A report on Niue’s preparations for joining the Ramsar Convention


Vainuupo Jungblut, the Ramsar Officer Oceania (ROO), traveled to the Pacific island nation of Niue from the 17-21 May 2010 to initiate their preparatory activities for joining the Ramsar Convention. Vai reports that at the 20th South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)  Meeting of Officials in November 2009, the Director of the Niue environment department, Mr. Sauni Tongatule gave a clear indication of their interest in progressing towards joining the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Ramsar Officer Oceania (Vai Jungblut) with staff of the Niue Environment Department

The main activities of the trip included meeting with officials of the Niue environment department, conducting a presentation on the Ramsar Convention and its obligations, the benefits of joining; working with the Niuean authorities to identify a suitable site for nomination as their first Ramsar Site, working with Niuean authorities to develop accession documentation, identifying a daily contact within the Environment Department that the ROO would work with to progress and finalize arrangement for Niue to become a Ramsar Contracting Party.

During the visit the ROO and staff of the Niue Environment department visited 6 sites around the island that had potential to be listed as Wetlands of International Importance. The environment staff were also familiarized with the Ramsar Information Sheet, the 9 criteria for listing Ramsar Sites and the accession instrument. The ROO also assisted with putting together a draft cabinet paper on Ramsar accession.

Vai Jungblut and Environment staff field visit Anapala chasm

During the visit it was clear that Niue does have sites that meet one or more of the 9 criteria. These include seabird nesting areas, freshwater caves and chasms and inshore reef systems in parts of the islands. By the time the visit had concluded, the Niuean authorities had indicated that they would like to nominate one of their existing conservation areas (Huvalu CA) as their first Ramsar Site upon joining, given that there is community support and that the flora and fauna of the CA has been studied extensively.

Matapa chasm– a pristine wetland of Niue

The ROO is currently providing follow support for Niue’s preparations for joining the Ramsar Convention.

Vai Jungblut at Avaiki cave and reef flat

For further details, contact:

Vainuupo Jungblut, Ramsar Officer Oceania, vainuupoj@sprep.org

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