List of nature and culture events at the IUCN World Heritage Conservation Congress, September 2016
Contributions of Ramsar’s culture-related activities to Strategic Plan goals and targets
Guidance: Rapid Cultural Inventories for Wetlands


The  Ramsar Culture Network's webpages and the RCN Update provide a platform for information and exchange among the Network's members and all others with an interest in the subject. We look forward to receiving your comments and article suggestions at !

© Header image courtesy of the Livelihoods Fund

Women in flood-recession agriculture in the valley of the Senegal River


The middle valley of the Senegal River is a vast flood plain fed by the annual flood of the River. Numerous depressions form a vast seasonal wetland where some 100,000 hectares are flooded each year. Located in the heart of the Sahel, this alluvial valley is a water-rich area where societies have adapted to the rhythm of the flood. The Halpulaar people have always fished, bred livestock Read more


Women collecting water from a wetland in northern Burkina Faso.

Gender-specific roles and water collection in the wetlands of Burkina Faso


The Burkina Faso National Policy for Wetlands identifies 1,794 natural and artificial wetlands within the country, including 18 Ramsar Sites. These wetlands receive water, store it, purify it, transport and distribute it from upstream to downstream in catchment basins.

A basis for the earliest civilisations, water is an important resource for the survival of all forms of life. In Burkina Faso, the use of water varies depending on the gender Read more

Traditional Irrigation Landscapes in Sri Lanka


Although there are no natural lakes in Sri Lanka, an array of ancient irrigation tanks (> 10,000) have been constructed to facilitate rice cultivation in the island over the past 2,500 years. The traditional irrigation tank-paddy field integrated wetlands have played a significant role in the cultural and socio-economic aspects of Sri Lanka, since rice has been the staple diet of its communities since historical times. The irrigation tank, paddy fields and the Buddhist temple Read more

Wetland Landscapes in English Art


There is a widespread assumption that landscape preferences are unchanging so we preserve the landscapes that we love for our grandchildren. Of course, it is not true. The attraction of mountains was not widely felt prior to the eighteenth century, at least not to British travellers. What about wetlands? Having lived in the Somerset Levels in the 1960s Read more 

The Sounds of Water


With the 2015 drought in California, the Turtle Bay Arboretum in Redding CA has shut down many of the art pieces that incorporate water.  Despite the lack of rain and the lowering water table, one piece uses water with minimal impact and hence continues to burble; this is The Sounds of Water. I made the The Sounds of Water in 2004. It uses water to model human and natural systems. Read more

Memories of the Maliq Wetlands


Following WWII, most wetlands in central, eastern, and southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union were drained. Albanian wetlands were especially susceptible to drainage, due to efforts to provide arable land within the small, tightly controlled territory during the period of dictatorship under Enver Hoxha. The Maliq lake (Liqeni Maliqit) and its wetland (Këneta e Maliqit), which dominated the landscape of the Korça basin in southern Albania from the time of its formation nearly 10,000 years ago Read more

Bringing Prespa's Traditional Watermill Back to Life 


September saw the inauguration of the renovated traditional watermill at Agios Germanos in the Prespa National Park, Greece, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and part of the Transboundary Prespa Park, founded in 2000. The renovation brought this exceptional piece of local pre-industrial cultural heritage back to life.  Read more

New RCN Art Thematic Group! 


We are pleased to announce the formation of a further Thematic Group to help in taking forward an area of work within the RCN; this time on the relationship between wetlands and the arts.  This follows the previously-reported establishment of Groups on bio-cultural diversity and on agriculture & food heritage.  Other possible groups are under consideration. The Arts Thematic Group will be led by Chris Fremantle, who is a highly respected and experienced producer, researcher Read more

Communities and Coastal Change, Sutton Saltmarsh Management Scheme


More than 15 years ago I decided that I should commit wholeheartedly to how, as a visual artist, I might effectively contribute to a broader understanding of the challenge of environmental change. Living on the UK’s dynamic East Anglia Coast, I started a series of projects with my immediate community to become more tangibly linked with coastal and estuarine change. Additionally, Read more

Thematic Groups for RCN Activities


The Ramsar culture coordination team is currently defining the scope and terms of reference for RCN “Thematic Groups” to take forward activities in five thematic areas: Bio-Cultural Diversity, Agriculture & Food, Art & Architecture, Youth Engagement, and Tourism & Recreation. RCN members interested in joining any of these Thematic Groups should contact us at ! Read more

Plans,Targets and Indicators for Culture


Measuring the status of wetlands can involve cultural factors as much as ecological or hydrological ones.  Ramsar’s definition of “wetland ecological character” includes the cultural dimension, and adopted guidance expands on the types of values involved. Read more


Recent meetings broaden cooperation on wetland values


The Ramsar Culture Network has been helping to strengthen cooperation between the Convention and UNESCO, involving not only the latter’s World Heritage Centre, but also the Man & Biosphere Programme, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Section and (in this International Year of Water Cooperation) the International Hydrological Programme (IHP). Read more.

Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yunnan (China) inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List


China’s 45th site in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the cultural landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, was inscribed this week. For the past 1300 years, the Hani people, an ethnic group and one of the 56 nationalities officially recognised by the People’s Republic of China, have transformed the slopes of the Ailao Mountains by building terraces that cascade down to the banks of the Hong River. Read more. 

Launch of the Ramsar Culture Network


For the past few years, incorporation of culture in the activities of the Ramsar Convention has been promoted by the Convention’s Culture Working Group (CWG). In the framework of Resolutions VIII.19 and IX.21, and with funding support from the MAVA Foundation for Nature, the CWG has been coordinated by Thymio Papayannis and Dave Pritchard and guided by Ramsar's Secretary General, Anada Tiéga. Read more

Wetlands and Culture: a call for participation in the new Ramsar Culture Network


With the endorsement of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Wetlands, the Ramsar Culture Working Group is being broadened to include a greater number of active partners concerned about the integrated management of the natural and cultural values of wetlands. Read more

Coordinators of the Ramsar Culture Network (RCN) convened to discuss RCN and UNESCO cooperation


On Monday 13 May 2013, Thymio Papayannis and David Pritchard, the coordinators of the Ramsar Culture Network (RCN) had a meeting at the UNESCO offices in Paris to discuss several aspects of their cooperation. Tobias Salathé, Senior Regional Advisor for Europe was representing the Ramsar Secretariat during this meeting,. Read more

New Book: Culture and wetlands in the Mediterranean: an evolving story

This book is the result of a four-year research project (2007-2011) about the implementation in the Mediterranean Region of the Ramsar Guidance on Culture and Wetlands. It was carried out by Med-INA, the Mediterranean Institute on Nature and Anthropos, with the financial support of the MAVA Foundation. 

This multi-author book follows a structure that echoes the Ramsar Guidance and investigates the benefits that can result from following its objectives, analysing various sectors of human activities and more than 20 wetland sites. In addition, it identifies areas in which the guidance provided needs to be strengthened or others that are not yet covered. Most of the 32 authors are wetland experts from many disciplines who have been sensitised to the integrated approach to heritage, both natural and cultural, and have been willing to introduce this new concept of culture in their wetland work. Each chapter and section of the book is introduced by the two editors, Thymio Papayannis, director of Med-INA and coordinator of the Ramsar Culture Working Group and Dave Pritchard, recipient of the Ramsar Award in 2008. Read more