The Ramsar Bulletin Board, April 2014

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International round table on Iran's wetlands

An international technical round table with participation of foreign and Iranian experts was held in Tehran from 16 to 18 March 2014 in order to find a solution for Iran’s drying wetlands with focus on Lake Uromiyeh and the Hamoun wetlands.

During the round table, jointly organized by Iran’s Department of Environment (DoE) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), participants reviewed the causes of the declining status of the two wetlands and the actions undertaken to address them. They also shared experiences and international best practices for the restoration of drying wetlands. Finally, they developed recommendations for the government – taking into account policy, logistical, institutional and budgetary limitations.
Read more  [30/04/14]

New IUCN representative to the Scientific and Technical Review Panel

The Secretariat is pleased to announce the appointment of Stefano Barchiesi as IUCN’s representative to the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP). The appointment was confirmed by the STRP Oversight Committee and endorsed by the Standing Committee during the 47th Meeting that took place in March 2014 in Gland, Switzerland.

Stefano has been working with the IUCN Water Programme on environmental flows, climate change adaptation, transboundary river basins and water risk for business. He is engaged on research and project management on nature-based solutions for the sustainable management of water resources. He holds a Master’s equivalent degree (Hons) in Natural Science from the University of Bologna (Italy) and a M.Sc. in Environmental Management and Policy from Lund University (Sweden). Read more about the STRP [28/04/14]

Second issue of the African Wetlands Watch Newsletter

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat is pleased to share with you the second edition of the African Wetlands Watch Newsletter. In this second edition, we have chosen to showcase the achievements of the Africa team in 2013. It also presents interviews with Ramsar Heads of Administrative Authorities, National Focal Points and International Organisation Partners (IOPs) working on wetlands in Africa, and reviews the activities carried out to mark 2014 World Wetlands Day in the Region.  [25/04/14]

Welcome to Chris Perceval, Partnership Coordinator

The Secretariat is pleased to welcome Chris Perceval as new Partnership Coordinator. Chris leads the development and implementation of the Ramsar Convention's partnership work, and brings to the role a strong emphasis on strategy, resources, communications and impact. 

Before joining Ramsar in April 2014, Chris was Director of Corporate Relations at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC.  In this role, Chris led a team that was responsible for WRI’s Global Strategic Partnerships with business, designing and launching the highly successful WRI Corporate Consultative Group, and overseeing WRI’s corporate due diligence process. 

For many years, Chris has been a trusted opinion leader and advisor to business and government on sustainable development - in particular helping to inform the approach taken by companies such as Walmart, Shell International and Goldman Sachs to address environment and development challenges.

Chris has published several articles (in academic journals and mainstream media), speaks at conferences, and has interviewed on live television for CNN – in particular on emerging global trends, challenges, and solutions.  He has also spent time leading or participating in nature conservation field work in many parts of Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Degrees in Business (with Distinction from Oxford University) and Natural Sciences (from Durham University), underpin his ability to build bridges between disciplines.

United States designates 36th Ramsar Site

The government of the USA has designated the Missisquoi Delta and Bay Wetlands (3,102 ha, 44°57’19”N, 73°10’9”W) in Vermont as its 36th Ramsar Site. As summarized by Ramsar’s Sara Casallas, the site is the largest wetland complex in the Lake Champlain Basin, which is considered a resource of national significance. It contains the largest contiguous floodplain forest in the State and unique habitat types such as the Maquam Bog. It is important for rare and threatened or endangered species such as the eastern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera), seven species of mussel and the lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens). The site supports over 200 species of birds and is a breeding area for numerous species of waterfowl, passerines, raptors and wading birds. It is also the only known breeding site for black terns in Vermont. As the site is located along the Atlantic Flyway, populations of waterfowl often reach 20,000 birds in the autumn. The Missisquoi Delta and Bay Wetlands are also essential for numerous fish species that use the site as feeding, spawning and nursery grounds. The site is one of the few remaining spawning grounds of the state endangered lake sturgeon. The main threats are associated with activities in the greater watershed area such as the construction of dams, mercury contamination from atmospheric deposition and pollution from runoff and discharge from wastewater treatment plants. This has led to increased nutrient loading, sedimentation, algal blooms and loss of spawning sites for the lake sturgeon. Español Français

United Kingdom designates Merseyside coastal site
The United Kingdom has designated as a Ramsar Site The Mersey Narrows and North Wirral Foreshore (2,078 ha; 53°25'N 03°11ʹW), on the Irish Sea coast of north-west England at the mouths of the Mersey and Dee estuaries. As summarized by Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe Ms. Laura Máiz-Tomé, the Site comprises large areas of saltmarsh and extensive intertidal sand and mud flats, with limited areas of brackish marsh, rocky shoreline and boulder clay cliffs, along a rural and industrial stretch of coast.

The intertidal flats are internationally important feeding grounds for waders: the site regularly supports more than 20,000 waterbirds, including 2.4% of the Calidris canutus islandica population and 2.8% of the Limosa lapponica population. The wetland provides ecosystem services including shoreline stabilisation and dissipation of erosive forces, sediment trapping and water supply.

The potential threats to its ecological character derive from increasing recreational activities and social and economic pressures to return the foreshore back to sandy beaches, and sedimentation of the foreshore which reduces the available low-tide feeding habitat and causes vegetation succession. The adjacent land is dedicated to agriculture and urban development as well as nature conservation and scientific research and monitoring. Recreational activities include bird watching, walking, fishing, sailing, canoeing, cycling and kite surfing, all carried out at intensive levels. There is a visitor centre at Seaforth Nature Reserve. Español Français

The International Innovation Magazine highlights World Wetlands Day

Interviewed by the International Innovation Magazine, Secretary General Christopher Briggs explains the history and objectives of World Wetlands Day and describes the activities that took place this year.

“World Wetlands Day is a fine example of how to stimulate action by different groups of people to raise awareness and win support for maintaining healthy wetlands” said Christopher Briggs.

“World Wetlands Day is all about communicating, educating, raising awareness and encouraging participation.”

Read the article

HSBC strengthens its commitment to protecting Ramsar and UNESCO World Heritage Sites

HSBC has recently issued a policy on World Heritage Sites and Ramsar Wetlands, showing its support to preserving these important protected areas and promoting their sustainable use.

The policy states that HSBC “does not wish to support projects which could result in [...] the special characteristics of a Ramsar Wetland being threatened”. According to the policy, HSBC will not provide financial services to business customers involved in projects impacting negatively on World Heritage and Ramsar Sites. 

“We welcome HSBC’s initiative and we hope that it will serve as a model for other companies” said Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. “Only by engaging across the business sectors can we ensure that the world’s natural and cultural heritage is preserved and that wetlands continue providing vital services, such as rice, fish, clean water and protection from floods to us and to generations to come.” 

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has engaged in partnerships with the Danone-Evian group since 1998 and with the StarAlliance Network since 2007.

Read HSBC’s policy
Read more about Ramsar’s private sector partnerships

Mexico designates a new Ramsar Site in the State of Chihuahua

Mexico has designated as a Wetland of International Importance the Manantiales Geotermales de Julimes in Chihuahua State (368 ha; 28°24’46’’N 105°25’48’’W). The site, as summarized by Ramsar Assistant Advisor for the Americas Ms. Sara Casallas,  is made up of a group of geothermal springs in the Chihuahuan desert. Its topography and hydrology determine how the hydrothermal aquifer system is recharged and also the characteristics of these unique ecosystems and the organisms which have adapted to the extreme conditions which they present. Some of these organisms are endemic to the area such as the pupfish Cyprinodon julimes, the isopod Thermosphaeroma macrura and the gastropod Tryonia julimensis. These species are all endangered and their whole life cycle takes place within these wetlands. The entire known habitat of the pupfish has been reduced to a small canal. The site is also a Grassland Priority Conservation Area, as it acts as a resting and feeding area for migratory birds travelling over the desert areas of Chihuahua State, which have very few water bodies especially during the dry season.

The threats to the Site are associated with local activities, including the extraction of water via a system of canals, for agricultural, recreational and therapeutic uses. The search for new springs and the subsequent construction of canals to transport the water also threaten the site, as does pollution from urban and agricultural discharge. Ramsar Site No. 2201. Most Recent RIS Information: 2013.  Español Français


The Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) receives European Commission award

The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention congratulates the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) for receiving the European Commission’s “Best of the Best” award for its project on “Fish, fisheries and European Policy in the Prespa Basin”. With this award the European Commission recognizes each year the best implemented projects among those co-funded by the European Union’s LIFE programme.

The SPP coordinates efforts to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the Prespa basin, an area shared by three countries: Albania, Greece and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.The SPP, winner of the Ramsar Award in 1999 in the NGO category, had already received the "Best of the Best" award in 2009 for the implementation of the “Protection and conservation of priority bird species in Lake Mikri Prespa" project.

Read SPP's press release
Read more on the “Fish, fisheries and European Policy in the Prespa Basin” project’s website [16/04/14]

Call for nominations for the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards 2015

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat has the pleasure of launching a call for nominations for the sixth edition of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards, which will be presented at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in June 2015. 

Three Awards will be given – each with the Evian Special Prize of US$10,000 kindly offered by the DANONE Group – in the following categories:

a) The Ramsar Convention Award for Wetland Wise Use
b) The Ramsar Convention Award for Wetland Innovation
c) The Ramsar Convention Award for Young Wetland Champions

The deadline for the receipt of nominations is 15 July 2014.

Read more ¦ Français ¦ Español [15/04/2014]

Vacancy: HR Business Partner, IUCN/Ramsar Convention

The HR Business Partner will work on a 50/50 basis for the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and IUCN. Tasks and responsibilities will include recruitment and selection of staff and general human resources matters.

Read more [14/04/14]

Fiji: Update on Ramsar Site nominations and development of a Pacific Mangrove Declaration

Visiting the Fiji Islands in March, Vainuupo Jungblut, Ramsar Officer for Oceania, had the opportunity to discuss the development of the Pacific Mangrove Declaration/Charter and to participate in the meeting of the Fiji National Wetland Steering Committee (NWSC) to receive updates on Fiji’s Ramsar Site nominations.

With IUCN Oceania staff he discussed joint activities under the Pacific Mangrove Initiative (PMI), and in particular the development of the Pacific Mangrove Charter/Declaration to attract high level support for the protection and wise use of mangroves in the Pacific Islands. As a result of the discussions, IUCN Oceania and the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) are developing a draft Charter, and are exploring opportunities for securing high level endorsement. These will include meetings and high level fora, for example the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that will be held in Samoa in September 2014.

During the meeting of the Fiji National Wetland Steering Committee (NWSC), representatives of the Department of the Environment, IUCN Oceania, Nature Fiji, Wildlife Conservation Society - Fiji Programme and the University of the South Pacific discussed the status of Ramsar Site nominations. Read more [10/04/14]

Vacancy announcement

Wetlands International is looking for a Senior Project Manager and Advisor Ecosystem-smart Disaster Risk Reduction (consultancy, 50-70 working days per year) based in Metro Manila, The Philippines. Deadline for applications is 27 April 2014.

Read more [09/04/14]

Small Grants Fund project to develop capacity and knowledge around wetland conservation in Lao PDR completed

In 2012 the Water and Wetlands Programme of IUCN Lao PDR started a Ramsar Small Grants Fund project aimed at developing capacity and knowledge around wetland conservation.

As part of the project, IUCN Lao organised events, meetings and workshops, translated and distributed key documents illustrating the importance of wetlands and the work of the Ramsar Convention. Read more  [07/04/14]

New guidebook describes the natural and cultural heritage of Lake Karla in Greece 

The Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (Med-INA), with financial support by the MAVA Foundation, has recently published a beautifully illustrated walking guide of the area surrounding Lake Karla in the region of Thessaly, Greece.

The book provides an overview of the importance of wetlands, the services they provide, and the challenges they face in Greece. It presents the archaeology, mythology and history of the Lake Karla area and the relationship between inhabitants and nature. It also describes the drainage and the restoration work that has been undertaken in part of the area.

Lake Karla  used to be one of the most diverse Mediterranean wetlands, with significant ecological, economic and socio-cultural value. The lake was purposefully drained in the 1960s, with terrible consequences recognised by several studies that recommended its partial restoration. In 2000, the Greek government decided to restore the water ecosystem with financial support by the European Union. Today Lake Karla plays again an important role in the region.

Download the "Lake Karla walking guide", or contact Med-INA at for a printed copy. [04/04/14]

Conservation Plan for migratory shorebirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway

In response to the decreasing number of migratory shorebirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway (EAAF), WWF-Hong Kong has initiated the development of a strategic conservation plan for priority migratory shorebirds in the Flyway. The main objective of the project is to ensure that "a flyway-wide Conservation Plan is in place to guide governments, conservationists, environmental NGOs and researchers to implement priority actions to conserve migratory shorebirds in the EAAF.” Read more [02/04/14]

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