The Ramsar Bulletin Board, February 2014

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Statement by Christopher Briggs for World Wildlife Day  

“The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is pleased to join the celebrations for World Wildlife Day and congratulates CITES on the launch of the first World Wildlife day.
The Ramsar Convention’s annual World Wetlands Day campaign in February celebrated the beauty and utility of wetlands – home to a huge diversity of wildlife. As wetland people, our favourite wildlife might include a bear fishing for salmon along a river, a coral reef alive with colourful fish, or a pond of frogs, dragonflies, and water lilies in full bloom. Our aim is to sustain this beauty as well as the many benefits wetlands bring to humankind and wildlife – water, food, transport, coastal protection and much, much more. Indeed, sustaining wetlands and their water is key to sustaining us all.
Wetlands and their species, in common with other ecosystems, are under threat from human population increase, climate change, and unsustainable practices, including the illegal trade in wetland species, and we will continue in our fight to find sustainable solutions that safeguard the beauty and utility of our wetlands. We congratulate CITES for the World Wildlife Day campaign and join with them in calling for greater collaboration for a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony.”
Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

New report on the significance of the Xe Champhone Ramsar site (Savannakhet province, Lao PDR) and its surroundings for biodiversity conservation

The Xe Champhone wetland in Savannakhet province, Lao PDR, was designated as a Ramsar Site in 2010 due to its importance for the conservation of the Siamese crocodile, the occurrence of specific wetlands habitats and the support it brings to local livelihoods.

To support dialogue on a long-term management plan and potential boundary revision, IUCN Lao PDR and the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment of Lao PDR (MoNRE), with support from the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center from Japan (OECC) conducted a survey in 2013 to prepare an inventory of bird and large mammal species. Read more [26/02/14]

Botswana commits to designate Ramsar Sites in the Matcheng Pans during World Wetlands Day celebrations

The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT), together with the Kgalagadi District, organised World Wetlands Day celebrations in Botswana. Activities included a conference with district stakeholders; competitions for school children; a visit to the pans by dignitaries and a community dialogue.

The celebration, held in Kang on 4 February 2014, brought together over 150 wetlands stakeholders and was chaired by Dr M. Manthe-Tsuanend, Ag. Deputy Permanent Secretary at MEWT.

See the full report by Paul Ouedraogo, Senior Advisor for Africa [20/02/14]

World Wetlands Day in Myanmar

This year, World Wetland Day was celebrated in Myanmar at the Moeyungyi Ramsar Site, some 90 minutes by car north of the city of Yangon. The event was also an occasion to celebrate the re-opening of the visitor centre by the entrance of the site after it had been renovated with funding support from the Norwegian Environment Agency. Read more [19/02/14]

The Equator Prize: call for nominations

The Equator Initiative has launched a call for nominations for the Equator Prize 2014. The initiative brings together governments, civil society, businesses, grassroots organizations and the UN to encourage sustainable development solutions at the local community level.

The Equator Prize will reward 25 local sustainable development solutions. Winners will each receive $5,000 (USD). Several  winners will be selected for ‘special recognition’ and will receive an additional $15,000 (USD).  Read more about eligibility and the theme for this year which could easily include projects with a focus on wetlands in the 145 eligible countries. Please communicate directly with the Initiative for further information. [18/02/2014]

Small Grants Fund project in Georgia completed

The Society for Conservation of Wild Nature “Tchaobi” has successfully completed a Small Grants Fund (SGF) project led by botanist Izolda Matchutadze, aimed at the conservation, restoration and development of eco-tourism infrastructures within the Ramsar Site “Ispani II marshes” located in West Georgia, in the Autonomous Republic of Ajara. Read more [14/02/14]

Bolivia recognized as the country with the largest area of Wetlands of International Importance on World Wetlands Day

On 3 February, in the context of  World Wetlands Day celebrations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia received WWF’s “Gift to the Earth” award for its achievements in the field of conservation, and especially for designating three Wetlands of International Importance in the Beni Department. Ms Yolanda Kakabadse, WWF president, presented the “Gift to the Earth” Certificate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador David Choquehuanca Céspedes. Read more | Español [13/02/14]

Signature of COP12 Memorandum of Understanding

During his recent visit to Uruguay, Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, signed the Memorandum of Understanding for COP12 with Mr Luis Porto, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Francisco Beltrame, Minister of Housing, Land Planning, and Environment.
Read more | Español [10/02/14] 

STRP Webinar with Dr Adrian Wood: "Wetlands, Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa"

In line with our World Wetlands Day theme (Wetlands and Agriculture), please join us on Tuesday 18 February, from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST (17:00-18:00 CET) for our fourth STRP webinar on Wetlands, Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa by Dr Adrian Wood. Read more

To register
Space is limited. Please reserve your seat at:  After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. For any questions, please write to

Webinar Details
Title: Wetlands, Agriculture and Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa by Dr. Adrian Wood
Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST (17:00-18:00 CET)


The Ramsar and World Heritage conventions and Slovenia’s Škocjan Caves

An article by Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, highlighting collaboration between the Ramsar Convention and other multilateral environmental agreements, was published on UNESCO's World Heritage magazine n. 70.

Mr Briggs identifies the benefits that Sites can derive from being listed under international Conventions and brings Slovenia’s Škocjanske Jame (Škocjan Caves) as an example of a Site inscribed under both the World Heritage Convention and the Ramsar Convention. Read more [05/02/14]

New Caledonia’s largest freshwater reserve designated as Ramsar Site

France has designated the first Ramsar Site in New Caledonia on the occasion of World Wetlands Day. As summarized by Ms Laura Máiz-Tomé, Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for Europe, Les Lacs du Grand Sud néo-calédonien (43,970 ha, 22°08’23’’S 166°47’50’’E) is the largest freshwater reserve of New Caledonia, situated in the Great Lakes Region in South Province of Grande Terre, the main island. The site consists of tree-dominated wetlands, shrub-dominated marshes, and permanent and seasonal rivers, streams, creeks and lakes, including a reservoir. It is internationally important for the conservation of outstanding endemic species of flora and fauna; it supports vulnerable and endangered species which are important for the maintenance of biological diversity within the New Caledonian Moist Forests biogeographic region.

The site, which includes an extensive underground karst system, plays an important role in flood regulation, water supply, maintenance of water quality and groundwater recharge. The artificial Yaté Lake, located at the centre of the site, provides 20% of the country’s energy needs. The area is also used for scientific research and outdoor recreational tourism including camping, hiking and kayaking. The main threats to its ecological character derive from fires, forestry, invasive species and mining in surrounding areas. Français | Español [02/02/14]

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