The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 2 October 2000

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

The Standing Committee agenda papers beckon to you! Despite all the odds, the Bureau has succeeded in finalizing all 31 massive primary documents (with their attachments) scheduled for the consideration of the 25th meeting of the Standing Committee (23-27 October 2000, Gland, Switzerland), many of which are interesting, or at least significant. They will be sent in hardcopy by courier to all of the SC members and registered observers tomorrow at first light, and they are already available on this Web site.

The SC25 agenda papers include: the Secretary General’s report on all the progress the Convention has made over the past year [2]; update on "compliance" issues among the Parties and the increasing importance of Article 3.2 [3, 8]; lots on the Convention’s "synergies" with the CBD and other conventions and financial mechanisms [5, 6, 7, 29]; progress on indigenous people [9] and river basins [11]; proposals for place, dates, and agenda for the 8th Conference of the Contracting Parties in Spain in 2002 [14, 15]; beaucoup de financial stuff [21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28]; Small Grants Fund issues [24, 25]; location of the MedWet Coordination Function [30]; finding a new Secretary General in due course [31]; and best of all (if better were possible) the second draft of the evolving Strategic Plan for 2003-2008 [18]. You’ll also be delighted to find background papers by Dave Pritchard (on compliance [3] and on the draft Strategic Plan [18]), Faizal Parish (on river basins [11]), and the Environmental Law Center (on "urgent national interest" issues [8]). The index is at [1/10/00]

Text of the new Memo of Cooperation with The Nature Conservancy; Ramsar Advisory Mission 18 (1990), reprint of the classic study of Pakistan's wetlands by Derek Scott and Abdul Latif Rao. [30/9/00]

Ramsar in Pakistan is now on the Net.  In the context of the Evian Project, financed bythe private-sector Danone Group, the Convention has been able to finance the installation of Internet access for Ramsar's Administrative Authority in Pakistan. Umeed Khalid reports that the National Council for the Conservation of Wildlife (NCCW) in the Ministry of Environment, Local Government and Rural Development has recently been able to establish Internet access, with the following address for official correspondence: . This is the twelfth Contracting Party that the Convention has been able to assist in bringing on-line by virtue of the Evian Project.  [29/9/00]

Brief report on the Ramsar Advisory Mission to the Ebro Delta. Following a number of citizen and NGO notifications to the Bureau about problems in maintaining the ecological character of the Ebro Delta Ramsar site, the Bureau, as required by Article 3.2 of the Convention, made inquiries with the Administrative Authority in Spain. Promptly the Spanish Ministry of Environment invited a Ramsar Advisory Mission to the site, in coordination with the Department of Environment of the region of Catalunya. Tobias Salathé of the Bureau, with experts Patrick Dugan and María José Viñals as well as national and regional authorities, applied the Ramsar Advisory procedure 18-22 September, and Dr Salathé's report on the mission is available here. The full report will be posted here after it's been finalized. [26/9/00]

Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Jim Corven reports that the WHSRN Council gave final approval to the designation of 4 new sites into the Network. At its regular meeting September 17 in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Council formally endorsed the nominations of Elkhorn Slough (California), Lake Erie Marshes (Ohio & Michigan), Laguna Madre (Texas & Mexico), and Guerrero Negro (Mexico), and Nushagak Bay (Alaska) was confirmed, bringing the total number of recognized shorebird reserves up to 46. The total area of these sites brings over 120,000 acres (75,000 hectares) into the reserve system and includes 22 partners who are committed to the conservation of these critical wetland habitats. Here are more details. [22/9/00]

Two Ramsar Advisory Missions now under way: Spain, and Senegal/Mauritania. 1) Tobias Salathé, Regional Coordinator for Europe, is leading a Ramsar Advisory Mission to the Ebro Delta Ramsar Site in Spain, together with Ramsar Experts María José Viñals (of Sehumed in València, a member of the MedWet Coordination Team) and Patrick Dugan, and a number of Spanish (José Ramón Picatoste and Magdalena Bernues of the Ministry of Environment) and Catalunyan (i.e. regional and local) experts.  2) Anada Tiéga, Regional Coordinator for Africa, is taking part in a multi-partner Ramsar Advisory Mission, involving participation by Ramsar and the World Heritage Convention, as well as BirdLife International, IUCN, Wetlands International and WWF International, to the Djoudj, Senegal, and nearby Diawling, Mauritania, to assist with the problem of invasive species at both of these sites. Brief trip reports will follow soon, final RAM reports in some months' time. [18/9/00]

Small Grants Fund SGF project completed in the Slovak Republic. Alexander Belokurov reports that the SGF project National wetlands inventory and conservation in Slovakia (1998, 30,000 SFR) has been completed. The Slovak National Wetlands Inventory project was started in 1991, but completion of the inventory had faced a lack of funding from the governmental and non-governmental organizations involved. Support from the Ramsar Small Grants Fund has been the important source of funding which has enabled the finalization of a 9-year project conducted by more than 260 specialists and volunteers. More than 2000 wetland sites were described, from which 1606 were categorized - as wetlands of local (1050), regional (467), national (72) and international (17) importance with their total surface area approximately 200,000 ha. Data has been collected in the central database of the Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Protectors. The final bi-lingual (Slovak and English) publication was completed. New Ramsar sites were identified and proposed for designation. [20/9/00]

World Wetlands Day falls on Ramsar's Big 3-0. Wetland world - A world to discover! is the motto of the 5th official World Wetlands Day, which just happens to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands. Delirious festivities are in the planning stage, and practitioners in the field who wish to help out in the celebrations will be able to acquire from the Bureau all sorts of odd little things -- brochures, mousepads (probably in the shape of a frog), posters, stickers with evocative nature images on, poignant speeches by the Secretary General, quotable blurbs for the local press, oh what not else! As in recent years, Bureau staff will welcome news of your World Wetlands Day planning and they vow to post it promptly on this Web site, so as to gather momentum and supply inspiration to less-left-brain World Wetlands Day planning officials, and when at the end of the day (2 February or early 3 February) it's all over, the Bureau will also welcome reports of what actually happened, similarly for posting here.

To open the bidding, the Bureau has produced a very neat rather-green 2-ply A5 flyer on WWD 2001, designed by Saatchi and Saatchi (but mostly authored by the Secretary General), in English, French, and Spanish, available right now in any reasonable quantities from environmentalist Valerie Higgins ( The text of the flyer is also available here as of now, in English, French, and Spanish [15/9/00]

Wetland restoration in Zám-puszta, Hortobágy National Park. Zám-puszta, covering 2,800 hectares, is one of the most valuable stretches of the southern grasslands of the Hortobágy National Park (80,000 ha), a Ramsar site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that is also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Upon learning from András Böhm in the Ministry of Environment that celebrations were held on 6 September 2000 at Hortobágy to mark the completion of a significant restoration project on part of the site, the Bureau requested further background on the event and received this brief report, written by Ms Szilvia Gori of the Park Directorate, who is Hungary's National Focal Point for the Ramsar STRP. The project in Zám-puszta was carried out with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Fisheries and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was organized by Wetlands International - Africa, Europe, Middle East. [14/9/00]

Ramsar mission to Georgia and Armenia. The international workshop on Wetlands Conservation in the Caucasus, organized by the Georgian Centre for the Conservation of Wildlife and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network with financial support from the USAID, was held in early September in Kobuleti, Georgia. Some 25 representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, USAID, UNDP, BirdLife International, Wetlands International, and the Ramsar Bureau gathered to discuss wetland conservation and water management, Ramsar implementation, and regional cooperation. From that meeting, Ramsar's Tobias Salathé traveled to Armenia to view present and potential Ramsar sites and hold discussions with the Administrative Authority in that country. More detail on both can be found in this brief trip report. [13/9/00]

The UK names its 156th Ramsar site! Continuing its excellent tradition of protecting everything that's not nailed down (i.e., 15.07% of the total number of Ramsar sites, and 0.009% of the Convention's total surface area), the United Kingdom has designated its 156th Ramsar site, also named as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area under the EC Habitats Directive. The Inner Clyde Estuary Ramsar site (1826 ha, effective 5/9/00) is a long narrow, heavily industrialized estuary near Glasgow on the west coast of Scotland, consisting mostly of tidal mudflat with a shoreline of unmanaged semi-natural coastal vegetation; saltmarsh is also present. In winter, the site supports internationally important numbers of redshank Tringa totanus. Sport fishing and hunting, in addition to navigation, are practiced in the area. Dredging and pollution from domestic sewage and oil are considered to be adverse factors, but monitoring is intended and long-term improvements in water quality are expected. This is the UK’s 156th Ramsar site and the Convention’s 1035th. [12/9/00]

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment releases project summary. "The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is a four-year [US$20 million] process designed to improve the management of the world's natural and managed ecosystems by helping to meet the needs of decision-makers and the public for peer-reviewed, policy-relevant scientific information on the condition of ecosystems, consequences of ecosystem change, and options for reponse." Similar in many ways to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in scope and organization, the project is sponsored by the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Foundation, and the World Bank, with significant support from UNDP, UNEP, US AID, and many other governments and foundations. UNEP, WCMC, and the World Resources Institute, amongst others, are contributing parts of the "distributed secretariat", and the project has been described as intended to provide "a joint assessment process to meet specified information needs of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands". The official Project Summary in English has been reprinted on this Web site, and the Ramsar Bureau has agreed to undertake its translation into French and Spanish. [12/9/00]

Joint Advisory Mission to Ichkeul, Tunisia. The report of the Joint Advisory Mission, 28 February - 4 March 2000, to Ichkeul National Park in Tunisia is now available on this Web site, in French and English versions.A good example of inter-agency cooperation, the mission was conducted by the World Heritage Convention, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and IUCN-the World Conservation Union, with additional support from Eurosite, and the report provides a survey of problems, recent conservation efforts, and recommendations for urgent future actions at one of the world's most important wetlands for migratory birds, already listed on the list of World Heritage in Danger and the Ramsar Convention's Montreux Record. View this report in English or French here. [9/9/00]

USA's Okefenokee Swamp Ramsar site still under threat. In March 1999, this Web site reported promising developments in settling environmental disputes over the DuPont company's planned strip mining adjacent to the Okefenokee Swamp protected area in the state of Georgia, USA. Disappointingly, that arrangement seems now to be on the verge of unraveling, according to a new report from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Here is the US FWS news release. [8/9/00]

Honduras responds to threats to 1000th Ramsar site. Responding to information supplied by non-governmental organizations and concerned citizens about threats to the Ramsar site called "Sistema de Humedales de la Zona Sur de Honduras" (Ramsar site no. 1000), Mr Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, acting within the context ofArticle 3.2 of the Convention requiring informing the secretariat of threats to Ramsar-Listed wetlands, sought clarification from the Administrative Authority in Honduras, and received a very satisfactory reply from the Secretary of Natural Resources and the Environment of Honduras, Ms. Xiomara Gómez de Caballero. You can view it here. [7/9/00]

Superb new book on wetlands hydrology. MedWet and the Tour du Valat have produced a brilliant new book, no. 10 in the well-known Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands series, edited by Jamie Skinner and A.J. Crivelli. Written by Mike Acreman of the Institute of Hydrology in Oxford (co-author of Ramsar's Economic Valuation of Wetlands, 1997), this glossy and very well-illustrated A4 109-page volume covers questions of water cycle, management, hydrological modeling, flooding, groundwater, and water needs for wetlands. English and French editions are available, and we've been told that the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat has a certain number of copies available for distribution.  [7/9/00]

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