The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 30 October 2006

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Forum on management of wetland centres, China, 2006. Jointly organised by the State Forestry Administration of China (the Ramsar Administrative Authority) and the Hangzhou Municipal Government, the 2nd Wetland Forum, Xixi, Hangzhou, China, 20-22 October 2006, brought together 160 people to discuss the creation, utilisation and management of wetland parks. Participants came from a range of backgrounds, including key members of China's Administrative Authority, wetland managers within China, managers and educators from wetland education centres, predominantly from Asia and Oceania, but also from other regions, representatives from the Hangzhoug municipality, and the Xixi Wetland Park management team, as well as wetland restoration experts. Two members of the Ramsar Secretariat attended and made presentations, Lei Guangchun, the Senior Advisor for Asia, and Sandra Hails, the CEPA Programme Officer. Here is their well-illustrated report on the workshops. [30/10/06]

Czech training seminar in fishpond management. The training seminar "Fishpond management, restoration and nature conservation", the third in the new programme "Wetland Training Seminars in the Czech Republic", launched in 2004 jointly by the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic and the Wetland Training Centre operating as part of the NGO ENKI, took place 16-18 October 2006 in the Trebon Basin Landscape Protected Area where two Czech Ramsar sites are located - RS Trebon fishponds and RS Trebon peatlands. The main aim of the seminar was to bring together two sectors concerned with fishpond management - that of nature conservation and fishpond managers - and enhance communication between them. Fishponds are man-made, shallow water bodies that would cease to exist without effective fish production, but at the same time there are many interests in these sites within nature conservation bodies. The interests of these two sides often seem to be contradictory and result in conflicts. Libuse Vlasakova, Martina Eiseltova and Jan Pokorny provide this brief illustrated report of the workshop and field excursion. [25/10/06]

MedWet CODDE project at GlobWetland Symposium. The work of the MedWet CODDE project - MedWet information and knowledge network for the sustainable development of wetland ecosystems - was presented at the Globwetland Symposium, 19-20 October, Rome, Italy. Delivered by Iphigenia Keramitsoglou, Researcher at the Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Greece, the presentation looked at developing a standardised methodology for inventorying and monitoring Mediterranean wetlands using Earth observation tools and drew on the MedWet CODDE project as a case study in this context. The symposium was also attended by Pere Tomas-Vives, Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, and Charis Kontoes, National Observatory of Athens, Greece, as well as Joao Carlos Farinha, Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICN) Centro de Zonas Húmidas, who participated in a training course organised within the event.

Organised by the European Space Agency and Ramsar Convention Secretariat, the symposium focused on new earth observation technologies that can meet global and local needs in wetlands inventorying, assessment and monitoring. Visit the Web site of MedWet CODDE to download the paper 'Towards a standardised methodology for inventorying and monitoring Mediterranean wetlands using Earth observation by Keramitsoglou I., Kontoes C., Sifakis N., Haffner-Sifakis Chr., Fitoka E., Christian R.R., Serebryakova A., Tomas-Vives P. , Kouvelis S., Dimiza A. Click here to browse the Web site of the Globwetland Symposium. -- Sofia Spirou, Communications Officer, MedWet Secretariat. [23/10/06]

Ramsar signs memoranda with UNEP-GPA and IOI. At the 2nd Intergovernmental Review of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities, meeting in Beijing, China, the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, signed a memorandum of cooperation between the UNEP-GPA coordination office and the Ramsar Secretariat, designed to promote common objectives, and in particular to use Ramsar frameworks to advances the objectives of the GPA. At the same time, the GPA secretariat signed an MoU with the International Ocean Institute (IOI), headquartered in Malta, followed by the Ramsar Secretariat also signing an MoC with IOI. Peter Bridgewater provides this brief report, with photos, andIISD Linkages' illustrated coverage of the signings, which took place on 17 October 2006, can be found at [16/10/06]

Chile places site on the Montreux Record. The government of Chile has placed the Ramsar site listed as the Carlos Anwandter Sanctuary on the Convention's Montreux Record of Ramsar sites "where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur", in effect, the list of Ramsar sites requiring urgent conservation attention, with effect from 6 October 2006. Listing a threatened site on the Record draws attention to the seriousness of its problems and potentially opens up further possibilities for international assistance and advice in resolving them, most notably under the Convention's mechanisms, including the possibility of a Ramsar Advisory Mission. There are presently 58 Wetlands of International Importance listed in the Montreux Record. Here is the government's press release (in Spanish) announcing this positive move. [17/10/06]

News from the SGF. Croatia completes wetland inventory project. The Croatian State Institute for Nature Protection (SINP) carried out a comprehensive wetland inventory to create a reference database for further planning and protected area designation use. This project accomplished for the first time a comprehensive overview of Croatian wetlands identifying 3883 individual sites. Altogether 390,885 hectares of wetland habitats and 56,516 km of watercourses and sea coastline were recorded to correspond to the Ramsar criteria. The biggest area concerns eight complex sites. These are large wetlands, mostly situated in floodplains of large rivers such as Sava, Drava, Danube, Kupa and Neretva. The biggest number of sites belongs to the categories of ponds and springs with an overall rather small area. The most important indicator is that wetlands cover about 6.9% of the Croatian territory. Ramsar's Dorothea August provides more detail here. [16/10/06]

Armenian seminar on its implementation of international environmental treaties. Karen Jenderedjian, STRP member and Ramsar’s focal point in Armenia, forwards news of a successful seminar organized in cooperation between Armenian authorities and organizations and the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) on 25-29 September 2006. He notes that it was the first seminar in Armenia ever to systematically address the country's implementation of international environmental treaties. Here is a brief report of the meeting taken largely from the FNI press release, with photos of the Lake Sevan Ramsar site venue by Tobias Salathé. [12/10/06]

Lagoons of Essaouira, Morocco. In September 2006, the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, and representatives of the Fondation d'Enterprise Total pour la biodiversité et la Mer and the Total company in Morocco visited the Ramsar site known as Archipel et dunes d'Essawira (or Essaouira) in order to view the progress of a project being undertaken by the city and province of Essaouira, with support from the national and provincial departments of water and forests, to rehabilitate the urban lagoon system in the neighborhood of Essaouira town on Morocco's central Atlantic coast. His brief illustrated report can be seen here. [11/10/06]

Wetland education in Colombia. A recently completed Wetlands for the Future project has developed an innovative pedagogic proposal on wetlands in Latin America, stressing the role of Ramsar in the region. The result of a joint effort involving the education communities around Fuquene lake, Colombia (students, teachers and parents), the approach followed has focused on the formal educative atmosphere in elementary schools, using the principles of active pedagogy for children. Further details and photos can be seen here. [11/10/06]

El proyecto WFF/03-2/CO/1 "Plan Educativo - Divulgativo Ramsar - Desde la Laguna de Fúquene - Fase 1: Formulación Plan y producción de piezas didácticas" ha desarrollado una propuesta pedagógica innovadora sobre los humedales en América Latina, con énfasis en el papel que desempeña Ramsar en la región. Al ser el resultado de un esfuerzo conjunto entre la comunidad educativa aledaña a la Laguna de Fúquene, Colombia (estudiantes, maestros y padres de familia), el enfoque seguido se ha dirigido al ambiente del salón de clases en escuelas primarias, utilizando los principios de pedagogía activa para niños.

“Pantanos de Villa” Ramsar site declared a National Wildlife Reserve. On 31 August 2006, the Zona Reservada Los Pantanos de Villa (Ramsar site no. 884) was declared the second Wildlife Reserve in Peru following the issue of the Supreme Decree Nº 055-2006-AG. This long-awaited declaration is a great step forward in the implementation of the Convention, as it grants permanent status to a site where the conservation of a rich biodiversity has been successfully combined with the direct, wise use of its resources. In addition to this, the September 2006 waterfowl census for this site identified for the first time the presence in Peru of the ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys), the only known species of the genus Callonetta. A complete note (in Spanish) is available here in PDF format. [10/10/06]

International Course on Wetlands Management in Panama. The International Course on Wetlands Management will be held in the Republic of Panamá from October 8 to 18, 2006. The course is organized by the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere (CREHO), and sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service, Norwegian Royal Ministry of the Environment and the Ramsar Convention. The course is directed to Ramsar Technical Focal Points from English-speaking Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention in the Western Hemisphere and has the objective to provide participants with the knowledge and necessary skills to formulate wetlands management plans. The course will be based on the methodologies for management plans described in the Ramsar Resolution VIII.14. New Guidelines for management planning for Ramsar sites and other wetlands and other related guidelines of Ramsar Convention. For more information: Maria Rivera, HERE [09/10/06]

Curso Internacional de Manejo de Humedales en Panamá. Del 8 al 18 de Octubre, 2006, se llevará a cabo en la República de Panamá el Curso Internacional para el Manejo de Humedales. El curso es organizado por el Centro Regional Ramsar para la Capacitación e Investigación sobre Humedales para el Hemisferio Occidental (CREHO) con el apoyo del Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre de Estados Unidos, el Ministerio Real de Ambiente de Noruega y la Secretaría de la Convención Ramsar. El curso está dirigido a los Puntos Focales Técnicos de habla inglesa de la Convención Ramsar en el hemisferio occidental y tiene como objetivo proporcionar a los participantes conocimientos y habilidades necesarias para la formulación de planes de manejo para humedales en el marco de la Resolución Ramsar VIII. 14. Nuevos Lineamientos para la Planificación del Manejo de los Sitios Ramsar y otros Humedales de la Convención Ramsar.Para mayor información: María Rivera, HERE

Hungary designates three new Ramsar sites."H.E. Miklós Persány, the Hungarian Minister for Environment and Water Management, hosted a special ceremony on 29 September 2006 at the new Ramsar site Nyirkai-Hany, part of the Fertö-Hanság National Park. This new site is remarkable for the fact that, where the public can now enjoy rich wetland wildlife and scenery, only a few years ago a monotone agricultural polder was all that remained from the, until the early 19th century, regularly inundated extensive Hanság floodplain, before the intensive drainage works started. With Dutch support, a wetland restoration project was able to create a spectacular new wetland area which provides a net contribution to maintaining and restoring biodiversity. Hungary therefore used the Ramsar ceremony, providing international recognition to its efforts for wetland conservation and restoration, for the signature of its 'Countdown 2010 Declaration'to contribute to the UN millennium target to halt or significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by the year 2010, signed by the Environment Minister and Tamás Marghescu, IUCN’s regional director for Europe." On the same occasion, the government designated Rába valley (Rába-völgy) and Felsö-Kiskunsági szikes puszták (Upper Kiskunság alkaline steppes) Ramsar sites and significantly extended the existing site now renamed as Lakes of Tata. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé participated and provides this brief report with photographs. [04/10/06]

Guidance for culture in wetlands. "Taking seriously into account the cultural values of wetlands has been adopted by the Conference of the Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention in Resolution VIII.21 in 2002 and confirmed three years later in Kampala by Resolution IX.19. In accordance with these two Resolutions, the Ramsar Secretariat established this year a working group on culture (Ramsar CWG) to provide the necessary guidance for incorporating cultural values in both the management of wetlands and in their designation under the Ramsar Convention. The outputs expected include the further development and refinement of the technical guidelines presented during COP8, as well as the proposal of a new Resolution for consideration by the COP10, to be held in South Korea in 2008.

"The CWG consists of seven regional representatives, namely Ammar Boumezbeur (Mediterranean), Sansanee Choowaew (Asia), Ernesto Enkerlin (North America), Maman-Sani Issa (Africa), Sergio Lasso (Neotropics), Pati Liu (Oceania) and María José Viñals (Europe), as well as Alexandre Otte and Khin Ni Ni Thein from UNESCO and David Pritchard from BirdLife. Convenor of the CWG is Peter Bridgewater, Ramsar Secretary General, while Thymio Papayannis acts as its Secretary. The group is currently considering a draft paper which will go to SC35 for feedback and further guidance for the group.

"The issue of better integration of cultural and biological diversity is ever higher on the international agenda, and it is expected that the work of the Ramsar CWG will contribute to a greater integration of human activities with the Ramsar agenda, especially wetland conservation and the wise use of wetland and water resources. Updates of the group's activities will be posted from time to time." -- Thymio Papayannis and Peter Bridgewater. [02/10/06]

New Ramsar site on the Isle of Man. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra) has designated a new Wetland of International Importance located on the Isle of Man, a UK crown dependency in the Irish Sea. Ballaugh Curragh (193 hectares, 54°19'N 004°31'W) is a complex mosaic of interrelated peatland habitats dominated by grey willow and birch scrub locally known as 'curragh'. Of particular significance is the presence of wet bog woodland, natural dystrophic ponds, Molinia meadows on peaty soils, and especially the purple moor-grass-dominated fen pastures with good populations of marsh orchids. Amongst the high diversity of breeding birds the site also supports the threatened Corncrake Crex crex, which is ascribed to the continuing presence of traditionally managed farmland. The biodiversity of the site is known to have contributed to its cultural importance as an early settlement, and hence to its considerable value as an archaeological resource. Thus Ballaugh Curragh forms a culturally-defined area of the Isle of Man as well as a distinct wetland, and as such it has provided valuable archaeological and palynological (spores and pollen) records. The presence of impressive numbers of winter hen harrier Circus cyaneus and traditionally-managed meadows with summer displays of thousands of orchids attracts visitors for both bird-watching and the popular 'orchid tours' run by the Manx Wildlife Trust.

In ceremonies on 6 September 2006, the Manx Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Phil Gawne, and Ramsar Secretary General Peter Bridgewater celebrated the new designation with local officials, and the Secretary General's illustrated report on that, with the government's press release, can be seen here. [14/09/06]

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