Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 April 1997

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South Korea becomes the 101st Contracting Party. UNESCO has today confirmed that the Republic of Korea deposited its instrument of accession on 28 March and designated "The High Moor, Yongneup of Mt. Daeam" as its first Ramsar site. This 106-hectare site consists of two peat bogs at about 1200 meters above sea level, with 150cm peat layers over 4,000 years old. The moor and its surroundings are under the control of the Ministry of National Defense since the area is adjacent to the Demilitarized Zone; access requires permission from the Defense Ministry and thus the use of the moor is prohibited strictly by law for any purpose. Though some parts of the moor have been affected by military traffic, the area enjoys several forms of legal conservation protection and studies of the feasibility of ecotourism are in progress. Information on the site is available from the Ecosystem Conservation Division, National Conservation Bureau, Ministry of Environment, Government Complex II, Kwacheon 427-760, Republic of Korea (fax +822 504 9207). [2/4/97]

MedWet GEF proposal makes headway. Jamie Skinner of the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat reports that on 19 March the Global Environment Facility operations committee accepted the MedWet / Conservatoire du Littoral project brief entitled "Conservation of coastal and wetland ecosystems in the Mediterranean region," which addresses biodiversity conservation at 16 sites in Albania, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestine Autonomous Region, and Tunisia and includes changes to legislation and the development of national wetland policies. The total project cost, if approved, would be US$ 15.5 million over five years, with co-funding of US$ 2.3 million from the Caisse Française de Développement. The final decision on the brief is expected to be made at the GEF Council meeting on 1 May, and if it is approved, work will begin on development of a project description detailing all of the activities to be undertaken. [26/3/97]

Ghanaian workshop on a national wetland policy. On 22-23 March, the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Ghana, the Ministry of Lands and Forests, held a brainstorming workshop, funded by the GEF project on Ghanaian coastal wetlands, to establish the basis for a national wetland policy. Organized by Dr Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu of the University of Ghana and the Ghana Wildlife Society, the meetings were well-attended and provided the opportunity for Dr Ntiamoa-Baidu, Dr Mike Moser of Wetlands International, and Mike Smart from the Ramsar Bureau to explain Ramsar's emphasis on the need for national wetland policies; once the momentum had been established, the participants scheduled follow-up working meetings beginning as early as 2 April. Mr Smart also had the chance to talk with the Hon. Kwabena Adjei, Minister of Lands of Forests and a participant at Ramsar's Brisbane COP, about Ghana's draft National Land Policy which incorporates considerable emphasis on wetland issues; shortly thereafter, Mr Adjei was appointed Minister of Food and Agriculture. [26/3/97]

Doñana Committee meeting. In mid-March, the Bureau's Mike Smart attended the 2nd meeting of the committee established by the Junta de Andalucia to monitor use of the 63 thousand million peseta (62 million Swiss franc) fund granted by the European Union for the "Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Area around Doñana". It was decided that special efforts should be made to cultivate the local population's awareness that these special grants have been made to develop their feeling of belonging to Doñana. Mr Smart reports that the situation of the Park is quite encouraging because of a second consecutive winter with excellent rain; the marshes are covered with shallow water and it looks to be another fine breeding season. The Park authorities are preparing enthusiastically for the proposed Ramsar Management Guidance Procedure and have drawn up lists of Spanish specialists for the MGP mission to contact. [26/3/97]

Ukraine set to list 22 new sites.Yaroslav Movchan, Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine, has informed the Bureau that his country, which recently formalized its status in the Convention as a successor state to the former Soviet Union, is designating 22 sites for the Ramsar List, four of which had already been listed but the remainder of which will be new sites. Details will follow as soon as the paperwork has been received from the Central Board of Natural National Parks and Reserve Affairs. [12/3/97]

Germany earmarks funds for the SGF. Dr Angela Merkel, Germany's Minister for Environment, Nature Protection, and Reactor Safety, informed the Bureau on 28 February of her ministry's grant of DM 60,000 for use by the Ramsar Small Grants Fund (SGF). She noted that this was prompted particularly by the Australian Environment Minister Sen Robert Hill's 1996 request that governments respond to his country's challenge to pledge financial support to the implementation of the Strategic Plan 1997-2002. This donation, coming so soon after the generous contributions of Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland, places the SGF in an excellent position as we near the 31 March deadline for the submission of project proposals. [2/3/97] (Click here for a brief list of other recent voluntary contributions from other Contracting Parties [4/3/97])

Czech Republic puts Litovelské Pomoraví on the Montreux Record. The Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic has placed Litovelské Pomoraví, a 5,122 hectare site that was designated for the Ramsar List in November 1993, on the Montreux Record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological development, pollution, or other human interference. Sites on the Montreux Record require positive national and international conservation attention and receive priority in applications of the Management Guidance Procedure, if requested, and assistance from other bodies. Here is the Ministry's notification and Montreux Record Questionnaire outlining the situation at the site. [28/2/97]

The Convention reaches the 100 milestone. UNESCO has informed the Bureau that, effective 7 February, the Bahamas and Georgia have joined the Ramsar Convention and the treaty will go into effect for both of them on 7 June 1997. Which of them is actually the 100th Contracting Party may be a point of some debate, but by the Laws of Alphabetism, Georgia gets the nod. According to our telephone conversation with John Donaldson of UNESCO, Bahamas ratified the Convention, the Paris Protocol, and the Regina Amendments and named Inagua National Park on Great Inagua Island as its first Ramsar site. Georgia designated two sites, Wetlands of Central Kolkheti (several wetlands in the area) and Ispani II Marshes. [14/2/97]

Ramsar signs MOU with the CMS. Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht, Coordinator of UNEP's Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS, or the Bonn Convention), today joined our Secretary General, Delmar Blasco, in signing a Memorandum of Understanding between his secretariat and the Bureau of the Ramsar Convention. The MOU outlines a number of "areas of cooperation", including joint promotion; institutional cooperation; joint conservation action; data collection, storage and analysis; and new agreements on migratory species. Here's the text of the MOU. [18/2/97]

Meeting on CBD Implementation Targets. A meeting of the Global Biodiversity Forum, entitled "Dialogue on Biodiversity Indicators and Implementation Targets," will be held 3-4 April in the UN headquarters in New York. Organized by IUCN, UNEP, World Resources Institute, the Government of Sweden, BIONET the Biodiversity Action Network, the Center for International Environmental Law, WWF International, and the Worldwatch Institute, the gathering will examine a wide range of options for biodiversity indicators and Convention on Biological Diversity implementation targets and explore possible contributions for national reports of progress on CBD implementation required of all CBD Parties. [13/2/97]

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