The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 November 2009

ASEAN meetings on wetlands and biodiversity, Singapore. In late October 2009, Lew Young, Ramsar’s Senior Advisor for Asia/Oceania, has been participating in two key meetings in Singapore of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), one a 9-day Wetland Management Training Course at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, the second a conference on biodiversity. His brief reports can be seen here. [02/11/09]


SGF 2009 portfolio of project funding opportunities. The Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF) was established in 1990 as a mechanism to assist developing countries and those with economies in transition in implementing the Convention and to support the conservation and wise use of wetland resources, with a strong human and social dimension. The newly-released SGF Portfolio 2009 (PDF) describes 28 project proposals that have been favorably evaluated by Ramsar personnel and are available for funding by aid agencies and organizations with an interest in their objectives and likely benefits. Alexia Dufour provides the details here, and visit the Small Grants Fund page on this Web site. [19/10/09]


Importante rencontre des gestionnaires de sites Ramsar en France. Les 7 et 8 octobre dernier a eu lieu à Evian, en France, un important séminaire pour les gestionnaires de sites Ramsar français. Une centaine de personnes étaient présentes. Des représentants de tous les secteurs liés à la gestion des zones humides étaient là tels que des élus locaux, l’autorité administrative nationale Ramsar, des responsables d’administrations régionales, des scientifiques, des représentants de l’agence de l’eau ou encore des ONG environnementales. Cette rencontre a été organisée par la Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) en collaboration avec le Ministère de l’Ecologie et les agences de l’eau, le Secrétariat Ramsar et les Eaux Minérales Evian. En savoir plus. [26/10/09] (English and French available.)


Ramsar and UN-Habitat: joint efforts on sustainable management of urban wetlands. At a meeting in Nairobi last week, the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention Anada Tiega, the Chair of the Convention’s Scientific Body (STRP) Heather MacKay, Mr Paul Mafabi of the Ramsar Center for East Africa (RAMCEA) and representatives of UN-Habitat Mr Rafael Tuts and Ms Karin Buhren discussed collaboration to join efforts and expertise in producing a comprehensive guidance for managing urban wetlands taking into account ecosystem approach and issues such as climate change, ecosystem services, food production, human health and livelihoods. Read more. [22/10/09]


Argentina names southernmost Ramsar site. The government of Argentina has designated a beautiful and valuable new Wetland of International Importance in the province of Tierra del Fuego, one which at the time of listing becomes the Convention’s southernmost site. As summarized by Nadia Castro, Glaciar Vinciguerra y turberas asociadas(2,760 hectares, 54º45’S 068º20’W) includes glaciers; lakes; Sphagnum-, Cyperacea-, and tree-dominated peatlands; Nothofagus (Southern beech) forests; and permanent and seasonal rivers, at an altitude between 200 and 1300 m. A full description and some amazing photos by Rodolfo Iturraspe can be seen here. [15/10/09]


Ramsar message on World Food Day. “The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) invites us on today’s occasion of the World Food Day (16 October) to ‘Imagine achieving food security in times of crisis’. The call is supported by substantial contributions from several hundred experts who gathered in Rome earlier this week for a high-level forum to discuss ‘How to feed the world 2050’, in preparation of mid-November’s World Summit on Food Security.” – from the Secretary General’s message for World Food Day. [16/10/09]


USA names  key Florida sanctuary. Following on from the United States’ designation of the Aububon Society’s Francis Beidler Forest in the state of South Carolina in 2008, that Party’s 25th Ramsar site has been named as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, which is owned and managed by Audubon of Florida. The new site (5,261 hectares; 26°24’N 081°31’W) lies inland of the cities of Naples and Ft Myers and provides a vital link between several south Florida watersheds. Ramsar's Nadia Castro provides further details and a number of photographs courtesy of the site authorities. [14/10/09] Audubon press release (PDF). 


Rwanda’s Marshlands Law. The Secretariat is pleased to congratulate the Republic of Rwanda for the elaboration of a draft law determining the use and management of marshlands of Rwanda. The draft law incorporates the Ramsar wise of wetlands principle in the national legislation and is a good example of how an MEA can be embodied in the national environmental legislation. Cynthia Kibata provides the details. [14/10/09]


11th Transboundary Ramsar Site declared by Poland and  Czech Republic. The “Krkonose/Karkonosze subalpine peatbogs” were added on 21 September 2009 to the list of Transboundary Ramsar Sites during the 7th international conference on geoecological problems of the Karkonosze mountains, held in the Polish tourist village of Szklarska Proreba. The Giant Mountains (Krkonose in Czech, Karkonosze in Polish) mark the natural border between Poland and the Czech Republic, form an isolated mountain range with a particular geological history, and function as a biogreographical refuge area and isolated outpost for several Arctic and Alpine species. Tobias Salathé describes the new TRS and its significance for both Parties. [09/10/09]


Building capacity for Ramsar CEPA Focal Points in West Asia. The first of a series of CEPA (Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness) workshops throughout the Ramsar regions took place in the Islamic Republic of Iran at the Ramsar Regional Centre for Central and West Asia in the city of Ramsar, the birthplace of the Convention, from 29th September – 1st October. Bringing together CEPA Focal Points (Government and NGO), National Focal Points (NFPs), and other members of the Ramsar Administrative Authorities from seven countries, as well as representatives from two non-Contracting Parties, this workshop set out to give participants some hands-on experience in CEPA Action Planning. Ramsar's CEPA Programme Officer Sandra Hails reports, with photos. [08/10/09]


Ramsar message on World Habitat Day, 5 October. "'Planning our Urban Future,' the theme of World Habitat Day this year, is an especially welcome focus for the Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The challenges and opportunities for the continued conservation and wise use of the world’s wetlands in light of the increasing spread of urbanization and related resource and population pressures have been the focus of much interest and concern for us." Read Secretary General Anada Tiéga's message on World Habitat Day 2009 (and PDF). [05/10/09]


RRC-EA wise use workshop. The Ramsar Regional Center–East Asia opened the “The RRC-EA Wise-Use Workshop and Training Session on Wetland Management from the 19th to the 26th September 2009” at Upo Wetland in Changnyeong, South Korea.  The 2-day workshop and 5-day training session had 19 wetland managers from 11 countries in East and Southeast Asia presenting different issues affecting wetland management and different methods whereby those managers achieved their duties. Maurice Lineman of Pusan National University has provided this brief report (PDF). [05/10/09]


Twelve new Ramsar sites in Burkina Faso. The government of Burkina Faso has completed the process for designating twelve new Ramsar sites of extraordinary interest. In varied locations, from the Sahel region in the north to the Cascades region in the southwest, to the central and eastern regions, these new areas of natural as well as artificial lakes and both permanent and seasonal rivers present a wide array of ecosystem types and are of great importance to the wildlife of the region, the livelihoods of the human population in these areas, and the hydrological and climatic stability of many parts of the country. The 12 new sites join the famous Mare aux hippopotames, Mare d’Oursi, and Parc National du W, which were designated for the Ramsar List back in 1990, to bring Burkina Faso’s Ramsar-listed total to 15 sites covering 652,502 hectares.Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for Africa, Cynthia Kibata, has prepared these brief site descriptions based on the information supplied in the Ramsar Information Sheets. [01/10/09]


“Country Clean-ups” at a sub-Antarctic Ramsar site. South Africa’s Prince Edward Islands in the southern Indian Ocean form the first sub-Antarctic Ramsar Site (No. 1688), designated on 22 May 2007. The island group of Marion and the smaller Prince Edward is a Strict Nature Reserve, the highest level of protection under South African legislation. Tourism is not allowed, and the only activities that take place are related to scientific research (including weather observations), conservation management, and their logistical support. John Cooper provides an illustrated report of clean-up efforts at the site. [28/09/09]


The Klagenfurt Days of Protected Areas. The Klagenfurt University’s Master-of-Science (M.Sc.) programme “Management of Protected Areas”, in cooperation with the E.C.O. Institute of Ecology, organized a 3-day event at Klagenfurt University in Austria from 24th to 26th of June 2009. Ramsar's Alexia Dufour describes the proceedings. [28/09/09]


International Course on the Ecohydrological Approach. An “International course on the ecohydrological approach to revitalization (i.e., restoration) and conservation of wetlands” was held on 15-20 June 2009 in the town of Třeboň (Třeboň Basin Biosphere Reserve, South Bohemia, Czech Republic), where the scientific school of wetland studies has a long history. It was organized jointly by the Czech UNESCO/ MAB National Committee, the Czech Ramsar Committee, and the ENKI public benefit corporation with a financial support from the UNESCO participation programme, the Czech Academy of Sciences, and the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic. Ramsar’s Nadezhda Alexeeva describes the event in this well-illustrated report. [25/09/09]


Workshop on cultural values of wetlands. On the Greek side of Prespa Lakes -- a Ramsar site -- a Mediterranean Workshop is being held from 23 to 27 September 2009 on the theme ‘Towards an integrated approach to the cultural and natural values of wetlands’. It has been organized by Med-INA (Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos), in collaboration with the MedWet Initiative and the Society for the Protection of Prespa, and is being held in the framework of a Med-INA project on ‘Cultural aspects of Mediterranean wetlands’ supported by the MAVA Foundation. The meeting's agenda is available here, and a letter of welcome from the Ramsar Secretary General here. [23/09/09]


Ramsar MOC with WAZA. On 13 June 2009, Gerald Dick, Executive Director of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) signed a memorandum of cooperation with Mr Anada Tiéga, Ramsar Secretary General, charting the way for collaboration in future endeavors. WAZA “promotes the link between ex-situ and in-situ conservation and encourages its members to be engaged in field conservation projects.” The common areas of joint activities that are foreseen are related to implementing the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015 and the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy, and a detailed action plan is being developed. The text of the MOC is here (PDF). [23/09/09]


High-altitude Bolivian site vastly enlarged. At ceremonies in Bolivia yesterday, the government has announced the extension of the Laguna Colorada Ramsar site, designated in 1990, from 51,000 hectares to nearly 1.5 million hectares. As summarized by Ramsar’s Nadia Castro, the expanded site, now renamed “Los Lípez” in Potosí department (1,427,717 ha, 22°10’S 067°24’W) is located in the Bolivian Altiplano between 4,200 and 6,000m altitude and now includes a complex of high Andean endorheic permanent saline, hypersaline and brackish lakes, as well as “bofedales” and geothermal wetlands.The details, and some photographs by Omar Rocha, are here. [22/09/09]


Research expedition visits UK's two new sites in South Atlantic. Gough and Inaccessible are two island nature reserves in the mid South Atlantic that are part of the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Together they form a single World Heritage Site. Most recently they have been afforded the status of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, being designated on 20 November 2008.During September-November 2009 a multi-national expedition is visiting the two islands to conduct biological research and to undertake conservation management activities. Here John Cooper and Peter Ryan describe the expedition, with a few remarkable photographs. [18/09/09]


Rwanda's wetlands and ecotourism workshop. The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) recently held a training of trainers workshop on community based planning and management of ecotourism and wetlands (26th July – 26th August 2009). It involved fourteen members of local Watershed Management Committees undergoing training on techniques that permit sustainable exploitation and management of natural resources in marshlands and other fragile ecosystems centered on community-based ecotourism. Cynthia Kibata provides more information. [17/09/09]


Urban wetlands: the case of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Nowadays, the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, and over 50% of the global population lives in urban environments, encroaching more and more on wetlands lying now within spreading cities or adjacent in their suburbs. This development at global scale creates both opportunities and threats for wetlands. Tobias Salathé reports on the initiative of the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain to capitalize on the urban location of its Ramsar site Salburua with its new state-of-the-art visitor and education centre. [16/09/09]


Lonjsko  Polje – a river basin wetland. Ramsar’s Standing Committee member from Croatia, Goran Gugić, is director of the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park. As an outcome of a European Union-funded LIFE project on the living landscape and floodplain ecosystem of the central Sava river basin (cf. our report on its first stakeholder meeting, Goran recently published a nicely produced analysis “Managing sustainability in conditions of change and unpredictability”. The handy publication provides a very readable reflection on the management of the Sava river floodplain and a captivating case study on how to implement Ramsar’s consolidated scientific and technical guidance on wetlands and river basin management, as adopted at COP10 through Resolution X.19. Read more. [15/09/09]


Celebrations at Olentangy Ramsar site, USA. On Friday, 11 September  2009, Ohio State University’s Olentangy River Wetland Research Park (ORWRP), a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance located in Columbus, Ohio, USA, dedicated their new AEP Solar-Powered Bikepath Shelter along the major bicycle path through the city. Director Bill Mitsch has sent this illustrated press release on the event. [15/09/09]


Djoudj Bird Park removed from Montreux Record. The Convention on Wetlands congratulates the government of the Republic of Senegal for implementing measures to ensure the successful improvement of the ecological character of Ramsar site Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj, thereby leading to its removal from the Montreux Record of Ramsar sites under threat. Cynthia Kibata provides the details here. [11/09/09] [français & español disponible]


Regional technical meeting on Ramsar implementation in the Arab Region. The League of Arab States (LAS), the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, and the United Nations Environment Program – Regional Office West Asia (UNEP-ROWA) jointly organized a “Regional Technical Meeting on Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in the Arab Region” from 22 to 25 June 2009 at the headquarters of the League of Arab States (LAS) in Cairo, Egypt. The meeting was attended by 72 participants, including representatives from the Arab countries, concerned regional and international organizations, academics and other wetland experts. Ramsar Secretariat participants provide an illustrated report on this signicant event for the Convention's implementation in the region. [09/09/09]


China names wetland educational Ramsar site. The State Forestry Administration, China’s Ramsar implementing authority, in collaboration with the Hangzhou Xixi Wetland Park Management Commission, the Institute of Subtropical Forest Studies, and Zhejiang University, has designated as China’s 37th Wetland of International Importance the fascinating Hangzhou Xixi Wetlands, a National Wetlands Park just a few kilometers from the Hangzhou urban centre, southwest of Shanghai. Ramsar’s Ann Aldersey has provided this brief summary of the accompanying data about the site. [09/09/09] [français & español disponible]


Brazil names Pantanal wetland. Brazil has designated another small portion of the famed Pantanal wetlands for the Ramsar List. According to Nadia Castro, based on the RIS information, the Reserva Particular del Patrimonio Natural (RPPN) “Fazenda Rio Negro” in Mato Grosso del Sur (7,000 hectares, 19°33'S 056°13'W) is a well-preserved example of the Pantanal of Nhecolândia, a subregion of the Brazilian Pantanal that is characterized by the abundant presence of freshwater or alkaline lakes (‘baías’ and ‘salinas’, respectively), as well as permanent and intermittent rivers. The site hosts more than 400 species of plants, 350 of birds and 70 of mammals. Among them stand out threatened species, such as the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), Marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), and Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). Migratory bird species are also present in the site, e.g. Tringa melanoleuca, Himantopus melanurus, Tachybaptus dominicus, Dendrocygna viduatam and Coscoroba coscoroba. Cattle farming is related to two of the main threats to the site: uncontrolled fires caused by neighboring ranches and the introduction of exotic herbs. In the area hunting and fishing are legally banned. The management plan is currently under revision. Brazil presently has 9 Ramsar sites covering 6,441,086 hectares. [08/09/09]


Fonds Suisse pour l'Afrique: Côte d’ivoire. Face à l’engouement suscité envers les biocarburants dans le monde entier et plus particulièrement en Afrique ainsi que les impacts de cette culture sur les zones humides, le Secrétariat de la Convention Ramsar et l’Organisation des Nations Unis pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO) ont organisé du 11 au 13 juin 2009 à Abidjan, Côte d’ivoire, un séminaire pour débattre des relations entre la production des biocarburants et les impacts sur les zones humides. Rapport par Jennifer Tschopp (Stagiaire). [08/09/09]


Removal of Diawling from the Montreux Record. The Ramsar Secretariat offers its sincere congratulations to the government of the Republic of Mauritania for taking the necessary steps to remove Parc National du Diawling (Site No. 666) from the Montreux Record of Ramsar sites under threat. Ramsar's Cynthia Kibata describes the problems and solutions that led to this encouraging step. [08/09/09] [français & español disponible]


Chile’s two new High Andean Ramsar sites. The government of Chile has designated two more high altitude Wetlands of International Importance, and according to the supporting documentation, “both sites are located in the Antofagasta region and will be part now of the Ramsar site network in the high Andean northern Chile (administrative regions Arica and Parinacota, Tarapacá, Antofagasta, and Atacama)”. Salar de Aguas Calientes IV and Salar de Pujsa are both centered upon saline lakes that are extraordinarily important for Western Hemisphere migratory birds, and both also support appreciable populations of mammals. Chile now has 11 Ramsar sites covering a surface area of 192,080 hectares. Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for the Americas, Ms Nadia Castro, has prepared brief site descriptions based on the accompanying Ramsar Information Sheets. [07/09/09] [français & español disponible]


Algeria removes two sites from the Montreux Record. The Secretariat congratulates the government of Algeria for the successful efforts made towards the removal of Ramsar sites Oasis de Ouled Saïd and Réserve Intégrale du Lac Tonga from the Montreux Record of Ramsar sites under threat. Ramsar’s Cynthia Kibata provides the details here. [07/09/09] [français & español disponible]



Two new Ramsar sites in the South Atlantic. The United Kingdom has designated two new, very large marine areas in its Overseas Territory of St Helena, Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean. The new Wetlands of International Importance, both effective 20 November 2008, are centered on Gough Island and Inaccessible Island, respectively, with surrounding waters, and both are parts of the World Heritage natural site called “Gough and Inaccessible Islands” (1995, enlarged in 2004), as well as Nature Reserves and BirdLife Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and managed in the context of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (2004), to which the UK is a Party. Ramsar’s Ms Nadezhda Alexeeva has prepared these brief site descriptions, based upon the Ramsar Information Sheets provided by Defra, the Ramsar authority in the UK. [05/09/09]  [français & español disponible]

Kazakhstan names two arid steppe lake systems. The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that the Republic of Kazakhstan has designated a further two steppe lake systems as Wetlands of International Importance, both of them enormously significant areas particularly for migratory waterbirds. One of them is part of the “Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan” World Heritage natural property, and both are part of the West/Central Asian Site Network for Siberian Cranes and other waterbirds under the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species. Both of the new sites are in the Kostanay Oblast or province, and both designations are effective as of 12 July 2009. Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for Asia-Oceania, Ann Aldersey, has prepared brief site descriptions based on the Ramsar Information Sheets that accompanied the designations. [03/09/2009] [français & español disponible]

News from the SGF. Thailand completes Small Grants Fund project. Bung Boraphet, the largest freshwater wetland in Thailand, now has a comprehensive Plan of Management following the recent completion of the Ramsar Small Grants Fund project, Sustainable Water Use Plan for Bung Boraphet. Based on the principles of wise use, the Plan focuses on managing the competing and intensifying demands on the wetland, including fishing, rice growing and ecotourism, and to address mounting evidence of resource over-exploitation and significant ecosystem change. Read more here. [03/09/2009]

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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