The Ramsar Bulletin Board, December 2013

Strengthening capacity for wetlands management and environmental impact assessment in the Americas

During the International Forum on Wetlands and a “training of trainers” course in Panama in December 2013, participants discussed the state of the art in wetlands management, planning and environmental impact assessment in the Americas. Read more [30/12/13]

Recordings of the webinar “Transforming our approach to water and wetlands”

A webinar on the values of water and wetlands, drawing upon the insights of the TEEB for Water and Wetlands Report, took place on 12 December. Speakers included Patrick ten Brink, Daniela Russi and Marianne Kettunen from the Institute for European Environmental Policy and Nick Davidson from the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands. The recordings can be accessed here: [30/12/13]

Waterbird census at Barr Al Hikman, Sultanate of Oman

A team from the Environment Society of Oman, The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), and the Office for Conservation of The Environment has surveyed migratory waterbirds at Barr Al Hikman, one of the largest and most important coastal wetlands in the Middle East. 

The wetland covers a 150-square-kilometre low-lying peninsula made up of largely sand and sabkha (a mixture of sand, mud and salt). It is known for its intertidal mudflats, shallow lagoons, sea bays and straits that sustain rich biodiversity and make it particularly important for passing and wintering water birds. Read more [23/12/13]

Implementing the Ramsar Convention in the UAE

Although the United Arab Emirates is better known for being situated in one of the most arid regions of the world, the country also supports a range of unique wetland types such as oases and seasonal wadis in the interior, as well as khors (creeks), mangroves and coral reefs along the coast. There are also extensive areas of salt-encrusted sabkhas (salt flats) and underground aquifers.

In recent years, the UAE has been increasingly active in conserving its wetlands. In 2013 alone, the country has designated three further Wetlands of International Importance, bringing the total to five. A number of the sites are now developing active CEPA programmes. Read more [20/12/13]

STRP Newsletter

The last issue of the STRP Newsletter for this year is now available. Download it here to find out about the latest STRP and wetland-related news and activities. To receive the newsletter electronically subscribe here.
You can contribute to the next newsletter by submitting your wetland-related news, on-the ground projects or upcoming meetings.
Feel free to distribute this issue within your networks. [20/12/13]

A Ramsar Site at the heart of regional development

Saint-Omer is a small city at the edge of the North Sea coastal floodplain in northern France. Its neighbouring marsh, the “Marais Audomarois”, has been for 14 centuries at the centre of the regional socio-economic life. On 13-15 November 2013 local and regional authorities of Saint-Omer and its surroundings welcomed 200 wetland specialists from France and abroad for the annual seminar of the “Association Ramsar France”. Read more [17/12/13]

Towards the wise use of urban and peri-urban wetlands: sixth Ramsar Briefing Note

This Briefing Note, entitled Towards the wise use of urban and peri-urban wetlands, expands on the “Principles for the planning and management of urban and peri-urban wetlands” agreed by the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention in Resolution XI.11, and aims to help managers and planners of towns and cities ensure the wise use of wetlands. It is written by Robert McInnes, Society of Wetland Scientists representative to the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP).

Sustainable towns and cities can drive economic development, increase wealth generation and enhance the overall quality of human life, all within a smaller footprint and at a lower per-capita resource use than any other settlement pattern. However, unsustainable urbanization continues to drive wetland loss and degradation in some parts of the world.

Increasingly, people working to make towns and cities more sustainable recognize wetlands as essential natural infrastructure which can deliver a range of benefits. This Briefing Note provides further guidance on how to deliver the dual goals of wise use of wetlands and sustainable urbanization.

The Ramsar Scientific and Technical Briefing Notes series is prepared by the STRP to share scientific and technical information on wetlands with a broad audience. All of them are in English, and some also in French and Spanish. The list of titles can be found at, and this new Note is available in PDF format at [12/12/13]

Destination Flyways – balancing development and conservation through ecotourism

Destination Flyways is an ecotourism initiative that aims to protect migratory birds’ habitats, and also provide sustainable alternative livelihoods for local communities along four flyways (East Atlantic, West Asian-East African, Central Asian, and East Asian-Australian). The aim of this project is to help local communities by developing and maintaining innovative sustainable tourism in the flyways. Since this project will illustrate integration between development and conservation, it will also contribute to the Biodiversity-related Conventions such as the Ramsar Convention, Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) among others.

Over the past decades, ecotourism and bird watching have been gaining popularity as more and more people have sought holiday destinations with potential exposure to wildlife. As such, presence of migratory birds will be a huge selling point at these sites. This project will demonstrate to the local communities the benefits of wise use of resources and long-term livelihoods via generation of revenue by better managing natural heritage and also creating employment opportunities. With this intervention, the project partners hope to provide a good example of how to promote economic development and protect natural capital at the same time.

Potential project sites have been identified along the four flyways and will be selected based on the assessment results.  The project partners are in the process of identifying local partners and are also developing the main proposal for the implementation phase. This phase will start in 2014 with an initial focus on fundraising for the implementation of the project. Read more (pdf) [12/12/13]

Wetland treasures of the Dinaric karst poljes are still little known

In Southeastern Europe, large agricultural basins surrounded by dry mountains fill up at regular intervals with water and become huge water lands. There are around 140 such karst poljes in the Dinaric region, stretching from Slovenia to Albania, including parts of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, parts of Serbia, Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Read more [11/12/13]

Webinar: Let’s transform our approach to water and wetlands

A webinar on the values of water and wetlands based on the insights of the TEEB for Water and Wetlands Report will take place on 12 December. Two time slots are available: 11 am and 4 pm CET. More information and online registration.

The state of wetlands
Values, ranges, gaps, examples
Policy instruments to progress towards wise use
How the ecosystem approach can contribute to the wise use of wetlands
Approaches to assess the multiple benefits of protected areas

Patrick ten Brink, Head, Brussels Office, Institute for European Environmental Policy
Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Daniela Russi, Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for European Environmental Policy
Ritesh Kumar, Conservation Programme Manager, Wetlands International, South Asia
Marianne Kettunen, Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for European Environmental Policy

Welcome to Dede Amah, Intern/Assistant for the Africa Region

The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce the arrival of Ms Dede Amah, the new Intern/Assistant for the Africa Region.

Dede is a citizen of the Republic of Togo. She has worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations for the past 7 years in the field of natural resources management and operational support to countries in the Africa Region.

Prior to joining the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, she contributed, together with a team of experts from the continent and abroad, to processes leading to the development of two important guidelines for the Region: 1. Guidelines for the sustainable development of inland wetlands for agriculture in Africa (2013) and 2. Guidelines for the institutionalization and implementation of Community-based Forest Management in Sub-Saharan Africa (2012).

She has also been instrumental in the conception and implementation of a Spanish-funded project on Aquaculture Investments for poverty reduction in the Volta Basin (2007-2011) in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, as well as in a 3-year joint initiative by FAO and the African Union Commission to build a Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Mali and Niger where the livelihoods of millions of rural people are threatened by desertification and land degradation (2010-2012).

She is experienced in organizing high level regional and technical meetings and in designing awareness materials like posters and brochures on issues related to nature conservation. She has travelled extensively on the African continent as part of her duties. [10/12/13]

The Convention on Wetlands is seeking to appoint a Human Resources Officer

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, provides administrative services for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. More information and online application for this post are available on the IUCN website.

Applications are invited from all interested and suitably qualified persons. The deadline for applications is 5 January 2013.

Note: A candidate should submit his/her application online, using the link above. No other method of application will be considered. [09/12/13]

Steve Davies

Steve Davies, the chairman of the Conservation Society of Monavale Trust (COSMO) since its inception in 2005, passed away on 1 November. His passing is a great loss, not only to his family, his companion, friends and the Monavale Community, but also to the wetland conservation community in Harare, Zimbabwe and beyond.

Ramsar's Senior Advisor for Africa, Paul Ouedraogo notes that "Steve was a pioneer and a true champion of wetlands wise use. We hope to continue his work and commitment for the wise use of wetlands." The Ramsar Secretariat sends Steve´s family, colleagues and friends, its most sincere condolences for this sad loss. Read more [5/12/13]

A joint call to promote the wise use of wetlands

At the Third Chinese Wetlands Cultural Festival held in October 2013 representatives of China’s government, international organisations, academia and NGOs, together with Dr Briggs, Secretary General of the Convention of Wetlands, agreed on a joint call to action to promote the wise use of wetlands. Read more [2/12/2013]

The six biodiversity conventions urge the GEF to allocate sufficient funds to support their collective actions to reduce the loss of biodiversity.

The heads of the six global biodiversity conventions (Ramsar, CBD, World Heritage Centre, CMS, CITES, and theInternational Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture) met in Geneva from 2-3 September as the global Biodiversity Liaison Group (BLG) with GEF (Global Environment Facility) officers to address the relationship between the BLG Conventions and the GEF. The discussion focussed on how the GEF funding could support collective actions under the BLG, recognising that currently the GEF is not available as a financial instrument to all BLG members.

In a follow-up letter to the Chief Executive Officer of the GEF, BLG members noted the utility of the GEF-6 programming directions as a means to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Targets, reaffirming that this inclusive framework is relevant for all BLG members. They agreed that the GEF-6 programming directions present opportunities for programmatic synergies, especially at the national level, among the BLG members. Global biodiversity continues to decline at alarming rates and the BLG urged the GEF to take the opportunity through the GEF-6 to commit adequate funding for collective actions of BLG members in implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. [02/12/13]

The GEF Small Grant Programme helps save wetlands!

The Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility (GEF SGP) helps developing countries support the conservation and restoration of the environment. Based on the principle “think globally act locally”, it enhances people’s well-being and livelihoods through community actions, providing grants of up to USD 50,000.

Since 1992, the Fund has provided over USD 450 million to 14,000 projects from 125 countries and helped leveraging a similar level of co-funding. It invested more than USD 18 million in more than 600 wetland related projects, including 150 in Ramsar Sites.

Are you interested in applying for a grant from the GEF SGP?
Please consult the SGP website. Projects may be proposed and implemented by any civil society organization, NGO, or community-based organization from SGP participating countries. Project activities must relate to one of the areas of work of the GEF SGP such as biodiversity, climate change and international waters. Although there is no specific “wetland” area of work, most of the projects supporting the wise use and conservation of wetlands relate to at least one of the above areas.

You are a National Ramsar Focal point, how can you help?
We encourage you to inform civil society organizations, NGOs and community based organizations in your country about the GEF SGP and how it works. Get involved in the SGP programme of your country, and engage with your SPG National Steering Committee! [02/12/13]

Fifth Ramsar Site for the United Arab Emirates

The U.A.E. has designated its fifth Wetland of International Importance, a very interesting salt dome island belonging to the emirate of Sharjah lying some 65 km off the coast of Dubai. Read more. [01/12/13]

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

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