The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards, 2005

10/10/2005
"Wetlands and water: supporting life, sustaining livelihoods"
9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Kampala, Uganda, 8-15 November 2005

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards, 2005

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards will be presented for the third time on 8th November 2005, on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the Ninth Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention in Kampala, Uganda.

Established in 1996 and presented for the first time in 1999, the Awards recognise and honour, every three years, individuals, organisations and government agencies that have made significant contribution to wetland and water resources conservation and wise use in any part of the world.

As in previous editions, the three 2005 awards are complemented by the Evian Special Prize, a cash award to each laureate, generously donated by Groupe DANONE, as part of the DANONE/Evian Fund for water to support the Ramsar Convention.

The 2005 laureates will also receive a jewel created by Jeweller Gilbert Albert, Switzerland, and the Ramsar trophy created by sculptress Verena Darmon.

The DANONE/Evian Fund for water is a partnership between the Ramsar Convention and Groupe DANONE aimed to support the Ramsar Convention in taking action, from the mountains to the sea, for wise use of water resources and maintaining their quality.


Ramsar Award / Category: Management

Dr. Sh.A. Nezami Baloochi, Iran

Dr. Sh.A. Nezami Baloochi, from the Department of the Environment of the Province of Gilan, Iran, is being recognized for his major and pivotal role in the establishment of an effective conservation and wise use scheme for the 15.000ha Anzali Wetland Ramsar Site, designated in 1975.

The Anzali Wetland has been threatened by a wide range of pressures including eutrophication, deforestation, erosion, unsustainable hunting and inappropriate tourism, road and urban development. The site was listed on the record of threatened Ramsar Sites (Montreux Record) in 1993 owing to changes in the water levels and increased nutrient-enrichment from activities in the catchment outside the Ramsar Site.

Dr. Nezami has been highly instrumental in the creation of a number of protected areas, education and public awareness-raising initiatives (including, particularly, the creation of the first Wetland Education Centre in Iran), the establishment of a National History Museum, directing a management plan, successfully opposing developments threatening the wetland and military use of wetland area, as well as fighting illegal fishing and smuggling. In doing so, Dr. Nezami has successfully brought in donor funds to support and increase local capacity for the delivery of the initiatives.

Dr. Nezami's achievements in safeguarding the Anzali wetland have been an exemplary success story of reversing the deterioration of wetlands and their services by improved management, increased public awareness and local communities involvement.


Ramsar Award / Category: Science

Prof. Shuming CAI, China

Prof. Shuming Cai, from the Chinese Academy of Science, is being recognized for his research studies on the Yangtze River, as well as for his in-depth research on the effects of the Three-Gorges dam project on the environment, and the assessment and mitigation of natural disasters (e.g. flood and water logging in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River).

When asked about the importance of the Yangtze River, Prof. Cai replies that "the [Yangtze] River is the most important water resource of China and its runoff accounts for 35% of the whole water amount in China". Since the 1960s, Prof. Cai has been mainly engaged on the study of limnology in the Yangtze River valley, wetlands ecology, use and conservation of natural resources and the overall development of regional agriculture. A respected figure and twice a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC), Prof. Cai has used his scientific achievements to reach practical results for wetland conservation, defending the idea that "wetlands are closely linked to human survival and development".

Prof. Cai also stresses the importance of wetlands for sustainable economic development and human well-being, especially in their function as the "kidneys of nature".

With more than 120 publications, Prof. Cai's work has provided a basis for the formulation of laws, regulations and management policies in China, as well as contributing to international projects with Japan, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.


Ramsar Award / Category: Education (shared)

Ms Reiko Nakamura, Japan

Ms Nakamura is being recognized for promoting wetland conservation and the Ramsar Convention in Asia for more than 15 years, through Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) activities, research and projects. An environmental journalist by trade, Ms Nakamura created the Ramsar Centre Japan (RCJ) in 1990, a membership-based NGO which has grown to cover 12 countries in Asia.

Ms Nakamura's efforts brought together institutions and countries at various stages of development, focussing always on participation of all stakeholders and on conservation for the benefit of local communities. She says that "the RCJ's main objectives are to raise awareness of the relationship between wetlands and people and to act as a catalyst and disseminator for wetland conservation". She has also been successful in raising funds to carry out long-term activities, such as the Asian Wetland Week, the Asian Wetland Initiative, and the Asian Wetland Symposium, popular projects which have played an important role in creating a bridge between Asian countries for the conservation of wetlands.

Speaking of the future, Ms Nakamura stresses that "promotion of the conservation of all wetlands, whether they are on the [Ramsar] List or not will be of paramount importance".

She says that one of the keys to her success has been "never giving up". Indeed, Ms Nakamura receives the Ramsar Award for her outstanding contribution to wetland conservation through long-term vision, foresight, intellectual leadership, tireless efforts and charismatic personality.

Ramsar Award / Category: Education (shared)

The Wetlands Centre, Australia

The Wetlands Centre is being recognized for its pioneer role in the use of CEPA activities to achieve restoration and management, first of the Hunter Estuary Wetlands, and then expanding its activities and forging links with other centres through Australia.

Volunteer work and partnerships are two tenets of the work of The Wetlands Centre, which is now an advisor to the Australian Government on wetlands and Ramsar matters. The Centre has grown from the management of one site to contributing to a national approach to wetland education. Chairman Christine Prietto says that one of the key factors of success has been that "providing a direct wetland experience is the most powerful tool for improving people's understanding of the values and functions of wetlands".

For the future, Ms Prietto considers that "a more strategic and integrated use of education and communication", and "to more clearly promote the role wetlands play in the story of water supply for both the environment and people" are priorities.

Building on the "great positive energy" brought on by the Ramsar Award, The Wetlands Centre will use the prize as a catalyst to increase awareness of Ramsar, at local, state and national level, as well as internationally. The Centre is committed to continuing its CEPA activities to achieve yet better understanding, and to gain a higher level of commitment to wetland conservation.


The Ramsar Jewel

A symbol of the Ramsar values

Gilbert Albert, creator of the Ramsar Jewel, is a world-famous jeweller who draws his inspiration from nature and its myriad materials and shapes. His visionary art combines precious gems, nuggets of precious metals and pearls with meteorites, shells, feathers…

Since 1962, he has won the Diamonds International Award ten times, and his exhibitions have attracted dozens of thousands of visitors to the most prestigious locations all over the world.

An inspired artist, Gilbert Albert is also generous and concerned with the welfare of his city of Geneva and its inhabitants, and of his environment at large. His passion for nature has led him to associate with the Ramsar Convention and to create the Ramsar Jewel, the design of which he has generously donated. Winners of the Ramsar Award 2005 will receive this jewel, a symbol of the values of the world's wetland and water resources, and be able to use it in helping promote the Convention more widely.

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