Ramsar Bulletin Board, 13 November 1996
Malheureusement, il n'y a pas de version française de ce document.
Support for the Convention from Wetlands International. On 29 October 1996, Dr Michael Moser tabled before the 19th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee a report on Wetlands International's contributions to the implementation of the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan 1997-2002 during 1996 and projected for 1997. You can read it by clicking on Wetlands International. [13/11/96]
Where's Satoshi? Our Satoshi departed from the Bureau, in tearful ceremonies, on 31 October 1996 and has finally checked in by e-mail from his new posting with the Kushiro International Wetlands Centre. He says he'll be pushing Ramsar causes for many years to come, but we already knew that. He's on a guest e-mail link for the moment, but we'll post his new address as soon as we have it. In the meantime, you can reach him via the Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll forward your message to him, no problem. [13/11/96]
Impressive support for the Ramsar Small Grants Fund. Fifteen projects for wetland conservation and wise use in the developing countries were approved for funding at the recent Standing Committee, the highest total ever for the SGF (formerly called the Wetland Conservation Fund). This success was due to the generosity of a number of states and organizations, including the Iceland Ministry for the Environment, the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture Nature Management and Fisheries, the New Zealand Department of Conservation, Sweden's Ministry of the Environment, the Swiss Federal Office of the Environment Forests and Countryside, and WWF International.
But the total allocation of over half a million Swiss francs was most beholding to two last-minute donations to the Fund, one gift of 350,000 Swiss francs (about US$ 290,000) from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and another of 300,000 Swiss francs from the Government of Switzerland which was confirmed during the Standing Committee's discussions. All of the projects that were judged by experts from the Bureau, IUCN, and Wetlands International to be worthy of funding support were approved for funding, and a sizable sum of money was left over to help with next year's proposals. [5/11/96]
The 19th Meeting of the Standing Committee. After a tough week of long meetings, 28 October through the 1st of November, the Ramsar Convention's Standing Committee has finished its business and dispersed to the home countries -- most of them, anyway; some, like the Chairperson of the SC and the Convention's Secretary General, flew off straightaway for the Convention of Biological Diversity's two-week COP in Buenos Aires.
Highlights of the Meeting: Once again benefiting from the valuable inputs from partner NGOs and Observer States, the Committee
- approved the Subgroup on Finance's report on the 1996 budget, which forecasts a small surplus;
- approved an excellent slate of 15 project proposals for the Small Grants Fund, totalling SFR 502,150;
- approved 1997 work plans for the Bureau and the Scientific and Technical Review Panel;
- established 2 February as World Wetland Day, beginning in 1997;
- renewed the Secretary General's contract for a further 3-year term and paid tribute to the lifetime contributions of the Senior Policy Advisor, Mike Smart, who announced that he will be leaving the Bureau sometime in 1997 to return to field-based work;
- received the USA's generous offer to assist the beginning of a Ramsar Internship Programme, with the dual purpose of providing Bureau training opportunities for bright students from the regions as well as providing additional office support for the Bureau's Technical Officers;
- established a global suggested standard for signposting Ramsar sites;
- confirmed Ramsar's association with the proposed Mediterranean Wetlands Committee, growing out of the MedWet intiative; and
- progressed the planning for the 1999 7th Conference of the Parties in Costa Rica.
The minutes will be available soon, and further reports of Committee initiatives will be appearing here over the next weeks.[4/11/96]
Ramsar site of the Month -- Pantano de El Hondo, Spain. El Hondo in Alicante, Spain, is a Natural Park and SPA-EU which became a Ramsar site in 1989. The Marmaronetta Ornithological Society has just advised the Bureau that as of 26 October 1996 the regional government has prohibited hunting in the majority of the protected area, in order to avoid the shooting of the Marbled Teal and White-headed Duck. The Society expressed its gratitude to the Bureau and other supporters for the letters that assisted in achieving this result. For further information, try Jose-Damian Navarro Medina of the Society. [4/11/96]
[Have you got a site to propose for this Grand Distinction? Don't hesitate to propose it --drop a line to Ramsar Site of the Month. Describe the site and let us know why you think it deserves an honor of this magnitude.]
New Canadian Sites. The Canadian Environment Minister has just nominated two new sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, which will bring that Party's total of Ramsar sites to 35. The new sites are Minsing Swamp (6,000 hectares) in Ontario, between Lake Huron and Lake Ontario, and Matchedash Bay, part of Lake Huron in Ontario. These won't be offically added to the List until Secretary General Delmar Blasco has returned from the World Conservation Congress in Montreal next week, but Canadian authorities have asked for the designations to be dated as of 31 October. Designation ceremonies won't take place until 19 November and news is embargoed till then, so consider this a sneak preview; we have a nice description of both sites, provided by Clayton Rubec, that we'll put up here at one minute after midnight on 18 November. So warm up your browsers. [14/11/96]
Management Plan for Paracas (Peru). The Ramsar Administrative Authority in Peru, the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA), has recently published the management plan for the Paracas National Reserve, an important Ramsar site since 1992. The management plan was developed with the involvement of all sectors influencing or influenced by the site, such as local communities, fishermen's associations, conservation groups, and governmental agencies. Funding was generously provided by the Department of State of the USA, through the Ramsar Convention.
Peru has also completed its "National Strategy for the Conservation of Wetlands", a comprehensive document from which 26 priority activities have been identified to implement the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002. [24/10/96]
Ramsar Anniversary in Connecticut (USA). The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and partner agencies, in coordination with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, have concluded a series of monthly activities, including seminars, canoe trips, and demonstrations of new techniques and equipment, in celebration of the Ramsar Convention's 25th Anniversary. In the final event, on 10 October 1996, festivities at Gillettes Castle State Park on the Connecticut River (part of the Ramsar site) included international and national perspectives contributed by Marshall Jones of the Office of International Affairs of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Adminstrative Authority charged with implementation of the Ramsar Convention in the United States.
Dr William Niering. A high point of the day was the honoring of Dr William Niering of Connecticut College for his lifetime of work with the unique wetlands, and especially the tidal wetlands, along the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. Officers of the Department of Environmental Protection presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation in acknowledgement of his long commitment to the cause of legal recognition and public awareness of the values and benefits of wetlands in the region. Further information on the Connecticut programmes can be obtained from Ron Rozsa (email@example.com). [21/10/96]
Ramsar Visit to Bulgaria. In early October, Secretary General Delmar Blasco spent several days at the invitation of Bulgarian authorities, first in Sofia discussing implementation of the National Plan for the Most Important Wetlands in Bulgaria with the Minister for the Environment and other officials, and then visiting key wetlands on the Black Sea coast from the city of Bourgas to the Turkish border. The Government is preparing management plans for seven of those sites (under a Swiss-Bulgarian cooperation programme) and intend to manage the coastal zone wetlands as a system, rather than as a number of isolated sites. Authorities hope to utilize the tourist potential of the region, both to educate people and to generate income, and would value assistance for setting up visitor centers, nature trails, pedestrian tourism systems, and so on.
Bulgaria would also like Ramsar to catalyze conservation and wise use action with Parties and other countries in the Via Pontica and Via Aristotelica range, as well as with the countries in the Danube Basin, and Mr Blasco encouraged the formulation of specific proposals. Deputy Minister Uzunov, Geko Spiridonov (who chaired the Credentials Committee at Ramsar's 6th COP in Brisbane), and Ljubo Profirov made the Secretary General's working holiday both enjoyable and productive. [16/10/96]
The Loss of Ted Hollis. The staff of the Ramsar Bureau are grieved by the death, at the age of only 49, of Dr G.E.("Ted") Hollis, Reader in Geography at University College London. Ted was one of the first hydrologists to be involved in conservation and wise use of wetlands, and was a leading figure in the international movement to promote wetland conservation as an integral part of sustainable development. At the time of his death, he was attending the Fifth International Wetlands Conference, organized by INTECOL in Perth, Australia, and had made a series of striking presentations, calling the attention of participants to the problems of increasing water demand that would arise in the 21st century, and to the need to address these problems through new policies.
Ted was an inspiring speaker and teacher, and had worked on wetland research projects all over the world, but especially in North Africa and Nigeria. He was also very active at local level and was proud of his achievements in resuscitating the River Ver, which ran through his home village in Hertfordshire, UK.
He is survived by his wife Celia and three daughters, Bryony, Sophie and Amy. His colleagues and friends are looking into measures to commemorate his life's work, through the establishment of a scholarship, award or publication bearing his name, aimed at encouraging conservation hydrologists from developing countries. [10/10/96]
World Water Council and the Global Water Partnership. Ramsar Bureau staff members attended meetings of the World Water Council (WWC) in Granada, Spain, in July 1996, and the inaugural conference of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) in Stockholm, Sweden, in August. Their participation in these forums helps to implement the mandate from the Contracting Parties, as expressed in the Strategic Plan 1997-2002 and the Brisbane Resolutions and Recommendations, to take much greater account of global water issues and investigate ways in which Ramsar's expertise in wetland matters can assist worldwide efforts to ensure the quantity and quality of fresh water resources. These initial contacts open up wide possibilities for Ramsar to become much more closely involved in this crucial issue for the 21st century. [10/10/96]
Ramsar's 94th Contracting Party. UNESCO has informed the Bureau that, as of 16 September 1996, Gambia has become the 94th Contracting Party to the Convention -- according to the terms of the treaty, membership will therefore come into force for Gambia on 16 January 1997. Gambia is a small country situated in Western Africa, enveloped by Senegal on the landward side and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The new Party has initially designated the Baobolon Wetland Reserve (20,000 hectares), on the Gambia River, as its first site; it consists of tidal estuary, mangroves, salt marshes and tidal flats, with occasionally flooded savannah woodlands adjacent to the salt marshes. For further information, contact the Bureau's Technical Officer for Africa, Tom Kabii. [7/10/96]
INTECOL's 5th International Wetlands Conference. The International Association of Ecology (INTECOL) hosted the "Wetlands for the Future" conference in Perth, Australia, 22-28 September 1996, gathering 400 wetland experts for a whirl of presentations and seminars. The Ramsar Convention was invited to address the opening and closing sessions on Ramsar's role in international wetland conservation efforts, and Michael Smart, the Bureau's Senior Policy Advisor, took up that challenge. Dr Max Finlayson, an alternate member of Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), also attended as a member of the Conference Organizing Committee. Two motions were adopted by the meeting in its final session, one on the conservation of Lake Eyre, the other calling for greater involvement of the scientific community in the work of the Ramsar Convention. [2/10/96]
New Technical Officer for Asia. The search for the Bureau's new Technical Officer for Asia has been completed. Ms Rebecca D'Cruz, well known internationally for her work as Senior Programme Officer with Wetlands International -- Asia Pacific (formerly the Asian Wetlands Bureau) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will join the Bureau's team at the beginning of the new year. She will be replacing Dr. Satoshi Kobayashi, who returned to Japan at the end of October after almost six years of exceptional service with the Bureau. The Bureau extends its gratitude to the government representatives and NGO experts who assisted in the search process -- from a large number of excellent candidates, Ms D'Cruz nonetheless emerged as the clear favorite. We look forward to welcoming her to the team. [14/11/96]
More to follow. Watch this space. Feedback and suggestions to: Ramsar Convention Bureau, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169).