Building capacity through wetland centre staff exchanges


On 30th March the Ramsar Secretariat welcomed two guests, Ms Laura Doxan from the Centre Natura in the Danube Delta, Romania, and Ms Leyani Ceballero Tier from the visitor centre at the Ciénaga de Zapata Ramsar Site, Cuba. They both work as animators in their centres but they also share something else in common – they are currently staying at the Champ-Pittet Visitor Centre at the la Grande Cariçaie Ramsar Site in Switzerland to benefit from the centre’s long experience in providing a ‘wetland experience’ for visitors to the centre, an experience they will put to good practice in their own centres.

At the Champ-Pittet Centre: Christophe Le Nédic (Biologiste/responsable communication, La grande  Cariçaie Ramsar Site, Switzerland), Melissa Marín (Fungap, Costa Rica), Laura  Doxan (Centre Natura Delta Du Danube, Romania), Leyani Ceballero Tier (Ciénaga de Zapata Ramsar Site, Cuba) Marie  Garnier (Director, Champ-Pittet Visitor Centre, Switzerland), Denis Landenbergue (WWF International, Switzerland)

Readers may remember a news story on our web site sometime ago about a young animator, Ghania Omari from the Lac de Réghaïa Ramsar Site in Algeria  who also spent a month last year at Champ-Pittet (read the news story here).

These ‘connections’ between centres for staff exchanges have so far been effected by individuals – e.g. Madame Marie Garnier, Director of the Champ-Pittet centre, visited the Ciénaga de Zapata centre; Denis Landenbergue from WWF International in Switzerland had good contacts with the Lac de Réghaïa centre and Champ-Pittet. The challenge is to take these exchanges to another level. What can we do to formalize the process and generate more opportunities for such exchanges between centres?

During the meeting at the Secretariat on the 30th March we were fortunate to have Chris Rostron, Head of the Wetland Link International (WLI) network of wetland centres, with us. This presented an opportunity to discuss how WLI might be able to promote exchanges (the Ramsar Secretariat has formal links with WLI (read more here. The costs can be quite low, especially for centres that have some staff accommodation available. In two of the three cases discussed here the exchange person was still paid by her institution which also provided her transport costs to and from the home country; the receiving centre covered only the accommodation and financial support for subsistence.  

We look forward to developing some ideas with Chris and the WLI membership of how WLI, with support from the Secretariat, might be able to move this concept from planning to reality.

At the Ramsar Secretariat: Tobias Salathé (Ramsar), Sandra Hails (Ramsar), Sofia Mendez (Ramsar), Laura Doaxan (Romania), Leyani Ceballero Tier (Cuba), Kati Wenzel (Ramsar), Maria Rivera (Ramsar), Chris Rostron (WLI, UK), Denis Lendenbergue (WWF International, Switzerland)

Report from Sandra Hails / Pictures from Chris Rostron

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