The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 June 2004

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

Ramsar's Secretary General visits Japan. In late May 2004, the Secretary General, Dr Peter Bridgewater, visited Japan for a few days and participated in discussions with parliamentarians and the Ministry of the Environment about recent progress in implementing the Convention and the issues up for consideration in the forthcoming 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) in 2005. His discussions with the "Japanese Lawmakers' League for Increasing Ramsar Sites" covered a broad range of topics on Japan's wetlands, and his visit with Isao Matsumiya, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs [photo], provided a number of suggestions for improved funding and management of the Convention. The Minister of the Environment, Koike Yuriko, reiterated her support for the Convention and, amongst other topics, stressed the need for ensuring that the environment conventions are working closely together, especially Ramsar and the UNFCCC. [01/06/04]

"Moving ahead on the cultural dimension". The Ramsar Secretary General, Dr Peter Bridgewater, has recently been in visiting Australia, and specifically Tasmania, for discussions aimed at developing COP9 case studies on the cultural values of wetlands in a follow-up to Resolution VIII.19, and here is his brief report and photo of how that has been progressing. [27/05/04]

RIS update for potential transboundary Ramsar Site in Austria. In Resolution 6.13, the Contracting Parties resolved to give priority to providing updated maps and completed Ramsar Information Sheets (RISs) and to revise Ramsar Site data at least every six years. This has been done for the Austrian Ramsar Site Stauseen am Unteren Inn (870 ha), one of central Europe's most important waterfowl habitats, contiguous with the German site Unterer Inn, Haiming-Neuhaus (1,955 ha). Ms Anita Matzinger, Ramsar Administrative Authority contact in Upper Austria, says about the collaboration between the persons in charge, in Austria and Germany (Bavaria), on its management: "The intention of both managements is to coordinate Ramsar-relevant data acquisition in order to describe the Lower Inn as one site without national borders (…), As soon as both managements have gained enough information they will try to bring the Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS) of Bavaria in line with the sheet of Upper Austria. At the moment the managements are at an initial stage. Their last meeting was held on April 8th 2004 and the next will take place end of July." -- reported, with revised Annotated List site description, by Estelle Gironnet. [21/05/04]

Carpathian Wetland Initiative Workshop. A workshop on the possible development of the Carpathian Wetland Initiative was held in Brezovica, Oravsky dvor, Slovakia from 28 to 30 April 2004. It was organised by the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic and attended by most of the countries sharing a part of the Carpathian mountains as well as a number of representatives from international conventions and NGOs (see attached list of participants). The objective was to investigate the possibility of launching a regional wetland initiative along the lines of Resolution VIII.30 of the Ramsar Convention, and also within the context of the Carpathian Convention. Spyros Kouvelis, MedWet Coordinator, was invited to participate on behalf of the Ramsar Convention, in order to explain Resolution VIII.30 and transfer the experience and lessons learned from the case of MedWet-the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative. The meeting adopted a number of recommendations for undertaking further steps in the direction of developing a knowledge base and a regional collaboration for the protection of Carpathian Wetlands. Here is the report of the meeting, with related documents in PDF format. [19/05/04]

Report and photos of the Nordic Wetlands Conference. In early May 2004, the Nordic Council of Ministers - representing the governments of Denmark and Greenland, Finland and Åland, Iceland, Norway and Svalbard, and Sweden - and the Directorate for Nature Management (the Ramsar administrative authority in Norway) organised a Nordic Wetland Conference and Ramsar Meeting in Brekstad, a coastal village situated on the flat peninsula at the entrance of Trondheim fjord. Some 50 participants from 10 countries, including invited delegations from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Russian Federation, representing national Ramsar authorities, nature conservation agencies, local authorities and managers of protected areas, gathered to discuss how to improve wetland conservation and awareness and possibilities for strengthening Nordic wetland cooperation. Ramsar's Tobias Salathé, at the invitation of the Norwegian government, participated heartily, followed along with his camera on the excursion to Ørlandet Ramsar Site, did his very best on the ceremonial lunch, then came home and wrote a succinct report on the meeting and the issues involved, and the way forward from here, and provided some stunning photographs of the intertidal Norwegian landscape on a fine day in May. His report is here, and the Closing Statement of the Conference is here. [18/05/04]

Ramsar subregional office slated for Oceania. In ceremonies in Cairns, Australia, on 13 May 2004, the Ramsar Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, announced the creation of a new outposted office of the Convention's Secretariat to be based in Apia, Samoa, and hosted by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). This new post will provide the Small Island States and Territories of the Oceania region with support for wetland conservation and management, as well as help in joining and implementing the Ramsar Convention. Of the 138 countries that have joined the Ramsar Convention, only four of Oceania's 29 states are presently members, though three more countries are said to be in the process of joining the Convention soon. An Assistant Programme Officer will soon be appointed to start building this new regional initiative, to be funded jointly by Ramsar, the governments of Australia and the USA, WWF International, and SPREP itself. Here's the story, here's a more thorough press release by Sebastià Semene (PDF format), and here's the joint work plan between Ramsar and SPREP, by way of deep background. [17/05/04]

La República Dominica reduciría sus estándares ambientales - Una nueva ley aprobada por los diputados amenaza las áreas protegidas, incluyendo un Sitio Ramsar. La Secretaría de la Convención de Ramsar ha expresado su honda preocupación al Presidente de la República Dominicana, S.E. Dr. Hipólito Mejía, acerca de la nueva ley de áreas protegidas aprobada por la Cámara de Diputados. Una de las áreas que podría verse afectada por este proyecto es el Lago Enriquillo, incluido en la Lista Ramsar de Humedales de Importancia Internacional por el Gobierno de la República Dominicana el 15 de mayo de 2002. El Lago Enriquillo es uno de los mayores lagos del Caribe y una de las áreas más importantes para la conservación de la biodiversidad en la República Dominicana. Más detalles aquí. [14/05/04]

Dominican Republic to lower its conservation standards- A new law approved by the deputies may threaten protected areas, including a Ramsar Site.The Ramsar Secretariat expressed its deepest concern about this protected areas law to the President of the Dominican Republic, H.E. Dr. Hipólito Mejía. One of the areas which may be affected by this law is Lake Enriquillo, listed on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance by the Government of the Dominican Republic on 15 May 2002. Lake Enriquillo is the biggest lake in the Caribbean region and one of the most important areas for the conservation of biodiversity in the Dominican Republic. More details here.

Latvia names three new boggy sites for the Ramsar List. The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that Latvia has designated three new wetlands for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, effective 31 October 2002, bringing that Party's total number of Ramsar Sites to six. Two of the new sites are at the national frontiers and at least one of them has the potential to become part of a Transboundary Ramsar Site, i.e., a single transboundary wetland system managed collaboratively by the Parties concerned, in this case between Latvia's Northern Bogs and Estonia's Nigula Nature Reserve. All three valuable sites exhibit a range of Ramsar Criteria for international importance but all are united in meeting the waterbird Criteria, particularly Criterion 6 by regularly supporting 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe Estelle Gironnet has prepared brief summaries of the new sites, which are the Lubana Wetland Complex west of Riga, Northern Bogs (Ziemelu purvi) near Estonia, and Pape Wetland Complex on the southern coastal border.[14/05/04]

Inventory workshop set for Park "W" in Africa. The Ramsar Convention, together with the Wetlands International Regional Office of West Africa and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, is presently setting up a workshop to be held next week from 17 to 22 May on the Methodologies of Inventories of Natural Resources, UNESCO/World Heritage Sites and Ramsar Sites. The workshop will be held on the site of the Park of "W", a transboundary protected area shared by Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger, a Ramsar and World Heritage site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is targeting the WH and Ramsar site managers as well as Ramsar Focal Points and some other candidates. Participants are mainly from: Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal. IUCN and WWF's experts are also giving talks in this workshop, which is generously financed by UNESCO. Ramsar's Senior Advisor for Africa, Abou Bamba, is presently passing through Niamey in order to set things up at the venue for the impending festivities. A brief report will follow. - reported by Ahmed El-Sabban, Ramsar. [14/05/04]

Transboundary wetlands and Ramsar Sites. On 28-29 April 2004, a seminar on transboundary wetland sites took place in the town of Lida (Republic of Belarus), organized by the Environment Ministries of Belarus and Lithuania. This was the culmination of work undertaken under the coordination of Saulius Svazas of "OMPO", the non-governmental organization working for "Migratory Birds of the Western Palearctic", with support of Ramsar's Small Grants Fund. The second day was devoted by the 30 participants to the preparation of a specific project for joint management activities for one of the first transboundary Ramsar Sites: the Cepkeliai-Kotra wetland complex, situated on both sides of Kotra (Katra) river that forms the border between Lithuania and Belarus. A very well-illustrated report by Tobias Salathé explains the issues and views the relevant sites in the area, and shows why transborder management cooperation can be so productive here and elsewhere. [12/05/04]

Council of Europe seminar on "Landscape and spatial planning". Thymio Papayannis, MedWet Senior Advisor, participated in the recent seminar on ‘Landscape and Spatial Planning’ organised in Tulcea by the Council of Europe and the government of Romania. Here he gives a positive account of the background and substance of the meeting, but notes that "The meeting ended in a tense mood, as information obtained indicated that dredging would start at once for a navigation channel to be built in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta through the core of the wetland, in spite of strong reservations by both UNESCO and the Ramsar Bureau. It is hoped that the Ukrainian authorities will re-examine this project and at least proceed with the preparation of an objective and broad impact study."  [11/05/04]

Danube estuary threatened by a waterway project in Ukraine. The Ramsar Convention Secretariat expressed again today its concern to Ukraine's President, H.E. Mr. Leonid Kuchma, about the Government's project to build a navigable waterway through the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta. The course currently chosen for this waterway appears likely to affect seriously and irreversibly the ecological character of the Kyliiske Mouth, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and one of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Reserves, and subject of a Ramsar Advisory Mission in October 2003. The Secretariat called upon Ukraine to ensure that it will adhere to the international agreements it has signed, in particular the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. [08/05/04]

Joint Work Plan signed by CMS, AEWA, and the Ramsar Convention. Long -- long! -- in the gestation, a three-way Joint Work Plan has been concluded amongst the Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and the CMS's African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). Earlier versions have come and gone and have been greeted warmly by Ramsar COP8 in 2002 (COP8 DOC.24), but in the fullness of time a final agreed version was signed at the "Waterbirds Around the World" Global Flyways Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 5 April 2004, by Nick Davidson from Ramsar, Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht, Executive Secretary of CMS, and Bert Lenten, Executive Secretary of AEWA. The new JWP covers these areas of work: Joint promotion of the benefits to countries of participation in the Ramsar Convention and CMS, and, in Africa and Eurasia, AEWA; Cooperation between secretariats, scientific and technical, and other bodies; Joint actions for the conservation and wise use of wetland-dependent migratory species and their habitats; Data collection, storage and analysis; and New Agreements and other related actions under CMS for migratory species, including endangered migratory species and species with an unfavourable conservation status. One is led to hope that this new agreement will propel us forward to productive increases in the already fruitful collaborative relations amongst the three instruments. [05/05/04]

Mauritius forms National Ramsar Committee. Following Recommendation 5.13 of Ramsar COP5 (Kushiro, Japan, 1993), the government of Mauritius has just established its National Ramsar Committee, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has nominated the 18 new members. The Committee comprises the Permanent Assistant Secretary of the parent Ministry as Chairman and the Director of National Parks and Conservation Service as Vice Chairman. The other 16 members have been selected from all relevant institutions involved with wetland matters. The committee held its first meeting on 26 March 2004 and plans to work towards the designation of new Ramsar Sites, preparation of an inventory of the wetlands on Mauritius Island, and reactivation of the Convention's implementation in the country. The Ramsar Secretariat urges other Parties that have not yet established their National Wetlands/Ramsar Committees to do so soon, as they are useful tools for facilitating the implementation of the Convention at the national level. [05/05/04]

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