The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 January 2005
Lamentablemente, no hay versión en español de este documento
Headline story.Secretary General's New Year's message.Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Convention, looks back at 2004 and sketches out the challenges awaiting the Ramsar Convention in 2005. Here. [31/12/04]
Vacancy announcement. IUCN seeks Water Programme Coordinator for Med Centre. The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation in Malaga, Spain, is seeking a new staff member with immediate effect to assist in setting up and implementing the emerging IUCN programme for the Mediterranean region. This challenging staff position arises as IUCN establishes itself in the pleasant working environment of the Parque Tecnologico near Malaga, Spain. The IUCN Malaga Office is supported financially by the Ministry of Environment, Madrid, and the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente (Andalucia). The Water Programme Coordinator will be responsible for developing and implementing a programme of work at Mediterranean regional level to meet the strategic goals defined for the programme. This will be done in partnership with other organisations, particularly working closely with the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan, the Ramsar Convention and MedWet, the Global Water Partnership, the international network of river basin organisations and IUCN members. Here is the announcement.[link later removed] [23/12/04]
Announcement. Freshwater symposium set for American Museum of Natural History. The symposium "New Currents in Conserving Freshwater Systems" will take place in New York City on 7-8 April 2005, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. Major funding is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Additional support is provided by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, The Nature Conservancy, and the American Fisheries Society. The meeting will provide "a forum for scientists and conservation practitioners to highlight recent successful initiatives in freshwater conservation, to discuss cutting-edge ideas and tools, and to investigate how and where these innovations might be implemented on the ground". More information can be found here. [22/12/04]
Evian Encounter 2004 reaffirms developing an Himalayan Regional Initiative. The Evian Encounters are an important component of the Ramsar Evian project financed by the Groupe Danone, owner of the Evian Mineral Waters Society. They are designed to bring together high-level officials of the Convention's Contracting Parties, along with the Convention's NGO International Organization Partners and other relevant international organizations, in order to discuss in an informal atmosphere the current approaches and challenges in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention. The Evian Encounter for the Himalaya-Hindu Kush-Pamir-Allay region and the Mekong River basin countries, the fifth in the series since 1998, was held in Evian, France, 1-6 November 2004, and after fruitful exchanges, the consensus amongst the countries of the region on the need for a regional Himalayan wetlands initiative was re-affirmed. The participants agreed that further development of the Initiative should be focused on developing a regional strategy for delivery of the common vision; the geographical and altitudinal (high altitude and downstream) scope and focus; identification of additional key objectives to those developed by the Sanya workshop; development of a "Himalayan Initiative Framework Agreement", simplifying coordination and governance structures, and the next steps towards Ramsar COP9, including priorities for project development for initiating implementation. The participants of the Evian Encounter 2004 wish to express their gratitude to the Danone Group and the Evian Water Company and their staff for their support through the Danone/Ramsar project which permitted the holding of the Encounter. The detailed report of the meeting, with a lot of photographs, can be seen here. [21/12/04]
Reminder for Parties. Deadline for National Reports. In diplomatic notifications of 22 April, the Ramsar Secretariat passed on the news that the Parties' National Reports for COP9 will be due by 28 February 2005, and stressed that it is important that the Parties meet that deadline so that the staff can complete its analyses of the status of implementation for circulation to the Parties with the agenda papers in advance of COP9. The National Report Forms were earlier distributed to the Administrative Authorities but can be requested from the Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) or downloaded from the Ramsar Web site in English, Français, or Español. [21/12/04]
Uruguay designates its second Ramsar site along the Uruguay river. Twenty years after acceding to the Convention and designating the Bañados del Este and Franja Costera as its first Ramsar Site, Uruguay has renewed its commitment to the Convention and made a big step by adding a second site to the List of Wetlands of International Importance: the Esteros de Farrapos e Islas del Río Uruguay. The site is due to be incorporated soon in the National Protected Area System. Currently, the Ministry of Housing, Land Development and Environment is elaborating a management plan for the site. The Information Sheet was compiled by the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries. Iván Darío Valencia of the Secretariat has prepared this description of the site in both English and Spanish, festooned with maps and exemplary illustrations as well. [19/12/04]
Uruguay designa su segundo sitio Ramsar en el Río Uruguay. 20 años después de acceder a la Convención y designar a los humedales Bañados del Este y Franja Costera como sitio Ramsar, Uruguay ha renovado su compromiso con la Convención y dado un gran paso al incorporar su segundo humedal a la Lista de Humedales de Importancia Internacional: los Esteros de Farrapos e Islas del Río Uruguay. Se espera que el sitio se incorpore pronto al Sistema Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas. Actualmente, el Ministerio de Vivienda y Ordenamiento Territorial y Medio Ambiente se encuentra elaborando un plan de manejo para el sitio. La Ficha fue compilada por el Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca.
Seychelles becomes 144th Ramsar Party. On 22 November 2004 Seychelles deposited with the Director-General of UNESCO its instrument of accession to the Convention on Wetlands, as amended by the Paris Protocol (1982) and Regina Amendments (1987), and the Convention will enter into force for this small group of islands off the eastern coast of Africa on 22 March 2005. Seychelles' first Ramsar site is the "Port Launay Coastal Wetlands" (Port Glaud Wetlands), 29 hectares in Port Glaud District, one of the best mangrove wetlands on Mahé, the main island, supporting all seven species of mangrove in the region. The Convention's Senior Advisor for Africa, Mr Abou Bamba, says that "the coastal areas of Seychelles are among the most beautiful and productive in the world" and he pointed to Seychelles' process towards accession as "one of the best examples of Ramsar cooperation among the Secretariat, the national authorities, and international and local NGOs" -- the WWF Global Freshwater Programme, WWF Madagascar, and Switzerland through the Ramsar Swiss Grant for Africa have been instrumental in helping Seychelles to prepare for accession and to compile the necessary data for this and other potential Ramsar sites. Here is Abou Bamba's brief illustrated report on the new site. [17/12/04]
Jamaica's new stamps feature Ramsar sites. Here's a hot story that was meant to be posted here on What's New @ Ramsar in early November: "In celebration of World Environment Day this year, the Government of Jamaica, with the assistance of the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA, the Ramsar Administrative Authority), launched a series of stamps to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Jamaica's coastal wetlands. Two of the stamps featured Parottee and Salt Spring Ponds, both wetlands that are part of the Black River Lower Morasss, a 5,700-hectare Ramsar site made up of both inland freshwater and mangrove ecosystems." So wrote Sandra Hails to the Ramsar CEPA List on 2 November, and the illustrated story can be seen on the CEPA Programme's corner of our Web site. But let that be a lesson to you-- fireworks are happening on the CEPA site even as we speak, and to be sure of getting all of the best Ramsar news, you should also consult regularly the CEPA news pages, and the most adventurous amongst you will also consider subscribing to the CEPA e-mail list. [17/12/04]
Myanmar joins the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Secretariat is very pleased to announce that Myanmar has deposited its instrument of accession with the Director-General of UNESCO as of 17 November 2004, and thus the Convention, as amended in 1982 and 1987, will enter into force for Myanmar on 17 March 2005. The new Party's first Wetland of International Importance is "Moyingyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary" (256 ha, 17°33'N 096°37'E), a state-owned area in Southern Bago comprising floodplain and a storage reservoir that is important for flood control. Some 15 villages with about 14,000 inhabitants are located in the surrounding area and depend upon the wetland for traditional fishing and water supply for paddy fields. A number of vulnerable and near-threatened bird species are supported. The Wild Bird Society of Japan has been assisting Myanmar's Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division with capacity building and research studies, and Japan's Ministry of Environment has worked with the Forest Department in inventorying the country's wetlands and preparing management plans.
The Secretariat warmly welcomes Myanmar to the community of Ramsar nations. As of today, the Convention's 143 Contracting Parties have designated 1399 wetlands for the Ramsar List, covering 122,828,174 hectares. [16/12/04]
Wetland Training Seminars in the Czech Republic. The Wetland Training Centre, operating as part of the non-governmental organisation ENKI in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic, has launched a new programme of training seminars dealing with wetland conservation and managment. The first of a series of training seminars aimed at national, regional and local administration offices responsible for nature conservation in the Czech Republic, "Wetlands and Their Role in Landscape Functioning", took place 5-7 October 2004 in the Trebon Basin Protected Landscape Area and Biosphere Reserve. The second seminar of the programme will take place in May 2005, and the seminars are structured so as to enhance the implementation of Ramsar Convention in the Czech Republic as well as ensure wetland conservation according to Czech legislation. Martina Eiseltová, ENKI, and Libuse Vlasakova, Ministry of Environment, have contributed this brief illustrated report. [15/12/04]
Chile designates large tidal flat in Tierra del Fuego. Bahía Lomas (58,946 hectares, 52º38'S 069º10'W) becomes the next to southernmost site in the world after the neighbouring Reserva Costa Atlantica de Tierra del Fuego in Argentina. The designation is the first legal measure of protection granted to the site, which is expected to be nominated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve shortly. The site features the largest intertidal flats in Chile, fronting a 69 km long beach and several salt marshes. The bay is renowned for its high concentrations of migratory shorebirds from October to March. Here is further detail, prepared by Ramsar's Iván Darío Valencia, and some photos. [13/12/04]
Chile designa extensa planicie intermareal en Tierra del Fuego. Bahía Lomas se convierte en el segundo sitio Ramsar más meridional del mundo después de la vecina Reserva Costa Atlántica de Tierra del Fuego en Argentina. La designación es la primera medida legal de protección otorgada al sitio, el cual espera ser nominado como Reserva Hemisférica de Aves Playeras en el futuro cercano. El sitio tiene las planicies intermareales más amplias de Chile, extendiéndose frente a una playa de 69 km de largo y varios pantanos salinos. La bahía es reputada por sus altas concentraciones de aves playeras migratorias de octubre a marzo. Aquí.
Follow-up story. Secretary General meets with Stetson moot court winning team. Following his service as one of the three judges in the Stetson University College of Law's Ninth Annual International Environmental Moot Court Competition, Saturday, 29-30 October 2004, in the state of Florida, USA [reported here], the Secretary General interrupted his home leave and called in on the winning team and their faculty at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. Here's a brief report. [14/12/04]
Staff news.New Intern for the Americas chosen for Ramsar Secretariat. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal from Mexico has been selected as the next Intern/Assistant Advisor for the Americas region, to replace Iván Darío Valencia from Colombia. Adrián graduated as a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering from the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, Mexico. He followed this up with a post-graduate course in Environmental Law and Natural Resources (Mexico) and a two-year MBA in International Management of Natural Resources from the Technische Universität-Bergakademie in Freiberg, Germany. Adrián has work experience with the UN Environment Statistics Division in New York, and hopes to work in an international environmental organization in the future. The Ramsar Secretariat looks forward to welcoming Adrián in February 2005. [13/12/04]
Asian Wetlands Week to start early in China, December 2004. Ramsar Center Japan is pleased to announce that 2005 Asian Wetlands Week (AWW) campaign will inaugurate on 24 December 2004 taking an opportunity of the "Children and Teacher Wetland Exchange Program of China/Korea/Japan" on 24-28 December 2004 in Dafeng, a Ramsar site in the lower basin of Yantze River in China. A total of 22 school children and teachers from Korea and Japan will visit China, exchange experiences and ideas on wetland conservation with Chinese children and teachers, and discuss future opportunities of international cooperation in wetland conservation. The Children and Teacher Wetland Exchange Program of China/Korea/Japan in Dafeng is the third meeting of this kind, as the first occasion was held in Yatsu-higata Ramsar site in Japan in 2003, and the second one was held in Woopo Wetlands Ramsar site in Korea in 2004. AWW is a campaign activity initiated by Ramsar Center Japan with support of the Japan Fund for Global Environment since 2002 to enhance awareness of wetlands especially targeting children to pay more attention and get knowledge about the value and importance of wetland and its ecosystems. The actual AWW starts from the World Wetlands Day (2nd February) which is observed from 2nd to 8th February. Ms Reiko Nakamura, Secretary General of the RCJ, has contributed this report and further details, some photos of last year's events, and images of the new handout.[08/12/04]
Czech Republic designates cave complex for the Ramsar List. The Secretariat is pleased to report that the Administrative Authority in the Czech Republic, the Ministry of the Environment, has nominated "Punkva subterranean stream (Podzemní Punkva)" (1,571 hectares, 49°25´N 016°44'E) for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, as of 18 March 2004. The site is already a Protected Landscape Area and Nature Reserve, as well as a well-known tourist wonder in South Moravian region. The Czech Republic now has added 11 Ramsar sites since the country joined the Convention in 1990 as part of Czechoslovakia, and then succeeded to Czechoslovakia as the Czech Republic on the first of January 1993. Ramsar's Estelle Gironnet has prepared this brief site description of the site, based upon the Ramsar Information Sheet submitted with the designation instrument.[07/12/04]
Regional Ramsar Center for the Western Hemisphere holds management training course. Del 12 al 20 de noviembre del 2004, tras la III Reunión Regional Panamericana Ramsar, el Centro Regional Ramsar (CREHO) realizó en Mérida, México el curso "Entrenamiento en Manejo de Humedales - Formulación de Planes de Manejo", el cual contó con la participación de 14 países. El curso estuvo dirigido a fortalecer la capacidad técnica de funcionarios que a nivel institucional tienen a su cargo el manejo de humedales en sus respectivos países. Màs, fotos y Reunión de Junta Directiva. [07/12/04]
From November 12 to 20 2004, in Merida, Mexico, after the III Panamerican Regional Ramsar Meeting, the Regional Ramsar Center CREHO hosted the course: "Training in Wetland Management - Formulating Management Plans", with the participation of 14 countries. The aim of the course was to strengthen the technical capacity of technical officers in charge of wetland managements in their countries. Further details and photos and the Regional Centre Board meeting. [07/12/04]
Announcement. Final call for papers for Asian Wetland Symposium 2005. Ms Reiko Nakamura, Secretary General of the Ramsar Center Japan (email@example.com) writes: "Please be reminded that the deadline of paper submission for Asian Wetland Symposium 2005 : Innovative Approaches to Sustainable Livelihood (6-9 February 2005, Bhubaneswar and Chilika, India) is coming soon on 10 December 2004. The participants wishing to present papers are encouraged to submit a full manuscript with abstract by the above date. All papers will be reviewed by AWS2005 Technical Committee, which reserves the right to make the final decision on all papers, and the result will be informed to respective authors by end of December 2004. The participants from developing countries who need financial support also required to submit a full manuscript with abstract no later than 10 December 2004. Further information is available from the website www.aws2005.com[link later removed]or, please contact to AWS Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)." [07/12/04]
Hungary and Slovak Republic list transboundary Ramsar site on Tisza River. At the opening session of the 5th Ramsar European Meeting in Yerevan, 4 December 2004, representatives of Hungary and the Slovak Republic will announce their joint designation of portions of the Tisza (Tisa) River as a transboundary Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. The Tisza is the largest tributary of the Danube, with a catchment area 1.5 times bigger than the area of Hungary, and the upper reaches of the river are 400 kilometers long and pass through four countries. Hungarian Deputy State Secretary László Haraszthy wrote "The nomination of Felsö-Tisza as a new transboundary wetland of international importance is in the framework of joint action in the Upper Tisza region. It is a bilateral Ramsar Site proposal prepared together with Slovakia. We hope that this effective and fruitful cooperation between Slovakia and Hungary in the field of nature conservation will be appreciated by the international community". Hungary's Felsö-Tisza (Upper Tisza) and the Slovak Republic's Tisa River join the Ramsar List as of 4 December, and site descriptions and photographs can be seen here. A second new Hungarian designation, Csongrád-Bokrosi Sós-tó, is described separately. [04/12/04]
5th Ramsar European regional meeting gets underway. As of press time, significant numbers of prospective participants and Ramsar staff are fogbound in London Heathrow, but anyway others have evidently got through to Yerevan, Armenia, and the 5th European Regional Meeting on the implementation and effectiveness of the Ramsar Convention should be getting underway on schedule on 4 December, running through to the 8th. The Secretariat is being represented by Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Tobias Salathé, Senior Advisor for Europe, and his assistant, Estelle Gironnet, and Sandra Hails, Ramsar CEPA Programme Officer. "How best to implement the Convention? Are we doing enough? Are our approaches still adapted to new pressures of an evolving situation in Europe and the World? Where can we do better? What are our constraints? How to overcome them? Where does the Ramsar Convention stand at the beginning of the 21st century? How to interact with our partners and other stakeholders?" -- these are some of the Aims of the Meeting, and many of the papers and presentations that will be read and discussed during the sessions can be previewed here in PDF format. [04/12/04]
Belgium and Luxembourg designate a common transboundary Ramsar site. The Sûre is a transboundary river that originates in Belgium and, after a 31 kilometer course, forms a natural border of 12km with Luxembourg before crossing that country and joining the Moselle in Germany. As is frequently true in similar situations, the effective management of this wetland requires a regular dialogue between national and regional authorities to reconcile the objectives of nature conservation, water quality improvement, and economic and social development. Most of the Sûre valley site lies within Nature Parks that were created by Luxembourg in 1999 and Belgium in 2001, and a joint management committee is composed of local representatives and staff from the government ministries directly involved. Now the Ramsar Administrative Authorities in both Parties have jointly submitted the Vallée de la Haute-Sûre site as a transboundary Wetland of International Importance. In addition, Belgium has also designated, as of the same submission date of 24 March 2003, a further two Ramsar sites in the Province of Liège, namely the Grotte des Émotions, a newly-discovered subterranean karst system, and the Hautes Fagnes, a site rich in peatlands. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe, Ms Estelle Gironnet, has distilled brief descriptions from the Ramsar Information Sheet data submitted by the Parties, well-illustrated by some very interesting photographs. Vallée de la Haute-Sûre and Grotte des Émotions and Haute Fagnes [03/12/04].
Ramsar staff news. New Assistant Advisor for Asia. The Secretariat is pleased to welcome our new Intern/Assistant Advisor for Asia, Ms Shahzia Mohsin Khanfrom Bangladesh, who joined us this week and is presently undergoing a handover training period with her predecessor Ms Liazzat Rabbiosi. Shahzia comes to us most recently from the IUCN Bangladesh office, where she had responsibility for project development for wetlands, implementing a trade and environment project on sustainable shrimp industry, and coordinating IUCN membership and commissions in Bangladesh. She has also worked on local community management issues in the Tanguar Haor Ramsar site, and on indicators and early warning systems for the Sunderbans wetlands. She has a degree in environmental sciences from the North South University, Dhaka. [03/12/04]
Secretary General pays visits to Lao PDR, Australia. In the course of his late November travels, which have included the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Thailand and a visit to a Ramsar/Evian project in Cambodia, the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, has also been able to stop in to discuss accession progress in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and to discuss scenarios of the Convention's future development with the members of Australia's Wetlands and Waterbirds Taskforce. Here are very brief illustrated reports on both of those events: Lao PDR, Australia. [02/12/04]
Samoa joins the Ramsar Convention. The Secretariat is extremely pleased to announce that UNESCO, the treaty depositary, has received the instrument of accession from Samoa, and the Convention, as amended by the Paris Protocol (1982) and the Regina Amendments (1987), will enter into force for Samoa, as our 142nd Contracting Party, on 6 February 2005. The first Wetland of International Importance designated by Samoa is the "Lake Lanoto'o", the largest freshwater lake in the country amongst few remaining still in pristine natural form. It is located in the central highlands of the Island of Upolu and forms the core part of the watershed area for the township of Apia, the capital of Samoa. The site apparently comprises two other small lakes as well, rainforests of native hardwood tree species and secondary forests of shrubs and other vegetation, but Ramsar datasheets on the site have not yet been received, and more information will follow later. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Asia-Pacific, Ms Liazzat Rabbiosi, notes that the Secretariat would particularly like to acknowledge the support offered by Bill Phillips (Mainstream) and the WWF Global Freshwater Programme, whose assistance has been extremely helpful in moving the accession process forward. Mr Vainuupo Jungblut, the Ramsar Officer in the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) in Apia, adds: "A big Congratulations to Faumuina Pati LIU and his staff at the Samoa Division of Environment & Conservation of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment for their hard work and effort." Samoa joins Papua New Guinea, Palau, and (newly) the Marshall Islands (with Australia and New Zealand) in carrying the objectives of the Ramsar Convention forward in the Pacific Islands region. [01/12/04].
Vacancy announcement. IWMI seeks a Capacity Building Officer. Kamani Rajanayake, Personnel Officer, International Water Management Institute, writes: "We are pleased to share with you the attached position announcement for the post of Capacity Building Officer in the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) based at the CPWF Secretariat, located at IWMI, Colombo, Sri Lanka or with one of the partner institutions of the CPWF. This is an international staff position and will be on two-year, fixed-term, renewable appointment. Applications with details of qualifications, experience, list of publications, and the names and addresses of three referees, should be submitted to the Human Resources office, IWMI, P.O. Box 2075, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org on or before 31 January 2005. For information about the CPWF visit http://www.waterforfood.org and for information about IWMI visit http://www.iwmi.org." Here is the position description in PDF format.[link later removed] [01/12/04]
Ramsar's NGO partners re-affirm their hopes and commitments. The four most senior officers of Ramsar's International Organization Partners met on Friday in Bangkok, during the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress, to reiterate their support to the Ramsar Convention. During a brief meeting, Achim Steiner, Director General of IUCN - The World Conservation Union; Claude Martin, Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature - WWF International; Mike Rands, Director and Chief Executive of BirdLife International; and Jane Madgwick, Director General of Wetlands International, signed the new Memoranda of Understanding with Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention. More here, with pix.[30/11/04]
New Intern for Europe chosen for Ramsar Secretariat. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that Dorothea August from Germany has been selected as the next Intern/Assistant Advisor for Europe, replacing Estelle Gironnet from France (well,that's a "hard act to follow"). Dorothea graduated as an Engineer in Land-use Planning, landscape conservation, nature protection and environmental development from the University of Hanover, Germany. Her dissertation subject was the conservation status of the European Mink, a species that is found in wetland habitats. Growing up in Eastern Germany, Dorothea was aware of wetland degradation in her home region, and this inspired her to strive for a career in the field of nature protection. The Ramsar Secretariat looks forward to welcoming Dorothea in February 2005 and laments with gnashing of teeth our Estelle's 'graduation' from the Bureau at about the same time. [30/11/04]
Tunisia plans 15 new Ramsar sites. Denis Landenbergue (WWF) reports that "the Tunisian Government has just officially announced its commitment to designate at least 15 new Ramsar Sites, covering a total area of over 750,000 hectares. The announcement was made as a result of a project supported by WWF's Global Freshwater Programme, and implemented in the framework of a close cooperation between WWF's Mediterreanean Programme Office and Tunis Project Office, the Direction Générale des Forêts of Tunisia, the Institut National Agronomique of University of Tunis, and non-governmental organisations including the Association des Amis des Oiseaux (AAO) - Birdlife National Partner in Tunisia. Mr. Mike Smart, former Ramsar Deputy Secretary General and a recognized specialist of Tunisia's wetlands, has also been providing valuable expertise and support to this commendable initiative of the Government of Tunisia. The official announcement was made by Mr. Amol El Abed, Tunisia's Secretary of State for Water Resources and Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources) as part of his Opening Speech for the eleventh Pan-African Ornithological Congress (PAOC XI) currently taking place in Djerba, Tunisia (21th-25th November 2004)." See also, http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/freshwater/news/news.cfm?uNewsID=16731. [30/11/04]
Sad news.Passing of Tom Kabii, WWF and former Ramsar colleague. The staff of the Ramsar Secretariat are deeply saddened by the news of the death of our friend and colleague Tom Kabii in a road accident in Kenya. Here is a brief message from Dr. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, Director, Africa and Madagascar Programme, WWF International. "Dear Friends and Colleagues, It is with deep sorrow that I announce the death of my dear friend and colleague, Tom Kabii. Tom was driving himself yesterday, Sunday, to the Mara for the EARPO Policy workshop which was due to start this morning. . . . I have known Tom since 1996 when he worked for the Ramsar Secretariat. He was a most pleasant and caring person and we became good friends. He left Ramsar to go and do his PhD in Australia, and two years ago when he finished his PhD, I persuaded him to come and work for WWF in Kenya. He readily agreed, saying, 'nature conservation is where my heart is and to be able to do something for my own country is a most welcome opportunity'. Tom has lost his life while serving a cause he really believed in. The Africa and Madagascar Programme has lost a most committed, dedicated, enthusiastic and great advocate for conservation. May his soul rest in perfect peace." [29/11/04]
Now available. More on the Merida regional meeting, and pix. Following the first tangible results of Ramsar Panamerican regional meeting earlier this month, the draft "Merida Message" (see below), Iván Valencia has prepared a brief report and a slender list of photographs of some of the participants and the Red Mangroves of the recently designated Ramsar Site "Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Celestún".
Conference on transboundary Ramsar sites. Many Wetlands of International Importance are located in border zones of adjoining countries. Despite their obvious transboundary connectivity, these shared wetlands are often not perceived and treated as ecological and hydrological units. This poses major challenges to wetland conservation, not only in terms of habitat management, regional planning and decision making. In order to explore these issues, an international conference was held in mid-November 2004 in Illmitz, Austria, in the Austrian-Hungarian transboundary park and Ramsar site Neusiedl/Fertö, where some 50 participants from all over Europe gathered to bring further clarity to the emerging issue of transboundary Ramsar management - an ideal preparation for the workshop on "shared catchments and wetlands - increasing transboundary cooperation" to be held as part of the European Ramsar Meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, on 5 December 2004. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé reports on the conference and includes the official meeting summary and a number of interesting photographs of the venue and participants, right here. [27/11/04]
Austria names peatland areas in Styria. The Ramsar Secretariat is delighted to announce that Austria, just a few months after having designated a number of valuable mires in the Salzburg region, has named, as of 15 October 2004, a small collection of bogs, mires and fens in the Steiermark region in the southeast. The Moore am Nassköhr site (211 hectares, 47°43'N 15°33'E), already a Nature Reserve, comprises a number of mires that are all near-natural except for one bog, the Torfstichmoor, which had been used as a peat cut in the 19th century; the others, however, have been more or less affected by cattle grazing and trampling. In a joint project with the landowners, the Austrian Federal Forests (ÖBf-AG), the Institute of Ecology and Conservation Biology of Vienna University (IECB), and WWF-Austria initiated a management plan financed by the ÖBf-AG in order to improve the conditions for the peatlands. This is an outstanding example of private nature conservation activities in Austria. In spring 2002 the ÖBf-AG built dams into all drainage channels and in autumn - after long-lasting negotiations with the farmers - they began building a fence to keep the cattle out from most of the mires. A brief description of the site, with some photos of both the site and the presentation of Ramsar site certificates by the Austrian Ramsar National Committee, can be seen here. [26/11/04]
Ramsar Asia meeting set for India, February 2005. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India has offered to host the Ramsar COP9 Preparatory Regional Meeting for Asia (including Western, Central, Southern and Eastern Asia) in Bhubaneswar, India, from 9 to 12 February 2005, which will follow immediately after the Asian Wetland Symposium 2005 (AWS). This meeting should provide opportunities for wider participation of governmental officials, NGOs, academia and civil society members in both AWS and the Ramsar Asian Regional Meeting. The Government of India has set a common organising committee for both events, and official invitations will be soon sent by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India. For further inquires on the meeting, please contact: Dr. Kaul at Kaul52@yahoo.com tel/fax: +91 11 2436 0492 and Dr. Lei, Ramsar Secretariat at email@example.com or tel: +41 22 999 0170. [25/11/04]
Standing Committee - change of dates and venue. The Ramsar Standing Committee Subgroups on COP9 and Finance will be meeting one week later than foreseen, and the venue has been changed to the Secretariat facilities in Gland, Switzerland. The Subgroup on COP9 will now be meeting 7-9 March 2005, and the Subgroup on Finance on the 10th. (The next full Standing Committee meeting remains scheduled for 6-10 June 2005 in Gland.) [25/11/04]
Montpellier workshop on francophone African wetlands. On behalf of the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, ATEN (the Atelier Technique des Espaces Naturelles) is organizing a "Journées de rencontres" workshop on wetland management for Montpellier, France, 29 November to 4 December 2004. Partners in developing the meeting are the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Wetlands International, the Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage, La Station Biologique du Tour du Valat, and the Centre de Recherche des etudes Agronomiques des Régions Chaudes, and the subject will be "Préparation des dispositifs de formation des gestionnaires de zones humides de 5 pays d'Afrique francophone". Representatives of five African French-speaking countries, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Madagascar, will participate in the sessions, which are intended to strengthen institutional cooperation among actors; update the diagnosis of needs and resources; establish a work plan for the construction of training mechanisms; and define a strategy of financing of conservation actions. The Ramsar Senior Advisor, Abou Bamba, will make a presentation on Ramsar recommendations and Strategic Plan 2003-2008 related to training and capacity building, and his assistant, Ahmed El-Sabban, will present the Ramsar Handbooks series. More information at http://www.zhaf.espaces-naturels.fr/accueil/#partenaires. [25/11/04]
Now available. 3rd Pan-American Ramsar meeting's "Merida message". The pre-COP9 regional meeting for North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean area took place 7-12 November 2004 in Mérida, Mexico, and one of the tangible results of the sessions was agreement upon a regional workplan for the period leading up to the COP in 2005, embodied in a resolution called the "Merida Message" (Mensaje de Mérida). The draft versions, not for citation, are now available in both English and Español. [23/11/04]
Ramsar and Danone promote safe access to water in Cambodia. For more than 10 years, hydrogeologist Pierre Gubri has been digging wells in the villages of the Banteay Srei province, first from his own efforts and then with the help of the Ramsar Convention and the DANONE/Evian Fund, and a total of 34 wells and water pumps have been built in three communes and eight villages. The project has been funded by the Ramsar Convention, through the DANONE/Evian Fund for the year 2004, with the aim of raising local communities' awareness of the wise use of water and the conservation of wetlands - through the establishment of a "safe" water system. It reflects the broader water vision the Ramsar Convention is now developing. In the next few years, with the continuation of the DANONE/Evian Fund, Ramsar will maintain its support to this project and almost certainly develop similar projects. On 17 November 2004, a delegation from the Ramsar Convention and the DANONE Group went to the villages of Banteay Srei for the official ceremony celebrating the end of the first phase of the project and the finalization of the first 34 wells - Sebastià Semene Guitart provides the story. [22/11/04]
Ramsar news from the World Conservation Congress. IUCN's World Conservation Congress is presently underway in Bangkok, Thailand, with some 5000 participants and a nearly uncountable number of workshops, presentations, and business meetings. Here Ramsar's Sebastià Semene Guitart supplies a brief report of Ramsar's participation over the first few days of the meetings, including a lively session of the Global Synthesis Workshop on "Wetlands, water, health and livelihoods", chaired by Ramsar Standing Committee member Paul Mafabi, Uganda Wetlands Inspection Division, and sponsored by IUCN's Water and Nature Initiative, Ramsar, International Water Management Institute, and a sponsored workshop on "Managing water resources from the Ramsar Convention", chaired by Secretary General Peter Bridgewater and featuring speakers from Mexico, Cambodia, and the United States, as well as from Danone Group. [22/11/04]
Feedback and suggestions are welcome to: the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail ).