The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 4 August 2004

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European Ramsar Meeting: change of date! The 5th European Regional Meeting on the implementation and effectiveness of the Ramsar Convention will be held in the Armenian capital Yerevan in early December, at the invitation of Armenia's Environment Minister Mr Ayvazyan, sent to more than 200 Ramsar focal points throughout Europe's 44 Contracting Parties. Up to the initial deadline for registration (15 July), 53 delegates have done so. However, we know that many more European delegates have the intention to participate. In order to assure the best possible organization of the meeting, we ask you to register now, by sending the attached registration form to the Ramsar Secretariat at: europe@ramsar.org. Registered participants will receive more details of the meeting over the coming weeks.

Please note that the meeting will start and end one day earlier than originally announced: starting Saturday 4 December 2004, closing on Wednesday 8 December. This is for purely practical reasons: though there are daily flights from Moscow to Yerevan, from Vienna, London, Paris, Prague, Athens and other European cities flights only operate on specific days of the week, many of them arriving in Yerevan on 3 December and departing on the 9th. [28/07/04]


Japan relies on Ramsar to conserve its wetlands. According to the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun, the Environment Ministry of Japan is moving towards the designation of 9 new Ramsar sites in Japan before Ramsar's COP9, in November 2005 in Uganda. In its edition of July 24th, the newspaper informed readers that the Environment Ministry wants to use international measures, such as the Ramsar Convention, "to keep the fauna and flora of at least 9 of the nation's wetlands just the way they are". A panel of experts has been set up to select candidate sites for designation. A list of 50 to 60 sites that meet Ramsar's requirements will first be compiled and the panel will then whittle down the list by this fall. Among the sites being considered are Lake Nakaumi, straddling Shimane and Tottori prefectures, Lake Shinjiko in Shimane and the Wajiro tidal flats in Fukuoka Prefecture. As reported by The Asahi Shimbun, "the Government will first gain the consent of local communities and related groups", following a participatory process, before applying to register the selected site.

Thirteen sites in Japan, including the Kushiro-shitsugen marsh in Hokkaido and Lake Biwa-ko in Shiga Prefecture, are currently designated under the Ramsar Convention. The newspaper finally highlights the shift in the focus of the Convention, "originally focused on protecting the environment for waterfowl, but at the 1999 conference, a pact was made to also stress preservation of biodiversity and water resources". Reported by Sebastià SemeneGuitart. [26/07/04]


MedWet Initiative begins assessment of the status of Mediterranean Wetlands. Thirteen years after the Mediterranean wetlands syposium in Grado, Italy, which let to the establishment of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), the MedWet Coordination Unit has launched a new assessment of the status of Mediterranean wetlands. The Coordination Unit is now calling upon all those involved with the conservation and wise use of Mediterranean wetlands to contribute to this important assessment, by filling in a short and simple questionnaire about the current status of wetlands in the Mediterranean about which they have knowledge. The work is being led by Michèle Stark based in the Ramsar Secretariat in Gland, Switzerland. [14/07/04]


Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine working with MAB and Ramsar. On 17-18 June 2004, the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MaB) of UNESCO invited national experts for a working meeting concerning the establishment of a Polesie transboundary Biosphere Reserve (BR) and regional ecological network in the Polesie region shared between Belarus, Poland and Ukraine. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé reports on the meeting itself, next steps for the future, the extraordinary wetland riches of the transboundary area, and the role for Ramsar in future collaboration. [05/07/04]


Peru releases the Management Plan of the Reserva Nacional de Paracas, Ramsar site no. 545. This excellent management plan, prepared by INRENA using a participatory approach, includes detailed zoning of the site and a set of specific programmes required to be implemented to guarantee the sustainable use of the area. Paracas is also a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve, an area of vital importance for the productivity of its marine environment due to the Humboldt Current and for being a resting habitat of migratory birds. More than 300 species of fish and various species of seaweed can be found in the site, and more than 20 species of Nearctic's-breeding shorebirds stage and winter here. Other notable fauna include two species of marine turtles. The area is archaeologically important. Human activities include traditional fishing and shellfish harvesting. [30/06/04]

Perú publica el Plan de Manejo del Sitio Ramsar Reserva Nacional de Paracas, no. 545. Este excelente Plan Maestro o de Gestión fue preparado por el INRENA, Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales, y su formulación se hizo por medio de un amplio proceso participativo. El plan incluye una zonificación detallada del sitio y un conjunto de programas requeridos para lograr el uso sustentable del área. Paracas también es una Reserva de Aves Acuáticas del Hemisferio Occidental. La Reserva es un área natural de vital importancia tanto por la productividad de su ambiente marino debido a la corriente de Humboldt, como por ser un punto clave de parada para aves acuáticas migratorias. En el área se encuentran más de 300 especies de peces y varias especies de algas marinas. Más de 20 especies de aves playeras del Neárctico descansan y pasan el invierno allí. Otra fauna importante del sitio incluye dos especies de tortugas marinas. El área es arqueológicamente importante, y las actividades humanas incluyen pesca tradicional y colecta de mariscos.

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