The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 28 May 2009
Headline story.Raising awareness about Turkish Ramsar sites. The General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has recently published a full-colour, glossy brochure showing all 12 of Turkey’s Ramsar sites which cover over 179,000 hectares in total. The fold-out, eight-page leaflet includes beautiful photographs of each site as well as key information concerning coordinates, elevation, area, and designation date. Text on each site highlights the wetland type as well as the important species to be found there and also includes other significant facts, such as ongoing implementation of a management plan, interesting archaeological remains, artisanal use, and key threats. A map of Turkey identifies the location of each site. [28/05/09]
Headline story.Award nomination for Petit Loango film. The documentary film on oil exploration in Petit Loango National Park in Gabon, commissioned by GRASP and the Ramsar Convention, was nominated for a ROSCAR Award at the 2009 Wild Talk Africa Film Festival in Durban. The film was screened on 22 April 2009 at the festival, followed by a discussion with GRASP Chief Consultant and Year of the Gorilla Ambassador, Ian Redmond. Although the film did not bring home the award, the nomination was certainly a great achievement in itself given the number of entries. A preview of the movie is available on the GRASP website at http://www.unep.org/grasp. [28/05/09]
María Rivera, Senior Advisor for the Americas, is in Brasilia, Brazil, from 26-30 May participating in the meeting of the Ramsar National Committee, meeting with the Ramsar Administrative Authority, and visiting and handing over the certificate of the new Ramsar site Reserva del Patrimonio Natural Fazenda Rio Negro. [25/05/09]
Sandra Hails, CEPA Programme Officer, is participating in a meeting from 29-30th May at the Foce Dell’Isonzo Nature Reserve, Trieste, Italy, of representatives from a number of European wetland centres to discuss the setting up of a European network of wetland centres as part of the global Wetland Link International network. [28/05/09]
Now available.Meeting reports. The official report of the 40th meeting of the Standing Committee (11-15 May 2009) is available here, with links to Word and PDF versions -- the decisions of the meeting are here in English and will be available soon in French and Spanish. The report of the 15th meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) is available here, and the STRP Work Plan 2009-2012, approved by SC40, is here. [26/05/09]
From the Ramsar Forum."No net loss" of wetlands. “Dear colleagues, I am seeking information about “no net loss” of wetlands policies. If you are aware of a jurisdiction (other than the US, Canada, and Hong Kong) that has adopted a “no net loss” policy, I would appreciate it if you could provide a citation or link to the pertinent law, regulation, or policy. On a related note, I am also seeking examples of Ramsar sites that have a connection to wetland mitigation projects. In the US, for example, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is the beneficiary of an in-lieu fee mitigation program that purchases in-holdings (privately-owned land within the refuge). Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, which the US recently designated, includes about 2,880 of former mitigation bank lands. If you know of other cases of Ramsar sites with connections to mitigation projects, I would be grateful for that information. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Roy”. -- Royal C. Gardner, Professor of Law and Director, Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida. [25/05/09]
International Day for Biological Diversity. "On behalf of the Ramsar community, I send my best wishes on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity, 22 May 2009. This year’s theme, ‘Invasive Alien Species’, is an especially appropriate one for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment wetland synthesis report has indicated, invasive species are considered one of the main direct drivers of the degradation of wetlands alongside habitat change, climate change, over-exploitation, and pollution." Here is a message from the Secretary General, Anada Tiéga, on the relevance of this day to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. [22/05/09]
Atlas of wader birds published. "More than half the populations of waders in Europe, West Asia and Africa are declining at an accelerating rate." That is the conclusion of the Wetlands International’s Wader Atlas, the first comprehensive overview of key site networks for waders in Europe, West-Asia and Africa, launched in London 20 May 2009 at a conference in London called “Global Biodiversity Mechanisms”, hosted by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The Wader Atlas (An Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Western Eurasia) identifies 876 key sites – such as lakes, coastal areas, floodplains - for 59 of the 90 wader species in those countries covered by the UN African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). Amongst these, the book identifies 68 sites at which more than five wader species occur in internationally important numbers (using the Ramsar criterion of more than 1% of global population). There are 112 sites where more than 40,000 waders have been counted. Ramsar STRP member David Stroud served as one of the editors of the new work, and Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, was one of the assistant editors. See press releases from JNCC and Wetlands International for more information. [21/05/09]
Argentina designates high altitude Ramsar site. Argentina has named a new Ramsar site, effective World Wetlands Day 2009 – Lagunas Altoandinas y Puneñas de Catamarca (1,228,175 hectares, 26º52’S 067º56’W) – that lies between 3,010m and 6,885m a.s.l. and is part of the Laguna Blanca MAB Biosphere Reserve. As summarized by Ramsar’s Nadia Castro, it includes a complex of high Andean endorheic river basins representative of the Central Dry Puna: shallow meso- and hypersaline lakes, shallow and deep brackish lakes, and deep hypersaline lakes. 19,000 individuals of Puna flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) and 2,100 of Andean flamingo (P. andinus) gather in this site, which represents 18% and 6% of the worldwide population of these species, respectively. The site also hosts several endemic species of the High Andean Puna, such as the Giant Coot (Fulica gigantean), Andean Avocet (Recurvirostra andina), Crested Duck (Anas specularioides alticola), Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), Andean Fox (Pseudalopex culpaeus) and a frog species endemic to the Catamarca region (Telmatobius hauthali). In addition, IUCN Red List threatened species Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita) and short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla brevicaudata) occur in the area, as well as 14 migratory species (e.g. Calidris melanotos, C. bairdii, and Tringa flavipes). This High Andean wetland is a highly vulnerable and fragile ecosystem and is threatened by overgrazing, unregulated tourism, mining prospecting, and flamingo egg collection.
The area is one of the 14 priority sites of the Wetland Network of Importance for Conservation of High-Andes Flamingos in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Preparations for the Ramsar site designation were assisted by WWF International’s Freshwater Programme, the Danone Fund for Ramsar, and the Fundación Yuchán. [20/05/09] Espanol.
Kazakhstan names two important lake systems. The government of Kazakhstan has designated two new Wetlands of International Importance, effective 7 May 2009 -- Koibagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System (58,000 hectares, 52°39’N 065°45’E) and Kulykol-Taldykol Lake System (8,300 hectares, 51°23’N 061°52’E) -- bringing that country's Ramsar sites total to four sites covering 531,141 hectares. Both are lake complexes in the Kostanay oblast in the northern part of the country. Both have also been designated in the Western/Central Asian Site Network for Siberian Cranes and Other Globally Endangered Wetland Bird Species in the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species and, for both of them, RIS site information has been developed with the assistance of the UNEP/GEF Siberian Crane Wetlands Project. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Asia/Oceania, Ann Aldersey, has provided these brief site descriptions based on the RIS information. [20/05/09] Translations. kaz-w
40th Standing Committee meeting. The Ramsar Standing Committee has completed its 40th meeting, its first full meeting with the new membership elected by COP10. The 76 members and observers settled all of the necessary administrative matters – establishing a Subgroup on COP11, clarifying the role of the Management Working Group, approving budget audits and the Work Plans of the Secretariat and the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) – and then worked their way through the process of approving proposals and in some cases allocating funding for Regional Initiatives operating under the framework of the Convention. There were also a number of lively discussions of how best to promote the Changwon Declaration, World Wetlands Day, and other activities, and preparations were got under way for the next meeting of the COP, set for Bucharest, Romania, in 2012. [18/05/09]
Also now available: The documents and reports of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Administrative Reform, including the Co-Chairs' letters to the Executive Director of UNEP and the Director General of IUCN. [15/05/09]
Uganda designates famous “Mountains of the Moon”. In a brief ceremony during the opening session of the 40th meeting of the Standing Committee, Paul Mafabi, commissioner of the Wetlands Management Department in Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, accepted the Ramsar site certificate for Uganda’s newest Wetland of International Importance – “Rwenzori Mountains Ramsar site” (99,500 hectares, 00°25’N 030°00’E). The new site, within a National Park and World Heritage Site, is located in the west of the country, ranging from 1,600 to 5,100 meters above sea level in mountains that are home to one of only three glaciated areas in Africa (with Mounts Kenya and Kilimanjaro) and contiguous with the Ramsar site “Parc national des Virunga” in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda’s new designation, effective 13 May 2009, has been supported significantly by WWF – Uganda and WWF International’s Freshwater Programme.
Cynthia Kibata, Ramsar Assistant Advisor for Africa, has prepared this Annotated List description of the site based on the Ramsar Information Sheet submitted with the designation.
Headline story.SC40 gets underway. Seventy-six members and observers of the Ramsar Standing Committee are visiting the Secretariat facilities at IUCN in Switzerland all this week for the 40th meeting of the SC. This is the first full meeting of the Committee membership newly elected by the Conference of the Contracting Parties at COP10 in Changwon in November 2008. Subsidiary committees are meeting Monday and Tuesday to prepare the ground for the plenary sessions that will continue Wednesday through Friday, and this afternoon, Tuesday, there will be a study tour for the participants of a Ramsar site in the Geneva area. The agenda can be seen here. [12/05/09]
Uganda Wetland Maps Will Help Reduce Poverty, Boost Economy. "Uganda’s leaders now have access to maps that will allow them – for the first time ever – to reduce poverty through better management of the country’s wetlands. “Wetlands affect the daily lives of every one of Uganda’s citizens and provide a powerful wall of protection for Uganda’s economic development,” said Paul Mafabi, commissioner of the Wetlands Management Department in Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, during an event to officially release the maps on 5 May 2009.The maps appear as part of a new report, Mapping a Better Future: How Spatial Analysis Can Benefit Wetlands and Reduce Poverty in Uganda, produced by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in collaboration with Uganda’s Wetlands Management Department, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, and the International Livestock Research Institute." The press release quoted here can be read here, and a 5MB PDF of the new 50-page report is downloadable here. A 23MB high-resolution PDF of the report is available from the producers. [12/05/09]
World Wetlands Day 2010 -- advance info. “Wetlands, Biodiversity, and Climate Change.” Why this theme for the next World Wetlands Day? Sandra Hails, Ramsar’s CEPA Officer, explains the thinking behind the Standing Committee’s choice of a suggested theme for World Wetlands Day 2010, focused on next 2 February, and describes the kinds of promotional materials we will be making available this year free of charge, once again thanks to the generosity to the Evian Initiative of the Danone Group. Click here. [12/05/09]
Vacancy announcement.Wetlands International seeks Senior Technical Officer. Wetlands International is seeking to recruit a Senior Technical Officer - Knowledge-base. He or she "will lead advanced knowledge development on key thematic areas of WI’s work, including under the Shell partnership, so that stakeholders and decision-makers are well informed about the status and trends of wetlands, their biodiversity, socio-economic values and priorities for action, making Wetlands International one of the leading authorities on wetland knowledge." Applications (motivation letter + CV in English) should be sent to the attention of Mrs Hacer Durmus, Administrative & Human Resources Assistant. You can send it by regular mail or to the e-mail address email@example.com. The deadline for this job vacancy is 12 June 2009. More details are available here (PDF). [12/05/09]
Vacancy announcement.UNECE Water Convention, Geneva. The UNECE Secretariat of the Water Convention (the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes) is seeking an Environmental Affairs Officer, related to the preparations of the second Assessment of transboundary waters in the UNECE region, a 1-year renewable position to be based in the Geneva Secretariat. Deadline for application, 29 May 2009. The announcement can be found here (PDF). [12/05/09]
First all-Francophone Judiciary Training Workshop in Environmental Law. Forty-five (45) magistrates practicing in various tribunals, courts of appeal and supreme courts in West and Central African countries took part in the “Seminaire de formation des magistrats francophones en droit de l’environnement,” 21-30 April 2009 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The course was organized by the Ramsar Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Francophone Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEEF), and the African Institute for Environmental Law (AIEL). More details, and some photos, can be seen here . [11/05/09]
Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. On 8 May 2009, an MoU was signed between the Partnership for the East Asian - Australasian Flyway and the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea, for the Metropolitan City of Incheon to host the Secretariat of the Partnership. The signing ceremony was held as part of an ‘International Symposium on the Future and Vision of East Asian-Australian (EAA) Flyway Partnership' in Incheon City on the same day. It was also announced that the Nakdong Estuary has been included in the Flyway Site Network as from 1 May 2009. There are now 79 sites officially under the Flyway Site Network. Further information about the EAAF Partnership can be found from http://www.eaaflyway.net/. [08/05/09]
RSPB grants for endangered birds research. “We are pleased to announce the opening of the 2009 call for applications to the Birdfair/RSPB Research Fund for Endangered Birds. This will close on 30 September and successful applicants informed before December 2009. As before, the fund provides up to $2,000 to researchers working on birds listed by IUCN as Endangered or Critically Endangered, and now includes species listed as Data Deficient. An application form can be downloaded from [here] or from me by email request. Please send this email to anyone you think might be interested in applying. Many thanks.” -- Dr Paul F. Donald, Principal Conservation Scientist, International Research Team, RSPB (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.rspb.org.uk) [07/05/09]
Three new Ramsar sites for the Republic of Korea. The paperwork has been completed for three small but extremely interesting Wetlands of International Importance that were announced by the Republic of Korea at Ramsar COP10 in Changwon, October-November 2008. Ganghwa Maehwamarum Habitat (1 hectare, 37°38’N 126°32’E) in the Incheon Metropolitan City district is a human-made rice paddy wetland near the city of Incheon – with a real area of 0.3015 hectares (rounded up to 1 ha.), this is the smallest Ramsar site at the time of designation. Muljangori-oreum wetland (63 hectares, 33°24’N 126°36’E) on Jeju Island is a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve that comprises a volcanic crater lake at above 900m altitude. Odaesan National Park Wetlands (2 ha; 37°48’N 128°38’E), a National Park in Gwangwon-do in the northeast, are a complex of three small fens at about 1000m altitude on Odaesan mountain, including some of the best conserved peatlands in the country. [05/05/09]
Announcement. Ramsar site managers training in Canada. Canada will host a National Training Course for Canadian Ramsar Sites Managers from October 5-8, 2009 at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area in Creston, British Columbia, one of Canada’s 37 Ramsar sites. This is first time such a course has been planned. It will focus on Canadian regulatory responsibilities, management tools available from the Convention, cooperation among site managers and building capacity to address issues identified in a 2007 Survey of Canadian Ramsar Site Managers (a report on this survey was announced earlier this year on the Ramsar Convention web site). It will also permit discussions on development of a Canadian Ramsar Network. Participation targets existing organizations and individuals managing Ramsar sites and other wetland initiatives in Canada. The course will be sponsored by the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority, Environment Canada and other non-government organizations. Because of this financial support, the course is now offered without any fees being required. For information, including a preliminary agenda and details about Creston, and to register please contact: Mr. Richard Dalon, Chief Executive Officer, CVWMA (email@example.com). The deadline for confirmed registrations is June 1, 2009.
Now available. Best Practice Guide for Wild Bird Monitoring Schemes. The European Bird Census Council has announced the availability of Best Practice Guide For Wild Bird Monitoring Schemes, Edited by P Vorisek, A Klvanova, S Wotton and RD Gregory (150 pages, softcover), published by RSPB. “The book summarises recommendations on establishing, running and improving national wild bird monitoring schemes. The methodology is described in detail and includes field methods, sampling design, data management and analysis, and communication; including case studies from various countries. The guide will be distributed among the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) network of cooperating individuals and organisations across Europe, as well as through the European Bird Census Council national delegates and BirdLife International partner organisations.” The book is available for purchase from NHBS and for download from the EBCC – see the announcement on the EBCC Web site. [01/05/09]
Austria's National Ramsar Committee meets on Lake Constance. On 20-21 April 2009, the Austrian National Ramsar Committee held its 22nd meeting, first in the governmental building of the federal state Vorarlberg in the city of Bregenz (famous for its opera performances on the shores of Lake Constance), then on an excursion boat cruising on Lake Constance. The Austrian National Ramsar Committee is a model of its kind, hopefully to become a source of inspiration for other countries aiming to reinforce their Ramsar work and implementation at national and local scales. Ramsar's Senior Advisor for Europe, Tobias Salathé, participated and has prepared a brief illustrated report that covers the background, the issues, the decisions, and the way forward. [29/04/09]
"Environment Enters the African Court Rooms". The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, 1971), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Francophone Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEEF) and the African Institute for Environmental Law (AIEL) are jointly organizing from 27 to 30 April 2009 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the first training seminar in environmental law exclusively for magistrates of Francophone Africa. This press release lays out the details. [29/04/09]
Now available.“The case of Transboundary Wetlands under the Ramsar Convention: Keep the lawyers out!” How does international environmental law work in practice? How does it work at a local, grassroots level? Taking two Ramsar areas as case studies – the Orange River Mouth area and the Scheldt River estuary, both transboundary wetlands between South Africa and Namibia, and between the Netherlands and Belgium, respectively – Jonathan Verschuuren studies how national bodies, including public authorities, interest groups, and landowners, deal with international environmental law in an extremely complex legal context.
Dr Verschuuren is Professor of International and European Environmental Law at the Faculty of Law, Tilburg University, the Netherlands, and this article is posted here in PDF format with the kind permission of the publisher, the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, 19 COLO. J. INT’L. ENVTL L. & POL’Y 49 (2008). [24/04/09]
Now available.Ramsar sites in the USA. The Ramsar Administrative Authority in the United States, the Division of International Conservation of the Fish and Wildlife Service, has produced an informative 3-ply single-sheet brochure, “United States Ramsar sites”, that provides descriptions of all 26 Wetlands of International Importance in that country. The information is so up-to-date that it includes two Ramsar sites – Palmyra Atoll NWR and Corkscrew Swamp – that have been designated by the US and not yet been processed by the Secretariat staff. You can download the brochure in PDF format from http://www.fws.gov/international/DIC/ global/pdf/Ramsarsitesbrochureforweb20090407.pdf. [24/04/09]
Announcements.Science and river deltas. There will be a discussion of Ramsar at the Delta Research and Global Observation Network’s (DRAGON) global summit to be held June 22nd-25th in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The purpose of the Asia Summit is to “forge new global partnerships to develop the science needed to inform decision making in the Mekong, Mississippi, and other large river and delta systems around the globe. The summit will feature sessions and special symposia related to specific deltas, such as the Yangtze, Cho Phraya, Huang He, Volga and others. Organizers include the National Wetland Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, the International Crane Foundation, the Great Lakes Fishery commission, and the Caddo Lake Institute (CLI). More information on the Summit is found on the USGS Web site.
The Caddo Lake Institute has been asked to assemble the presentations on Ramsar for the meeting and will concentrate primarily on the benefits of the Ramsar designation, cooperative efforts and non regulatory means of protecting wetlands. The discussion will also likely include the Ramsar Convention’s emphasis on science. – Mary Sanger, Caddo Lake Institute. [24/04/09]
World's largest Ramsar site. The Secretariat is delighted to announce that the paperwork has been completed for what becomes the world’s largest Wetland of International Importance. The Democratic Republic of Congo has designated, effective 24 July 2008, the rainforest wetland called “Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe” (6,569,624 hectares, 01°30’S 017°30’E ), a vast area of rainforest, rivers, and lakes on the eastern side of the Congo River, adjacent to the nearly equally enormous “Grands affluents” Ramsar site (5,908,074 hectares) across the Congo River in the state of Congo. The previous leader for Ramsar site area was “Queen Maud Gulf” (6,278,200 ha) in Canada’s Northwest Territory. The groundwork for the new designation was significantly assisted by WWF’s International Freshwater Programme and WWF – Democratic Republic of Congo.
A summary description of the new site, prepared by Ramsar's Cynthia Kibata, can be seen here, along with some photos and links to speeches delivered at ceremonies in Kinshasa in July 2008 by the Minister of the Environment, the director of WWF - DRC, and on behalf of the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention by Denis Landenbergue of WWF International. [23/04/09]
Now available.“We must value and conserve our coastal wetlands”. “The services provided by wetland ecosystems are immense, arguably at least $14 trillion per year, according to the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Yet the value of these services still remains widely unappreciated, as we are continuing to destroy both coastal and inland wetlands faster than any other ecosystem. We need to radically shift our thinking and decision making to recognize coastal wetlands as key tools for our future livelihoods.” Secretary General Anada Tiéga argues for the importance of our coastal wetlands and the need for integrated management and institutional cooperation as we work to conserve them under the pressures of development. Reprinted in PDF format with kind permission from the World Bank’s Environment Matters, 2008, pp. 6-7. [22/04/09]
Training opportunities.Sustainable development diplomacy. The “Executive Education Course on Sustainable Development Diplomacy (SDD)” is a two-week executive education training course of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University, Cambridge, USA, Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and the Sustainability Challenge Foundation. It will be offered this year 14-28 June 2009 and takes place in the Netherlands. A full description is available here (PDF), with an application form (Word), and it should be noted that although the course is aimed primarily at members of the above institutions, “the course is open to other talented people as well”. [21/04/09]
Changwon Declaration set in stone. “Monument Set up to Commemorate Changwon Declaration at Ramsar Convention. Changwon City has set up a monument to commemorate the Changwon Declaration of the general meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands last October. The monument, which reads "The Changwon Declaration on Human Welfare and Wetlands," was set up in front of the main gate of the Chang-won Convention Center in late March to remind the people of the meaning of the Ramsar Convention meeting and to further disseminate its spirit. The monument, 1.5 meters wide, 0.3 meters thick and 2.53 meters high, is made of granite, on which the declaration's content is carved in Korean and English.” – from The Chang Won Times (monthly newspaper in English), 15 April 2009 edition. [21/04/09]
Now available. New release of Ramsar Sites of the World book. "The Ministry of Environment Korea, WWT, and UNDP/GEF Korea Wetland Project are pleased to announce the publication of Ramsar Sites of the World book in support of the goals of the Ramsar Convention on wetlands. This new publication shows exemplary conservation practices of 17 Ramsar sites around the world: South Korea, Mali, China, India, Iran, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, Brazil, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. 24 wetland experts and more than 40 photographers deliver the vivid description of Ramsar sites of 17 countries and willingly took their valuable time to make this publication possible. We certainly hope that their effort will encourage people to take an action for our precious wetlands in the world. By visiting the following website, you can easily download the pdf version of the book: http://koreawetland.org/en/sub05.asp.
"If you have any comment, please contact Namue Lee at the UNDP/GEF Korea Wetland Project (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chris Rostron at WWT (Chris.Rostron@wwt.org.uk)." [17/04/09]
Announcement.French site to celebrate Ramsar site certificate. On 24 April 2009, officials at the Salins de Villeneuve les Maguelone on the Mediterranean coast near Montpellier will be welcoming the public to an "open house" and celebrating the conferral of their Ramsar site certificate for their new Ramsar site, called "Etangs palavasiens". The invitation can be seen here (PDF). [16/04/09]
Bosnia-Herzegovina celebrates a major new karst Ramsar site. "On 3 April 2009, in the small town of Livno, the Bosnian authorities, experts from local and international NGOs and different stakeholders celebrated the inscription of Livanjsko Polje (Livno karst field) in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. . . . SenadOprasic, heading the national Ramsar Administrative Authority in Sarajevo, expressed his satisfaction that the Ramsar Convention was providing the first legal protection to this outstanding area, while his office is working to prepare the urgently needed environmental legislation for his country, including a law for protected areas." Ramsar's Tobias Salathé was present and provides this brief, illustrated report on the event and its significance. [15/04/09]
Exhibition on Cambodian Ramsar site. The artist Paul Stewart is opening his new exhibition of fine art prints from the Ramsar wetland area on The Mekong in northern Cambodia, “Ramsar Site 999 - The Flooded Forests of Northern Cambodia”, which will run from 27 April to 31 May 2009 in Phnom Penh. A larger version of the poster at left can be seen in PDF format here. [15/04/09]
Sudan adds two Red Sea coastal Ramsar sites. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to report that, effective World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2009, the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources of Sudan has designated two new Wetlands of International Importance, both biodiversity-rich coastal areas in Red Sea State. Dongonab Bay-Marsa Waiai(280,000 hectares, 20°33'N 037°13’E) features an array of coral reefs, mangroves, off-shore islands, soft-bottom mud flats, sand beaches and hard bottom rocky shores in addition to salt-marshes, sabkha and khor basins. Suakin-Gulf of Agig(1,125,000 hectares, 18°34’N 038°05’E) encompasses, not only the sand flats, lagoons, sand shores and Tokar Delta along the coastline, but also the marine expanse of the Suakin Archipelago and its coral reefs.
Sudan now has four Ramsar sites covering an area of 8,189,600 hectares. WWF International’s Freshwater Programme and the Swiss Federal Office for Environment were very helpful in the preparations for these two important site designations. Ramsar’s Cynthia Kibata has prepared brief site summaries for the Annotated Ramsar List, which can be seen here. [14/04/09]
Congo names two riverine Ramsar sites. The Secretatiat is pleased to announce that the Direction générale de l’Environnement in Brazzaville has designated two new Wetlands of International Importance in Congo, effective 3 April 2009.Les Rapides du Congo-Djoué(2,500 hectares, 04°19’S 015°11’E) comprises the important Congo River tributaries the Djoué and the Loua and a rich complex of surrounding wetland types. The very large Sangha-Nouabalé-Ndoki(1,525,000 hectares, 01°41’N 016°26’E), which includes a National Park, comprises the important Sangha River and its surroundings. These two join Congo’s existing five Ramsar sites to provide commitments for the conservation and wise use of a total of 8,454,259 hectares. WWF International’s Freshwater Programme was extremely helpful in facilitating the work leading to the designation of these important new sites.
Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for Africa, Cynthia Kibata, has provided brief site summaries based on the Ramsar Information Sheets that accompanied the designations, and so photographs have been supplied in PDF format. Here. [09/04/09]
Now available. Agenda papers for SC40. The documents for the 40th meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, which will take place 11-15 May 2009 in the Secretariat facilities in Gland, Switzerland, are now available on the Ramsar Web site. They have been sent to the Standing Committee members by e-mail attachment, and all other potential participants and other interested people are encouraged to pick them up from the Web site. [09/04/09]
Now available.Survey of African Ramsar sites. “African Wetlands of International Importance: Assessment of Benefits Associated with Designations under the Ramsar Convention", by Royal Gardner (Stetson University College of Law), Kim Diana Connolly (University of South Carolina School of Law), and Abou Bamba (Ramsar Secretariat), has just been published in the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, vol XXI, issue 2 and is posted here with permission from the Review. The survey follows on from Professors Gardner and Connolly’s study of Ramsar sites in the United States (2007) and a similar survey of Ramsar sites in Canada (2008) done for the Canadian government by Pauline Lynch-Stewart. The Georgetown Review article discusses the survey results from 26 sites in 18 countries. Benefits associated with Ramsar designation included increased support for protection and management of the sites, increased scientific studies, increased funding opportunities, increased ecotourism, and poverty alleviation. Download the new study here (PDF, 5MB). [09/04/09]
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 ).