The Ramsar Bulletin Board, February 2013

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1st European River Prize: call for nominations and proposals

The International River Foundation (IRF) awards the Thiess International Riverprize, one of the world’s most valuable environmental awards at global level. This year, besides its international and Australian prizes, the IRF is awarding for the first time a European River Prize. Organisations, public and private, governmental or not, involved in the restoration and protection of rivers, lakes, estuaries or any other wetland type may enter the Riverprize. The size of your river or budget is not a barrier to winning. It is the integration of your programmes, innovations used and achievements made towards improved river and wetland ecosystem health that the judges are assessing. More [28/02/13] 

New video guide: 4 easy steps to update a Ramsar Information Sheet

Ramsar Contracting Parties commit themselves to providing updated information for all of their Ramsar Sites no later than every six years or on the occasion of any significant change in the sites' ecological character.

To help you through the process, the Ramsar Secretariat designed a step-by-step video guide that will take you through the necessary steps to submit your updates. This user-friendly training tool is currently in English but will soon also be available in French and Spanish. Watch the video above and submit your updated Ramsar Information Sheets to the Ramsar Secretariat! English here | français | español [28/02/2013]

Wetland conservation in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a very long history of wetland management, with records of the construction of ‘tanks’ (reservoirs) of varying size from as early as 300 B.C. in the drier part of the country principally to provide water for irrigation. These tanks slowly evolved to become connected into complex systems that ‘cascaded’ and allowed water from one tank to flow to the next further downstream, and these systems are still in existence today. More [27/02/13]

Over 1,000 Ramsar Sites in Europe

Out of the 18 countries signing in Ramsar, on 3 February 1971, the final act that adopted the text for the new Convention on Wetlands, 13 were European: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, and the United Kingdom. Since then, the European countries are very active in designating Wetlands of International Importance for the Ramsar List. More in English | français | español [27/02/13]

World Wetlands Day 2013 - an extravaganza of activity

World Wetlands Day has come and gone and from the reports we are receiving it has been another successful celebration. We have begun the process of uploading the many reports that we have received and we are now ready to share our 2013 reports page with you. In addition we have populated an adaptations page to showcase the creative ways in which you have adapted our materials for use at the national and local levels. Read more | français | español [26/02/13]

SG Anada Tiéga visits Monavale wetland in Zimbabwe on 4 February 2013

Report by Tsitsi Wutawunashe, National Cordinator - GEFSGP. Photos by Jon Pilch, Monavale resident and COSMO Committee Member.

Mr Anada Tiega, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, had an opportunity to come to Monavale Vlei on 4 February 2013 during his visit to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's instrument of accession and the names and maps of seven Wetlands of International Importance (Victoria Falls National Park, Mana Pools, Monavale Wetland, Lake Chivero and Manyame, Driefontein Grasslands, Chinhoyi Caves, and Cleveland Dam) were received on 3 January 2013, so that the Convention will come into force for Zimbabwe on 3rd May of this year. More (link to PDF). [25/02/13]

Ramsar’s Scientific & Technical Review Panel meets in Gland this week

The Ramsar Secretariat is pleased to announce that the first meeting of the newly elected Scientific & Technical Review Panel (STRP) for this triennium is taking place in Gland, Switzerland from 25 February to 1 March 2013. Besides the elected panel members, a host of representatives from Invited Observer Organizations, as well as representative from a Ramsar Regional Center and some STRP National Focal Point will be attending. More [25/02/13]

30 years of Ramsar Site management: a Swiss business model

The southern shores of lake Neuchâtel constitute the first and largest Ramsar Site in Switzerland. This ecosystem is also one of the youngest in the country, because it only came into being since the artificial lowering of the lake water level during the years 1868-1891. The Ramsar Site consists of eight nature reserves composed of lakeside shallows, extensive fen mires and alluvial and hillside forests. The fen mires (Cladietum, Schoenetum, Nanocyperion, Molinietum for the specialists) gave the wetland area its name “Grande Cariçaie” referring to the different Carex rushes growing here ( More [20/02/2013]

How is water infrastructure best managed for water security?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Water Association (IWA) are launching the Nexus Dialogue on Water Infrastructure Solutions. Recognition of the closely bound interaction between water, energy and food production and use – the nexus - has led to new demands for water infrastructure and technology solutions. To find out more and get involved, visit [14/02/13]

Use of satellite data through the GlobWetland II project

The European Space Agency (ESA) published a web story for World Wetlands Day about the use of satellite date through the GlobWetland II project to track the major changes over the last 40 years in the Lake Burullus Ramsar Site in Egypt. Read their story here. Ramsar’s Secretary General noted “We are grateful to ESA for being at the forefront and providing satellite data on wetlands as assets for sustainable water management. This contributes significantly to a better understanding of the state of wetland conservation at the local level as well as global trends”. Follow this link to read more about the GlobWetland II project funded by the ESA. [13/02/13]

Netherlands names four new Caribbean Ramsar Sites

The government of the Netherlands has designated four new coastal and near-coastal Wetlands of International Importance on the Netherlands Antilles island of Curaçao, a constitutent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in the Leeward Antilles 70km north of Venezuela. Read more. [12/02/2013]

Announcement: Regional Great Lakes stakeholders Forum

Addressing the Drivers of Change for Freshwater Services in the Great Lakes Region, Kigali, Rwanda 21-22 February, 2013. The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) and its partners will hold a regional stakeholders’ forum from 21 to 22 February 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda. The workshop will bring together regional and international experts in watershed and freshwater systems management, actors in integrated water resources management at regional and local levels including civil society and private sector members, as well as policy makers involved in shaping the national and regional policy and legal frameworks pertaining on water systems. The Ramsar Convention is supporting the Forum through the Ramsar Centre for Eastern Africa (RAMCEA). For more information please contact: Faustin Gashakamba, ARCOS Information, Education and Communications Manager, Tel +250783023303; Email: gashakamba[at] Project background information available here. [12/02/13]

Romania names seven new sites

The necessary paperwork has been completed for seven new Wetlands of International Importance in Romania, designated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests with several different designation dates. All of them are closely related to the Danube River meadows and the river’s older arms, and all of them have very high biodiversity values. More details here. [11/02/13]

Redevelopment of the Ramsar Sites Information Service

The Ramsar Sites Information Service and database of 2,087 Wetlands of International Importance will soon be getting a major overhaul!

The Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS), developed in 1990, provides online access to the data and information on all designated Ramsar Sites. Contracting Parties adopted a new version of the Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS) at the last Conference of the Parties (COP11, Romania, July 2012), and the RSIS is now insufficient to reflect both the changes in the new data to be collected on Ramsar Sites and the need for more automated and efficient online workflows.

The Ramsar Secretariat is seeking for experts to help fulfill this task (planned completion by July 2014) and has produced a Request for Proposals (RFP), available here. Bidders are encouraged to complete and return the intention to submit a proposal by email, to dufour[at], by 1 March 2013. The electronic version of the proposal must be sent, no later than the 26 March 2013, to dufour[at] [07/02/13]

Preparing professionals for the future

Implementing Ramsar’s mission of the conservation and wise use of all wetland ecosystems for water security and biodiversity maintenance is at the heart of sustainable development. And to do so, we need well-trained professionals. This is why the Ramsar Secretariat joined the advisory board of the international post-graduate Master course developed by Klagenfurt University (Austria), based on a concept by the consultancy firm E.C.O. ( The education programme is trans-disciplinary and organised in a set of work modules (1-2 weeks) taking place at Klagenfurt University and in different protected areas in central Europe. More [05/02/13]

Croatia designates Vransko Lake

The Secretariat is very pleased to report that Croatia has designated its 5th Wetland of International Importance, Vransko Lake (“Vransko jezero”) (5,748 hectares, 43°53”28”N 015°34’36”E), a Nature Park and Special Ornithological Reserve that is the largest natural lake in Croatia. Read more. [04/02/2013]

Launch of The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands – How much is a wetland worth?

On the eve of the Convention’s World Wetlands Day, the report The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands was launched by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wetlands International and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), with the support of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Geneva Environment Network (GEN) secretariat. More [04/02/13]

Celebration of World Wetlands Day in the Amazon Wetlands of Beni, Bolivia

On the 1st and 2nd of February 2013, Bolivia’s Amazon Department of Beni and the Ministry of Environment organised a festive World Wetlands Day Celebration in Trinidad, with a press conference and the official designation of three new Ramsar Sites held in Beni´s University. The event was chaired by the Bolivian Vice Minister of Environment, Mr. Juan Pablo Cardozo, and Beni´s Governor Mr. Haisen Ribera, with the participation of local and regional authorities and the NGOs. The event was opened by a presentation on the joint work among the different authorities and communities that resulted in the designation of the three huge Ramsar Sites Rio Matos, Río Blanco, and Río Yata, totalling nearly 7 million hectares in area. More in English | Español. [04/02/13]

Ramsar surpasses 200 million hectares of global coverage

The government of Bolivia is celebrating World Wetlands Day 2013 today by designating three enormous new Wetlands of International Importance in the Department of Beni in the lowland northeast of the country, bringing the Convention’s global total of area coverage by the Contracting Parties to 204,797,361 hectares. From the first Ramsar Site designation in May 1974, some 28 years elapsed before the Convention’s global coverage rose to over 100 million hectares in June 2002. Little more than a decade later, on World Wetlands Day 2013, the second tranche of 100 million has been added to the Ramsar List. Read more about Bolivia’s new sites. [02/02/2013]

Urgent need to focus on wetlands as natural solutions to global water crisis

A report on the Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands urges a major shift in our attitudes to wetlands, to recognise their value in delivering water, raw materials and food, essential for life, and crucial for maintaining people’s livelihoods and the sustainability of the world’s economies.

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat launched today the report The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands, together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wetlands International and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), with the support of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Geneva Environment Network (GEN) secretariat.

The report presents insights on critical water-related ecosystem services in order to encourage additional policy momentum, business commitment, and investment in the conservation, restoration, and wise use of wetlands. It shows how recognizing, demonstrating, and capturing the values of ecosystem services related to water and wetlands can lead to better informed, more efficient, and fairer decision-making. More [01/02/2013]

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