Ramsar Bulletin Board, 3 November 1997

Malheureusement, il n'y a pas de version française de ce document.

Studies in Nepal.The IUCN Nepal team undertook a detailed survey of three wetland sites - Ghodaghodi, Banganga and Beeshazar, as a first step towards getting them nominated as Ramsar sites. During the trip, besides limnological tests, bird and fish counts and plant collection, meetings were held with many government and non-government agencies to discuss issues of ownership and subsequent management. Siltation, eutrophication, overfishing, poisoning, and drainage for irrigation purposes are some of the major threats to wetlands in Nepal. International recognition of three important ecosystems would help facilitate greater care and better management. (Source: IUCN Nepal Newsletter, vol.1, no.1, July 1997) [28/10/97]


Synergy among five biodiversity-related treaties. With funding assistance from Ramsar, the CBD, CITES, World Heritage, and the CMS, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre has designed a project to identify the potential areas of synergy among the five conventions and determine the practical steps to achieve them. WCMC reports that the project is well under way, under the leadership of Dr Ian Crain. "In this first phase," WCMC notes, the team "will concentrate on identifying practical actions that will benefit all the secretariats, such as harmonized reporting requirements, managing information holdings, information support to subsidiary bodies, feedback to parties and responding to information requests. Nevertheless, these steps should be considered in the framework of a longer-term vision of a group of cooperating conventions which, in spite of differing constituencies, can collectively provide an integrated perspective on the state and sustainable use of the world's biological resources. This vision in turn implies harmonized information management at the national level, where the benefits of these studies must, in due course, be most strongly felt." [25 October 1997]


South Pacific conference reported. Roger Jaensch attended the 6th South Pacific Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas and explained the importance of Ramsar membership -- a brief report. [28/10/97]


Wadden Sea 8th Trilateral Meeting.The lively 21-23 October meeting succeeded in adopting a management plan for the Wadden Sea (Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands) and issued an important Ministerial Declaration. We have a brief report from the Bureau's Tim Jones, who was present. [25 October 1997]


Moroccan MedWet seminar. The first of the national seminars on wetlands under "MedWet 2" took place in Kénitra, Morocco, on 24-26 September 1997. Thymio Papayannis, MedWet Coordinator, reported that the organization of the event was excellent, and so were the results. There were 78 Moroccan participants, representing the central and local services of the Ministry of Agriculture (which now has been combined with Infrastructures and the Environment), other ministries, regional services, the local communities, universities, some NGOs, and the members of the project team. Six foreign institutions were represented, including Ramsar, IUCN, and the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat.The problems of the sectorial approach to wetland issues were made evident - the need for collaboration among services was particularly stressed, and practical measures for achieving it were discussed. [25 October 1997]


Appeal on the El Yali Wetland in Chile. Francisco Orrego writes to the Ramsar Forum (15 October) that Chile's El Yali Wetland, a Ramsar site since December 1996, is threatened by a number of local circumstances, and a high-level conference has been scheduled for 26 November in Santiago to apply constructive pressure in behalf of Ramsar values. His message and appeal for assistance is available here. [22/10/97]


Global Review of Wetland Resources -- contract signed. Earlier this month, the Bureau and Wetlands International signed a contract for the implementation of the Global Review of Wetland Resources project, in implementation of Action 6.1.3 of the Ramsar Strategic Plan and with generous financial assistance from the United Kingdom. A copy of the project outline is available here. [22/10/97]


Bureau Liaison in Montreal. In order to facilitate the implementation of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Bureau, Ramsar has recruited Mr Ken Lum to work on a part-time basis in the Bureau's interests from his home base in Montreal, were the CBD is located. Mr Lum will also working for Wetlands International, principally on CBD-related activities. His first assignment will be to work with the CBD Secretariat in preparing the paper on freshwater biodiversity that will be distributed to CBD Contracting Parties together with the documentation for CBD COP4 (Bratislava, May 1998). Mr Lum is a citizen of Canada and Trinidad & Tobago and received his Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from the University of Liverpool. In recent years, he has served as Water Issue Coordinator for IUCN and with the secretariat of the World Water Council. (21/10/97)


"Ramsar Watch" launched in Australia. William Morris, of the Bird Observers Club of Australia, reports to the Ramsar Forum that on 19 October 1997 a small gathering met at Point Cook Coastal Park, part of the Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site in Victoria, Australia, to launch a new network sponsored by the Bird Observers Club. "Ramsar Watch" is a network of community groups and individuals keeping an eye on Ramsar sites around Australia and working towards their protection. "Ramsar needs this kind of support in Australia because there is no legislation to back Ramsar", Mr Morris writes, "so Ramsar Watch was launched with flying colors and a touch of champagne." (21/10/97)


7th Ramsar Conference of the Parties. The draft Agenda and Programme is ready; check it out, start your planning now. Approved by the Standing Committee's 20th meeting, just completed, the agenda includes the subjects of the five Technical Sessions and the new format for them: in effect, a presentation in plenary followed by break-out discussion groups organized by Ramsar regions, followed in turn by a combined report for each Technical Session assembled by the rapporteurs for all of the discussion groups overnight. [20/10/97]


Record-Breaker for the Ramsar Small Grants Fund. The 20th Meeting of the Standing Committee approved 29 SGF projects, totalling SFR 1,104,840 (approximately US$ 760,000), thereby just about doubling the workload of the Bureau's Programme Officer for the SGF, and here's a short list of the project titles. [15/10/97]


Wetlands for the Future bis. The USA signs a new Memo of Understanding on the excellent Wetlands for the Future initiative, ensuring funding support for a further three-year extension of this worthy programme for capacity-building in the Neotropical Region. [15/10/97]


Convention to Combat Desertification. They've finished up down there in Rome, at the CCD's first COP, and the Bureau's Deputy Secretary General, Bill Phillips, made an intervention stressing the benefits of cooperation between the two treaties and expressing Ramsar's willingness to help in the CCD's mission in all the substantial areas where their mandates overlap. Read his intervention here [in French, here]. (11/10/97)


Wetlands, Biodiversity and the Ramsar Convention. Well, what can we say? Edited by Sandra Hails with about 30 case studies by a who's who of global wetland expertise, published for Ramsar by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, with support from Belgium, Denmark, India, and Sweden, and copyrighted 1996, this excellent book was intended to coincide with the 3rd Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, November 1996, and almost made it, until . . . formalities set in. But at long last we've got it, and it turns out -- No Surprise! -- it was worth the wait. Excellent introductions by Peter Bacon and Michael Smart, case studies from all over the world, nice color photos, maps, you name it. Get ordering information from the Ramsar Publications List on this site. As always, a certain number of copies have been set aside for free distribution to the developing countries. [8/10/97]


Standing Committee 20 draws to a close. After a week of long meetings, the 60-or-so Ramsar Standing Committee members and alternate members, Observer States, and Partner Organizations have departed from Gland and left some 30 formal decisions behind them. The minutes of the first three days were approved, and as soon as the 4th day has been approved by Hungary, the Committee's chair, the whole lot will be communicated to the Parties by diplomatic note and posted here for you to read in a frenzy or dip into from time to time. A bare Summary of Decisions will also be published, as usual, for those unable to bear the tempestuous ebb and flow of the debates themselves.


Wetlands on Fire. Taking advantage of a number of experts present in the Bureau during the Standing Committee meetings this week, the Convention has issued an important statement on the disastrous peat fires currently burning in Southeast Asia. Readers from the Ramsar community are encouraged to use the statement, or borrow from it, and spread the message as widely as possible. [3/10/97]


Spain names two new sites. And they are Embalse de Las Cañas (101 hectares) and Laguna de Pitillas (216 hectares), both in the Autonomous Region of Navarra, dated 18 November 1996 and only added now because of incomplete paperwork. Both have been designated for the List primarily because of their importance for nesting and wintering water birds. An EU LIFE project is under way at the Laguna de Pitillas, with the aim of improving habitat management of the site. Visitor centres have recently been constructed at both sites. [30/9/97]

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