The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 28 May 2009
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]
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]
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
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.
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]
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]
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. HERE. [05/05/09]
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]
“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]
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]
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]
"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]
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]