conference on restoration. Restore America's Estuaries' 4th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration is "the only national conference focused on the goals and practices of coastal and estuarine habitat restoration" The five-day Conference will explore the state-of-the-art in all aspects and scales of restoration, and will be comprised of field sessions, plenary sessions, expert presentations, special evening events, workshops, a poster hall, and a Restoration Exposition. It will be held in New England, October 11-15, 2008 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island. More information here. [07/08/08]
Rare gorillas in Congo Ramsar site. According to various news reports today, an estimated 125,000 Western lowland gorillas have been surveyed in the Ramsar site in Congo designated as Réserve Communautaire du Lac Télé/Likouala-aux-Herbes (1998). Researchers who carried out the survey for the Wildlife Conservation Society said that the last census on the species, from the 1980s, estimated that there were only 100,000 of the gorillas left in the world. Since then, the researchers estimated, the numbers had been cut in half, and this new estimate represents double that previous estimate. Among many sources on this news are this from CNN and this from Environmental News Service. [06/08/08]
Now available. Eckhart Kuijken's history of waterbird conservation. At the Waterbirds Around the World conference in Edinburgh in 2004, the long-time Ramsar veteran Eckhart Kuijken, then of Belgium's Institute of Nature Conservation, presented a substantial paper on "A short history of waterbird conservation" that prominently features the early and continuing role of the Ramsar Convention. The text, from the proceedings of the conference published by the government printing office in Edinburgh, has been available on the Web site of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, but we are now adding it to the Ramsar Web site as well. Eckhart was presented at Ramsar COP8 in Valencia in 2005 with a certificate proclaiming him a "Ramsar Person of International Importance". Here is the paper (PDF). [06/08/08]
ICIMOD photo exhibition. "The ICIMOD Photo Exhibition ‘Himalaya - Changing Landscapes’ is going places! Over the next 12 months, it will be exhibited in various locations around the globe, starting its journey in Sweden for the Stockholm World Water Week, 17-23 August 2008; moving on to IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain 5-14 October 2008, where it will be included in the outdoor exhibition; before travelling back to Kathmandu, Nepal, in time for ICIMOD’s 25th Anniversary celebration in December. It will then travel to Madrid, Spain in January 2009 and further locations will follow. The exhibit features a unique collection of repeat panoramas of mountains, valleys, and glaciers in the Khumbu region of Nepal taken in the 1950s, and retaken in the exact same locations in 2007. The exhibition includes photographs of scientific teams conducting research in the 1950s, and portraits of mountain people in the Himalayan region. The photographs provide a visual impression of how climate change and glacial melting are affecting the Himalayas, and the changes that have taken place in the climatic, cultural, and physical landscape of the Khumbu region over the last half century." -- Nira Gurung, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). http://www.icimod.org/ [04/08/08]
Reminder to Parties. Caution about new Ramsar sites for COP10. Parties that are planning to designate new Wetlands of International Importance for announcement at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (Changwon, Republic of Korea, 28 October – 4 November 2008) should make a point of completing and submitting their site designation paperwork well in advance of the COP. Here's why. [31/07/08]
Training opportunities. MSc course in management of protected areas. The University of Klagenfurt in Austria offers a Master of Science programme in the management of programme areas, structured over four terms organized in nine modules that require a total of 70 days of course attendance either in classes in Klagenfurt or on field excursions to selected protected areas around Europe. The language of instruction is English. The Ramsar Convention Secretariat is represented on the advisory board of the programme. The next session begins in September 2009 and the deadline for applications is 30 June 2009. In the meantime, here is an illustrated article about the course provided by programme organizers. Please respond directly to the addresses contained in the article. [30/07/08]
News from CREHO. New Technical Officer. Eric Flores De Gracia, who is joining the CREHO Team as the new Technical Officer, is an Agricultural Engineer (Technological University of Panama ), and has a Masters Degree in Biodiversity Management in the Tropics (San Pablo University CEU-Spain) and an M. Sc in Aquatic Science and Marine Resources Management (National Taiwan Ocean University). Before joining the CREHO Team, he worked as Chief of Investigation and Coordinator of the Experimental Stations of the Panamanian Authority for the Aquatic Resources (ARAP). He has research experience on pigmentation strategies in aquatic animals, color expression and ecological relationships; alternative uses of biodiversity (i.e., ecotourism, rearing in captivity of aquatic species); management of natural resources in hydrographic river basins, especially the water-vegetation-soil use relationship in mountain forests; as well as environmental education for conservation and ecotourism. See the new issue of the CREHO newsletter INFOWETLAND here. [30/07/08]
India's most important wetlands described. A news note from the BirdLife International Web site: "A new and monumental book details more than 100 Indian wetlands that campaigners believe desperately need protection from pollution, development and other forms of misuse. The 560-page tome describes 160 coastal and freshwater sites only 25 of which have been classified under the international Ramsar wetland treaty. . . . The authors, Zafar ul Islam and Dr Asad Rahmani of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS, BirdLife in India) call these wetlands India’s “liquid treasures.” They add in the book’s preface: 'The 25 Ramsar sites in India do not represent even a fraction of the diversity of wetland habitats existing in the country.' Here is the rest of BirdLife's review. [28/07/08]
World Heritage adds two new Ramsar sites. At the recent 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee, meeting in Québec, Canada, 3-10 July 2008, amongst the new additions to the World Heritage List were two natural properties that include Wetlands of International Importance within them. The World Heritage site “Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan” (450,344 hectares) covers basically the same features as does the “Tengis-Korgalzhyn Lake System” Ramsar site (353,341 hectares), first designated by the Soviet Union in 1976 and recently confirmed by Kazakhstan in May 2007. The World Heritage site “Socotra Archipelago” off the coast of Yemen includes within it the much smaller Ramsar site on Socotra Island that is tentatively called “Detwah Lagoon” as the Secretariat awaits further information from Yemen following that country’s accession to the Convention earlier this year. Fact sheets on the new World Heritage natural properties can be found at http://cms.iucn.org/news_events/news/index.cfm?uNewsID=1262. A list of Ramsar sites that are also all or partly World Heritage properties can be seen here. [25/07/08]
Now available. COP10 draft Resolutions. The Secretariat is pleased to announce the availability of all of the draft Resolutions approved by the Standing Committee for consideration and possible adoption at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, which, according to the current Rules of Procedure, must be made available to the Parties three months prior to the opening session of the COP. A CD-ROM containing the draft Resolutions is being sent to all of the Parties by diplomatic notification as well as to the Administrative Authority in each country.
Each of the 31 draft Resolutions can be found in the three working languages of the Convention – English, French, and Spanish – and in HTML, Microsoft Word, and Adobe Acrobat PDF formats. Additional COP documentation besides draft Resolutions, including regional and global implementation reports and supplementary information from the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) in support of some of the draft Resolutions, will be appearing on the Web site as they are completed and will be distributed (with the draft Resolutions) on a second CD-ROM in September 2008. [25/07/08]
Wetlands International - China appeals for earthquake support. In a note to the Ramsar Forum, Chen Kelin, head of Wetlands International - China, describes the destruction caused by the recent earthquake in southwestern China and outlines the organization's plans to help in the reconstruction of a school in Wen Country, Gansu Province. A fund has been set up for donations, and all of the details are available here. [25/07/08]
Coming soon – The world’s largest Ramsar site. As the Environmental News Service, WWF, and others are reporting today, the Democratic Republic of Congo is in the process of designating what will be the largest Wetland of International Importance in the world, the Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe complex covering some 6,569,600 hectares. Technical assistance and financial support for the preparation of the technical data for this designation have been provided by WWF International, Ramsar, and a USAID programme for Central Africa’s environment. The designation formalities and technical paperwork have not yet been completed by the DR Congo authorities, but as soon as that has been accomplished further details on the wetland complex will appear on the Ramsar Web site as well. [24/07/08]
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 ).