Working towards a Global Wetlands Observing System
Last week, four members of staff (DG Anada Tiéga, DSG Nick Davidson, Paul Ouédraogo, Senior Advisor for Africa, and Charlotte Ako Eyong, Assistant Advisor for Africa) took part in a user consultation workshop held at the European Space Agency’s ESRIN establishment in Frascati, Italy. The Ramsar Secretariat has been working closely with the European Space Agency on its GlobWetland project, which is developing monitoring and management tools based on earth observation data in a pilot project involving Ramsar Sites around the world.
The Secretariat, through its Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), has been provided expert advice in the definition of the project activities and in regards to the needs related to future implementation of the products of the GlobWetland II project, by facilitating access to existing data (e.g., wetlands inventory, in-situ data on the selected sites, field surveys) that may be useful for the project and contributing to the validation of the wetland geo-information maps and indicators. Within GlobWetland II, about 200 different wetlands were monitored in ten countries of the Southern Mediterranean Basin. While many – like Azraq – suffered from climate change, population growth or economic development, others remained stable or even increased in size. GlobeWetland II project will be closed in December 2013.
ESA, in partnership with the Ramsar Secretariat, are now looking forward to the next project – GlobWetland Africa – set to be launched in 2014. It is expected that the Ramsar regional initiatives in Africa (NigerWet, WacoWet and RAMCEA) as well as four pilot river basin authorities (Nile, Niger, Congo-Oubangui-Sangha and Mediterranean) and some of Ramsar International Organization Partners (BirdLife International, Wetlands International, and WWF) play a key role at the ground level.
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