Renovation of the Ramsar Web site
The Ramsar Secretariat first set up the Convention’s Web site in 1996, and over the years it has grown enormously in every direction and become difficult to use for many people. In July 2008 the Danone Group, which has so generously provided financial support for the Convention’s communications activities over the years, offered to contribute the funding for a reorganization of the site’s contents and the design of a new “look”. The firm RGIS of Geneva was engaged to develop the new site in their Sezame content-management application, and by January 2009 the German firm 21Torr had completed the clean and discreet new design that you see here. Following the technical development by RGIS, in May 2009 the contents of the old Web site were migrated to the new technology – Web site migrations are famously difficult things to do, and ours has probably been more difficult than most, but Ramsar staff have been working to adapt the legacy material to the new format, and we feel that, though there is much still to do, the time has come to “go live”.
The old Ramsar Web site was an English language site with many documents in French and Spanish, the other two official Ramsar languages. The new site is much more genuinely trilingual, and we feel that that is one of the major gains we have made through this transition. But many things within the site, especially in the older parts of it, still look quite awkward or in a few cases may not work at all. We will continue cleaning those things up in the coming months (and years), and we would like to encourage readers to notify us (at email@example.com) of any remaining problems they feel should have a priority for us to address.
The Danone Group must be warmly thanked for making this project possible, and within the Web site readers will find much more information about the other kinds of assistance that Danone and the Evian water company have been providing to the Convention since 1998.
Nick Davidson, the Deputy Secretary General, expresses the views of many of us, and the Secretary General, Mr Anada Tiéga, when he says that “We hope that this attractive new design and reorganization of the material will help us, not only to reach our traditional audience more efficiently, but also to increase the accessibility of our site for the general public and help us to get the Ramsar message out much more widely.”