The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 December 2009

First national Ramsar conference in Austria and designation of the 12th transboundary Ramsar site. In 2007 Austria organised the first meeting for European Ramsar STRP national focal points in Mittersill. Now, two years later, Austria was again the first country to organise a national Ramsar conference, 11-12 November 2009, focusing on “the significance of wetlands for drinking water supply, climate change mitigation and biodiversity support”. Around 140 experts gathered in Eisenstadt, the capital of Austria’s youngest federal state Burgenland, including participants from the neighbouring countries Hungary, Slovenia and Switzerland. Read more. [02/12/09]


Kazakhstan’s 6th Ramsar site in 2009. The government of Kazakhstan has designated its sixth new Wetland of International Importance in the year 2009, complementing its first Ramsar site, which was originally listed by the Soviet Union back in 1976. “Alakol-Sasykkol Lakes System” (914,663 hectares, 46°16’N 081°32’E) is a State Nature Reserve in the far east of the country – it’s Kazakhstan’s largest reserve for nesting wetland birds and a major migratory stop, with over a hundred thousand waterbirds and semi-aquatic birds stopping annually. Read more. [02/12/09]


Wetlands as carbon sinks. An article by Melanie Lenart in the recent Nature Reports on climate change (26 November) discusses the unappreciated role of wetlands in carbon storage, using the Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park in Ohio (USA) as an illustrative case, and the need for recognition of that role in the upcoming Copenhagen climate change debates. Various collaborators in the Ramsar Convention’s efforts to promote this message, such as William Mitsch, the Olentangy Park’s director, and Susanna Tol of Wetlands International, explain the rationale for advocating the inclusion of wetlands in carbon credit schemes and urge that wetlands be included in the Copenhagen negotiating text. The article is at http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0912/full/climate.2009.125.html.


Visita de la Secretaria de Ramsar y WWF a la Laguna Macaya en Bolivia. El Gobierno de Bolivia está trabajando en la preparación de la información técnica para la designación de la Laguna Macaya como Humedal de Importancia Internacional, ya que es uno de los principales sitios que sirven de hábitat para los flamencos Altoandinos, así que fuimos invitados a conocerlo . . . . Fotos. [01/12/09]


Mexico names marine site on Gulf of California. The government of Mexico has designated its 114th Wetland of International Importance for the Ramsar List. “Canal del Infiernillo y esteros del territorio Comcaac (Xepe Coosot)” (29,700 hectares, 29°10'N 112°14'W) is a channel between Island Tiburón and the Sonora coast in northwestern Mexico, characterized by the presence of sea-grass beds, mangrove estuaries, seasonal creeks and small coral reef patches. Read more. [27/11/09]


TheVI Workshop of the Regional Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of High Andean Wetlands, organized by the Bolivian Government through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, with financial support from the Danone Group, was held in La Paz, Bolivia, from 21-24 September 2009. The main objective of the VI Workshop of the Strategy was to discuss the impact of climate change in high Andean wetlands and the definition of priorities for the triennium 2009-2012 with special emphasis in the definition of funding mechanisms for its implementation. Report (PDF, 5MB) [26/11/09]

El VI Taller de la Estrategia Regional para la Conservación y Uso Sostenible de Humedales Altoandinos, organizado por el Gobierno de Bolivia a través del Ministerio de Ambiente y Cambio Climático y la Secretaria de la Convención Ramsar, con el apoyo financiero de Danone,  tuvo lugar en La Paz, Bolivia del 21-24 de Septiembre de 2009. El objetivo principal del taller fue discutir el impacto del cambio climático sobre los Humedales Altoandinos y la definición de prioridades para el trienio 2009-2012 con énfasis en la definición de mecanismos de financiación para su implementación. Informe (PDF, 5MB)


Dos nuevas publicaciones sobre la aplicación de la Convención Ramsar en Ecuador. Como resultado del proyecto “Capacitación en Base de una Revisión de la Legislación e Institucionalidad Relacionados con la Gestión de Humedales en el Ecuador” financiado bajo el Fondo Humedales para el Futuro (FHF) en 2007, el Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental (CEDA), en coordinación con el Ministerio del Ambiente de Ecuador (MAE), ha publicado dos nuevos documentos, que se encuentran disponibles en su página web (www.ceda.org.ec). Continúe leyendo » [25/11/09]


Turkey names 13th Ramsar site. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has designated Lake Kuyucuk (Kuyucuk Gölü) (416 hectares, 40°45’N 043°27’E) as Turkey’s 13th Wetland of International Importance. As summarized by Nadezhda Alexeeva from the RIS, this Wildlife Reserve is one of the most important wetlands of Kars province in northeastern Turkey –  the freshwater stream- and spring-fed lake is surrounded by treeless steppe and sparse Phragmites reed patches, and the area may be typical of what much of the Anatolian Steppe grassland-wetland community used to consist of before widespread degradation of its water bodies over the past several hundred years. More details here, with photos.  [20/11/09] [français et-y español]


World record for Hong Kong Wetland Park. Carrie Ma reports on one of the Park’s World Wetlands Day activities to mark the start of their four-month promotional programme on WWD 2010. As part of their Bird Watching Festival on 17 October, a total of 2,041 students and members of the public gathered to create a 959.35 metre long and 1.2 metre wide painting with the theme of "Birds and Wetlands". Guinness World Records have now informed the Park that their "Birds and Wetlands" Painting for the Guinness World Records activity has set a new world record for the "largest painting by numbers". You can read the press release here. The awareness-raising about wetlands extended well beyond the participants and spectators through the media’s interest in this Guinness Record event  – an invaluable opportunity to highlight wetlands, World Wetlands Day, and the Ramsar principles. [18/11/09]


Danone Fund for Nature experts workshop. The Danone-IUCN-Ramsar partnership hosted a three-day expert workshop on “Achieving carbon offsets through mangroves and other wetlands,” 9-11 November 2009, at the Ramsar Secretariat premises. Some 47 experts on wetland restoration, socioeconomic valuation, carbon measurement, and carbon markets reviewed the latest knowledge on the role of wetlands in the carbon cycle, good practices in wetland restoration, methods for carbon measurement in different types of wetlands, and current and developing approaches to carbon markets relevant to wetlands. They identified which types of wetlands can be readily restored and over what timeframes, and for which types of wetlands current carbon measurement methodologies can be readily applied. They also identified mechanisms available for elaborating carbon evaluation in mangroves and set out a plan to develop mechanisms for crediting delivery of carbon offsets in mangroves and other wetlands, through wetland restoration projects that are in line with the principles and practices of the Ramsar Convention. The full report of the meeting will be posted soon; in the meantime visit the workshop Web site, our page on the DFN fund itself, and the report by the IISD Climate-L.org. [17/11/09]


Wetland Link International’s first Oceania conference. Organised by the Hunter Wetland Centre in Australia and funded by the Australian government (Department of Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts), the WLI conference brought wetland scientists together at the Hunter Wetland Centre in Newcastle, Australia, 28-31 October 2009, with a broad range of people who carry out wetland education / participation activities. Ramsar’s CEPA Programme Officer, Sandra Hails, was an active participant and provides this illustrated report. [16/11/09]


Central African Republic’s Sangha River Ramsar site. The Central African Republic has benefited from a Ramsar Swiss Grant for Africa project, “Establishment of a network of Ramsar sites along the Congo Rivers,” to complete the process of designating its second Wetland of International Importance. Rivière Sangha située en République Centrafricaine (275,000 hectares, 02°40’N 016°15’E), a National Park and Nature Reserve, is noted for the presence of large areas of dense periodically flooded forests with rivers, marshes and lakes found within. Read more. [16/11/09]


1st China Wetlands Cultural Festival. On Monday 2 November 2009, the 1st China Wetlands Cultural Festival, with the theme of ‘Wetlands and Culture’, was launched in Hangzhou City with much fanfare. The celebrations included the opening of the 3rd International Wetlands Forum; the opening of the new National Wetland Museum of China adjacent to China’s 37th and newest Ramsar site, the Xixi Wetland Park; and a ceremony to hand over the Ramsar site certificate to the representative of the Hangzhou City government. Ramsar's Lew Young provides this illustrated report. [12/11/09]


Seychelles names large coral atoll. Seychelles has designated as its second Wetland of International Importance the Aldabra Atoll (43,900 hectares, 09°24’S 046°20’E), a UNESCO World Heritage site (1982) in the Western Indian Ocean, some 1150km southwest of the main island, Mahé. As described by Ramsar’s Cynthia Kibata, based on the RIS, Aldabra is the largest raised coral atoll in the world and is widely recognized as one of the most remarkable oceanic islands on Earth. It comprises seven wetland types, including permanent shallow marine waters, coastal saline lagoon area, marine subtidal aquatic seagrass beds and mangrove swamps. The numerous habitat types allow for the support of many different species at different stages of their life cycles. This includes endangered and vulnerable species such as the green turtle Chelonia mydas and the Aldabra giant tortoise Geochelone gigantean; endemic species of flora (40 species) and fauna such as the Madagascar sacred ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus abbotti and 100% of the populations of two species of endemic insectivorous bat (Chaerephon pusillus and Triaenops pauliani). Land use on Aldabra is extremely low with the only uses being research, an education outreach programme, and minimal tourism as tourists are not allowed to stay overnight. The main threats facing the site are potential oil spills from a nearby tanker route, alien invasive species introduction and establishment, and, as with other low-lying islands, climate change. [10/11/09]


Danone Fund for Nature: Call for new project proposals. “Imagine a project which restores a wetland, ensures tangible benefits for local communities and sequesters carbon. Imagine a unique partnership to develop and invest in such projects. Together the Danone Groupe, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands are promoting a new class of green development projects -- wet carbon. In the start-up phase, the partners are looking to learn by doing through developing and investing in pilot projects. If you have know of a potential wet carbon project, please have a look at our guidance for project proposal (PDF).”

Please submit your wet carbon project concept note in confidence to: Name: Carole Martinez, DFN Field Project Coordinator, Comité français de l’UICN, 26 Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France (carole.martinez@uicn.fr, Tel/Fax: +33 1 47 07 71 78, Mob: + 33 6 76 29 49 57, Skype: martinez.carole).


Agreement to protect Pacific wetlands under Ramsar Convention. "A memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat on November 2, 2009. . . . Through this partnership, SPREP has provided support to Pacific islands countries to protect their wetland areas through conducting training programmes on wetlands management, updating national wetland information and through raising awareness on why our wetlands are important." Read the SPREP press release here. Text of the MOC. [04/11/09]


Workshop on wetlands and carbon offsets. As a contribution to the implementation of Danone/IUCN/Ramsar “Danone Fund for Nature” Initiative, next week the Ramsar Secretariat is hosting an expert workshop bringing together a wide group of authorities on wetland restoration, socio-economic valuation, carbon measurement and carbon markets to develop mechanisms for crediting delivery of carbon offsets in mangroves and other wetlands, through wetland restoration projects that are in line with the principles and practices of the Ramsar Convention. The “Danone Fund for Nature” Initiative is a trilateral agreement, signed by the Ramsar Convention, IUCN and the private sector Danone Group at the Ramsar’s 10th Conference of Parties in Changwon, Republic of Korea in November 2008. "Achieving Carbon offsets through mangroves and other wetlands" expert workshop; Danone Fund for Nature. 9-11 November 2009, in Gland, Switzerland. Read more on the IUCN Web site. [04/11/09]

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