From 5 to 9 October 2015, the first national workshop was held in Mongolia for the managers of all the Ramsar Sites, Flyway Network Sites of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) and other important wetlands.
The workshop focused on understanding the existing and emerging threats to wetland ecosystems in Mongolia and identifying management opportunities to address these threats. Many wetlands in Mongolia, including Ramsar Sites, are under pressure from seasonal fire and droughts, the severity of which is exacerbated by climate change. Free range animal husbandry was frequently reported as a major source of water pollution and degradation of wetland ecosystems. The growing number of domestic tourists presents both opportunities and challenges and in the absence of good management practices, the negative effects of tourism may exceed the benefits it is generating.
The interactive sessions of the workshop enabled the managers to share experiences and best practices for effectively addressing the challenges they face. For example, the management authority of the Lake Uvs Ramsar Site has established a cross-sectorial fire prevention committee including community representatives. At the Lake Ganga Ramsar Site, the management authority fenced the major springs that feed the lake to keep livestock away. Some of the common concerns these wetland managers encountered call for a policy change to be implemented. For example, the Ramsar Sites that are not State Specially Protected Areas are underfunded and do not have a regulatory framework to effectively promote sustainable use of wetland resources.
The workshop was complemented by presentations and practice sessions facilitated by the EAAFP, Ramsar Secretariat, and World Wildlife Fund – Mongolia that aimed at equipping the participants with up-to-date information and tools available for conservation and wise of wetlands.
The training was funded and organized by the Ramsar Regional Center for East Asia, EAAFP, (both Ramsar Regional Initiatives), and the Mongolian Ornithological Society among others.
Author: Solongo Khurelbaatar, Assistant Advisor for Asia-Oceania Ramsar Secretariat