The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 25 June 2007
Malheureusement, il n'y a pas de version française de ce document.
Headline story.Austrian National Ramsar Committee. The Austrian Administrative Authority for the Ramsar Convention has had 19 years of experience in running its National Ramsar Committee -- they have good cross-sectoral representation, as well as representation from their semi-autonomous states and their key NGOs, and they meet face-to-face on a regular basis, usually once or twice per year. They hold the meeting in different states/provinces on a rotational basis and take ‘time out’ from the meeting room, papers and powerpoint presentations, to visit Ramsar sites, to talk to each other more informally and share their many experiences that have importance for implementing the Convention. Here is Ramsar's Sandra Hails' report on the most recent Ramsar Committee meeting, 13-14 June 2007. [25/06/07]
Headline story.International Danube Day 2007 to celebrate cultures and cooperation. (VIENNA, 25 June 2007) The rich and varied histories and traditions of the countries sharing the Danube River Basin will be at the heart of festivities marking the fourth annual International Danube Day (June 29). Under the theme "Celebrating Danube Cultures", many educational, entertainment and recreational activities will be held this week to commemorate the anniversary of the Danube River Protection Convention, which was signed in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1994. ICPDR press release here (PDF). [25/06/07]
Headline story.Photographs of the Pantanal. The Pantanal of South America is one of the most internationally important wetlands of them all -- one of the most immense, relatively unspoilt, and biologically active environments on earth. It is a vast complex of broad savannahs, huge wetlands, rainforest-like riverine forests and dry decidious forests, as well as a mosaic of rivers, lakes and shallow lagoons, all nurtured by annual cycles of inundation and drought. A large portion of Bolivia's share of the system, the 3-million-hectare "Pantanal Boliviano", was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance in 2001, and two areas within the Pantanal of Brazil's Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states have also been included in the List. A new book, Pantanal: Das Herz Südamerikas (texts in German), by world-famous nature photographer Günter Ziesler and author Angelika Hofer, captures the beauty and wild diversity of the landscape and especially its wildlife in 138 pages of stunning photographs - the hardcover edition is available for only €38.50 from Tecklenborg Verlag in Steinfurt, Germany. It includes a foreword from Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary General, welcoming the book for its powerful celebration of the values and wonder of one of the world's great wetland systems. [25/06/07]
Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General, and Tobias Salathé, Senior Advisor for Europe, are in Rome, Italy, for the 8th meeting of the MedWet Committee (MedWet/Com-8), 26-28 June 2007. [25/06/07]
Ramsar at the "Fête du developpement durable" in Geneva. On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th June 2007, the beautiful Botanic Garden of Geneva, Switzerland, hosted for the first time the very well known sustainable development festival (Fête du developpement durable). The 6th edition of this very much appreciated event offered two full days of debates, concerts, artistic interventions and an incredibly lively atmosphere bringing together individuals and local, regional and international organizations involved in the promotion of sustainable development and nature conservation. Again this year, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat was present together with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) amongst more than 60 stands focused on the themes of biodiversity, renewable energies, climate change, social responsibility, organic food, recycling, etc. At the Ramsar and IUCN stand the volunteers provided information and distributed brochures, stickers, and leaflets about the importance of wetlands and biodiversity, their functions and values, the different approaches in Europe and in other regions worldwide, threats and finally future goals. A brief illustrated report from the Ramsar team: Mila Llorens, Catherine Loetscher, Adrian Ruiz Carvajal, Pragati Tuladhar, and Monica Zavagli. [22/06/07]
Ramsar-related activities in the Oceania region - an update. Ramsar staff members provide weekly updates on their activities for internal use within the Secretariat, but this condensed summary from Vainuupo Jungblut, Associate Ramsar Officer based in the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa, offers a useful summary of recent Ramsar-related activities in the Oceania region. Among his activities in late May and early June 2007, Vai lists: Circulating to partners for comments a draft mangrove monitoring protocol (in the form of a generic manual) for the Pacific Islands region; drafting terms of reference for a consultancy to coordinate the update of the Oceania Wetlands Directory; developing a draft agenda for an Oceania Ramsar Site/Wetland Managers Workshop (now tentatively scheduled for 12-16 November); assisting with the Kiribati Ramsar Small Grants Fund project - work plan fine-tuning and other implementation issues; developing a briefing paper on Ramsar issues for the Cook Islands environment minister to facilitate moves towards accession to the Convention; developing a concept paper for a Pacific Islands regional mangrove initiative to be discussed further with IUCN Oceania and other partners; participating in a regional workshop for Pacific Island LDCs on CBD implementation organized by SPREP and UNEP (Nairobi); assisting Marshall Islands in planning a community-based wetlands management workshop to be held at Jaluit Atoll Ramsar site from 9-13 August; assisting Fiji to submit a Small Grants Fund proposal for improved management of their first Ramsar site, Upper Navua CA; organizing a mangrove clean up and replanting in partnership with the Samoan environment ministry and UNDP to celebrate World Environment day (5th June). [18/06/07]
New Director for Ramsar Regional Centre in Iran. The Collaborative Management Board of the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in Western and Central Asia (RRC-CWA) (an independent institution in the city of Ramsar, Iran, that is also one of the Ramsar "regional initiatives") is pleased to announce that Ms.Yasaman Rajabkhah has been appointed as the Executive Director of the centre, and has taken up the post as of the beginning of June 2007. Ms. Rajabkhah, an Iranian citizen, has a university degree in Natural Resources Engineering / Environment from Azad University in Tehran. She has been the national focal point for the Ramsar Convention at the Department of Environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the past five years, and she has been strongly involved with Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programme development. In addition, she has been working within the region for the initial development of the regional initiative since 2005.
The Web site of the Regional Centre for West and Central Asia can be seen at http://www.ramsarcenter-cwa.org/. [13/06/07]
Now available.Spanish and French versions of the Ramsar Technical Report 'Valuing wetlands'.Valoración de humedales: Lineamientos para valorar los beneficios derivados de los servicios de los ecosistemas de humedales (2007). Évaluation des zones humides : Orientations sur l’estimation des avantages issus des services écosystémiques des zones humides (2007).
Announcement.International Conference on Managing Wetlands for Sustainable Development. "MWSD 2008" (International Conference on Managing Wetlands for Sustainable Development: Innovative Research and Lessons Learned, Effective Partnerships, and the Need for Co-Management) will be held from 9 to 11 January 2008 at Thumrin Thana Hotel, Trang, Thailand in conjunction with 40th anniversary celebration of Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. The deadline for abstracts is 30 June 2007. Details are available from: http://www.envi.psu.ac.th/mwsd2008, and further enquiries can be directed to "Conference Secretariat" by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Visa Sae-Chang, Faculty of Environmental Management, Prince of Songkla University (http://www.envi.psu.ac.th). [12/06/07]
Secretary General's visit to Uganda. From 30 May to 3 June 2007, the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, visited Uganda for discussions with the authorities there about the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in that country. In this brief report (PDF), Paul Mafabi describes the programme of the events, including a meeting with the Minister of State for Environment, the Hon. Jesicca Eriyo, and a visit to the newly-designated Mabamba Bay Ramsar site. [08/06/07]
Training in management plans for Ramsar sites in Europe. The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation will be holding a training course entitled "Managements plans for Ramsar sites in Central, Southern and Eastern Europe (a contribution to the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas)", 18 to 22 October 2007, at its International Academy for Nature Conservation on the Isle of Vilm. The programme of topics to be covered is a very thorough one, and the trainers will be Tobias Salathé of the Ramsar Secretariat and Stephan Amend, a specialist in management plan issues. The deadline for applications is 20 August 2007. The announcement is here, with links to the registration form and programme of activities. [07/06/07]
Now available. Report on stakeholder training in Republic of Korea. An illustrated report from Ramsar's CEPA Programme Officer, Sandra Hails, on a training course for local stakeholders at the Ganghwa Tidal Flat Centre, Gangwha Island, 25-27 May 2007, sponsored by the Korean Federation of Environmental Movement (KFEM) -- here it is. [06/06/07]
Ramsar at CITES COP14. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is holding its 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in The Hague, 3-15 June 2007 -- Ramsar's Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal was there for the opening sessions and delivered an address from the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater on the importance of cooperation among the biodiversity-related conventions. Here is the text. [06/06/07]
Tour of Transboundary Ramsar Sites in Europe. A study tour of transboundary Ramsar sites took place in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina from 28 April to 5 May 2007 under the coordination of Ms Libuse Vlasáková, Ramsar Administrative Authority in the Czech Republic. The idea of the study tour was born in June 2004 when the Trilateral Ramsar Platform (TRP) for the Morava-Dyje-Danube floodplains was signed and the three Contracting Parties involved, Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, expressed the need to gain more field experience in transboundary management through the observation of existing Transboundary Ramsar Sites in the region. The tour brought together 18 participants from Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, all of them directly involved in the TRP management through local institutions, government and NGOs, as well as a representative from the IUCN Regional Office in Belgrade and a representative from the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.
Monica Zavagli reports on the tour from Ramsar's point of view, with photographs, and Libuse Vlasáková has provided a group report, drawing upon the input from Monica and other participants, with a list of those participants. [05/06/07]
Argentina extends Guanacache site. The government of Argentina has significantly expanded the Lagunas de Guanacache Ramsar site, first designated for the List in December 1999 at 580,000 hectares. Now covering additional areas in San Luis as well as in Mendoza and San Juan provinces, the Ramsar site now covers 962,370 hectares and has been renamed Lagunas de Guanacache, Desaguadero y del Bebedero. [04/06/07]
Position vacancy at the Ramsar Secretariat. The Ramsar Convention is seeking to appoint a new Senior Regional Advisor for the Asia/Pacific region. Applications are invited from all interested and suitably qualified persons. The deadline for applications is 13 July 2007. Please circulate this announcement to anyone you think might be qualified and interested. Announcement. [01/06/07]
The theme for World Wetlands Day 2008 and Ramsar COP10. In Decision SC35-14 (February 2007), the Ramsar Standing Committee agreed that the theme/slogan both for World Wetlands Day in February 2008 and for the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in October/November 2008 should be "Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People". The SC Decisions were translated into French and Spanish at that time, but since then there has been extended discussion of those translations of the slogan itself. Consensus has finally been achieved, however, and these are the three official language versions of the WWD and COP10 slogan, superseding those in the meeting's Decisions :
"Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People"
"Notre santé dépend de celle des zones humides"
"Humedales Sanos, Gente Sana"
Regional Affairs Officer chosen for Ramsar Secretariat. The Secretariat is pleased to announce that Dr Alexia Dufour has been selected for the newly-established position of Regional Affairs Officer. A Standing Committee decision created this position in order to provide improved support to the Secretariat's regional teams and, in particular, enhanced guidance to the assistant advisers (interns). This will in turn result in increased capacity in the Secretariat to support Contracting Parties.
A French national, Alexia has advanced university degrees in environmental sciences and ecology from the Ecole Nationale du Génie Rural, des Eaux et Forêts (National School of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests) in Paris and the Universities of Lausanne in Switzerland and Besançon in France. She has taught ecology at university level, as well as biology and geology at high school level. For her doctoral studies she managed a research project on the links between landscape structure and plant biodiversity in the Jura region of France and Switzerland. Alexia's practical wetland experience includes working on a management plan, involving local stakeholders, at the Estagnol Pond Nature Reserve in Southern France.
The regional teams will be greatly helped in their work by Alexia's skills and experience in information management and technology, including the development and management of databases. The Ramsar Secretariat looks forward to welcoming Alexia at the end of July 2007.[30/05/07]
CBD Linnaeus Lecture Series. On 23 May, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of the father of modern taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, by launching a CBD Linnaeus Lecture Series. The first lecture, with the theme 'What Linnaeus would have thought of climate change', was held with the participation of the representatives of the diplomatic community accredited to Montreal as well as United Nations senior officials. Mr. Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Mr. Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands were two of the guest speakers. The CBD's press release is here (PDF). [29/05/07]
Ecuador: Humedal Isla Santay, "capacitación de las mujeres en actividades económicas alternativas". La Fundación Malecón 2000, a través del proyecto WFF/03/EC/1 "Contribución al mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de la población del humedal Isla Santay a través de capacitación de las mujeres en actividades económicas alternativas" ha logrado capacitar al 31% de la población femenina y a 9 % de la población masculina de la isla ecuatoriana Santay en actividades productivas sustentables, tales como tejido, costura, artesanías y microempresa. Estas actividades han aumentado los ingresos de las familias en la comunidad. Los resultados del proyecto se dieron a conocer en una Feria Artesanal, en la que se dio inicio al proceso de promoción y comercialización de sus productos. Estas actividades poco a poco han logrado disminuir la crianza de cerdos en la isla, actividad que ha causado impactos negativos en los recursos naturales del humedal. Gracias al apoyo de diversas instituciones, y al programa de capacitación del Municipio de Guayaquil "Aprendamos" se le ha dado continuidad al proyecto.
International Day of Biodiversity in Montréal. The Ramsar Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, reports on the International Day of Biodiversity from Montréal, Canada, home of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity: "International Biodiversity day 2007 was celebrated today in Montréal, at its Botanical Garden, on the theme of Biodiversity and Climate Change. An array of speakers talked to the issues Including the Canadian Minister for the Environment,, The Executive Secretaries of the UNFCCC and CBD. Video messages came from the President of CBD CoP8 and for the forthcoming CoP9. A group of students who participated in a Canadian effort called HabitatNet, which had the students investigate a series of issues. Elisabeth Dowdswell (former executive secretary of UNEP, Len Good, former GEF CEO and Hon Clifford Lincoln, former Minister for environment of Quebec, offered reflections on the relationship between Biodiversity, Climate change and MDG's.Other partner organisations speaking included Ramsar Convention, UNESCO, CMS (via video), GEF (via video), IUCN (Canada office) and UNEP/GRID Arendal. A copy of the SG's presentation is attached."
The Ramsar Secretary General and the Executive Secretary of the CBD, Ahmed Djoghlaf, took the opportunity to issue a joint press release announcing the launch of the draft of a major new report, "Water, Wetlands, Biodiversity, and Climate Change", the provisional outcomes of an expert meeting held at the Ramsar Secretariat facilities on 23-24 March 2007. The press release is available here (PDF), and the provisional report can be found on the CBD Web site (http://www.biodiv.org/doc/case-studies/wtr/cs-wtr-ramsar-en.pdf). [23/05/07]
South Africa celebrates International Day of Biodiversity with two new Ramsar sites. In celebrations to mark the International Day of Biodiversity, 22 May 2007, the Republic of South Africa announced the Ramsar listing of two new Wetlands of International Importance, the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands and the Makuleke Wetlands in the far northeast of the country, part of the Kruger National Park on the border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Ramsar's Africa regional team, Abou Bamba and Evelyn Parh, has provided details of the two new sites, with some photographs, and they draw attention to the particular importance of the sub-Antarctic site as an example for other Parties with island territories at that latitude. South Africa has now designated a total of 19 Ramsar sites, covering a surface area of 543,978 hectares. [22/05/07]
Mexico designates 67th Ramsar site. The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that, just a week after Mexico's 66th Ramsar site was added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance, the paperwork has been completed for the designation of its 67th, also effective World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2007. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for the Americas, Ms Mila Llorens, summarizes the new site thus: Parque Estatal Lagunas de Yalahau (5,683 hectares, 20º38'N 089º13'W) in Yucatán state, comprises a series of continental wetlands, with lagoons and deep underground water reservoirs being the most representative. The underground reservoirs are typical of the karstic systems of the Yucatan Peninsula. This, combined with the topography of the region, allows a diversity of habitats which host a variety of animal and plant species, many of which are migratory, endemic and/or in danger of extinction; among the latter are the Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana), the Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), the Tayra (Eira barbara), the Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), the Margay (Leopardus wiedii) and the Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). During winter, the park gives shelter to migratory birds, and during the dry season, the lagoons and the deep underground water reservoirs provide a source of water for species like the Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletti), the White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and the Jaguar (Panthera onca). The dominant vegetation type is tropical deciduous forest with more than 200 plant species, a high number given the small size of the area. The low inundated forests, found in small portions adjacent to the lagoons, are dominated by tree species such as Dalbergia glabra, Haematoxylum campechianum, and Mimosa bahamensi). Land and cattle activities are common in the site. Illegal hunting is the main activity negatively affecting the site. Areas previously affected by anthropogenic activity are already under restoration. [21/05/07]
Mexico designates 66th Ramsar site. Mexico, which already had the second highest number of Wetlands of International Importance (after the UK), has designated still another one as of this past World Wetlands Day. As summarized by Ramsar's Mila Llorens, based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, Laguna Huizache-Caimanero (48,283 hectares, 22°50'N 105°55'W) is located in the southeastern part of the Gulf of California in Sinaloa state. The site consists of a series of wetlands, ranging from coastal and continental to artificial. Due to its location along the Migratory Corridor of the Pacific, it is a site of high importance for migratory birds in Mexico, including the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchus) and the Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaia). It is also the habitat of a wide range of fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, including species in danger of extinction or vulnerable, such as the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), the Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum), the Boa (Boa constrictor), the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea). The riverside of the lagoon is mainly constituted by mangrove forest, including red (Rhizophora mangle), black (Avicennia germinans) and white (Laguncularia racemosa) mangroves. The fishing resources of the lagoon are the main protein source for the surrounding communities and shrimp fishing is the main economic activity of the area. Among the negative factors affecting the site are: the sedimentation of rivers Presidio and Baluarte, deforestation, overfishing, and wastewaters discharge into the lagoon. According to the IUCN Protected Area Categories, the site belongs to Category IV and is under the federal jurisdiction of the National Water Commission of Mexico. [15/05/07]
Star Alliance airline group launches "Biosphere Connections". On 14 May in Copenhagen, amid the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Star Alliance Group of Airlines, a new way of working between Airlines and the Ramsar Convention, UNESCO-MAB, and IUCN was announced. The attached press release (PDF) describes the new “Biosphere Connections” programme, and the Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, was chosen to make a short speech at the anniversary celebrations, and signed an MoU with Star Alliance CEO Jan Albrecht, on behalf of all three organisations. This initiative will develop over the next years as a key means to communicate what the three organisations are doing to the wider public in a much more effective way than we have so far been able to achieve. A Web site (www.biosphereconnections.com) has been established to promote this initiative. The Secretary General's address can be seen here. (15/05/07)
Ramsar regional meeting for Europe announced. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with the Ramsar Secretariat, invites participation in the 6th European Ramsar Regional Meeting, to take place in Stockholm, 3-7 May 2008. The meeting is intended to bring together all 45 Contracting Parties in the European region, as well as three countries that have not yet joined (Andorra, Holy See, and San Marino), and it will focus on implementation of the Convention in the region; progress with regional initiatives; the need to improve implementation capacities through CEPA, as well as project and financial support. It will also serve to coordinate European positions on the issues to be discussed at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in the Republic of Korea in October-November 2008. More details are available from the letter of invitation (PDF) here. [15/05/07]
Other pre-COP10 regional meetings are set for Africa, 16-19 October 2007 (tbc) in Yaoundé, Cameroon; for the Americas, 19-21 September 2007 in Mérida, Venezuela; and for Asia, 19-23 November 2007 (tbc) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Madagascar adds sixth Wetland of International Importance. In ceremonies on 12 May 2007, the government of Madagascar is celebrating World Migratory Birds Day by placing Lake Bedo and its surround marshes on the List of Wetlands of International Importance and dedicating the site as a WWF Gift to the Earth. As summarized by Ramsar's Evelyn Parh Moloko, the Zones humides de Bedo(1,962 hectares, 19º57'S 044º36'E) in Toliary Province near the western coast is a wetland complex consisting of the shallow, open Lake Bedo; its surrounding marshes, which are rich in aquatic vegetation; and a permanent river flowing across the forests and feeding the lake and marshes. The Lake Bedo watershed supplies water as runoff during the rainy season and as seepage from hills forming springs, ponds and marshes during the dry season. Further details and a number of photographs by Glyn Young, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, can be seen here.
WWF Madagascar and the WWF Global Freshwater Programme were helpful to the authorities in preparing for this important designation. [12/05/07]
U.N. Campaign highlights "Migratory Birds in a changing climate". Bonn, 12-13 May 2007 -- A series of events will take place around the world this weekend to highlight the impacts of climate change on migratory birds. Over one hundred separate events in more than 48 countries will transmit the message of the 2007 World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) to local communities and across the globe. (www.worldmigratorybirdday.org) "The message of World Migratory Bird Day is that we need to act faster to mitigate the effects of climate change on birds and our ecosystems!" said Mr. Robert Hepworth, the Executive Secretary of the global Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). See the rest of the AEWA press release. [14/05/07]
Swiss Grant for Africa.The Ramsar Convention in Congo. A technical workshop organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Environment took place in the Republic of Congo on the 30th of March 2007, under the coordination of Mr. Grégoire Moua-Likibi, Permanent Secretary of this Ministry. This workshop aimed at presenting the outcomes of the project entitled "Identification and designation of at least 2 million hectares of new Ramsar sites in Congo" accomplishing the update of the only existing Ramsar site in Congo, 'Lac Tele/Likouala aux herbes'. The above project was jointly financed by the Swiss Grant for Africa (SGA), through the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) through the Global Freshwater Program. Evelyn Parh Moloko provides further details here. [09/05/07]
Ramsar chooses next Secretary General.Mr Paul Mafabi (left), Assistant Commissioner, Wetlands Inspection Division of Uganda and Chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee, announces that the Standing Committee has unanimously and enthusiastically chosen a new Secretary General for the Convention, to succeed Peter Bridgewater. Here is his announcement. [07/05/07]
IMoSEB Regional Consultations for Europe. Last week (26 -28 April) a regional consultation on IMoSEB (International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity ) was held in Geneva for the European region. IUCN and Ramsar co-hosted this event, although it was held at the Natural History Museum and International Environment House Geneva. The report of the consultation is available here (PDF), and all presentations can be seen at http://www.imoseb.net/regional_consultations/europe. This consultation has moved the process forward quite a way, and we now await further regional consultations before a final meeting of the International Steering committee at the end of the year. As you will see, under the proposed formulation of an option, Ramsar, through the Chair of STRP would be involved in the process. -- Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General. [04/05/07]
Swiss Grant for Africa.Ghana's Wetlands Strategy and Action Plan. Ghana completed and adopted a National Wetlands Conservation Strategy in 1999 as one of the outputs of the GEF/World Bank-funded Coastal Wetlands Management Project. The actions prescribed in the 1999 Strategy document were vague, lacking detailed directions and actions for effective implementation of the Strategy. This led to the approval of the Swiss Grant project in 2005, provided by the Swiss Government through the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, for a review of the 1999 Strategy alongside the development of a corresponding Action Plan that corresponds with the principles, objectives and expectations of the revised National Wetlands Conservation Strategy, with the aim of enhancing its implementation. This project was implemented by the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Ghana (the Wildlife Division Forestry Commission) through a very consultative and participatory process which involved resource persons, strategically selected multi-stakeholders, three workshops (+ 1 validation workshop) and technical assistance from the Dutch Government. The outcome of this process is the production of a single document entitled "A National Wetlands Conservation Strategy and Action Plan", to be implemented over a period of ten years (2007-2016), which now awaits endorsement by the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines. Evelyn Parh Moloko provides more detail here. [04/05/07]
Danube Regional Project's last workshop. The closing workshop of the UNDP/GEF Danube Regional Project (DRP), which took place from the 18th-20th April 2007 in Tulcea, in the Romanian section of the Danube Delta, was the occasion for some 50 participants to discuss their achievements over the course of this five-year project. Since 2002, the DRP has engaged in several activities, some of which were presented during the workshop, including the final stages of a guidance document on the role of wetlands in nutrient retention; activities related to the development and implementation of wetland-friendly policies on land-use; and a small grants programme, which funded numerous pilot projects. . . . Also during the meeting, participants discussed and finalized the development of a Network of Protected Areas (most of them Ramsar sites) along the Danube River. Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio provides the details on the meeting and the proposed network, as well as photographs of the boat trip in the delta. [04/05/07]
Starlight Initiative agrees La Palma Declaration. The participants in the International Conference in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe the Stars, meeting in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, 19-20 April 2007, agreed a declaration urging the international community and national governments to adopt a set of principles and objectives for safeguarding the cultural and natural heritage of starlight. The Secretary General, Peter Bridgewater, reports on the meeting, and the Declaration is reproduced here. [04/05/07]
A new web site for Wetland Link International (WLI). WLI, a global network of wetland education centres, and its parent body, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), have relaunched their Web site (http://www.wwt.org.uk). To visit the WLI pages look here: http://www.wwt.org.uk/wli. The Ramsar Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with WLI at COP9 in November 2005 in recognition of the capacity of WLI to link wetlands centres and encourage the exchange of wetland information and expertise. Read more about WLI and its relationship with the CEPA Programme here: caxref:2620. [02/05/07]
Cameroon creates National Ramsar Committee. Following Honourable Inoni Ephraim's Prime Ministerial decree No. 63 of the 8th of March 2007, the government of Cameroon officially announced the creation of the 'National Ramsar Committee on Wetlands' within the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Cameroon). This major step is in accordance with Recommendation 5.7 of the 5th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in June 1993, in Kushiro, Japan, which encourages the creation of National Committees, and it follows up on Cameroon's accession to the Ramsar Convention, its ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity and other national and ministerial policies, laws and decrees. [01/05/07]
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 ).