Ms Giselle Hazzan, Manager, Ein Afek Nature Reserve (EANR), Israel
Giselle Hazzan is being recognised by the Convention on Wetlands for her significant contribution and bold approach to restoration, conservation and management of a key wetland area in an otherwise dry country.
Ms Hazzan has demonstrated the importance of wetlands to both local communities and at a national and international level. Using the Convention's principles, she has proved that it is possible to reverse the damage done to a wetland when it has not been managed effectively.
The Ein Afek Nature Reserve (EANR) is the last remnant of the Acre Valley wetlands, which were drained in the 1920s. Pumping from the aquifer began in 1960 for drinking water and agriculture, resulting in severe dehydration of EANR. In 2002, Giselle Hazzan became the new Manager of EANR, the first Arab woman to be manager of a nature reserve in Israel. She has changed the EANR’s entire water management by initiating actions at different levels, with full participation of local stakeholders, from weir operation to promoting new legislation. By changing the management of EANR from stop-gap temporary measures to carefully planned long-term projects, Ms Hazzan has saved the EANR ecosystem and made the wetland a vital resource once again. The Ein Afek Nature Reserve is now important for not only nature conservation but also eco-tourism, wetland education and ecological research.
We are delighted to award to Ms Hazzan the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award for her continuing work to bring to life the principles of ‘Wise Use’.