The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 March 2000
Lamentablemente, no hay versión en español de este documento
Headline story.Staff news from Wetlands International - Americas.RobinSchaap, International Director, Wetlands International, writes: "Following a recent Wetlands International - Americas Regional Council meeting, Wetlands International is pleased to announce that Simon Nash has been appointed acting Executive Director of the Americas Region. Simon will be based part-time in the Ottawa office (for the time being) and will work the remaining part-time in the Wageningen office of Africa, Europe, Middle East. Ian Davidson will be phasing out his work in a hand-over period. He intends to focus full time on project work. Pablo Canevari will continue to head the Wetlands International - South America Programme based in Argentina and Mauricio Cervantes continues to head the Mexico office." [1/3/00]
Headline story.WWF congratulates Poland on Vistula decision. Claude Martin, Director General of WWF, congratulated the Polish Government on its enlightened decision yesterday to insist that an independent technical expert group examines all concerns and alternatives, before it makes a final decision on whether to build a new $250 million dam on the Vistula River, and he repeated WWF's offer to help facilitate technical assistance and finance for the assessment of alternative schemes to solve the problems of the existing Wloclawek dam. At a press conference in Warsaw on Monday, WWF and a coalition of Polish NGOs (IUCN Poland, Wedkarski Swiat, Klub Gaja, Ecological Forum WU, and OTOP/BirdLife International) presented a critique of the Ministry of Environment's proposal, and these issues were reiterated in a letter to the Polish Prime Minister by Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Here is WWF's press release. [25/2/00]
Delmar Blasco, Secretary General, is in Lelystad, the Netherlands, for a board meeting of the International Course on Wetland Management, 6 March.
Anada Tiéga, Regional Coordinator for Africa, is on a joint mission, 28 February to 6 March, with Ramsar, IUCN, Eurosite, and the World Heritage Centre, to assist the Government of Tunisia in identifying relevant indicators for a monitoring system on Lake Ichkeul, a Ramsar and Montreux Record site which also appears on the World Heritage list of endangered properties.
New on the Site: French versions of the Resolutions and Recommendations of Ramsar COP3, Regina, 1987, and of Ramsar COP4 as well; pictures from the recent Standing Committee meeting; reprinted report from 1984 on Ramsar's COP2 in Groningen. [6/3/00]
Tisza cyanide spill awful for everyone, including Ramsar. Readers who have been following the news on the industrial mining spill in Romania, affecting the Tisza river basin and eventually the Danube through Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria, in the newspapers and the WWF Web site, among others, have already realized how devastating this accident is likely to be for Ramsar sites. András Böhm of the Ministry for the Environment in Budapest writes: "Let me inform you that a serious ecological- environmental catastrophe took place between 1 and 11 February in river Szamos and Tisza affecting a planned quadrilateral (Hungarian-Romanian-Slovakian-Ukrainan) Ramsar site and indirectly affecting 3 already existing Hungarian Ramsar Sites (Lake Tisza, Martely, Pusztaszer). Presumably all the endemic and highly vulnerable fish species and the fragile invertebral fauna was seriously affected. In fact, the pollution has almost swept out biological diversity along the river Tisza downwards from the Szamos inflow." Here is the rest of his report. Ramsar has had a significant investment in the region -- in 1997, SFR 25,000 were awarded from the Ramsar Small Grants Fund to establish a Transboundary Ramsar Wetland Area in the Upper Tisza Region, a project area of approximately 1,500,000 hectares that is situated in the border territories of Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Though a full assessment of the loss will not be available until the spring, there are already early signs from the EU that legal measures will be taken to prevent future occurrences of this kind. [23/2/00]
Announcement: Green Korea calls for a Green Pilgrimage for Earth Day. See their announcement on the Ramsar Forum. [23/2/00]
Changing of the deputy-guard in Ramsar Bureau. On 18 February 2000, the Ramsar Bureau staff wolfed down half a ton of homemade lunch stuff and bade farewell to Dr Bill Phillips, our Deputy Secretary General for the past two and a half years, at the same time welcoming Dr Nick Davidson as his successor. Delmar Blasco's announcement to the press: "Today is the last day of Dr Bill Phillips as Deputy Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands. We are saying farewell to Bill with a sincere gratitude for his important contribution during the two and half years that he worked here. He has provided invaluable support for the new directions that I have been trying to give to the Convention, and in addition he has taken a number of important initiatives to make the Convention more relevant and efficient, including a number of changes in the operations of the Ramsar Bureau. We wish Bill all the best in his return to his home country, Australia. As from next Monday, the Deputy Secretary General in Ramsar will be Dr. Nick Davidson of the UK. He has been until now the Science Coordinator at Wetlands International. Thus, Nick comes to Ramsar with a solid background in wetland sciences and a first-hand knowledge of the work of the Convention. We welcome him most warmly!" Here are photographs of the festivities. [21/2/00]
New spiral-bound publication available for free. Booklovers who remember the classy, solid dark blue with gold lettering of Oxford University Press and Routledge Kegan Paul tomes from the first half of the recent century may remain unimpressed, but the new Annotated List of Wetlands of International Importance is certainly one of the more attractive spiral-bound publications in recent months. Internet Addicts already know that the Annotated List has been available for weeks on this Web site under the name "Ramsar Country Profiles", but normal people may be pleased to learn that the Annotated List, drafted by Ms Robin Reilley, contains a one-paragraph briefing on every Ramsar site in the known world -- as of this printing, all 1019 of them. The Country Profiles, like the Basic Ramsar List, are kept up to date with every submission of new data, but the Annotated List will only be reprinted every three months. Fans of Ramsar may request a free copy of the 276-page publication, including the little plastic spiral binding thing, by writing to Ms Valerie Higgins in the Bureau. [20/2/00]
More good video news from Ramsar. Following on from the enormous demand for our main new video on wetlands and wise use, which is already out of stock in some formats and hastily being reprinted in larger quantities, the Bureau is also pleased to announce the availability free-of-charge of The Ramsar Convention of Wetlands: its history, evolution and future. More closely focused on the Convention itself than the other film is, this 17-minute show describes the seminal MAR Conference in the Camargue in 1962, where the Ramsar story really began, and covers the main events right up to 1999. An earlier version, under the title "The Ramsar Convention - 25 years of a success story", was first prepared by Environment Australia and screened at Ramsar COP6 in Brisbane in 1996, solidly based on G.V.T. Matthews' 1993 book The Ramsar Convention: its history and development. The present version has been adapted and brought up to date by Kenyon Castle Productions in Australia with financial support provided to the Ramsar Bureau from the Danone Group/Evian project. The film is available in English only, in PAL, SECAM, and NTSC formats. Seek your copy from Valerie Higgins of the Ramsar Bureau, and be sure to specify which of the two videos you are asking for, as well as the required TV format for your country. [18/2/00]
The UK designates its 150th Ramsar site. On World Wetlands Day, Minister Chris Mullin announced the designation of "Northumbria Coast" (1108 hectares) as his country's 150th site (see the press release). Also named an EC Habitats Directive SPA and an SSSI, the site comprises several discrete sections of rocky foreshore between Spittal, in the north of Northumberland, and an area just south of Blackhall Rocks in County Durham. These stretches of coast support internationally important numbers of purple sandpiper (Calidris maritima) and turnstone (Arenaria interpres, 1739 individuals, 2.6 % of the Eastern Atlantic Flyway population). The Ramsar site also includes an area of sandy beach which supports a nationally important breeding colony of little tern and parts of three artificial piers which form important roost sites for purple sandpiper. The 96% of the site composed of Wetland Type D (rocky marine shore) includes cliffs, crags/ledges, intertidal rock, open coast (including bay), and pools and assists in shoreline stabilization, dissipation of erosive forces, and sediment trapping. Little terns are vulnerable to disturbance by tourists in the summer causing reduced breeding success, and the National Trust employs wardens in summer to protect the little tern colony. A range of recreational activities takes place along the coast, including walking, camping, sea angling, birdwatching, and water sports (water skiing, sailing, windsurfing and canoeing). Birdwatching is particularly popular at Druridge Bay. In addition to many day trippers who come to the site, a sizeable population of summer visitors stay in caravan parks and other accommodation along the coast. This counts as Ramsar site no. 1019. [17/2/00]
Brief report on Ramsar issues at the CBD's SBSTTA5 meeting. The CBD's 5th SBSTTA (31 January to 4 February 2000) welcomed the growing and evolving partnership and cooperation with the Ramsar Convention. The products of the meeting, once available, will mention this partnership in the recommendations from the meeting relating to the inland waters, marine/coastal, and forest biodiversity programmes of work, as well as the cross-cutting theme of alien invasive species. Significantly, the meeting gave its overwhelming endorsement for the 2nd Joint Work Plan (JWP) between CBD and Ramsar which was developed collaboratively between the secretariats and the Chairs of CBD's SBSTTA and Ramsar's STRP, the respective subsidiary advisory bodies. The meeting also supported a new format for National Reports under the CBD - one that is very similar to that employed by Ramsar for its COP7 - which, if it is accepted by CBD COP5, should assist with efforts to harmonize national reporting in the future. Here's a brief report on this important meeting. [16/2/00]
Course announcement."Participatory Management of Protected Areas" course in Bangkok. WWF and the Regional Community Forestry Training Center (RECOFTC) at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, announce the Participatory Management of Protected Areas training course set for 1-19 May 2000. The objectives are to 1) introduce key concepts and issues in participatory management of protected areas, 2) increase understanding of problems in implementating protected area management, and 3) build skills in participatory planning and design. The course is taught in English and women are encouraged to apply; all applicants should be now or soon to be working in protected areas. Fees are US$ 3,975 for materials, accommodation, per diem, and health insurance, but not transportation to the venue. Write to Dr Somsak Sukwong, fax +662 561 4880, e-mail email@example.com, Web http://www.recoftc.org . [17/2/00]
Bi-national clean-up project aids environment and int'l relations. Last Thursday, February 10, 2000, more than 80 scuba divers from Israel and Jordan joined together along the entire North Beach area of Eilat, in a major underwater clean up campaign. In the most ambitious effort to date, the divers spent the morning cleaning up all the trash that had accumulated on the sea floor in some of the most popular swimming beaches used by thousands of tourists and Eilat residents. Thanks to Reuven Ortal's post to the Ramsar Forum, here's a brief report from Friends of the Earth Middle East. [14/2/00]
Benin becomes the 119th Contracting Party. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce that on 24 January 2000, Benin completed the formalities for joining the Convention on Wetlands, as amended by the Paris Protocol of 1982, and the Convention will come into force for Benin on 24 May 2000. Benin has designated two sites as its first Wetlands of International Importance: Basse Vallée du Couffo, Lagune Côtiere, Chenal Aho, Lac Ahémé (47,500 hectares) and Basse Vallée de l'Ouémé, Lagune de Porto-Novo, Lac Nokoué (91,600 hectares). More details are available here. [9/2/00]
Inquiry. Ecotoxicity of Styrene on Wetland Ecosystem?Karen Woo, WWF-Hong Kong, posed this inquiry to the Ramsar Forum: "Greetings. A significant chemical pollution took place a few days ago within the catchment of the Inner Deep Bay of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK SAR), which is also the location of the 7th Ramsar Site of the Peoples' Republic of China. The pollution was caused when a truck loaded with the chemical - vinyl benzene or styrene got overturned on a road and the chemical flew through the drainage system and finally to the mouth of a river directing to the Mai Po Ramsar Site." Here are the questions, and an excellent reply. [10/2/00]
Another Inquiry. Transboundary site planning, South Africa and Namibia. John Dini writes, "The mouth of the Orange River forms part of the boundary between South Africa and Namibia, with both countries having designated their respective parts as Ramsar sites. Both countries are now hard at work planning the integration of these two sites into a single jointly-managed transboundary site." South Africa's request to the Ramsar Forum seeks advice on harmonization of legislation, institutional arrangements for management and coordination, and day-to-day management. Read the inquiry and offer any advice that you can! [11/2/00]
Islamic Republic of Iran names its 20th Ramsar site. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce the designation of a new Wetland of International Importance in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as of 29 December 1999. Sheedvar Island (870 ha, 26°48'N, 053°24'E) is a small sandy and rocky offshore island surrounded by excellent coral reefs in the north central Persian Gulf, extremely important for breeding marine turtles (Chelonidae) and some species of waterbirds, including a breeding colony of terns (Sterna spp) and other waterbirds in internationally important numbers. The flat area within sparsely-vegetated sand dunes is densely clad with halophytic shrubs (Atriplex sp) up to 60cm high. Abundance of a small poisonous snake has led to the island's alternative name "Maru" (Snake Island). There are no springs or surface water on the island and rainfall is very low, and the island is uninhabited by humans and owned by the government. Uncontrolled egg collection by humans was a serious problem in the 1970s but has diminished to manageable proportions. Department of the Environment personnel have been stationed on the island during the breeding season. [9/2/00]
The Ramsar Video can be yours! A 22-minute video, entitled "The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands", presents the major issues related to wetland conservation and sustainable use, as well as the work of the Convention to address them. Haunting music and targeted nature footage complement sound-bites from Ismail Serageldin (World Bank), Maritta Koch-Weser (IUCN), Kadir Asmal (World Commission on Dams), Michael Moser (formerly Wetlands International), Delmar Blasco and Rebecca D’Cruz (Ramsar Bureau), Jens Enemark (Common Waddensee Secretariat), and others. Created by TVE (the Television Trust for the Environment), the Ramsar video overlaps about 85% with TVE's show for the BBC's Earth Report series shown last spring. Copies of the video are available free of charge from the Ramsar Bureau in English, French, and Spanish, in PAL, SECAM, and NTSC formats. [6/2/00]
Headline story.Transboundary "Prespa Park" created in innovative diplomacy. Delmar Blasco, the Secretary General, celebrated World Wetlands Day, 2 February, by participating in ceremonies near Prespa Lake that were attended by the Prime Ministers of Albania, Greece, and the FYR of Macedonia, their excellencies Ilir Meta, Costas Simitis, and Ljubco Georgievski respectively. The purpose of the trilateral meeting was jointly to declare the "Prespa Park" on World Wetlands Day, a new protected area including parts of all three countries.
In his speech to the participants, Mr Blasco said that he considered the present gathering probably the most significant of all the many World Wetlands Day celebrations around the world, because the heads of three of the Convention’s Contracting Parties have come together to declare their resolution to join forces across the borders of their sovereign nations to establish a protected area that should provide great benefits for the local people and at the same time should contribute to conserving the biodiversity of the planet. He noted that this ceremony represented only the beginning of a process that will require political commitment, significant investment, and a lot of work in research, innovative development projects, and training. He congratulated the three governments warmly for their initiative. Here is the Prime Ministers' Declaration on the Creation of the Prespa Park. Plus all the speechs. [5/2/00] See also Environmental News Service http://ens.lycos.com/ens/feb2000/2000L-02-02-04.html .
Headline story.New Zealand confers Wetland Conservation Awards on World Wetlands Day.Brian Sheppard (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Department of Conservation has sent us the results of New Zealand's Wetland Conservation Award ceremonies, held on World Wetlands Day, in which Minister Sandra Lee conveyed achievement award upon seven individuals and groups in a programme modeled upon the triennial Ramsar Awards. Here are the results. [4/2/00]
Yesterday was World Wetlands Day. Be happy! Walk around in ankle-deep water and shout slogans with joy. In addition to the impressive plans outlined for countries all round the world (see them here), the Bureau has also been notified that both India and the United Kingdom have seized the occasion to set in motion the designation process for new Wetlands of International Importance. In the meantime, Ramsar Bureau staff got crazy with IUCN and WWF colleagues, with World Wetlands Day aperitifs, hors d'oeuvres, videos, slide shows and unflattering quizzes on general wetland knowledge [Jim Thorsell won everything!]; there will probably have to be photos posted here in due course as a kind of consolation to the victims. When all the WWD seminars and sampan races are over, the Ramsar Bureau will begin collecting reports and post-mortems, many with pix, and we'll post as many of them as we can right here on this Web site. [3/2/00]
Guatemala weighs in with Punta de Manabique. Just in time for World Wetlands Day, Guatemala has designated its fourth Ramsar site [the Convention's 1016th], this one in the Municipality of Puerto Barrios in the Izabal Department, which is located in the Honduran Gulf on the Caribbean coast. The new site, Punta de Manabique, covers a total of 132,900 hectares, of which 44,900 ha are terrestrial, 22,000 ha are inland waters, and 66,000 ha are coastal waters. Here's a brief description in English and Español by Margarita Astrálaga of the Ramsar Bureau. [2/2/00]
More to follow. Watch this space. Feedback and suggestions to: the Ramsar Convention Bureau, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail ). Updated regularly by Dwight Peck, Ramsar Bureau.