The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is delighted to announce the winners of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards 2018 as follows
The winners were selected by members of the 54th Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention who met in Gland from 23-27th April 2018. Each winner will receive a custom award and the Evian Special Prize of 10,000 USD granted by the Danone Group, to be presented in Dubai during the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands taking place 21-29 October 2018.
The Standing Committee also conferred a Merit Award to Mr. Ma Guangren from China to recognize his outstanding lifetime achievement for wetlands in China and Asia.
The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards were established in 1996 in order to recognize and honor the contributions of individuals, organizations, and governments around the world promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
The restoration and conservation of wetlands has from the outset been the main action for the Fundación Global Nature. In its early days it took steps to restore the La Nava Lagoon, a 2,200 hectare steppe lagoon that was drained in 1968. The recovery of the La Nava Lagoon is one of the most important milestones in the history of Spanish conservation work. The Fundación has worked on over 100 Spanish wetlands, 8 of which are of international importance and designated as Ramsar Sites. It has further cooperated on international projects for restoration of wetlands in Columbia, Guatemala, the Philippines, Mozambique, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Senegal and Sri Lanka. Furthermore through its international networks devoted to the conservation of lakes it has carried out projects in 15 countries. A total of 14,000 hectares have benefited from its work with an investment of EUR 18 million, which has also contributed to creating jobs in rural areas and shown that the wise use of wetlands is possible
Based on scientific diagnosis and local knowledge, Pronatura Mexico reintroduced the ancestral Mesoamerican agricultural technique known as “chinampas” and applied it to the restoration of mangroves in the Alvarado Lagoon System. This technique optimises the construction of small islands that combine layers of mud, organic matter, grass and pieces of wood in order to retain the organic material in the wetland. Raising the height of the soil makes it easier for propagules and plants to grow. The technique allows habitat to be recovered rapidly and creates economic opportunities in communities, such as the legal use of mangrove wood. Since 2008 a total of 557 ha have been restored with over 108,000 plants and 19,558ha of wetlands have been set aside for conservation purposes.
Youth Climate Action Network for Samoa (YCAN)
YCAN has made significant contributions for wetlands, especially in local communities and for young people in Samoa. Their achievements include; Mangrove rehabilitation and restoration through planting of mangroves as well as the removal of waste. They installed rubbish stands in villages to prevent people from dumping waste in the wetland. Coral reef rehabilitation. YCAN undertook crown of thorns starfish control operations to relieve pressure on corals, they furthermore undertook awareness raising on mangroves and coral reefs highlighting the roles of these wetlands for climate change adaptation and mitigation in communities. In addition, they carried out river tree planting to help rehabilitate one of the biggest rivers in Samoa and combat erosion. They have also undertaken tree planting as well as tagging and releasing turtles—an iconic and endangered coral reef species-- back into the wild from captivity.
Mr. Ma has made significant contributions to wetland conservation and wise use in China by contributing to the establishment of wetland conservation regulations, investigation and monitoring, project planning, publicity and education, and an international cooperation system. He promoted a series of wetland conservation regulations by the State Council of China, organized the 2nd National Inventory of Wetland Resources of China and identified the basic status of all wetlands larger than eight hectares in China. Based on the results of this inventory he made long term wetland conservation project implementation plans and mid-long term plans. He has persuaded the Central Government of China to invest $1.3 billion to implement nation-wide wetland conservation and restoration projects. Specifically he implemented the concept of effective conservation and wise use of the Ramsar Convention, developing with Chinese characteristics nature reserves and wetland parks as the main concept of the wetland conservation management and wise use system. He set up the National Ramsar Implementation Committee, the China Wetland Conservation Association and has developed networks for the Conservation of the Yangtze River, Yellow River and coastal wetlands, as well as various forms of environmental and public awareness education activities.