The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 April 2003
Lamentablemente, no hay versión en español de este documento
Headline story.South Australia launches landmark Wetland Strategy. Bill Phillips writes: "The state government of South Australia chose World Wetlands Day this year to launch what is now considered the benchmark wetland strategy in Australia. Why a benchmark ? This is the first time one of our state governments has deliberately positioned such a policy document under its State Water Plan, meaning that the primary delivery mechanism will be through what are called the Catchment Water Management Boards. As the name suggests these are catchment-based multistakeholder bodies that are responsible for developing and implementing integrated water resource management. The wetland strategy sits beside and is designed to work in an integrated way with the actions being taken to manage riparian zones, floodplains, water-dependent ecosystems and the allocations of water for the environment. Also important is the fact that the strategy sets out a range of actions to promote local actions, institutional and resourcing arrangements, community awareness, the recognition and management of Ramsar sites, wetland inventory and data management and priority research directed at guiding future management." Photos of the strategy development team are available here.[02/04/03]
New publication for Argentina's Laguna Iberá. Dr. Jorge Casciotta (firstname.lastname@example.org), of the Museum of La Plata, La Plata National University, Argentina, informs us about the presentation of the new Spanish language publication "Los peces de la Laguna Iberá" (Fishes of Laguna Iberá) produced in the framework of the Ramsar Wetlands for the Future-sponsored project, "Ichtyofauna of Laguna Iberá and its importance in the Reserve's designation as a Ramsar site". / El Dr. Jorge Casciotta (email@example.com), del Museo de la Plata en la Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, nos informa de la presentación de la nueva publicación "Los peces de la Laguna Iberá", la cual ha sido desarrollada en el marco del proyecto "La ictiofauna de la laguna Iberá y su importancia en la designación de la reserva como sitio Ramsar" apoyado por el Fondo Humedales para el Futuro de la Convención de Ramsar. More details right here [español]. [01/04/03]
Headline story. Club Pantanal Otuquis and the Puppets of the Pantanal. During the week of March 24 through the 31, the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is hosting a Puppet Festival organized by the "Duendes de la Caverna" (Cave Goblins) and the Municipal Cultural authority. Among its participants are a group of 9 children known as "Club Pantanal Otuquis" from the city of Puerto Suarez, located in the Bolivian Pantanal. Ana Alicia Eid, Communications Coordinator, WWF Bolivia in Santa Cruz, provides more details and two photos. [01/04/03]
Delmar Blasco, Secretary General, is in The Netherlands today for a board meeting of RIZA's successful Wetland Management and Wetland Restoration training programme in Lelystad. [02/04/03]
Doug Taylor and Alvin Lopez of Wetlands Internationalare working in the Ramsar Bureau this week, preparing for next week's STRP meeting and accomplishing other business as well. [02/04/03]
Everyone else is filling sandbags and piling them up around the camp perimeter, awaiting the arrival of 60 members of the STRP, IOPs, and observer organizations early next week. More news to follow. Some 1,543,227 pages of agenda documentation is available in PDF format for the participants, their admirers, and the general public at [link removed].
New on the Site: Ramsar and the SIDS, a report for UNEP; Photos of plenaries, reception, dinner, and other stuff from Standing Committee 29. [28/03/03]
MedWet/Regions' first meeting held in Palma. The kick off meeting (first meeting of its Steering Commitee) was held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on 6 and 7 March. In that meeting, the programme partners discussed and agreed on administrative and technical aspects of the project. This is a project that was prepared by Tour du Valat on behalf of Ramsar's MedWet Initiative and approved by the EU INTERREG MEDOC funding programme. It brings together 11 Regions from Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Morocco, and includes activities for wetlands management, inventory and public awareness. The approval of this project is a great success and big news for MedWet. For comprehensive information on the programme objectives, partners, sites and activities (and some photos too) see: http://www.medwet.org/news/MWRegions.htm.
Progress on the Prespa Park. On 29 March 2003, the Prespa Park Coordination Committee, bringing together representatives of Albania, Greece and the FYR of Macedonia, as well as Ramsar / MedWet, held a special meeting in the Greek village of Aghios Germanos. This extraordinary session had as a purpose to evaluate the proposed structure and management of a project development phase (PDF B) for a large (close to € 15 million) GEF programme, which will address biodiversity and sustainability issues in the Prespa Lakes region. Already the German government, through KfW - the Bank for Reconstruction, has committed a considerable part of the necessary funds. Here is Senior MedWet Advisor Thymio Papayannis' brief report of the outcomes. [01/04/03]
Now available. Ramsar and the Small Island Developing States. "Since 1994, when the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was adopted, the Ramsar Convention Bureau has supported a number of activities to assist these States in its implementation.Within the 14 agreed priority areas and actions related to environmental and development planning that should be undertaken by SIDS with the cooperation and assistance of the international community, Ramsar concentrated its support on activities related to providing support for developing and implementing integrated coastal zone management plans and strategies; design of monitoring programmes for coastal and marine resources, and support for accession to the Ramsar Convention and the United Nations Environment Programme Specially Protected Areas Protocol for the Wider Caribbean." Here Ramsar's Margarita Astrálaga provides an overview of Ramsar's work with the SIDS, complete with annexes showing Ramsar sites located in those states and Ramsar SGF and WFF financial support for projects for their benefit. [28/03/03] [Left: Lake Pangua on the Fly River floodplain, Papua New Guinea (Photo: Roger Jaensch)]
In memoriam. Jan Rooth. "With the recent death of Jan Rooth, a man who had been involved in the Convention since its earliest days, Ramsar has lost another of its oldest supporters and warmest advocates." Mike Smartremembers the man who was involved in the evolution of the Convention from the MAR Conference in the Camargue in 1962, through the Noordwijk Conference in his native Netherlands in 1966, to the inaugural conference in Ramsar in 1971 and subsequent meetings of the Conference of the Parties. Here is Mike's brief tribute to the life and career of Jan Rooth. [27/03/03]
New member of the Ramsar Asia team announced. The Ramsar Bureau is delighted to announce that Ms Liazzat Rabbiosi of Kazakhstan has accepted the position of Intern/Assistant to the Regional Coordinator for Asia, to begin in late April 2003 and to replace, as if that were possible, Ms Jia Ma of China. Liazzat has a BA in English and French languages (1996) from Kazakh State University of World Languages, Almaty; in addition, her native language is Russian, she has a good knowledge of Kazakh, and some basic knowledge of Italian. She has worked as an interpreter in Almaty and as a assistant on the project "Water Resources of the Aral Sea" under the direction of the Kazakh State Academy of Architecture and Construction. In 2000, she obtained a master's degree in environmental studies from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK (Graduate School of Environmental Studies), with a thesis on environmental problems related to the Caspian Sea. Since October 2001 she has been working as a researcher with an environmental management consultancy firm in Edinburgh, Scotland, particularly in the field of oil and gas industry experience. Liazzat's experiences and language skills will assist the Bureau in spreading the Ramsar message in Central Asia. [27/03/03]
New Ramsar Assistant for Europe named. The Bureau is also very pleased to announce that Ms Estelle Gironnet of France has been selected to replace Sergei Dereliev of Bulgaria as our Intern/Assistant to the Regional Coordinator for Europe, to begin in May. Estelle has a master's in biology from the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, having focused on the functioning of a water treatment station. Her work experiences are diverse: In 2000, she worked briefly in the Nature Park of Luberon in southern France, assisting the manager of this wildlife rescue centre. In 2001, she spent nine months at the Doñana research station (Spain) to study the impact on birds of the Aznalcollar mine spill, followed by six months in Greece with the Katelios Association for Research and Protection of Wildlife, where she worked in the field of environmental education for the conservation and reproduction of marine turtles. Besides her native language, French, Estelle is fluent in English and Spanish and has some knowledge of Italian and Greek. In providing the information for this announcement, Ramsar's Administrator Annette Keller points out that Estelle, from Western Europe, will be succeeding four Ramsar interns in a row from Eastern Europe. [27/03/03]
Now available. Turkey's National Wetlands Strategy for 2003-2008. Turkey has been accepted as one of the most important countries of both Europe and the Middle East as regards wetlands. The two main reasons for this are 1) the rich and widespread wetland habitats (71 wetlands of international importance have been determined according to Ramsar's fish and waterfowl criteria. Following the evaluations which will be realized according to vegetation and other animal species this amount will be increased), and the geographical characteristics which give rise to the passage of two main migratory routes of the west palearctic region. Since becoming party to the convention, 4 sites in 1994 and 5 sites in 1998 have been designated as Ramsar site in Turkey. In 2002, the Regulation on Conservation of Wetlands was put into force, and became an instrument for improving the conservation of these wetlands - the "National Wetlands Committee" which was established through this regulation became an important tool to develop coordination and collaboration between relevant institutions. "2003-2008 National Wetlands Strategic Plan for Turkey" was prepared with the participation of delegates from all relevant governmental institutions, NGOs, and stakeholders based on Ramsar 2003-2008 Strategic Plan approved by COP8, and will become an important guidebook for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. [text adapted from the introduction] Turkey's English version of its new strategy has been reproduced here. [26/03/03]
HumedAndes wetland inventory initiative launched in Colombia. An institutional cooperation initiative to promote and carry out inventories on Andean wetlands is being launched in Colombia. Currently Fundación Humedales and a number of other NGO and academic institutions have agreed to join efforts in order to build a common conceptual framework for the cooperative development of wetland inventories in the highlands of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, and the upper Cauca river valley, covering critical endangered wetland habitats of the country. More details here in English and in Spanish. [24/03/03]
France names four new Ramsar sites for World Wetlands Day. The Ministère de l'écologie et du développement durable, Direction de la nature et des paysages, has celebrated World Wetlands Day by designating four interesting new Wetlands of International Importance. They are the Bassin du Drugeon (5,988 ha) in the Franche-Comté near Pontarlier near the Swiss frontier; Etangs du Lindre, forêt du Romersberg et zones voisines (5,308 ha) in Lorraine, near Dieuze not far from Nancy; Lac du Bourget - Marais de Chautagne (5,500 ha) in the Rhône-Alpes region, between Geneva and Grenoble; and Marais du Fier d'Ars (4,452 ha) on the Atlantic island of Ré off the coast of La Rochelle. Here are the details. [21/03/03] [français et/y español]
Watersheds of the World CD launched in Osaka. The most comprehensive database of the world's river basins, the Watersheds of the World CD, was released as a compact disc and Web site yesterday, 18 March, at the 3rd World Water Forum in Osaka, Japan, in a launch ceremony chaired by Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention. The Watersheds of the World CD presents maps on twenty global issues as well as key maps, data and indicators of 154 of the world's basins. It also provides an analysis of the state of the world's river basins, including the environmental goods and services they provide. "The Watersheds of the World CD offers the best information available today on the river basins of the world. It is a vital reference for anyone who is concerned with or involved in water. This includes the general public, who should be aware of the crisis that many freshwater systems and populations around the world and near their own home face", says Ms. Carmen Revenga, Senior Associate of the World Resources Institute and project leader. The CD has been produced by the "Water Resources eAtlas", a collaborative effort of the World Resources Institute, IUCN - The World Conservation Union, the International Water Management Institute and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. It aims to make freshwater information available so that managers, policy makers and NGOs can improve water allocation and management, and for civil society to participate in water resources management decisions. IUCN press release here. [19/03/03]
Now available. Photos of an estimable dinner. The participants in the 29th meeting of the Standing Committee, early in the evening of 27 February 2003 and wandering amongst intractable questions of precise wording and rules of procedure, threw down their tools and went en masse to Nyon, Switzerland, for a little bite to eat. Here's a modest collection of photographs, taken at the venue by Ramsar's Paulette Kennedy, that will provide readers with a general idea of just how much they missed. Click either on Stephen Virc's smile, left, or on Gerhard Sigmund's. [19/03/03]
Now available at long last.The French translation of the Conference Report of COP8. Possibly the last output of Ramsar COP8 (November 2002) still impatiently awaited on this Web site, the French COP8 report has finally arrived in all of its subdued glory. Smartly upon the heels of the Spanish version last night. So there you have it -- from at least one webmaster's limited point of view, COP8 is now history. Still, however, to come -- 1) a CD-ROM of the COP8 results, preparations starting NOW, eventually available for Everybody, which will probably include (in HTML, PDF, and Word formats) the Resolutions and their annexes of guidance, the Conference Report, and the background agenda papers, and the National Reports and Participants Lists in PDF, in English, Français, and Español. And, even more still to come -- 2) the updated version of the Ramsar Toolkit, the Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands, just now getting seriously into production by Sandra Hails and Nick Davidson and slated to hit the news stands in about five or six months' time. The Toolkit will include all of the Ramsar guidance on various wetland matters, updated to incorporate the results of the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties. [For readers who have little grasp of the visual significance of the Ramsar Toolkit, here's a look at the present version.] [19/03/03]
Third World Water Forum begins today in Japan. Ramsar's Secretary General, Mr Delmar Blasco, the Regional Coordinator for Asia, Dr Guangchun Lei, and the MedWet Coordinator, Mr Spyros Kouvelis, are representing the Ramsar Convention in a large number of events during this week's 3rd World Water Forum taking place in Kyoto, Shiga, and Osaka, Japan, and we hope to have news of the progress there throughout the week. In the meantime, here, courtesy of WWF and its Living Waters Programme, is some useful background information about the Forum itself and the water issues it's intended to address. WWF press releases: What is the World Water Forum?, Water Facts and Figures, A Global Water Crisis, and What WWF Wants from the Forum. We have a WWF press release to add as well, but it's embargoed until 17 March. [16/03/03]
Now available. Nicaragua workshop on technology transfer concerning mangroves. The workshop "Government-designated Expert Workshop on Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Mangrove Forests in Latin America and the Wider Caribbean" took place in Managua, Nicaragua, 3-5 March 2003, and here is a report in English from Ramsar's Margarita Astrálaga on what went on there. Click here. [16/03/03]
SBSTTA8 in Montreal.Ramsar-related Visionaries look to the future.Click on the thumbnail.
Ferruginous Duck Conservation Web site. The BirdLife International's Ferruginous Duck Conservation Team (FDCT) recently launched its own web site. The FDCT is coordinated and the web site is administered by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB), the BirdLife Partner in Bulgaria. In addition an e-mail forum has been established for all those involved in research and conservation of the species and its habitats. The Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) is an exclusively wetland bird and it is inscribed on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species as a species of global conservation concern (Lower Risk/near threatened). Many wetlands across Eurasia and Africa qualify as Ramsar sites namely due to their significance for this waterfowl. Proceedings of the October 2002 workshop "Ferruginous Duck: from research to conservation" are about to be published. The volume contains some intriguing papers and soon will be also available on the FDCT's web site for downloading. For the time being you may enjoy its colourful cover.-- reported by Sergei Dereliev, Ramsar. [14/03/03]
Now available.Report of SC29. Yes, here it is, the report of the 29th meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, and the list of participants as well. Still to come!! -- the decisions in English, French, and Spanish, and photos of the action-packed plenaries, the revealing reception in the lobby, and, of course, the dinner. [14/03/03]
Now available.Ramsar address to the opening session of the CBD's 8th SBSTTA meeting.Nick Davidson is in Montreal for the 8th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technological and Technical Advice and here is the text of his opening statement. [13/03/03]
Now available again.An apparently endless supply of Ramsar COP8 photographs. For the nostalgic amongst us, and for the secondary school students who need additional photographic material about what MEAs' COPs are really like in order to fill out their 40-page graduation theses with less text written by themselves, here are some additional photo essays from Ramsar COP8, the better new photos provided by Artero Fotografos in Valencia and the blurrier ones by inadequately trained Ramsar staff. We've already thrown up in medias res to the public eye a daily photographic summary as the COP was bludgeoning its way into environmental history, but now after a suitable lapse of time, we can add a new page on the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award ceremonies on the opening day, and another on some of the peaceful demonstrations occuring pretty much non-stop inside and outside of the venue, and a few more of Valencia in decompression, including Slovenia photographing Spain (left). View the lot of it here, if you wish to, but not otherwise. [13/03/03]
Spain designates 10 new Ramsar sites and extends an existing one.The hosts of Ramsar COP8 in Valencia announced during the Conference the designation of 11 new Ramsar sites. Ten of them are now ready for inclusion in the List (the Ramsar Bureau is still awaiting a map for the eleventh: Bahía de Cádiz). They include small wetlands, some of them intermittent, from all over the country, including four in the País Vasco (Basque country) contiguous with France and one in the Canary Islands. Here are brief site descriptions prepared from the Spanish Ramsar Information Sheets by Ramsar's Regional Coordinator for Europe, Tobias Salathé. [11/03/03]
Update: The Bahía de Cádiz map has just been received and a site description for this 11th new designation has been added to the article cited above.
Photos available. Kafue Flats, Zambia. The Ramsar site at Kafue Flats actually only covers two smaller separated National Parks within the large game area, Lochinvar and Blue Lagoon. Here are some excellent photos that Tim Dodman took there in the mid-1990s. [12/03/03]
Now available.STRP agenda papers can now been viewed here (in PDF, that is). For members and observers preparing the 11th meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel, 8-11 April 2003, local postmen will be rolling these very large agenda papers up to the front door in hardcopy format in wheelbarrows, but for fans of the STRP amongst the informed public, here's your only opportunity to get at them before they're torn to shreds during the meetings and emerge at the end of the day as Rev.1. See them in PDF format here. The main purpose of the meeting is for the STRP participants to pore over the mandates and priorities forwarded to them by the COP and the Standing Committee and determine their own plan of work for the next triennium - most of the agenda papers, it must be said, consist mainly of background information for their benefit that is readily available elsewhere in the COP8 documentation. [11/03/03]
News from the SGF. Chile completes SGF 1998 project on High Andean wetlands. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce the completion of project "Impact of mining activities on the conservation status of high altitude (Andean) wetlands in the centre-north of Chile", submitted to the SGF 1998 cycle by Mr. Elier Tabilo, of the organization Conservación de Ambientes Acuáticos de Chile. Three main objectives were developed in the course of this project. The restoration needs for the Andean desert wetlands of Tambo and Puquios were studied first. Impacts were identified and quantified on eight different points of these areas, constituting a good example of a site analysis. The next topic developed was a study of the effects of the activities of the Los Pelambres Mining Company on the landscape and scenery of the mountain range wetlands. After determining the environmental impacts, recommendations were made for the restoration of the wetlands of the Los Pelambres region. The last activity developed by the project was added to the original proposal, and consisted in organizing training workshops for cattle ranchers and peasant farmers of the area, in order to compile traditional knowledge for wetlands conservation. Using this knowledge, a restoration pilot project was carried out in a degraded wetland area. As a final note, both the mining companies and the project organizer are currently considering to use part of the acquired information to formulate Ramsar Information Sheets for the wetlands of Tambo, Puquios, and Piuquenes. -- report by Julio Montes de Oca. [09/03/03] [version en español]
Now available. Background paper on 'Sustainable Trade in Indonesia'. In light of the upcoming workshop organized by the Ramsar Bureau and DFID's Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme (MFP) Indonesia on the issue of sustainable trade facilitation, a background paper has been prepared by these two, UNCTAD's Biotrade Initiative and ProFound. The aim of the workshop is to discuss the potential of a more systematic approach for sustainable trade facilitation in Indonesia, with the work title 'Bolsa Nusantara' (referring to the Bolsa Amazonia programme in Brazil as a model). The paper is available here. [10/03/03]
World Wetlands Day news. Norway's WWD 2003 at 71° North. Read the brief report by Roy Erling Wranes of World Wetlands Day on the ice at the Slettnes Birdstation at over71º N, in the county of Finnmark, part of the Slettnes Nature Reserve and Ramsar site. The flag may look a little suspicious, but the people are probably real. Here it is. [09/03/03]
Lake Dengizkul decription now available. The Bureau is pleased to forward information on Uzbekistan's first Wetland of International Importance, which was designated on 8 October 2001. (Because the Convention text requires only the name of a site and a map with boundaries, sites accompanying a new Party's accession papers may be accepted by UNESCO without the Ramsar Information Sheet of site data called for by many Resolutions of the Conference of the Parties and thus required by the Bureau.) Lake Dengizkul (31,300 ha; 39°07'N 064°10'E) is the largest saline wastewater closed water body in the SW part of the Kysylkum desert, with typical ecological conditions of natural lakes situated in the deserts of Central Asia. The lake, dried up by the mid-1950s because of overuse for irrigation, has been refilled since 1966 and is very important for maintaining a biodiversity of wetland-dependent species in a largely arid region. It is of crucial importance for migrating and wintering waterfowl, as it is situated on the route of bird migrations from Western Siberia and Kazakhstan to Indo-Pakistani wintering grounds. Lake Dengizkul is also the habitat of many vulnerable and endangered species, especially as it supports more than 1% population of the endangered White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala Scop.). Commercial mining of gas in the vicinity of and on Lake Dengizkul is the main human activity, and this enabled the provision of the population with fuel and thus preserved trees and shrubs, which are important components of the desert ecosystem. However, excessive inflow of drainage water significantly influenced the water level in the lake and the floods have destroyed some habitats recently. Ramsar Site No. 1108. Site description by Ramsar's Jia Ma. [06/03/03]
Newly available.Agenda for STRP 11. The 11th meeting of the Convention's scientific subsidiary body the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) will take place at the Ramsar Bureau in the IUCN HQ from 8 to 11 April 2003, and what an agenda lies before it! Agenda papers will begin appearing on this Web site over the coming days, but here, in the meantime, is the draft agenda itsownself. (The membership of the new STRP, elected by Standing Committee a few days ago, can be seen here.) [07/03/03]
Ramsar's next Secretary General to take up the reins in August 2003. The Ramsar Bureau is delighted to announce that yesterday, at its 29th meeting, the Standing Committee selected Dr Peter Bridgewater to become the new Secretary General, to replace Mr Delmar Blasco, who will be stepping down at the end of July 2003 after eight years of distinguished service for the Convention on Wetlands. Chosen by the SC in closed session from amongst a short-list of very strong candidates, Dr Bridgewater's selection was greeted by enthusiastic approval when it was announced before Contracting Party Observer States, International Organization Partners, and the Bureau's staff, and Mr Blasco, indicating that he was extremely pleased to be turning the secretariat over to such able hands, pledged to work closely with the new appointee over the next five months to ensure a seamless transition. [02/03/03] [Photo left courtesy of Earth Negotiations Bulletin at Ramsar COP8]
For your agenda. The Standing Committee has fixed the date of its next meeting, SC30, as 12-16 January 2004 in Gland Switzerland.
RSPB/CIWEM Living Wetlands Award. Amanda Atkinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes: "The inaugural Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) / Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) Living Wetlands award was announced at the World Wetlands Day conference at the London Wetlands Centre on February 4th. The RSPB/CIWEM Living Wetlands Award was established in 2003 as a means of recognising and rewarding projects which demonstrate the multiple functions and sustainable use of wetland habitats. Funds for the Award are provided by CIWEM and the RSPB.We had 20 entries all of a very high calibre. The prize, a cheque for £1500 and a bronze of a snipe cast by Devonshire artist Alan Gasby, will be presented at the annual CIWEM dinner. The winner is the Swales and Ure Washlands project - a partnership project involving the community and industry in redressing the loss of washland habitat in the Swales and Ure valleys and creating a more diverse rural economy." [05/03/03]
Agreement signed with Panama for Regional Ramsar Centre.On 28 February, with the endorsement of the Standing Committee, Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, signed an agreement with the Government of the Republic of Panama, in the person of H. E. Ambassador Anel Enrique Beliz G., Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations in Geneva, to cooperate in the creation and functioning of the "Regional Ramsar Centre for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere". First considered and welcomed by Standing Committee at its 20th and 21st meetings, October 1997 and 1998, the creation of the Regional Ramsar Centre was the subject of Resolution VII.26 (San José, 1999), and the developing proposal has always been greeted with enthusiastic support, particularly from the region but globally as well. The Centre, planned to be part of the "City of Knowledge" (Ciudad del Saber) in Panama, will promote training and research activities in the region. (A similar regional endeavor for western and central Asia is in the planning stages for creation in Ramsar, Islamic Republic of Iran, and was welcomed in Resolution VIII.41, November 2002.) The text of the agreement, with indicative budget and a photo of the signing, is available here in English and Español. [04/03/03]
Dr Max Finlayson, new STRP chair
Standing Committee names new STRP for Ramsar. At its 29th Meeting, held 26-28 February 2003, the Ramsar Standing Committee reviewed a large list of nominees for the regional members of the Convention's scientific subsidiary body, the Scientific and Technical Panel (STRP) for the triennium 2003-2005, and chose 14 experts to be invited to join the STRP, according to the regional proportions following the Standing Committee's own regional representation as laid down in Resolution VII.1.The regional experts will join representatives of the four International Organization Partners (BirdLife International, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Wetlands International, and WWF International) as full members of the STRP, as well as a number of expert representatives of invited observer organizations from the NGO and MEA communities. Here's the list of STRP appointees. [03/03/03] [Photo left courtesy of Earth Negotiations Bulletin at Ramsar COP8]
Turberas en los Andes Tropicales. UICN-SUR. Eduardo Guerrero (email@example.com), Coordinador de Programa, Oficina Regional para América del Sur, nos informa del inicio del nuevo proyecto "Turberas en los Andes Tropicales - hacia un sistema internacional de monitoreo socio-ambiental", el cual es auspiciado por el Comité Holándes de la UICN. El proyecto se implementará conjuntamente a través del Grupo Páramo Internacional y UICN-SUR, en colaboración con socios en varios países de la región. Para mayor información favor visitar el sitio web de UICN-SUR:
IUCN-SUR. Eduardo Guerrero (firstname.lastname@example.org), Programme Coordinator, Regional Office for South America, sends us information about the new project "Peatlands in the Tropical Andes - towards an international socio-environmental monitoring system". The project is sponsored by IUCN's Dutch Committee, and will be jointly implemented by Grupo Páramo Internacional and the IUCN-SUR office, in collaboration with other partners in various countries in the region. For more information please visit the IUCN website at: http://www.iucn.org/info_and_news/press/peatlands.pdf.
Standing Committee reaches apogee. Not much fun yesterday for Observer Parties and International Organization Partners, hanging out in the lobby as the Standing Committee remained locked away in closed session until 2:30 p.m., discussing matters concerning the selection of a new Secretary General and new STRP members. In the afternoon, decisions were taken endorsing the Ramsar Centre for the Western Hemisphere in Panama, the national planning tool and National Report format for COP9, the creation of a "Subgroup on Resolution VIII.45" (more important than that sounds!), and the membership in the new Subgroup on COP9. Sadly, the USA conveyed the news of the death of Prof Peter Bacon (right) of Trinidad and Tobago, an esteemed wetland scientist who has been a close friend of the Ramsar family for many years. The USA paid tribute to highlights of Prof Bacon's career. [28/02/03]
Standing Committee 29 takes wing! The Ramsar Standing Committee, mumbling off in small groups over the past few days, celebrated its first day of full plenary yesterday, the 26th, and immediately consigned itself to still more small negotiating contact groups to sort out all the thorny issues. Very congenial welcoming statements were made by the Chair,Gordana Beltram of Slovenia, and the Secretary General, Delmar Blasco, and substantial welcoming challenges were made by Jean-Yves Pirot on behalf of Achim Steiner, DG of the Bureau's host organization IUCN-The World Conservation Union (text here), and by David Pritchardof BirdLife International, on behalf of the four Ramsar Partners (BirdLife, IUCN, Wetlands International, and WWF International) (text here). Following all which, a delightful reception buffet was successfully laid on in the IUCN lobby -- the roast beef nibbly sandwiches were great, though the salmon things were a bit salty, as were Montserrat and José Ramon in the photo left. [27/02/03]
Agreement signed: MedWet, Tour du Valat, and WWF-MedPO. Maria Anagnostopoulou, MedWet Communications Officer, reports that "new collaboration has been established among the MedWet Initiative, Tour du Valat and WWF-MedPO, for common action to conserve freshwater ecosystems in the Mediterranean. Its objective is to increase the added value of joint efforts and produce more effective and efficient results for the Mediterranean region. Based on this collaboration agreement, WWF MedPO and TdV will strengthen their collaboration in the framework of the MedWet programme and in line with WWF's global conservation priorities (TDPs and Ecoregion Conservation), and TdV's five year plan, for the conservation of Mediterranean Freshwater Ecosystems. MedWet will seek the participation of the other members of the Technical Network where appropriate." More details, with the text of the agreement and photos, are available at http://www.medwet.org/news/news_announcements.html. [26/02/03]
More to follow. Watch this space. Feedback and suggestions are welcome to: the Ramsar Convention Bureau, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169). Updated regularly by Dwight Peck, Ramsar Bureau.