The Ramsar Bulletin Board, May 2014

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Andorra’s Third Site

Andorra has completed the designation process for Parque Natural Comunal de los Valles del Comapedrosa (Parc Natural Comunal de les Valls del Comapedrosa in Catalan) as its third Ramsar Site. The Site (1,543 ha; 42°35’26”N 001°28’03”E) comprises 74 high mountain wetlands, including permanent rivers and streams, freshwater springs, small glacial lakes and non-forested peatlands, in a well-preserved landscape.

As noted by Ramsar Assistant Advisor for Europe Ms. Laura Máiz-Tomé, based on the accompanying Ramsar Information Sheet, these wetlands provide an important concentration of biodiversity and water reservoir within the Alpine biogeographic region. They support numerous endemic Pyrenean species, as well as threatened flora and fauna. Given its location at the headwaters of the Arinsal basin, the site regulates and prevents floods and ensures drinking water supply to the parish of La Massana. The main human activities affecting the Site are related to tourism, and include hiking, hunting and fishing. The park has visitor facilities such as a viewpoint at Roc de la Sabina, interpretative trails and an extensive network of footpaths. A management plan was updated in 2013, which sets the conservation objectives and regulates the activities within the park.

With this new designation, the area of Ramsar Sites in Andorra has reached 6,870 ha. This indicates the commitment of Andorra’s government to implement the Convention, in order to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the most important wetlands in the country. Français | Español


Vacancies at MedWet

The Secretariat of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet) is looking for a Communications Officer and an Executive Assistant, based in La Camargue, France.

More information: http://medwet.org/2014/05/call-for-applications-two-full-positions-for-the-medwet-secretariat/ [27/05/14]


Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Papua New Guinea

Vainuupo Jungblut, the Ramsar Officer for Oceania visited Papua New Guinea from 14-18 April 2014 to assist the National Ramsar Administrative Authority (Department of Environment and Conservation) with issues related to the implementation of the Convention.

Vainuupo assisted the Department of Environment and Conservation in finalizing the Ramsar implementation workplan, including activities, responsibilities and timelines. Activities listed in the workplan include the establishment of a National Ramsar Committee, the development of a national wetland policy and the finalization of a list of priority wetlands for future Ramsar designation. Read more [26/05/14]


Statement by Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, in support of the International Day for Biological Diversity 2014

On this International Day for Biological Diversity we are delighted to join the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in celebrating the biodiversity of islands. Islands host a rich variety of animal and plant species, in complex and often unique ecosystems. Every one of their coastlines and all their surrounding shallow waters come under the responsibility of the Ramsar Convention therefore we share interest in and concerns for their status and continuing richness.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands promotes the sustainable use of wetlands and their resources. Wetlands are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth, and coastal wetlands that are typical of islands in the tropics, such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds, host some of the most biologically diverse and productive communities in the world. Read more [22/05/14]


Laying of the first stone of Aquatis, “Cité de l’eau” in Lausanne

An official ceremony today in Lausanne, Switzerland, marked the laying of the first stone of Aquatis, a complex that will include an aquarium, the Swiss Water Museum, a hotel and a conference centre. The complex is expected to open in 2016.

The aquarium will illustrate 20 ecosystems from five continents, in over two million litres of water.

The Ramsar Convention is a scientific partner in the project and a selection of Ramsar Sites from around the world will be featured in the exhibition. Read more (in French)
[20/05/14]


On Earth Day countries reviewed progress and achievements of the High Andean Wetlands Regional Initiative

The 10th Meeting of the High Andean Wetlands Regional Initiative took place from 21 to 25 April 2014 in Santiago de Chile. The Initiative’s main achievements since its inception in 2005 include the preparation of national strategies for High Andean wetlands and the designation of 14 Wetlands of International Importance in the region.
Read more  ¦ Español [20/05/14]


Ramsar Implementation in Japan

Japan’s strong commitment and support to  the conservation of wetlands and to the implementation of the Convention is unique. This support extends from local communities and environmental NGOs, to local and central government - there is even a special parliamentarian group that promotes the aims of the Convention.
The Conference of the Parties held in Kushiro City in 1993 (COP5) contributed to raise interest in Ramsar and wetland conservation in the country, and the interest and engagement have been increasing since then.

From 7 to 11 April, the Ramsar Secretary General and the Senior Regional Advisor for Asia-Oceania visited Japan to see the conservation work being conducted at two Ramsar Sites, as well as to meet  government ministries, organizations, NGOs and private sector partners. Read more [14/05/14]



Ramsar Small Grants Fund project in Cambodia completed 

The Small Grants Fund (SGF) project entitled ‘Strengthening and Expanding the Ramsar Site Network in Cambodia’ was executed by BirdLife Cambodia from February 2011 to September 2013 and contributed to strengthen the capacity of the government in terms of management and wise use of wetlands and to expand the national network of Ramsar Sites.

As part of the project, BirdLife assessed the management capacity and equipment needs of the Boeng Chhmar Ramsar Site and the proposed Site at Preak Toal. Ten priority topics were identified and used as reference for organizing trainings. Read more [14/05/14]


Statement by Christopher Briggs in support of World Migratory Bird Day

We are delighted to join the Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species, the Secretariat of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement and their partners in celebrating World Migratory Bird Day.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands aims to protect wetlands and promote their sustainable use. Wetlands such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs and tidal flats are vital for people and wildlife, including migratory birds.

An estimated 50 billion migratory birds each year travel thousands of kilometres, stopping along the way at beaches, lakes, and estuaries that provide them with food, water and rest.

If these wetland “refuelling stations” disappear or become degraded – for example if the water is polluted or diverted for other uses – entire populations of birds are at risk. Read more ¦ Français ¦ Español [09/05/14]


World’s first Ramsar Site turns 40

Today is the 40th anniversary of the listing of Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia as the world’s first Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. 

On 8 May 1974, Australia designated Cobourg Peninsula, a remote and unspoilt wilderness area on the far northern coast of Australia, as the first Ramsar Site.  The peninsula was recognized for its diversity of wetland habitats, threatened marine species, significant seabird colonies and value as a refuge and breeding site. It also has a fascinating Indigenous, Macassan and European history. Read more ¦ Français ¦ Español [08/05/14]


New MedWet coordinator starts working in the Camargue (France)

Starting today as new Coordinator of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), Delmar Blasco will lead the initiative through an important redevelopment phase (2014-2017). Mr Blasco is known to many water and wetland experts because he served as Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands from 1995 to 2003. During his time at the Secretariat, he actively supported the formal recognition of the MedWet Initiative under the Convention.

He is a citizen of Spain and Argentina and, before his time with Ramsar, he worked as the director of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and with the Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) in Geneva and Nairobi. His solid reputation and long experience in working at international level and most recently as a consultant in the Mediterranean region (where he has lived for more than ten years) will allow him to guide and drive the process of establishing MedWet as a respected mechanism for water and wetland cooperation in the Mediterranean.

Mr Blasco will head the MedWet Secretariat which is now kindly hosted by France and established in the Camargue (Rhône river delta), France’s first Ramsar Site. This new location will facilitate cooperation with the Mediterranean Wetland Observatory (www.medwetlands-obs.org) and the Tour du Valat research centre for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands (www.tourduvalat.org).

Soon you will be able to read more about MedWet’s next steps on www.medwet.org and you may contact Mr Blasco directly at Blasco@medwet.org. We wish him a very warm welcome and much success in our joint undertakings! Español ¦ Français [05/05/14]

Photo: Mr Blasco in the French town of Arles


Viet Nam names Con Dao National Park as its sixth Ramsar Site

Viet Nam has designated its sixth Site, taking the combined area of its wetlands of international importance to over 100,000 hectares. According to the site description compiled by Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Asia and Oceania Ms Samridhi Rijal, Con Dao National Park (19,991 ha; 8°42’N 106°38’E) is an archipelago of 14 islands located some 80 km off the coast of southern Viet Nam. Con Son, the largest of the islands at 5,700 ha, is situated at its centre. Con Son and Hon Cau are the only two islands in the archipelago with year-round freshwater supplies.

The site supports a representative range of coastal and terrestrial ecosystems that are important for the biogeographic region. There are low montane Melaleuca forests inland, while along the coast there are dry forests as well as shallow marine waters, coral reefs, seagrass beds, intertidal flats and mangrove forests. These wetland habitats are particularly intact and support a high biodiversity. Some 355 coral species have been recorded, of which 56 are classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Also present are the critically endangered mangrove, Bruguiera hainesii, and the critically endangered Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea and Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricate.

The archipelago has been inhabited for 4,000 years. Traditionally managed capture fishing is allowed, and local people have also adopted other livelihoods including tourism-related ventures. Con Lon was established as a prison island in the 19th century by the French colonial government, and the prison camp is today preserved as a national historic site. Español Français


2014 European Riverprize and European River Restoration Conference

The International RiverFoundation is accepting applications for the 2014 European Riverprize award until 30 May 2014.

The prize rewards organizations for their innovative approaches in river management and restoration. It includes a grant of EUR 25,000 as well as additional support for knowledge sharing.

The prize will be awarded during the 6th European River Restoration Conference, taking place in Vienna, Austria, from 27 to 29 October 2014.

Participants are invited to submit contributions to the main themes of the conference by 1 June 2014.

More information: http://www.errc2014.eu/ [05/05/14]

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