News on culture and wetlands
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Draft Strategic Action Plan on culture and wetlands 2012-2016: Request for comments
On behalf of the Culture Working Group, a draft Strategic Action Plan for work on culture in the Ramsar context has been prepared for the period to 2016. This sets out a vision and some specifics of a revitalised programme of initiatives, partnership collaborations and strengthened coordination following COP11. The Plan needs to be informed by input from all those with an interest in this subject, and accordingly comments are now invited on this first draft. The document can be downloaded here [pdf, 0.5 MB], and further information on the consultation process is given in an explanatory note on the cover page. [06/06/12]
New publication: Wetlands and culture in Japan
A new publication from Wetlands International, Japan, brings together some key findings on wetlands and culture. Through an extensive survey of cultural activities in Japanese wetlands, case studies are organised under three headings, ‘Cultures of Conservation and Restoration’, ‘Cultures of Wise Use’ and ‘Cultures of Communication, Education, Participation (CEPA)’. This 72-page, full-colour publication provides a brief introduction to their definition of wetland culture and explains the rationale of the three groups, and then presents 33 selected cases studies. Each case study is a two-page spread of useful information and photos representing the amazing diversity of wetland culture in Japan.
33 Examples of the Cultures and Technologies of Wetlands in Japan: Relationships with Local People and Communities has been edited by Tasuichi Tsujii (President of Wetlands International Japan and a Ramsar Award winner for this triennium) and Koichi Sasagawa (Professor, Hosei University). It is available in electronic format for download here in English. [08/05/12]
New Book: Culture and wetlands in the Mediterranean: an evolving story
This book is the result of a four-year research project (2007-2011) about the implementation in the Mediterranean Region of the Ramsar Guidance on Culture and Wetlands. It was carried out by Med-INA, the Mediterranean Institute on Nature and Anthropos, with the financial support of the MAVA Foundation.
This multi-author book follows a structure that echoes the Ramsar Guidance and investigates the benefits that can result from following its objectives, analysing various sectors of human activities and more than 20 wetland sites. In addition, it identifies areas in which the guidance provided needs to be strengthened or others that are not yet covered. Most of the 32 authors are wetland experts from many disciplines who have been sensitised to the integrated approach to heritage, both natural and cultural, and have been willing to introduce this new concept of culture in their wetland work. Each chapter and section of the book is introduced by the two editors, Thymio Papayannis, director of Med-INA and coordinator of the Ramsar Culture Working Group and Dave Pritchard, recipient of the Ramsar Award in 2008.
Papayannis, T. and Pritchard, D. (eds) 2011, Culture and Wetlands in the Mediterranean: an Evolving Story, Athens: Med-INA (hard cover and soft cover, 438 pages).
Available gratis from: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: +30 210 3629338, providing full postal address (upon postage payment).
Sambhar Master Plan
Sambhar (pop. 22,000) is located in Rajasthan 65km from Jaipur, and is a town of great cultural significance. It also lies directly on the banks of Sambhar Lake, the largest salt lake in India and designated Ramsar Site due to its significance as a bird habitat and unique ecological characteristics. The master plan used the Ramsar Guidance Document on Culture and Wetlands as a basis for creating policy and a management plan that valued both the ecological and cultural characteristics of Sambhar Lake and the town of Sambhar. More. [21/09/2011]
Culture in Asian wetland meeting
15/03/2011. We have been informed by Professor Sansanee Choowaew, member of the Ramsar CWG, that the Asian Wetland Symposium (AWS) will be held in Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia) on 18-20 July 2011, with the theme ‘Integrated biodiversity conservation: Linking forests and wetlands’.
The major aim of the Symposium is to identify practical strategies and mechanisms for enabling integrated biodiversity conservation with a focus on linking forests and wetlands. In this broad context, one of its technical sessions will be devoted to ’Cultural heritage of forests and wetlands’. The session, organised by the Sabah Parks and their Deputy Director Dr. Jamili Nais, will include Conservation of biocultural values, TEK documentation (community protocol), Satoyama and Satoumi, ICCAs, local forms of wise-use / livelihood activities, protected areas and communities, and other related issues.
For more information, please contact the Symposium Secretariat in Sabah at Gerald.Jetony@sabah.gov.my
Cultural aspects to assist major wetland restoration in the Mediterranean
05/01/2011. The potential use of cultural values in strengthening wetland restoration efforts will be tested through a new three-year project launched in the Mediterranean in early 2011. The aim of the project is to select three major wetland sites that have been greatly degraded and examine whether their cultural aspects can be enhanced and used to catalyse conservation initiatives.
Three potential sites have been seriously considered. In Greece, Carla Lake –once a great Mediterranean wetland– was drained in the 1960s to create cultivation land, while currently parts of it are being re-flooded. In Cyprus, Larnaca Lagoon, a Ramsar site, has been dissected by the runways of the local airport. The existence there of an important Moslem sacred site (Umm Haram Tekke) might be combined with a properly restored wetland core to attract visitors. In Tunisia, the Bay of Tunis has lost many of its values through degradation and drainage. Still an ancient fort in the Bay could be turned into a visitor centre, combined with the restoration of the surrounding wetland areas.
All three are difficult efforts, but Med-INA, which is running the project with the support of the MAVA Foundation, believes that progress can be made through persistent and joint efforts with local societies and authorities.
Ramsar Guidance on Culture and Wetlands published in Japanese
10/12/2010. As announced earlier in 2010, Wetlands International Japan considered that the Guidance on Culture and Wetlands, issued in 2008 by the Ramsar Culture Working Group, would be useful for the management and wise use of wetlands in that country. Thus, the Guidance was translated by Mina Yoshikai, Koichi Sasagawa and Miki Sasaki, under the supervision of Takeshi Kobayashi and Tatsuichi Tsujii and published in late 2010. (ISBN 978-4-9904238-4-1.)
It is hoped that this publication will encourage decision-makers and wetland managers to incorporate the rich cultural values of Japanese wetlands in conservation efforts, obtaining synergy from the joint management of cultural and natural heritage. Read more
Book in French on Mediterranean wetland heritage
13/04/2010. In 2009, the book Action for culture in Mediterranean wetlands was updated and translated into French. It was published in early 2010 in Paris by Buchet/Chastel in its Ecologie series, with the title Un patrimoine à préserver – les zones humides méditerranéennes.
The book – authored by Thymio Papayannis with the assistance of many experts from the region– is based on a critical analysis of 21 wetland sites, placing it in a broader context. It encourages an integrated approach to the natural and cultural heritage of wetlands.
Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps
13/04/2010. According to information provided by Professor Albert Hafner, a proposal has been submitted for the recognition of pile dwellings around the Alps as World Heritage Sites.
Prehistoric pile dwellings and bog settlements are a phenomenon peculiar to the Alpine countries. They have been found in an excellent state of preservation in numerous lakes and wetlands throughout the foothills of the Alps. Some 1000 such dwellings are known in the area, spread across Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, northern Italy and eastern France.
As monuments, they are of unique importance and scientific significance. They are threatened, however, by erosion, large scale land filling, dredging and construction. The ‘UNESCO World Heritage’ designation can contribute to the comprehensive protection of these unique sites and reinforce the awareness of their global values.
It should be noted that in the application to UNESCO the position of the Ramsar Convention on the archaeological heritage of wetlands is used as an argument. More
The Ramsar guidance on Culture and Wetlands in Japanese
13/04/2010. In late 2008, during the Ramsar COP10, Wetlands International – Japan organised a very successful side event on the cultural values of Asian wetlands and published later its presentations.
This year, Wetlands International – Japan has translated the ‘Ramsar Guidance on Culture and Wetlands’ into Japanese and will publish it in the next few months.
Workshop on an integrated approach to nature and culture
29/09/2009. On the Greek side of Prespa Lakes – a Ramsar site – a Mediterranean Workshop was held on 23-27 September 2009, on the theme ‘Towards an integrated approach to the cultural and natural values of wetlands’.
The Workshop was organised by Med-INA (Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos) in collaboration with the MedWet Initiative and the Society for the Protection of Prespa. It was held in the framework of a Med-INA project on ‘Cultural aspects of Mediterranean wetlands’ supported by the MAVA Foundation.
The meeting opened with a message by Anada Tiéga, the Ramsar Secretary General, and a greeting by Lazaros Nalpantidis, the Mayor of Prespa. 35 experts from 17 countries took part and contributed their experience and views on the integration of natural and cultural aspects of wetlands and the incorporation of cultural values in their management (view the agenda). The ‘Ramsar guidance document on culture and wetlands’ was presented by Dave Pritchard, member of the Ramsar Culture Working Group.
In addition, the meeting gave the opportunity to the Nejib Benessaiah, Interim MedWet Co-ordinator, to present the concept of the new MedWet Culture Network and to discuss with the other participants the modalities of its establishment and future activities; while the Society for the Protection of Prespa explained the purpose and activities of its innovative ‘Centre for Man and Nature’, recently established in the village of Lemos.
-- Thymio Papayannis