The Ramsar Bulletin Board, September 2013

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Latest Ramsar activities in Brazil and Colombia

Maria Rivera, Senior Advisor for the Americas at the Ramsar Secretariat, reports back on Brazil celebrating 20 years of Ramsar membership and Colombia starting the challenging process of delimitating its wetlands. More [30/09/13] 

A smart plan for the wise use of wetlands: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) 

A series of interviews with experts on wetland management in Africa gives insights on how research, policy and capacity building are contributing to the wise use of wetlands and what needs to be done to further protect them across the region.

The interviewees were gathered at the “Wetlands: Wise Use, Smart Plans” Forum, held in Kigali, Rwanda from 8 to 13 July 2013. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands initiative was launched at the Forum. The TEEB draws attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity and the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. The Forum, attended by over 100 participants from 23 African countries, was jointly organised by the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA), the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and the Centre for Development and Innovation (CDI) of Wageningen University. More information on the forum [27/09/13]

Europe’s best-cared-for rivers

The jury panel of the 5th European River Restoration Conference (Vienna, 11-13 September – see our announcement here) awarded the first European Riverprize to the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) for its engagement in restoring the natural ecosystems of Europe’s busiest navigation waterway. The event brought together more than 300 European river specialists, including many Ramsar focal points, hydrologists, river engineers, hydropower and navigation specialists, ecologists, fish and wetland experts.

This gathering was also an opportunity for the Ramsar Convention to award the Ramsar River Poster Prize to the Spanish basin stakeholder commission (under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment), the Confederación Hidrográfica del Duero, for its poster on the “Demolition of the Retuerta dam on the Aravalle river”, a tributary to the Duero. Click here to read the full report by Tobias Salathé, Senior Advisor for Europe at the Ramsar Secretariat. The River Foundation newsletter can be viewed here. [24/09/13]

Second STRP Webinar now available!

The second webinar of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) on the “Sustainable Planning and Management of Urban Wetlands,” by Rob McInnes, Society of Wetlands Scientists representative to the STRP, is now available on the STRP Platform, along with the first webinar. The webinar focussed on recent initiatives by the Ramsar Convention, in collaboration with UN Habitat in West Africa, which are seeking to promote the sustainable management and planning of urban and peri-urban wetlands. Over 30 participants joined the webinar, including STRP National Focal Points, CEPA Focal Points and other wetland experts.

The STRP webinar series seeks to raise awareness about the different initiatives by Ramsar stakeholders in the Ramsar regions, as well as enhancing interaction between STRP National Focal Points, National Focal Points, CEPA Focal Points and the STRP. If you have ideas for future STRP webinars, please send them to Marcela Bonells, Scientific & Technical Support Officer at strp[at] and Roy Gardner, STRP Chair, gardner[at] Your input is warmly welcome! [20/09/13]

Successful Ramsar Advisory Mission to Iceland

In August 2013, a Ramsar Advisory Mission (RAM) was organised to Iceland’s first and most iconic Ramsar Site, Myvatn lake and its outflowing Laxa river. The site, located in a dynamic volcanic zone and known for its biodiversity, includes the biggest part of the endemic population of the duck Barrow’s Goldeneye Bucephala islandica and the fish Arctic Charr Salvelinus alpinus. The RAM team had to evaluate the possible effects of a new geothermal power plant which Landsvirkjun, a public power generation company plans to build in close vicinity of the lake planned by. The exploitation of hot underground water could affect the delicate system of groundwater temperature and flows into the lake. It was the Government of Iceland which called for this mission to Myvatn lake, showing once more its dedication in implementing the Ramsar Convention and in using wisely its many important wetland ecosystems and their resources. More [17/09/13]

Defining an exit strategy for GlobWetland II Project

Last week, Paul Ouédraogo, Senior Advisor for Africa at the Ramsar Secretariat, attended the GlobWetland II (GW-II) second user workshop held in Jena, Germany. GW-II was launched in January 2010 as a regional pilot project of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. During the last three years, based on requests from the Contracting Parties (Ramsar member states) involved, the GW-II project team developed the GW-II Software Toolbox for a satellite-based end-to-end wetland monitoring system. Read more [12/09/13]

Nordic-Baltic Wetlands Conference focuses on climate change

Twenty Ramsar National Focal Points and experts from the Arctic Council gathered for a seminar on climate change impacts in Greenland from 3 to 5 September at Ilulissat, a fishing and hunting harbour and tourist resort. The spectacular Ilulissat Icefjord nearby, a World Heritage property, attracts many visitors who come to watch icebergs breaking off and drifting away from the Greenland inland glacier dome. At the meeting, Greenland’s Minister of Housing, Nature, Environment and Nordic Cooperation, Ms Miite Lynge, warned of the possible impacts of climate change on wetlands and their services to our societies and called on Ramsar to formulate proposals on how to manage these impacts, for consideration by the Arctic, Nordic and Baltic cooperation mechanisms. Read more [12/09/13]

Andorra’s second Ramsar Site

The government of Andorra, which joined the Convention in November 2012, has already completed the designation process for its second Wetland of International Importance. The Vall de Madriu-Perafita-Claror is a national Cultural Landscape that was accepted for the UNESCO World Heritage list as a cultural property in July 2004. More information here. More information here. [09/09/13]

 The Ramsar River Poster Prize to be awarded on 11 September in Vienna

More than 300 river restoration specialists, including representatives of the Ramsar Convention and its international partner organisations WWF and Wetlands International, will gather in Vienna (Austria) from 11 to 13 September to celebrate their successes and address continuing challenges at the 5th European River Restoration Conference. They will also consider how to maintain and restore the ecological functions of rivers in light of the growing demands for water, energy and food, and the increasing pressures from climate change. The conference will also be the occasion to award one of the four finalists (Orbigo river in Spain, the Mura-Drava-Danube rivers in Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia, the international river Rhine and the Upper Drau in Austria) with the 1st European Riverprize, launched by the International RiverFoundation. More [05/09/13]

STRP Webinar Series: Towards the sustainable planning and management of urban wetlands

Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) will be holding a series of webinars (or virtual conferences), aiming to raise awareness about the different activities being carried by the Ramsar Administrative Authorities, STRP National Focal Points, the STRP and other Ramsar stakeholders to implement the Convention in the different Ramsar regions. The webinars also seek to enhance interaction amongst STRP National Focal Points and Ramsar National Focal Points. STRP webinars will be held in any of the three Convention languages.

The next webinar on the Sustainable Planning and Management of Urban Wetlands will take place on Friday 13 September, from 10:00am to 11:00am EDT. You can sign up now to reserve your webinar seat! Read more [02/09/13]

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