The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 November 2000

Lamentablemente, no hay versión en español de este documento

Ramsar's 25th Standing Committee meeting. The Standing Committee has completed its week of meetings, 23-27 October, with two days of preparatory meetings of the Subgroups followed by two and a half days of plenary sessions. There were some 65 participants from SC-member Parties, Observer Parties, International Organization Partners, and other observer States and NGOs, plus Bureau staff and interpreters. Among the results: The SC endorsed and advised on the Bureau’s cooperation with the CBD and other conventions, instititutions, and processes, and encouraged the development of new initiatives such as the River Basin Initiative, the Participatory Management Networking Service, and the Ramsar Wetlands Training and Advisory Service. The members offered advice and sought further input on several key institutional issues, such as Parties’ reporting of change in ecological character, the legal issues surrounding potential restrictions of site boundaries, the structure of the Ramsar Sites Database, and the implementation of several COP7 resolutions. The Committee reviewed the work of the STRP and set up a new Subgroup to consider the STRP’s modus operandi.

In addition, the SC approved the Bureau’s accounts for 1999-2000 and its work plan and budget for 2001, carried forward the drafting of Strategic Plan 2003-2008, decided upon the interim location of the MedWet Coordination Function, and approved a slate of Small Grants Fund project proposals. The suggestion of the Government of Spain to hold the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Valencia, 18-26 November 2002, was accepted with appreciation for Spain’s generous pledge of contributions to the COP budget, the draft COP8 agenda was approved, and a calendar of related meetings between now and then was established. The full report of the meeting will appear here in about a week’s time. [30/10/00]

Australia enacts landmark legislation to protect Ramsar sites and migratory birds. Getting ready to enshrine your Ramsar obligations into national law, are you??? Former Ramsar Deputy Secretary General Dr Bill Phillips, now of MainStream Environmental Consulting, explains the new Australian legislation conferring federal legal obligations on Wetlands of International Importance, and throws in excerpts of the relevant legislation. This Australian effort is a significant advance and an excellent model for other Contracting Parties seeking to embody Ramsar's wise use principles in their national and federal legislation. It's all here for your solemn contemplation, right now. [1/11/00]

China plans mangrove inventory. The China State Forestry Administration (SFA) has announced that an inventory of mangrove resources would start next spring (northern hemisphere). Mangrove is special forest vegetation and plays an important role in keeping ecological balance along China’s coastal areas. So far some 14 mangrove type nature reserves have been established. However, for various reasons no systematic and overall inventory of mangrove resources has been carried out, and this is an important gap having negative impacts on conservation and management of mangrove resources. It is estimated that some 40% of mangrove area have been lost. SFA, in its announcement, instructed that the forestry departments of all distribution provinces (Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan) have to be responsible to form a team for this inventory starting in spring of 2001 and prepare to issue ownership/tenure certificates of mangrove before end of 2001. – Reported by Li Lukang, Wetlands International China Programme ( [30/10/00]

Opening statements to the 25th meeting of the Standing Committee from the International Organization Partners, Last minute addenda to the Agenda Papers for the 25th Standing Committee meeting. [1/11/00]

Ramsar welcomes Nigeria as its 123rd Contracting Party. UNESCO has informed the Bureau that on 2 October 2000 Nigeria completed the formalities necessary for its accession to the Convention, as amended by the Paris Protocol of 1982. The Convention will therefore come into force for Nigeria on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2001. The new Party’s first Ramsar site is "Nguru Lake (and Marma Channel) complex" (58,100 hectares), part of the Hadejia Nguru Wetlands located in the northeast of the country, straddling the border between Jigawa State and Yobe State. (The Hadejia Nguru floodplain was the subject of an instructive case study in Ramsar’s Economic Valuation of Wetlands, by Barbier, Acreman, and Knowler, 1997.) Find out a bit more about this newest Ramsar site, right here. [24/10/00]

 How to make signs for your Ramsar sites. Illuminating  photographic examples. See it here.[18/10/00]

Results of the Prespa Park coordination meeting in Tirana, 16-17 October. On World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2000, the Ramsar Bureau participated in ceremonies near Prespa Lake that were attended by the Prime Ministers of Albania, Greece, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia -- the purpose of the trilateral meeting of Prime Ministers was jointly to declare the transboundary "Prespa Park", a new protected area including parts of all three countries, an innovative exercise in regional diplomacy, and their joint declaration is available on this Web site. This first transboundary protected area in the Balkan region has now moved closer to implementation following a working meeting amongst these three countries which was successful in pushing forward concrete plans for setting up a Coordinating Committee, developing a strategic plan, and establishing infrastructure. Here is a summary of the import of the meeting, followed by the agreed Conclusions.[20/10/00]

Ramsar Advisory Mission reports from the past: RAM35 to Nariva Swamp, Trinidad and Tobago (1995) and RAM36, Ringkøbing Fjord, Denmark (1996); RAM29 to St Lucia, South Africa (1992); RAM7, the first mission to Keoladeo (1988); RAM20 to Ukraine (1990); RAM19 to Germany (1990); and RAM28 to Srebarna, Bulgaria (in French).Mission reports of Ramsar consultations in Armenia and Georgia, September 2000; The Secretary General's encouraging remarks to the graduates of the 7th International Course on Wetland Management, in Lelystad, The Netherlands, yesterday; Eric Gilman's renewed call for proposals for the Society of Wetland Scientists' Ramsar grants, the deadline for which looms (1 November). [17/10/00]

Time to get serious about World Wetlands Day 2001. The Bureau will be making available a number of physical items for you to toss around like confetti at your giant WWD rallies, clean-up days, bird-counting parties, and pub crawls -- we already have available a very nice brochure (E, F, and S) advancing the slogan "Wetland World - A World to Discover!" and shamelessly promoting the 30th anniversary of the Convention, with still another slogan: "30 Years Helping You Care for Your Wetlands" (available here and in hardcopy). By mid-November we'll be posting out to all requesters a slick information pack on Wetland Values and Functions (E, F, and S), created by Sandra Hails and available in hardcopy in an attractive folder and all to be reprinted on this Web site. Our five stunning stickers from last year have been reprinted in fairly large quantities, and by mid-December we will be offering a World Wetlands Day 2001 poster (presently still in the 'concept' stage) to replace the old one. Around the same time, we'll be making available some cute computer mousepads with darling little cartoon frogs on them, saying various wetland-related things in three variants for the three Ramsar languages (English, French, and Spanish). (Test: 15 years ago, did you know what "mousepad" meant?) [17/10/00]

Ramsar visit to Honduras. Earlier this year, the Ramsar Bureau had received multiple complaints from national and international NGOs regarding problems with Ramsar site number 1000 in Honduras - Sistema de Humedales de la Zona Sur de Honduras (designated in July 1999), a complex of seven coastal areas totaling 69,711 hectares along the Honduran portion of the Golfo de Fonseca. In accordance with Article 3.2 of the Convention, the Ramsar Bureau made inquiries with the Ramsar Administrative Authority in the country and received a formal reply indicating that all possible measures within the legal system of Honduras had been taken, or were in the process of being taken, to resolve the situation. Since, thereafter, the Bureau continued to receive complaints about the effectiviness of the government action, Regional Coordinator Margarita Astrálaga visited the country and the Ramsar site in September 2000 and spoke with representatives of the Government and the NGOs. Here's a brief summary of what she learned. [16/10/00]

IUCN, Ramsar, and climate change. On 7 October, the Deputy Secretary General, Nick Davidson, spoke to the climate change workshop at the World Conservation Congress (still winding slowly down in Amman, Jordan) about potential IUCN roles in the emerging cooperation between the Convention on Wetlands and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A further note is added from Nick's pointed summary remarks to the Making Waves interactive session, pledging Ramsar's efforts to assist the IUCN Wetlands Programme in future to stay in touch with other global initiatives in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Here's the brief text. [12/10/00]

The United Kingdom adds two more Ramsar sites. The Bureau is pleased to announce the designation of two new Ramsar sites in the UK, effective 9 October 2000, bringing that Party’s total number of sites to 158. Lee Valley (448 hectares) comprises a series of embanked water supply reservoirs, sewage treatment lagoons, and former gravel pits extending along about 24km of the valley from near Ware southward to Finsbury Park in London. These water bodies support internationally important numbers of wintering Gadwall and Shoveler (Criterion 6)and nationally important numbers of several other bird species. Four Sites of Special Scientific Interest are included within the site, and virtually all parts of the site are subject to management plans in which nature conservation is a high or sole priority. South West London Waterbodies (828 ha) comprises a number of reservoirs and former gravel pits in the Thames Valley adjacent to Heathrow Airport between Windsor and Hampton Court which support internationally important numbers of Gadwall Anas strepera and Shoveler Anas clypeata (Criterion 6). Potential future decommissioning of reservoirs once they are no longer needed for water supply may eventually require discussions with the current owners. [10/10/00]  [français et/y español]

Ramsar at the World Conservation Congress. "Making Waves: strategies for averting the world water crisis" is the name of "Interactive" Workshop 6 at the World Conservation Congress in Amman, Jordan, and today's first session is being chaired by Delmar Blasco, Ramsar's Secretary General. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, will be addressing the workshop as well, and Dr Jorge Jiménez of Costa Rica, chair of Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel, will be serving as a panelist. "Making Waves" has been organized by IUCN's Wetlands and Water Resources Programme with collaboration of a number of  IUCN regional offices and commissions, with support from the Ramsar Convention, The Nature Conservancy, the World Commission on Dams, and the Global Water Partnership for Southern Africa. [5/10/00] Update: Nick Davidson will be participating in the workshop on Climate Change, chaired by Brett Orlando, 7 October.

Update on the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Strategy for 2001-2005 and three species-group actions plans. Conservation of migratory waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia Pacific region has been promoted through the Asia Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 1996-2000. The Strategy, an international cooperative initiative, has core financial support from the governments of Japan and Australia and is coordinated by Wetlands International, and the Strategy is endorsed by the Convention on Wetlands and the Convention on Migratory Species. The new draft will be finalized at the workshop in Okinawa, 15-19 October, and any further inputs must be received now. Taej Mundkur reports to the Ramsar Forum on recent progress on this next edition. [7/10/00]

Second Pathfinder Workshop held in Colombia. In furtherance of Resolution V/6 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), the MAB Programme of UNESCO, and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands promoted the holding of three subregional workshops. The first one was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 17-20 July 2000, the second was held in Colombia, 17-20 September 2000, and the third one will be held in Asia at the end of the year. The South American workshop was also supported by the European Union, the United Kingdom, WWF International, the Royal Holloway Institute, and the Colombian Ministry of Environment. Here is a brief report on the workshop from Margarita Astrálaga. [6/10/00]

Two wetland workshops in Odesa. (That's right, Odesa (not 'Odessa') is said to be the correct Ukrainian spelling.) Tobias Salathé reports on two workshops held in Odesa at the end of September. The first one on the "Conservation, restoration and wise-use of wetlands and wetland resources along the Black Sea coast" was organized by Wetlands International with support from the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries. Most of the participants stayed on for the second workshop on "Water issues and natural resources management", also organized by the Wetlands International Black Sea Office. This was the final meeting of the Programme on Technical Twinnings between Ramsar Sites in Closed Seas Deltas, a MedWet project in cooperation with Eurosite, with financial support by the Ramsar Evian Initiative of the Danone Group and the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM). Here is his one-page report on what really happened. [5/10/00]

Stamp collectors, line up and don't jostle. Here are two of the prettiest postage stamps you'll see in a long while, recently issued by Armenia. The photographs were shot by Dr Karén Jenderedjian of the Ministry of Nature Protection, who's also Chairman of the Ramsar Standing Committee's Subgroup on Finance and is expected here at the secretariat in three weeks' time. Maybe Karén can find more copies of these stamps for you - these originals are on their way by UPS courier to the webmaster's youngest daughter for a prominent spot in her collection. [5/10/00]

Article 3.2 of the Convention. Article 3.2 reads "Each Contracting Party shall arrange to be informed at the earliest possible time if the ecological character of any wetland in its territory and included in the List has changed, is changing or is likely to change as the result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. Information on such changes shall be passed without delay to [the Convention Bureau]." Over many years, the Convention's bodies have worked hard to refine definitions of "ecological character" and "change of ecological character" for the guidance of the Parties. But as Dave Pritchard, International Treaties Adviser for BirdLife International, points out in this background paper prepared for the Standing Committee's deliberations in a few weeks' time, the Article has significant other implications for the Parties as well. The paper is available here. [5/10/00]

The Standing Committee agenda papers beckon to you! The SC25 agenda papers include: the Secretary General’s report on all the progress the Convention has made over the past year [2]; update on "compliance" issues among the Parties and the increasing importance of Article 3.2 [3, 8]; lots on the Convention’s "synergies" with the CBD and other conventions and financial mechanisms [5, 6, 7, 29]; progress on indigenous people [9] and river basins [11]; proposals for place, dates, and agenda for the 8th Conference of the Contracting Parties in Spain in 2002 [14, 15]; beaucoup de financial stuff [21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28]; Small Grants Fund issues [24, 25]; location of the MedWet Coordination Function [30]; finding a new Secretary General in due course [31]; and best of all (if better were possible) the second draft of the evolving Strategic Plan for 2003-2008 [18]. You’ll also be delighted to find background papers by Dave Pritchard (on compliance [3] and on the draft Strategic Plan [18]), Faizal Parish (on river basins [11]), and the Environmental Law Center (on "urgent national interest" issues [8]). The index is at [1/10/00]

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