35th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

19/12/2006

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CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
35th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Gland, Switzerland, 14-16 February 2007
Agenda item 14
DOC. SC35-14


Actions under Resolution IX.15 paragraph 27 on the status of sites in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

Action requested: The Standing Committee is invited to take note of this report requested for this meeting, to consider the issues listed below, to advise on activities to be undertaken by regional members of the Standing Committee and those Contracting Parties directly concerned, and to instruct the Secretariat on specific measures to be taken.

1. In the opening operational paragraph 20 of Resolution IX.15, the Contracting Parties reaffirmed their commitment "to fully implement the terms of Article 3.2 [of the Convention] on reporting change and to maintain or restore the ecological character of their Ramsar sites, including utilizing all appropriate mechanisms to address and resolve as soon as practicable the matters for which a site may have been the subject of a report pursuant to Article 3.2; and, once those matters have been resolved, to submit a further report, so that both positive influences at sites and changes in ecological character may be fully reflected in reporting under Article 3.2 and in the reporting to meetings of the COP in order to establish a clear picture of the status and trends of the Ramsar site network at three-year intervals."

2. At COP9, the Conference of the Parties made specific recommendations to a number of Contracting Parties in paragraph 27 of Resolution IX.15, pursuant to Article 8.2 (e) of the Convention, with respect to alterations to the List or changes in the ecological character of specific Ramsar sites and other wetlands included in the Report of the Secretary General to the Conference of the Parties (COP9 DOC.6) or otherwise brought to the attention of COP9.

3. After COP9, the Standing Committee reiterated the above commitment by the Parties and took Decision SC34-1, requesting "the Secretary General to follow up on Resolution IX.15, para 27, with requests that the Parties concerned report on their actions in response to those recommendations, and that he report on their responses to SC35."

Changes in the ecological character of specific Ramsar sites (Resolution IX.15, paragraph 27 i-xi)

4. The Secretariat contacted the governments listed below during 2006 and made formal requests, as spelt out in Resolution IX.15 paragraph 27, i-xi. The current situation concerning these eleven cases can be summarized as follows:

i) The Government of Australia informed the Secretariat that in November 2006 the Australian Senate called for a review of the health and management of Ramsar wedands in Australia. To address this, a rapid assessment of the current status of management of all of Australia's Ramsar sites is being undertaken. This assessment is about to commence and will inform the development of a fuller and ongoing, regular review process. There is also significant goverrunent investment in programmes to improve water management and enhance environmental flows in the Murray-Darling Basin. These actions will all assist in improving the ecological character of the Gwydir Wedands: Gingham and Lower Gwydir (Big Leather) Watercourses, the Macquarie Marshes, and The Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert). [Revised paragraph at the request of Australia.]

ii) The government of Germany has not yet responded to the request to submit an updated Ramsar Information Sheet and map for the Mühlenberger Loch Ramsar site showing the reduced boundaries of the site and a consolidated report on the compensation measures taken under Article 4.2 and their effectiveness in line with Resolution VIII.20.

iii) The government of Georgia advised the Secretariat in April 2006 that it will submit an updated Ramsar Information Sheet and map for the Wetlands of Central Kolkheti Ramsar site, showing reduced boundaries of the site, and a consolidated report on the compensation measures taken under Article 4.2 and their effectiveness in line with Resolution VIII.20, after having implemented the compensation measures proposed in an expert report requested by the Ministry of Environment. Earlier, the Secretariat was invited to comment and contribute to the proposed compensation measures and did so by undertaking Ramsar Advisory Mission No. 54 in August 2005.

iv) The government of Ukraine has not provided any information to the Secretariat regarding the development of the deep water Bystroe navigation channel in the Danube Delta and the specific points listed in Resolution IX.15 paragraph 27:

"a) suspend further works pending a full environmental impact assessment being conducted and its findings acted upon;
b) make available full documentation including the findings of the environmental impact assessment for Phase II of the project to all stakeholders, including the government of Romania as a potentially affected state;
c) ensure that compensatory provision is made for any damage to the ecological character of designated Ramsar sites and other wetlands caused by the works which have already been carried out;
d) establish, in cooperation with relevant international organizations and the government of Romania, a programme of international monitoring of the ecological character of the Ramsar sites and Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, in line with the Convention's guidance on wetland monitoring (Annex to Resolution VI.1; Ramsar Wise Use Handbook 8); and
e) in line with Article 5 of the Convention, apply international norms in the provision of information, consultation and involvement in decision-making processes of all stakeholders concerning Phase II of the process."

v) Reminders were sent to the national Ramsar Administrative Authority of Peru in May, August, and November 2006 to advise the Secretary General of steps taken to maintain the ecological character of the Paracas Ramsar site in relation to the construction of the port facility in Lobería beach within the buffer zone of the Ramsar site. To date the Secretariat has not received a response.

vi) The Secretariat received documentation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia in May 2006, indicating that although the authorizations needed to carry out this project were denied by the federal government in August 2004, and by the local government in February 2005, four new proposals for the Sistema Delta Estuarino del Río Magdalena, Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Ramsar site for the development of a multi-purpose port facility in Palermo had also been received by the government during this time. In addition to the enactment of new legislation to promote the conservation and wise use of this wetland, the government of Colombia agreed to keep the Secretariat informed of any further developments in this regard.

vii) The government of Kenya has not yet provided information to the Secretariat on the implications for the maintenance of the ecological character of the Lake Naivasha Ramsar site of the court action halting implementation of the management plan for the site, and the steps being taken to resolve this matter.

viii) Chile included the Carlos Anwandter Sanctuary Ramsar site in the Montreux Record on 6 October 2006. Further information about its status is included in the report of the Secretary General to this meeting (DOC. SC35-2).

ix) Reminders were sent by the Secretariat to the national Ramsar Administrative Authority of the Dominican Republic in May and November 2006 to provide information on the current situation concerning the enactment of legislation weakening the status of protected areas, including Ramsar sites. To date the Secretariat has not received a response.

x) The government of the Republic of Korea has not yet advised the Secretary General of the current situation concerning the sea-wall construction and reclamation of the Saemangeum coastal wetlands and the impact of the construction works undertaken to date on the internationally important migratory waterbird populations dependent upon these wetlands.

xi) The government of Greece has not yet advised the Secretariat on general steps being taken to restore the ecological character of the seven Greek Ramsar sites included in the Montreux Record with a view to removing these sites from the Record, and the steps taken to maintain the ecological character of the three sites removed from the Montreux Record in 1999.

Administrative Authority responses concerning third-party reports of negative changes at Ramsar sites (Resolution IX.15, paragraph 27 xii)

5. The last subparagraph (xii) requested "that the governments listed in Annex 3b of COP9 DOC.6, and which have not already done so, make a report to the Ramsar Secretariat without delay under Article 3.2 concerning reports of change or likely change to the ecological character of those Ramsar sites listed in this Annex". A small number of such reports have been received by the Secretariat since COP9, but for most of these cases a response from the Administrative Authority is still outstanding.

6. The table below shows Ramsar sites for which, since COP8, first reports of human-induced negative changes having occurred, occurring or likely to occur (Article 3.2) were received by the Secretariat from third parties before COP9. The list is based on the table in Annex 3b of COP9 DOC.6.

7. Information provided by the national Ramsar Administrative Authorities to the Secretariat since COP9, under Article 3.2, is summarized in the right-hand column. Where reports were sent, they either had to indicate that it was possible to find a solution avoiding negative changes, or that negative changes were unavoidable and that the country therefore evoked "urgent national interest" under Article 2.5 and is preparing compensation measures in compliance with the requirements of Article 4.2.

8) The term "OK" in the Status column indicates that the Administrative Authority reported that the danger of negative changes no longer exists. "Change" in the Status column indicates that the Administrative Authority has reported ongoing work to find lasting solutions or a remaining need to define or implement mitigation or compensation measures. "Status unknown" indicates the numerous cases (40 of the 69 sites) where the Administrative Authority has not yet provided a definite report to the Secretariat.

Country

Sites

Status

Negative Changes

Albania

Butrint

OK

potential changes avoided

Argentina

SR Parque Nacional Laguna Blanca

OK

variety of measures have been taken

Australia

Moreton Bay

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Austria

Lafnitztal
Untere Lobau

Change
Change

need to compensate for planned road constructions remains

Belgium

Marais d’Harchies

Change

potential impacts of the reopening of a canal are monitored

Bulgaria

Belene Islands Complex

Change

wetland restoration project is under way

Chile

Santuario Carlos Anwandter

Change

on Montreux Record 6 October 2006

Costa Rica

Caño Negro

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Croatia

Crna Mlaka
Delta Neretve
Kopacki Rit

OK
Status unknown
Status unknown

land-use problems were solved
no final report by AA
no final report by AA

France

Etangs de la Petite Woëvre
Camargue
La Petite Camargue
Rives du Lac Léman

OK
OK
OK
OK

negative changes not significant
potential negative changes not significant
potential negative changes not significant
negative changes were compensated for

Georgia

Ispani II Marshes

OK

planned road construction was stopped

Hungary

Lake Balaton

Change

potential of water quality deterioration

India

East Calcutta Wetlands
Kolleru Lake

Keoladeo National Park
Sasthamkotta Lake

Status unknown
OK
Status unknown
Status unknown

no final report by AA
water flow in wetland restored
no final report by AA
no final report by AA

Iceland

Myvatn-Laca region
Thjörsarver

Status unknown
Status unknown

no final report by AA
no final report by AA

Ireland

Killala Bay/Moy Estuary

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Italy

Stagno di Cagliari
Stagno di Molentargius
Torbiere d’Iseo

Status unknown
Status unknown
OK

no final report by AA
no final report by AA
potential changes not significant

Kenya

Lake Naivasha

Status unknown

no reaction from AA

Kyrgyz Republic

Isyk-Kul State Reserve with the Lake Isyk-Kul

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Malaysia

Pulau Kukup
Sungai Pulai
Tanjung Piai

Status unknown
Status unknown
Status unknown

no final report by AA
no final report by AA
no final report by AA

Mauritania

Banc d’Arguin
Parc National du Diawling

OK
OK

development project modified
no formal report by AA yet

Netherlands

Bargerveen
Waddenzee Ramsar sites

Status unknown
OK

no final report by AA
new legislation was put in place

Niger

Parc national du “W”

OK

negative changes removed

Norway

Froan Nature Reserve & Landscape Protection Area
Ilene & Pesterödkilen
Kurefjorden

Status unknown

Status unknown
Status unknown

no final report by AA

no final report by AA
no final report by AA

Poland

Biebrza National Park

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Portugal

Ria Formosa

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Republic of Moldova

Lower Prut Lakes

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Romania

Small Island of Braila

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Russian Federation

Kurgalsky Peninsula

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Serbia and Montenegro

Skadarsko Jezero

Change

Ramsar Advisory Mission in October 2006, no final report by AA

Slovenia

Secoveljske soline

OK

potential negative change avoided

South Africa

Verloren Valei Wilderness Lakes

OK

mining project withdrawn

Spain

Albufera de Valencia
Delta del Ebro
Mar Menor
Pantano de El Hondo
S’Albufera de Mallorca
Txingudi

Status unknown
Status unknown
Status unknown
Status unknown
Status unknown
Status unknown

RAM in December 2006
no final report by AA
no final report by AA
no final report by AA
no final report by AA
no final report by AA

Sweden

Umeälv delta

Status unknown

no final report by AA

Switzerland

Fanel et Chablais de Cudrefin
Les Grangettes

OK
OK

negative impacts not significant
negative impacts not significant

Turkey

Gediz Delta
Göksu Deltasi

Status unknown
Status unknown

no final report by AA
no final report by AA

Ukraine

Kartal Lake; Kugurlui Lake; Kyliiske Mouth

Change

potential impacts by the Bystroe navigation channel (cf. above)

United Kingdom

Chesil Beach & The Fleet
Dengie (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 1)
Lewis Peatlands
Solent and Southampton Water
South West London Waterbodies
Thames Estuary and Marshes
The Swale

Status unknown
Status unknown
Status unknown
OK
OK
OK
Status unknown

no final report by AA
no final report by AA
no final report by AA
potential negative change avoided
negative change not significant
potential negative change were avoided
no final report by AA

USA

Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Status unknown

no final report by AA

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