Namibia completes Ramsar project on wetland inventory

Namibia completes Ramsar project on wetland inventory

19 December 2002

Namibia completes SGF 1997 project on wetland inventory and management planning for Ramsar sites

In the 1997 Small Grants Fund cycle, an allocation of SFR 40,000 was authorised for an inventory, classification and management plans for Namibia's wetlands. None of the four Ramsar sites then had a management plan, and actions were only taken when and where they were perceived necessary. There was, therefore, an urgent need to draft plans in order to ensure coherent and objective directed management of the wetlands. Management plan outlines were developed in consultation with all interested and affected parties and were discussed at meetings with the site managers. At the same time, field trips were undertaken to the sites to get first hand experience and to update maps. It was proposed that the project's final products should consist of management plans, each one containing a "field guide" and a reference guide with detailed information on all aspects of the site, such as species lists, site history, etc., as well as maps and public information materials which would reviewed and updated every three years.

Now the Directorate Scientific Services, Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Windhoek, has submitted its final report on the completion of the project, along with a number of useful products, as promised.

A CD-ROM includes an extensive wetland inventory database for the whole country as well as GIS data and updated Ramsar Information Sheets for all four of Namibia's Wetlands of International Importance - Etosha Pan, Orange River Mouth, Sandwich Harbour, and Walvis Bay - with draft management plans for the first three of those. It also includes PDF versions of a number of hardcopy public information materials that were also submitted with the final report.

Principal among these is the 24-page brochure "Preliminary Inventory of Namibia's Wetlands", by Holger Kolberg of the Directorate Scientific Services and Ramsar's principal contact in Namibia. This colorful pamphlet surveys the country's four present Ramsar sites and then identifies eight more that qualify for Ramsar status - it also contains a brief overview of Namibia's other perennial and ephemeral rivers and wetlands, and includes an extensive bibliography. The brochure neatly captures the results of the inventory database included on the CD-ROM.

There are also brief leaflets on each of Namibia's Ramsar sites and their significance under the terms of the Convention - written by Claire and Holger Kolberg, A. Abrahams and M. D. Anderson, these succinct texts serve not only to introduce the sites themselves to the public in a colorful and engaging manner, they also introduce the Convention as well and some of its mechanisms such as the Montreux Record.