The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 4 August 2005
Malheureusement, il n'y a pas de version française de ce document.
Headline story. Ramsar sites in Armenia. "I am happy to inform you that an informational brochure "Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat" has been printed in Armenian in the framework of the Program of the Ministry of Nature Protection "Management of Natural Resources and Poverty Alleviation" funded by the World Bank. The A5 format brochure, which contains 28 pages, gives basic information about the Ramsar Convention, introduces Armenian wetlands, their functions and values, as well as provides information about implementation of the Convention in Armenia. The text about Armenian wetlands and photographs are provided by Karen Jenderedjian, Ramsar Focal Point in Armenia, currently member of the Ramsar Convention's Standing Committee." -- Karen Jenderedjian, PhD, Head, Division of Animal Resources Management, Agency of Bioresources Management, Ministry of Nature Protection, Yerevan (email@example.com). [03/08/05]
From the Ramsar Forum.Inquiry about information on global river restoration projects. "Dear Ramsar-Forum members: I am currently doing an internship, working on freshwater habitat assessment. I would like to ask your advice on how to find information. I am creating a database that shows the projects that are going on globally on river restoration and integrated river basin management.We are trying to list them by basin (or by river/watershed)not by project---. I have checked major project sites, such as the ones by World Bank, GEF, IUCN, WWF- does anyone have any ideas on where I would be able to get more information/or good databases you know of? I thank you very much for your time and assistance. Sincerely, Yukiko." - Yukiko Ichishima, Candidate for Master of Environmental Management, 2006, Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org). [03/08/05]
Now available.IAIA Information on Biodiversity and Impact Assessment.From the Wetlands Forum: "Hello everybody. Given the importance which the Ramsar Convention places on applying impact assessment techniques to situations where the ecological character of Ramsar sites and other wetlands may be threatened by developments or broader policies and strategies (e.g., in Resolution VII.16), I thought that you might be interested to see the document 'Biodiversity and Impact Assessment' just produced by the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA), which sets out best practice principles for incorporating biodiversity issues into EIA and SEA. This is available on the IAIA website at http://www.iaia.org/Non_Members/Pubs_Ref_Material/SP3.pdf. The principles should help practitioners to integrate biodiversity into impact assessment and decision-makers to commission and review assessments.
IAIA has an active Biodiversity Section and works with the Ramsar Convention pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2001. It is also currently running a Capacity Building for Biodiversity in Impact Assessment (CBBIA) project - a targeted capacity building program intended to promote good practice in biodiversity and impact assessment. If you have any queries or would like further information please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Kind Regards, Helen Byron, Chair IAIA Biodiversity Section." (Dr Helen Byron, International Site Casework Officer, European Programmes & Training Department, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, UK). [03/08/05]
Talks on the Lake Chad Basin. On 26 July 2005, the Ramsar Secretariat proudly received the visit of Eng. Sani Adamu, the Lake Chad Basin Commission's Executive Secretary. Given the prominent role of this institution in the region, which has as its members not only the countries sharing Lake Chad, but also a number of those which are part of its catchment area, many items were on the agenda for discussion. One of the first points raised by the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, was the Secretariat's concern with the ecological health of the basin and the activities which are taking place around it, which have the potential to further undermine its environment and the local users' capacity to sustain their livelihoods. We learnt more about the proposal being pushed forward by the member states as a solution to the lake's shrinking levels: an inter-basin water transfer to carry water from the Oubangui River in the DRC. While the Secretariat holds some reservations about the effects of this plan, it looks forward to inputting to the terms of reference currently being drafted for the feasibility study. Regarding oil exploration in different sections of the basin, we share LCBC's concerns, and both institutions will continue monitoring the activities taking place, with what we hope will be increasing support from the Ramsar focal points in the countries involved. Accession of new Parties in the region was also discussed, as well as some of the difficulties encountered by the Ramsar Secretariat to get countries like Cameroon and the Central African Republic on board. Their adhesion to the Convention, especially as far as Cameroon is involved, will ensure that the whole basin becomes a designated Ramsar site. We look forward to meeting the LCBC at COP9 in Uganda in November, where a number of these issues will surely be brought up for discussion again! -- Lucia Scodanibbio, Ramsar. [29/07/05]
Now available.Meeting on a High Andean Strategy for the Northern Andes. More progress in implementing Resolution VIII:39: Colombia's Meeting report on Strategic High Andean Wetlands in the Ecorregional Complex of the Northern Andes, June 15 -17 2005, Ubaté – Cundinamarca, Colombia is now available [in Spanish]!
Más avances en la implementación de la Resolución VIII.39: la Las memorias del taller corredor de humedales altoandinos estratégicos en el complejo ecorregional andes del norte, Junio 15 - 17 de 2005, Ubaté – Cundinamarca, Colombia esta ahora disponible. [28/07/05]
News from the SGF.Capacity-building in mangrove-based Kenyan communities. Kenya has just brought to completion a very successful project aimed at empowering local communities to use mangrove resources sustainably for their and the environment's benefit. The project's objective was to provide training and technical assistance focused on skills and knowledge related to beekeeping, beehive construction, crab culture, crab cage and pen construction, mangrove re-forestation, conservation and sustainable exploitation. As stated in the final report submitted to the Secretariat, the project, headed by Dr. Joseph Rasowo of Moi University, was carried out in a participatory way by involving government institutions and local NGOs which either already had working partnerships with mangrove-based community groups or assisted in choosing grassroots groups for training by this project. Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio summarizes the projects results here, accompanied by the illustrated final report of the project team. [27/07/05]
News from the SGF. Moldava reports on SGF project for the Lower Prut Lakes. The Republic of Moldova has completed its 2003 Ramsar Small Grants Fund project "Evaluation Study to Support Implementation of Management Plan for the Lower Prut Lakes Ramsar Site towards Wise Use and Sustainable Development". It was carried out by the Moldavian Center for Strategic Environmental Studies ECOS in Chisinau, which undertook a range of field trips to carry out various analyses on water quality and identification of causing contaminants; of soil and soil erosion as well as sediments in the Ramsar site lakes and Cahul ponds. Meetings and discussions on wetland issues with stakeholders accompanied the process in all stages of the project and assisted to involve them in the development of the Priority Action Plan, but also in the identification and prioritisation sources of contamination of Ramsar Lakes. A brief report of the project by Ramsar's Dorothea August can be seen here, with the project report executive summary and some photographs into the bargain. [26/07/05]
Now available.Biodiversity Liaison Group report from May 2005. The "Liaison Group of the Biodiversity-Related Conventions" was established following a request of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity to enhance cooperation among the five biodiversity-related conventions. The third meeting of the liaison group took place on 10 May 2005 in Gland, Switzerland, at the headquarters of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The heads of the secretariats of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and Ramsar were present, as well as representatives of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the World Heritage Convention (WHC), and the meeting was chaired by Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the host convention. The report of the meeting is now available in PDF format. [21/07/05]
Speke Resort, Munyonyo, confirmed as Ramsar COP9 venue. In a ceremony and press event held on 15 July 2005, Ramsar's Secretary General, Uganda's Minister for Water, Lands and Environment, and that country's Minister of State for Environment confirmed that the Speke Resort on Lake Victoria, in Munyonyo adjacent to Kampala, will be the venue for Ramsar's 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in November 2005. The resort, which is equipped with admirable facilities for plenary and contract group sessions and staff workspaces, has been contracted to provide most of the services associated with hosting a large, modern conference. A press release from the event, with some additional photographs, can be seen here. [20/07/05]
Brainstorming on the role of MEAs in supporting the Millennium Development Goals. On 13-14 July 2005, UNEP hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, a high-level workshop on the role of the Multinational Environment Agreements (MEAs) in supporting the Millennium Development Goals, attended by the heads of Ramsar, CBD, CMS, CITES and Basel Convention secretariats, as well as representatives from the Ozone secretariat, various UNEP divisions, and the United Nations University. Ramsar's Secretary General reports on the conclusions of the meeting. [18/07/05]
Austria names two mire complexes as new Ramsar sites. The Convention Secretariat is very pleased to announce that the Government of Austria has designated two very interesting mire sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, effective 13 and 15 December 2004. One of them, "Bayerische Wildalm and Wildalmfilz" in the Tyrol in the west of the country, is part of a mire ecosystem which may become a collaboratively managed transboundary Ramsar site with German Bavaria just to the north of Innsbruck. The other, "Moor- und Seenlandschaft Keutschach-Schiefling", is a mosaic of varied wetland types along a small valley in the south, in Carinthia or Kärnten near Klagenfurt. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe, Dorothea August, has prepared brief descriptions of the sites based upon the Ramsar Information Sheets submitted with the site-designation instruments, with a few photographs. [14/07/05]
Iraq Marshlands Training Course. Iraq is not yet a Ramsar Contracting Party but its government has indicated strong interest in accession in the near future. As part of Iraq's development of a national wetland program, training a cadre of wetland managers and scientists has been seen as a key tool. Through its partnerships with the academic, government and non-government community inside and outside Iraq, training programs are now being implemented. The first Iraqi National Marshland Managers Training Course was held 26 June - 6 July 2005 in the city of Basrah, Iraq. Clayton Rubec, Associate Director of the Canada-Iraq Marshlands Initiative, describes this first edition of what will be an annual event. [07/07/05]
In a separate development, the Ramsar Secretariat, under an MOU with UNEP-IETC, worked with Wetlands International (WI), the International Agricultural Centre (IAC), and Institute for Inland Water and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA) to develop and present a "training module on wetland management" for Iraqi wetland and water managers in Cairo, Egypt, 19-26 June 2005; here is that report from a fortnight ago.
Now available.Swedish National Wetland Inventory online. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce that the Swedish National Wetland Inventory is now available on the Internet at http://www-vmi.slu.se (information so far in Swedish only). Here is a description by Ann Wahlström of the Swedish Aquatic Environment Section of the Naturvårdsverket or Swedish EPA. [08/07/05]
Also now available.Presentations from the Ramsar Asian regional meeting. In response to popular demand and universal clamor, the presentations made at the Asian meeting held in Beijing, China, in mid-May 2005, mostly PowerPoint PPTs with a few PDFs, can now be downloaded from the Ramsar Web site. They range from great big bloated PPTs (49MB) to smaller big bloated PPTs (20MB) to relatively tiny bloated PPTs (8MB) and a small handful of realistically downloadable PPTs and PDFs, and they will be available from this link to the IUCN Indaba server until the end of August 2005. Similarly, PDF versions of the PowerPoints at the African regional meeting in Arusha in early April 2005 will also remain available until the end of August, when they too, for reasons of server space, will have to go off to join their PPT friends in the electronic filing cabinets of the wetland world. [08/07/05]
Liberia inaugurates National Wetlands Committee. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that Liberia has recently established a National Wetlands Committee. Despite the instability the country has experienced in relation to its civil conflict, Liberia ratified the Ramsar Convention on the 2nd November 2003. In January 2005, the Liberian Government began a Post-Conflict Wetland Assessment Project funded by the Ramsar Swiss Grant for Africa (SGA) and the Ramsar Small Grant Funds (SGF), and as part of that process in early June a multisectoral National Wetlands Committee was created. More details here. [06/07/05]
Resources in French.Wetland information for the francophone world. "Zones Humides Infos" is a quarterly newsletter produced since 1993 by a wetland specialists' expert group set up by the French Ministry of Environment in order to provide advice on the implementation and further development of France's National Wetland Action Plan and national policies having an impact on wetlands. The newsletter grew from a small leaflet to a substantial forum providing information and in-depth debates in French on specific wetland related issues, spanning from legal aspects, to agricultural policies, economic valuation, pond fisheries and aquaculture, cultural heritage, water management and river basin planning. The first issue of 2005 is devoted to the Ramsar Convention. Here are further details (in French). [06/07/05]
Chilean documentary wins Ramsar/MedWet film award. The Chilean documentary 'Veil of Berta', by Esteban Larrain, was crowned on Saturday 25 June as the Ramsar/MedWet best film for water and wetlands for 2005, at the ecofilms international film and audiovisual arts festival, Rhodes, 21-26 June 2005. Set in a high altitude river basin in the south of Chile, the film highlights the struggle of a community of native Pehuenche villagers against the building of a dam that will change the flow of the Bio-Bio river and flood the lands where they have lived for centuries. The golden deer statuette of ecofilms was presented by Ramsar Secretary General Mr Peter Bridgewater in a full house venue, hosted in the National Film Theater of Rhodes on Saturday 25 June. Here are the details, with some stills from the film. [05/07/05]
Morocco adds 20 varied new Ramsar sites. The Secretariat is delighted to be able to report that that Government of Morocco has designated 20 new Ramsar sites, in all parts of the country from the Atlas mountains to the seacoasts on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean. As Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio demonstrates in the accompanying story, there is a great variety among the new sites, not only in their wetland types -- from mountain lakes to estuaries, from oases to gorges to dammed reservoirs -- but also in the services they perform in terms of biodiversity, hydrological functions, and livelihoods in an essentially arid environment. Morocco now has 24 Wetlands of International Importance covering a surface area of 272,010 hectares. Lucia has prepared an synoptic story in English and French on the new sites, as well as brief site descriptions to accompany the story and fill out the Annotated Ramsar List. [29/06/05]
Photos available.Ramsar study tour of nearby French wetlands. On 26 June 2005, Ramsar staff and friends visited parts of the Ramsar site "Rives du Lac Léman" near Thonon on Lake Geneva, proposed Ramsar sites in the plateau of the Pays de Gavot overlooking the lake, and the Ramsar Information Centre at Pré Curieux, in order to find out what's really going on there. Here are 25 photos that partially answer that question. [30/06/05]
Now available.SC31 results. The 31st meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee took place 6-10 June, and the results are now available. The full report is available only in English, for budgetary reasons, but the decisions of the meeting can be seen in English, Français, and Español. [29/06/05]
Czech Republic lists two Ramsar sites on the Montreux Record. The Government of the Czech Republic has informed the Secretariat of its wish to include two additional Ramsar sites in the Montreux Record, as of 6 June 2005. The Montreux Record, created by the Parties in 1990 (in Resolution 4.8 of COP4, held in Montreux, Switzerland), is "a record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference", intended to bring them to international attention for support and advice towards positive conservation action. The two sites are "Mokrady dolního Podyjí (floodplain of lower Dyje River)" and "Poodri" - the first is part of the tripartite transboundary Ramsar site called the "Trilateral Ramsar Site Floodplains of the Morava-Dyje-Danube Confluence" shared by the Czech and Slovak Republics and Austria; the second is part of the Odra/Oder floodplain in the northeast part of the country (with water flowing to the Baltic Sea). The reason for the Montreux listing is that "both of these Ramsar sites are in danger for reason of a planning construction of Danube-Odra.-Elbe channel", and Austria's associated Donau-March-Auen was included in the Record in 1990 (and remains there) for the same reason. In coming months, Czech officials and Ramsar Secretariat staff will be working together to find a remedy and eventually be able to remove the sites from the Record.
There are presently 57 Ramsar sites listed in the Montreux Record, which for complicated reasons is probably a small fraction of the Wetlands of International Importance that should be included there. Brief descriptions of the Czech Republic's extremely interesting Ramsar sites can be found here, and photographs of some of them are sprinkled all over the Ramsar Web site. [28/06/05]
Tragic news. Passing of Robert Martel. The Ramsar Secretariat is grieved by the news of the accidental death on 17 June of Robert Martel of Canada. Robert was with us just a few weeks ago at the Standing Committee meetings, as he represented Canada as the Chair of the Subgroup on Finance and guided the week of budgetary debates with an enormous amount of skill, intelligence, and good humor. He was new to Ramsar processes but fit in comfortably from the beginning, and was well liked by all of us. The Chair of the Standing Committee, Dr Gordana Beltram of Slovenia, has written this graceful letter of condolence (English, Français, and Español). [24/06/05]
Antigua and Barbuda joins the Ramsar Convention. The Secretariat is delighted to report that the Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda has completed the accession procedure and joined the Convention on Wetlands as its 146th Contracting Party. As UNESCO received the required documents on 2 June, the Convention will enter into force for Antigua and Barbuda on 2 October 2005. The new Party's obligatory first Wetland of International Importance has been designated as "Codrington Lagoon" in Barbuda - although the accompanying Ramsar Information Sheet has not yet been received, according to Derek Scott and Montserrat Carbonell, A Directory of Neotropical Wetlands (IUCN and IWRB, 1986) Codrington Lagoon (17°40'N 061°51'W) at that time could be described as "a large saline lagoon of 2,650 hectares, separated from the sea by a sand barrier and with a narrow connection to the sea at its north end; there are several small islands in the lagoon, about 900 hectares of mangrove swamps . . . and associated brackish to saline marshes. . . . The area is known to be very rich in waterfowl, particularly Ardeidae, migratory shorebirds and Laridae. . . . Sea turtles nest on the adjacent beaches, and there is an important lobster fishery in the lagoon." Antigua and Barbuda is warmly welcomed to the "Ramsar family". [24/06/05]
Update on the Danube Delta canal. A joint UNESCO (Man and the Biosphere Programme) and Ramsar Convention mission visited Ukraine on 27-31 October 2003 in order to examine different choices to re-establish a navigable waterway through the Ukrainian part of the Transboundary Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site. In its report (Ramsar Advisory Mission 53), the mission reflected on issues concerning navigation vs. biodiversity and delta dynamics, the need for compensation of ecological damage, and the need for transboundary cooperation. Much has happened since then and the concerns of international bodies remain, so it's timely that, following his visit there in April 2005, Ramsar's Tobias Salathé has provided this update on the situation and prospects for the future. [24/06/05]
Feedback and suggestions are welcome to the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail ).