The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 22 May 2008
Headline story. International Day of Biological Diversity. A message from the Secretary General on the International Day of Biological Diversity: "On behalf of the Ramsar community, I send my best wishes on the occasion of the International Day of Biological Diversity, 22 May 2008. This year’s theme of ‘Biodiversity and Agriculture’ is an especially appropriate one for us, because the Ramsar Convention is similarly concerned about the importance of sustainable agriculture in maintaining the ecological character of the world’s wetlands and the ecosystem services that flow from them for the well-being of human communities.
Food security is a key part of the requirements for human health, and this is also a vital component of the theme of the Ramsar COP10 later this year (28 October to 4 November) – “Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People”.
The International Day of Biological Diversity is an excellent opportunity to remind ourselves of the immense value of agricultural biodiversity for many of the objectives we have set for ourselves in terms of human livelihoods, poverty reduction, food security, and the conservation and wise use, not only of our vital wetland resources, but of all the ecosystems that make up our common home on this earth.
-- Anada Tiéga, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
From the Ramsar Forum. Mediterranean Wetlands Living Planet Index -- call for contributions. Pere Tomas-Vives of the Tour du Valat writes: "Tour du Valat is currently working on the development of the Living Planet Index for Mediterranean wetlands, as part of the Observatory of Mediterranean wetlands. As you may know, the LPI has been developed by WWF and the IoZ and it is based on the evolution and trends of vertebrate species populations and we are currently collecting time series of data for different species populations at different scales (site, region, country)." See the rest of his message here. [21/05/08]
Headline story. Project Officer – Another new face at the Ramsar Secretariat. The Secretariat is delighted to announce that Ms Nathalie Rizzotti has taken up the new position of Project Officer. The post, generously funded by the Danone Group, was created to cover the increasing demands of administration, communication and coordination connected to the Ramsar-related field projects financed by Danone under the international programme “Ecole de protection de l’eau”.
Nathalie brings to the Ramsar/Danone partnership significant experience in project management. Most recently she has been working for the WWF West Africa Programme analysing and evaluating community-based natural resource management for their ron palm forest sustainable development project in Gaya, Niger. Before that she worked as project manager, developing and implementing the programme of river and wetland protection for the Canton of Geneva. This job involved much stakeholder mediation and CEPA work.
Nathalie will liaise with Danone/Evian and will also work closely with the Communications team at the Secretariat. Earlier in her career she was a member of the team writing for a nature magazine, ‘La Salamandre’. She continues to volunteer with a Swiss NGO “E-changer” to raise awareness in Switzerland of problems of developing countries in the southern hemisphere. A Swiss citizen, she holds a bachelors’ degree in Biology and Masters Degrees in Engineering and Environmental Management and International Development Studies. We all wish Nathalie every success in this important new job at the Secretariat. [21/05/08]
Nick Davidson, the Deputy Secretary General, is in Bonn, Germany, 19-26 May, participating in CBD COP9. Whilst there he will also be speaking in a number of side events including on wetlands and climate adaptation, international watercourse management, harmonised MEA reporting, culture and biodiversity, and Earth Observation for MEA support. In addition he will participate in several other meetings, including the Steering Committees of two major GEF projects: Wings over Wetlands (WOW) African-Eurasian Flyway project and the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP); a planning committee for the 3rd Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3); and (with STRP Chair Heather MacKay) the 2nd meeting of the Chairs of the Scientific Subsidiary Bodies of environmental conventions (CSAB-2). [19/05/08]
Tobias Salathé, Senior Advisor for Europe, is participating in the International Conference, Ecohydrological processes and sustainable floodplain management, Lodz, Poland, 19-23 May 2008, organized by the European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology and Department of Applied Ecology, University of Lodz, under the auspices of the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme. [19/05/08]
And three more Ramsar sites for Mexico. It will be recalled that the government of Mexico marked World Wetlands Day 2008 on 2 February by announcing the designation of a further 45 Wetlands of International Importance. The required scientific paperwork on these new sites has been progressing since then, chiefly fitted in amongst the many other duties of the Assistant Advisor for the Americas, Ms Mila Llorens, and with these three new Ramsar sites listed today a total of 15 of those are now on the Ramsar List, with more to come soon. Mexico now has 82 Ramsar sites on the List, second only to the UK in total number, and 30 more designations in the pipeline. Here are Mila’s site descriptions for the inland Arroyos y manantiales de Tanchachín in San Luis Potosí, Balandra on the Gulf of California, and Zona Sujeta a Conservación Ecológica El Gancho-Murillo on the Chiapas coast. [20/05/08]
Announcement. CBD COP9 side event today. Side event on Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change by CBD, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and Wetlands International. Tuesday 20 May 2008, 18.15 – 19.45. Venue: Salon Hauptmann, Maritim Hotel, Bonn. [20/05/08]
Oceania prepares for Ramsar COP10. The relationship between healthy wetlands and healthy communities is a critical issue for the Oceania region. Pacific communities rely on wetlands for their cultural and physical well-being, with wetlands being a main contributor for livelihoods and the standard of living in the region. This was one of the key points raised during a preparatory meeting of Oceania parties to the Ramsar Convention in Samoa on 10-11 April 2008, hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). SPREP’s press release, quoting the SPREP Associate Ramsar Officer, Vainuupo Jungblut, is available here, and the report of the meeting, along with its Key Messages and Recommendations for the Ramsar Standing Committee, are available as well, in PDF format. [19/05/08]
Mexico names 79th Ramsar site. The government of Mexico has designated its 79th Ramsar site so far, one of the 45 new sites announced on World Wetlands Day 2008. As described by Ramsar’s Mila Llorens, Humedales La Libertad (5,432 hectares, 17°39’N 091°43’W) is situated in the Usumacinta River Basin in Chiapas state and is composed of a complex of lagoons and temporary floodplains formed by the river La Libertad. The Manatee (Trichechus manatus), the Neotropical Otter (Lontra longicaudis) and the Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra) are amongst the endangered species living in the area. The site presents ideal conditions for the reproduction stages of many species of importance including: the Coatimundi (Nasua narica), Paca (Agouti paca), the Banded Anteater (Tamandua mexicana), the Mesoamerican River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii), the Morelet's crocodile (Crocodilus moreletii), and fish species including Atractosteus tropicus and Cichlasoma heterospilum. It also shelters at least 99 species of resident and migratory birds. Fishing is the main productive activity. Factors negatively affecting the site include agricultural and livestock practices, deforestation, soil compaction caused by grazing, the discharge of waste waters, etc. The National History and Ecology Institute is in charge of the management of the site, and it is found under the IV IUCN Category of protected areas. This is Ramsar site number 1774. [19/05/08]
Bystroe Canal Project under international scrutiny. The proposed construction by Ukraine of a “Danube-Black Sea Deep-Water Navigation Canal” in the Danube Delta has been an object of strong international concern since 2003, and Ukraine’s decision in December 2007 to proceed to full implementation of the project whilst a large number of questions remain unanswered about its international environmental impacts has increased that concern considerably. A number of relevant intergovernmental organizations met informally in Geneva on 18 April 2008 to exchange information and experiences on their activities with regard to the Project, and Ramsar’s Tobias Salathé provides a summary of these contributions in an up-to-date background paper. Next week, Ramsar’s Secretary General, Mr Anada Tiéga, will be participating in the 4th meeting of the Parties of the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, Bucharest, Romania, 19-21 May 2008, and the UN ECE press release, "Controversial Danube Canal – Non-compliance with Espoo Convention? Decision expected on 21 May", indicates the seriousness with which this issue is being treated by the international community. [16/05/08]
Vacancy announcement. Mai Po Nature Reserve Manager, Hong Kong. "WWF is a global conservation organization represented in more than 100 countries. Our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Mai Po Nature Reserve has been known internationally as a haven for migratory birds for decades. The Reserve, covering some 380 ha, was listed as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1995. We are looking for a person with strong leadership and people management skills to join us as Mai Po Nature Reserve Manager." The full announcement is here. [16/05/08]
Wetlands, land use patterns, and drought -- Ramsar and CSD-16. The Secretary General, Mr Anada Tiéga, has been attending CSD-16 in New York, USA, from 7 to 14 May 2008, in a follow-up to his participation in the intersessional meeting held in Beijing, China, January 2008. CSD-16's thematic issues are Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Drought, Desertification, and Africa -- the Secretary General was one of the panelists in the Thematic Discussion about Drought, and his presentation was focused on “Wetland management as a significant land use issue”. Here is a brief report on the Secretary General's contributions. [14/05/08]
MedWet Dialogue pour l’eau dans la région (MENA). Un atelier local s’est tenu le 6 février à la Commune rurale des Mnasra, Maroc dans le cadre du projet intitulé Dialogue pour l’eau dans la région (MENA). Ce projet financé par InWent est entrepris par MedWet dans le but de promouvoir la collaboration intra sectorielle pour une meilleure gestion des ressources en eau au Moyen Orient et dans la région Nord Africaine. Rapport. [14/05/08]
Now available. Standing Committee 37 documents. The agenda documentation for the 37th meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, which will be held 2-6 June 2008, was sent to the members and registered observers and posted on this Web site as of 2 May 2008. Interested readers can also download all of the documentation as one Zip file, either in Microsoft Word or in Adobe PDF format, by clicking the links at the bottom of the list of agenda papers here.
Representatives of Ramsar Contracting Parties who would like to convey their views on any of the Standing Committee documents or issues under discussion are invited to contact their Regional Representatives on the Standing Committee well before the beginning of the meeting. The Regional Representatives on the Standing Committee are chosen by the Conference of the Parties as Parties, not as individuals, but what follows is a list of the individuals who represented those Parties at the most recent Standing Committee meeting, SC36, 25-29 February 2008. [13/05/08]
COP10 liaison intern joins the Secretariat. The Secretariat is delighted to announce the arrival of Ms Jiyoung Hwang this week. The government of the Republic of Korea has generously seconded Jiyoung to work with the COP10 team at the Secretariat, where she will provide invaluable help with the many details of arranging the smooth running of the Conference.
Jiyoung graduated from Changwon National University and has a Bachelor's degree in English language and literature. She has been working for the Changwon municipality for almost four years. The city has been making great efforts to become an environmentally-friendly city by promoting a biology campaign, restoring polluted streams, and providing more green recreational areas for its citizens. Jiyoung will work with the Secretariat team until the end of the COP10 meeting and we wish her a very rewarding stay in Switzerland.
Message from Jiyoung: "Ramsar COP10 will be held in Changwon in October and I hope this will be a good motivation for people to understand how important the environment, especially wetlands, are to our ordinary life. I would like to learn more about how the international communities are working to conserve our environment and to help people know the influence of environment. Then when I come to back to Changwon city, I hope to use what I've learned from working with other international organizations. I hope Changwon will be a leading city in terms of environment, especially wetlands, by working closely with international societies and I hope to contribute to making Changwon a leading city in the environmental area." [08/05/08]
Ramsar Manual in Japanese edition. Minoru Kashiwagi and Yoshino Ito have informed us that the 4th edition of the Ramsar Manual (2006) - entitled "A Guide to the Ramsar Convention: Handing Rich Nature to the Future" - has been published in a Japanese edition through a collaboration between the Japan Wetlands Action Network (JAWAN) and the Biwa-ko Ramsar Study Group. This 110-page publication includes the entire text of the Manual as well as a special illustrated section on how Japan's wetlands are being protected under the Convention. (Announcement in Japanese.)
Financial support for the printing and design was provided by the 7-Eleven Midorino Kikin fund, with donations from customers at 7-Eleven Convenience Stores in Japan. To cover the remaining costs, JAWAN is offering the paperback hardcopy for sale at a reasonable price (English inquiries to Minoru Kashiwagi, kashiwagi(at)jawan.jp, Japanese to book2008(at)jawan.jp). The editors express their gratitude for the help of Mr Naoki Amako, Ms Noriko Moriwake, Dr Satoshi Kobayashi (formerly of the Ramsar Secretariat), the city of Narashino, and many local NGOs. [07/05/08]
New Senior Regional Advisor for the Asia / Oceania region. The Secretariat is delighted to announce that Dr Llewellyn (Lew) Young has been selected as Senior Regional Advisor for Asia/Oceania. Hong Kong-born Chinese holding British citizenship, Lew is already well known to many people involved in the practical issues of wetland conservation and wise use in the region. He has been Manager of the WWF Hong Kong Mai Po Nature Reserve since 1991, and was actively involved in the listing of the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar site in 1995. Since then he has worked closely with the Hong Kong government to develop the management plan and monitoring programme for the Site.
Lew has considerable experience in CEPA issues through his work at the Mai Po Marshes Wildlife Education Centre (with approximately 40,000 visitors annually) and his involvement in the establishment of Wetland Link International-Asia in 2005, a network that has been promoting greater communication and cooperation between wetland centres across Asia. Lew holds a MSc degree in Ecology from Aberdeen University in Scotland and a Ph.D from Hong Kong University, Department of Zoology. The Secretariat is looking forward to welcoming Lew in mid-June. [05/05/08]
European Ramsar meeting under way. The 6th European Ramsar meeting, sponsored by the Ramsar Convention and the Swedish Environment Protection Agency, is taking place now, 3-7 May 2008, in Solna-Stockholm. It provides a European opportunity to prepare for the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10), to be held in Changwon on 28 October-4 November 2008, and is looking into operational procedures of the Convention, especially at European and national levels -- "How best to deliver the Convention's mission to use all wetlands wisely through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation?" The agenda and advance documentation can be seen here, and the text of the Secretary General's opening remarks, in which he celebrated the leading roles of Europe, and especially of Sweden, in implementing the Ramsar Convention, is here. [05/05/08]
Publication of the waterbird census of Coastal Cameroon and Sanaga River. The Foundation Working Group on International Waderbird and Wetland Research (WIWO) of the Netherlands has published the results of the waterbird survey performed on the complete coast of Cameroon, from Campo (on the border with Equatorial Guinea) through the Sanaga estuary, the Douala estuary, the Mount Cameroon coastline to the Ndian basin on the border with Nigeria. The complete citation for this publication is: "Van der Waarde. J.J. (Ed)., 2007. Waterbird census of coastal Cameroon and Sanaga river, January-March 2007. WIWO-report nr 83. Beek-Ubbergen" (http://www.projects.wiwo.org/). Evelyn Parh Moloko provides further details here. [01/05/08]
Vacancy announcement. IUCN seeks head of Water Programme. The Head of the Water Team is responsible for development and implementation of the IUCN Water Programme. Based in IUCN Headquarters, the Head is the focal point for all water-related matters in IUCN regarding policy, programme development, resource mobilization and representation. Deadline for applications, 23 May 2008. The IUCN announcement is here (PDF). [30/04/08]
Ramsar MoC with Rwanda Environment Management Authority. On 18 April 2008, the Secretary General and the General Director of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to prepare the inventory and categorization of the Rwanda wetlands and marshlands. In addition, the two institutions will collaborate on i) developing a political and legal framework for the wise use of Rwanda marshlands, ii) strengthening the conservation and integrated management of Rwanda wetlands in general and marshlands in particular and, iii) raising funds and securing technical assistance for the Rwanda Wetlands Program.
The implementation and follow-up will be done by the Integrated Management of Critical Ecosystems (IMCE) project on the Rwanda site and the Africa team of the Ramsar Secretariat. The MoC will last for two years and is a pilot experience with Rwanda, a landlocked country where wetlands play a crucial role in socio-economic development. If successful, this experience should be replicated to other Parties engaged in the preparation of national wetland inventories. The text of the MOU is available in French, and Rwanda's press release on the inventory in French and English, both in PDF. [30/04/08]
Ramsar opening for Intern for Africa. The Ramsar Secretariat welcomes applications for the position of Intern/Assistant Advisor for the Africa Region, a 12-month posting (possibly extendable to up to 24 months) at the Ramsar Secretariat in Switzerland to begin as soon as possible. With an upper 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 Africa and have lived most of their lives in the region. Full ability to work in both English and French, both written and spoken, 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 French 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is 23 May 2008. [28/04/08]
Photos of Ramsar sites. Lake Uluabat, Turkey. Lake Uluabat, or Ulubat Gölü, is a large lake not far from Bursa near the Sea of Marmara coast. Over 400,000 waterbirds, including the globally-threatened Pelecanus crispus winter at the site, and internationally important numbers of several species of waterbirds occur regularly. Cem Sarpel has sent us some outstanding photographs of the site, taken in January 2008, and here they are. [23/04/08]
A la découverte de la Genève internationale. Le 15 avril dernier, la Maison de l'Environnement accueillait 25 adolescents de 13-14 ans pour une matinée de conférence sur le thème de l'eau, des changements climatiques et de l'environnement en général. Au travers de 5 présentations, ces élèves du secondaire ont pu découvrir diverses problématiques environnementales de portée internationale. Alexandre Favre du Programme des Nations Unies pour l'Environnement (PNUE) leur a présenté le Réseau Environnement de Genève (GEN), Alexia Dufour la Convention Ramsar sur les zones humides, Vessela Monta l'Alliance internationale pour la gestion de l'eau de pluie (IRHA), Anthony Lehmann le groupe de travail de l'université de Genève sur les prévisions climatiques et enfin Diana Rizzolio le réseau mondial des centres d'information sur l'environnement (GRID).Cette conférence était organisée par Mandat International, une fondation qui a mis en place un programme d'éducation sur les institutions internationales basées à Genève destiné aux élèves genevois. [23/04/08]
Early success at Narran Lakes. As Jamie Pittock reported here a month ago, Australia's Murray-Darling Basin Commission purchased 11,000 megalitres of water to top up a modest natural flood to the Narran Lake Ramsar site over the ensuing six weeks, to provide the high water levels needed to enable colonial water birds breeding on the lake to fledge their chicks. A new press release from the MDBC, 18 April 2008, reports that "Four weeks into a six-week MDBC watering at the Narran Lakes system have already resulted in a huge boost to the environmental health of the system's plants and animals, particularly its birdlife. The MDBC bought 11,000 megalitres of water over the Easter weekend to supplement the natural watering occurring at the internationally important Ramsar wetland site in north central New South Wales. Chief Executive Dr Wendy Craik said today that expert ground surveys were showing that about 75 % of the 30,000 pairs of straw-necked ibis attracted to the lakes since January were now expected to successfully produce healthy, full-fledged offspring." Here are the details (PDF). [22/04/08]
Exposition "Congo-Gironde, aller-retour", au Parc de l'Estuaire, Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, France. Dans le cadre d'un partenariat avec "Plein Sud", festival culturel sur l'Afrique centrale, le Parc de l'Estuaire, centre de découverte de l'estuaire de la Gironde et pôle-nature du Conseil Général de la Charente-Maritime, a choisi de créer une exposition proposant un " aller-retour " entre l'estuaire de la Gironde et un site Ramsar estuarien en République Démocratique du Congo: le Parc national des Mangroves.
The exhibition "Congo-Gironde, aller-retour", at the Parc de l'Estuaire, Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, France. In the framework of a partnership with "Plein Sud", a cultural festival about central Africa, the Parc de l'Estuaire, the discovery centre of the estuary of the Gironde and nature focal point of the General Counsel of the department of Charente-Maritime, decided to create an exhibition proposing an "aller-retour" exchange between the estuary of the Gironde and an estuary Ramsar site in the Democratic Republic of Congo - the Parc national des Mangroves. [21/04/08]
Vacancy announcement. Ramsar Regional Center in Iran. The Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in Central and West Asia (RRC-CWA) was established in Ramsar, Iran, with encouragement from the Ramsar Contracting Parties in Resolution VIII.41. It is an independent institution that is partially funded by the Ramsar Convention as one of its "regional initiatives under the framework of the Convention". The RRC-CWA is presently recruiting for two positions, Communications Officer and Technical Officer, and the detailed responsibilities and requirements can be seen here. The deadline for applications is 20 May 2008. (It should be noted that these are not Ramsar Secretariat positions.) [21/04/08]
Training opportunities. Ephemeral Wetland Construction Workshop. Thomas R. Biebighauser, Wildlife Biologist, US Forest Service, Center for Wetlands and Stream Restoration in Kentucky, USA, writes: "Greetings, A hands-on wetland workshop is planned for July 28 and 29 2008 near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The course provides an excellent opportunity to learn about building naturally appearing wetlands for native amphibians on a forested landscape. The attached announcement [PDF] contains additional information about the training event." [21/04/08]
Coming soon. World Migratory Bird Day. World Migratory Bird Day will take place on 10-11 May 2008. It's an annual event that was initiated by the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (UNEP/AEWA) in collaboration with the global Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS) - two international environmental treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - and was celebrated worldwide in over 56 countries in 2007. The theme for this year is "Migratory Birds -- Ambassadors for Biodiversity". The Executive Secretary of AEWA, Bert Lenten, explains more about WMBD in this announcement, and he explains there how you can download supporting materials, including this colorful poster (left) and a leaflet, and register your planned activities on the WMBD Web site. [16/04/08]
ReSource Award for 2009. Carmen Revenga, Senior Freshwater Scientist, Center for Global Trends, The Nature Conservancy, writes: "Please find enclosed the application form and application guidelines in English for the ReSource Award 2009. May I kindly ask you to distribute them among your networks - particularly smaller NGOs working on water in DEVELOPING countries. As every year, the application guidelines are also available in French, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese. All information can as well be downloaded from www.swissre.com/resource. Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2008. Thank you very much for your collaboration to spread the word of the ReSource Award 2009 among as many people as possible." You can find the guidelines (PDF) and application form (DOC) here. [18/04/08]
Caspian Sea region workshop: environmental scientific capacity in perspective. Last week, the10th-11th of April 2008, the Environment Pole of the University of Geneva (Switzerland) organized a workshop on the Caspian Sea. Within a cooperative agreement with Moscow State University and the University of California, the two-day event was intended to launch a multi-year programme regarding scientific capacity-building for the environment of the Caspian Region. During the first day, representatives of the UNEP and GRID team and of the Ramsar Secretariat presented projects and the current or potential future implications of their organization in the region, and the representatives of the three universities presented up-to-date research and data on the Caspian Region. The second day was dedicated to developing a working agenda for Caspian Sea Scientific Capacity Development. -- Alexia Dufour, Ramsar. [16/04/08]
Training opportunities. "Biodiversity and Climate change", Kushiro, 29 June-4 July 2008. The UNDP/UNITAR/KIWC Training Series on Biodiversitywas started in 1998 and is aimed at supporting national decision-makers in their efforts to implement an ecosystem approach to biodiversity management. The Series has gained popularity in its integrated approach of focusing on water, and has thus far benefited over 200 experts from Asia and the Pacific. The UNITAR 2008 workshop, on "Biodiversity and climate change" will to be held from 29 June to 4 July 2008 in Kushiro, Japan, and is co-organized with the Kushiro International Wetland Centre (KIWC) with financial support from the Japan-UNDP Partnership Fund and in partnership with the Secretariats of the Ramsar and Biological Diversity Conventions, and it will focus on biodiversity and climate change in the context of wetlands and water resources management. The deadline for applications is 5 May 2008. The full announcement, with links to the leaflet and application form, can be found here. [15/04/08]
Swiss Grant for Africa. Ghana publishes National Wetland Strategy. Ghana completed a National Wetlands Conservation Strategy in 1999 as one of the outputs of the GEF/World Bank-funded Coastal Wetlands Management Project. The actions prescribed in the 1999 Strategy document were vague, however, lacking detailed directions and actions for effective implementation of the Strategy. This led to the approval of a project proposal in 2005 to the Ramsar Secretariat's Swiss Grant for Africa, an assistance programme funded by the Swiss Government since 1989, for a review of the 1999 Strategy along with the development of a detailed Action Plan that corresponds with the principles, objectives and expectations of a thoroughly revised National Wetlands Conservation Strategy, with the aim of enhancing its implementation. The new National Wetlands Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2007-2026) has now been published, and Ramsar's Abou Bamba provides more details here. [15/04/08]
Swiss Grant for Africa. Mali reinvigorates its National Ramsar Committee. National Ramsar or Wetlands Committees have been proven to be invaluable instruments in pursuing the Convention's objectives in countries around the world. The government of Mali established it NRC in December 2006, but because of a lack of funding the committee had been more or less dormant since its creation. The government of Mali then successfully submitted a project for funding from the Ramsar Convention's Swiss Grant for Africa, funded by the government of Switzerland, to kick off the committee's activities, and a workshop was held on 29 March 2008 to launch its new Work Programme for 2008-2009. Ramsar's Senior Advisor for Africa, Abou Bamba, provides further details. [15/04/08]
Reminder. AEWA Award deadline is 30 April. "This is a reminder that the extended deadline for nominations for the AEWA Waterbird Conservation Award 2008 is 30 April. The AEWA Award 2008 will be presented in two categories - institutional and individual, and in addition each of the winners will receive a cash prize of US $ 5,000. We welcome nominations of governmental and non-governmental organisations, enterprises and individuals, which have made a significant contribution towards long-term conservation and sustainable use of waterbirds, especially pioneer initiatives or ones that serve as models for others. For more information please visit the AEWA web site at: http://www.unep-aewa.org/aewa_award/index.htm." -- Sergey Dereliev, UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, Bonn. [15/04/08]
Four more Ramsar sites for Mexico. It will be recalled that on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2008, the government of Mexico announced the designation of an additional 45 sites as Wetlands of International Importance. As the paperwork is being completed for these new designations, last week we announced that seven of them have been added to the Ramsar List, and today we are pleased to add four more. With many more to follow. [11/04/08]
Training opportunities. International Training of Trainers on Wetland Management, a course focusing on the facilitation of multi-stakeholder processes and curriculum development (ICWM-TOT), Moldova, is now re-scheduled for 8-26 September 2008. The course is organised by Wageningen International's Capacity Development and Institutional Change Programme and ECO-TIRAS, International Environmental Association of Dniester River Keepers Moldova. The deadline for application is 8 August 2008. The revised announcement is here. [10/04/08]
Now available. COP10 National Reports (some). From the first meeting of the Ramsar Conference of the Contracting Parties in 1980, Parties have submitted National Reports to the COP on their implementation of the Convention during the preceding triennium. National Reports constitute a vital source of information on the implementation of the Convention at the country, regional, and global levels, and once submitted to the Secretariat they become public documents. The deadline for submission of National Reports to COP10 was 31 March 2008, and a large number have been received. The staff of the Secretariat are now analyzing and following up on each of them, and as they are finalized we will be posting them in PDF format, in their original languages (English, French, or Spanish), on the Ramsar Web site. Today we have begun the collection with the first 13 reports, and many more will be going up soon. Here is the link to the index. [08/04/08]
Now available. Management plan for Wular Lake. "Wular Lake, the largest freshwater lake within River Jhelum basin, plays a significant role in the hydrography of the Kashmir valley by acting as a huge absorption basin for floodwaters. The lake with its associated wetlands is an important habitat for migratory waterbirds within Central Asian Flyway and supports rich biodiversity. It is a major fishery resource in the valley supporting a large population living along its fringes. The wetland also generates revenue to the state government through fisheries and auctioning of water chestnut, fodder, and other economically important species. The catchment of the lake supports coniferous forests and alpine pastures, adding to the natural beauty and biodiversity of the wetland area. Recognizing importance of the wetland for its biodiversity and socio economic values, the Wular Lake was designated as a Wetland of International Importance under Ramsar Convention in 1990. . . . . Sectoral developmental activities have, however, failed to recognize the immense role of the Wular Lake, leading to its degradation." So begins the "Comprehensive Management Action Plan for Wular Lake, Kashmir" prepared by Wetlands International - South Asia under an assignment from the Department of Wildlife Protection, Government of Jammu and Kashmir. The 6.9MB PDF of this model Ramsar site management plan can be seen here. [07/04/08]
Additional Ramsar sites for Mexico. As has become almost a tradition, the government of Mexico has used the occasion of World Wetlands Day to designate a considerable number of additional Wetlands of International Importance. At ceremonies in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, on 2 February 2008, Secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada; the Gobernador del Estado de Sinaloa, Jesús Aguilar Padilla; and the Comisionado Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas, Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich, joined the celebrations and announced that Mexico is designating 45 new Wetlands of International Importance to be dated as of World Wetlands Day 2008. The hopelessly understaffed Secretariat, in this case the Americas team of María Rivera and Mila Llorens, have been working hard on doublechecking that the data and maps submitted with the Ramsar Information Sheets conform to the standards set by the Parties in their COP Resolutions, and seven of the new sites have now been added to the Ramsar List. With, obviously, many more to come.
Nine new Ramsar sites in Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria has designated an additional nine wetlands for the Ramsar List, following on from the designation of "Lake Chad Wetlands in Nigeria" announced a few weeks ago and all effective as of 30 April 2008. Taken together, the sites present a fascinating array of wetland types, including swamp forests, river floodplains, mangroves, and lakes, and all of them are extremely important for their support for flora and fauna and for the ecosystem services they provide for the local communities. Most or all of them are formally state-owned but in practical terms under the customary control of local families and communities, which brings with it in some cases a challenging set of threats and opportunities.
The WWF Global Freshwater Programme has supported the Ministry in developing these designations, with the contributions of Professors Ogunkoya and Dami of the Department of Geography, University of Maidugui, and the Niger Delta Wetlands Centre, and UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Europe has helped in the preparation of the site maps. Nigeria presently has 11 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 1,076,728 hectares. Brief site descriptions prepared by the Assistant Advisor for Africa, Evelyn Parh Moloko, can be seen here. [04/04/08]
Workshop on Hindu Kush Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. There is a major need for better long-term monitoring of glaciers in the Himalayas using direct observations in the field, as well as for improved sharing of data among the different countries in the region. These were among the conclusions drawn by the more than 70 international scientists who met at a three-day workshop on ‘Cryosphere and Hazards for the Hindu Kush Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau’ from 31 March-2 April 2008 to discuss the problems of glaciers, glacial fluctuations, and loss of permafrost in the mountains and plateaus of the Himalayas. The meeting, held at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), was organised by the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), Global Land Ice Measurements from Space Regional Centre for Southwest Asia (GLIMS), Monsoon Asia Integrated Regional Study (MAIRS), Institute for Development and Innovation (IDI), Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), and ICIMOD. ICIMOD's press release on the workshop can be seen here. [04/04/08]
Web site launched for Wings Over Wetlands. The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project is a unique partnership of organizations involved in the conservation of waterbirds and their wetland habitats. It is a collaborative effort between Wetlands International and BirdLife International, with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and UNEP/GEF. WOW supports the implementation of both the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the AEWA Secretariat, and several other donors.
The extremely attractive and well-designed new Web site, launched on 1 April 2008, was developed by the Communications Officer of the Project in close cooperation with the Project Coordination Unit and the Communications team at Wetlands International, and is hosted by Wetlands International. A press release on the purpose and background of the new site can be found here, and the site itself, here. [02/04/08]
Now available. STRP14 report. The Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) met 28 January to 1 February to progress its work in the lead-up to Conference of the Parties next October, and the report of the meeting is now ready. In effect, the report provides a summary of progress and delivery plans and timelines for each of the STRP’s 2006-2008 Immediate and High Priority tasks (as established in Annex 1 to Resolution IX.2 and STRP’s 2006-2008 Work Plan), and on Lower Priority tasks where it has been possible to progress these. [03/04/08]
Vacancy announcement. Wetlands International. Wetlands International is seeking to recruit a Latin America Programme Development Officer for its Wetlands and Livelihoods Programme. This full-time position will be based in Panama City, Panama, and the full announcement is available in PDF here. [02/04/08]
From the Ramsar Forum. Data sought on mudflats and mangroves. "Dear All, I am looking for an updated worldwide dataset on the coverage of tidal mudflats and mangrove ecosystems. Could you please help me to find such data? Thank you very much for any kind of help." -- Gianluca Polgar, University of Rome "La Sapienza" (email@example.com). [02/04/08]
Action for culture in Mediterranean Wetlands. A new publication has just been released by the Mediterranean Institute on Nature and Anthropos/ Med-INA. Presenting a great deal of valuable information on cultural values and wetlands, the publication by Thymio Papayannis and contributors aims to encourage addressing cultural values in the management of wetlands. It presents information on culture-related activities relating to 22 wetland sites in the Mediterranean. Well-illustrated, the book provides up-to-date documentation of characteristic ongoing cultural activities and examines their significance for the management and protection of these sensitive ecosystems. A main conclusion is that nature and culture are two interdependent elements and therefore "we cannot understand and manage the 'natural' environment unless we understand the human culture that shaped it". Thus, the values resulting from cultural activities are important in strengthening the links of people with wetlands, a prerequisite for wetland conservation and for the sustainable use of their resources and services. Among other things, the book informs about the work undertaken in the field of cultural values of wetlands within MedWet and within the Ramsar Convention on wetlands. PDF versions in English and in French are available from http://www.med-ina.org/mava01/04_progress/index.html, and for the print publication, inquiries can be made to Med-INA at firstname.lastname@example.org. [31/03/08]
Argentina names 16th Ramsar site. The government of Argentina has designated its 16th Wetland of International Importance, the Reserva Natural Otamendi (3,000 hectares, 34º14'S 058º53'W) near the Paraná River in the province of Buenos Aires. According to Ramsar's Mila Llorens, based on the RIS information, the site is located in a rich biodiversity area where three biogeographic regions meet: Pastizal Pampeano, Espinal, and Delta e Islas del Paraná. It supports internationally threatened species such as the Dot-winged Crake (Porzana spiloptera) and the Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis). Some endemic species of the region include Straight-billed Reedhaunter (Limnoctites rectirostris), the Bay-capped Wren-spinetail (Spartonoica maluroides), the dark-throated Seedeater (Sporophila ruficollis), and the Marsh Seedeater (Sporophila palustris), as well as a number of mammal species locally threatened by hunting activities, including the Nutria (Myocastor coypus), Capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) and other internationally threatened species. The site is dedicated to conservation activities and the main productive activities carried out include livestock, forestation, tourism and agriculture. Among the potential threats that are found in Otamendi are the invasion of exotic flora and fauna species, the pollution of the water bodies, changes in the hydrological system, and extraction of resources. The site is under national protection as a Natural Reserve and is part of the National System of Protected Areas. A five-year management plan is in place. [28/03/08]
Vacancy announcement. Ramsar Secretariat seeks Finance Officer. The Finance Officer is responsible for the financial administration of the Ramsar Convention, facilitating positive relationships with donors, providing clear financial information to the Contracting Parties to the Convention (Member States) and advising the Secretary General on the financial viability of the Convention. He/she is responsible for financial management within the Secretariat through the provision of accurate and timely information on both core and project finances. The Finance Officer has a major role in the effective management of the resources of the Convention. Responsible for approximately CHF 4 million in project funds and CHF 4 million in annual contributions to the core budget. The deadline for applications is 21 April 2008 and the full announcement is here. [28/03/08]
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 ).