The Secretariat is extremely pleased to announce that the Government of Niger has added five new Wetlands of International Importance to its previous total of seven, all effective as of 16 September 2005. La mare de Dan Doutchi (25,366 hectares, 14°15'N 004°37'E) and La mare de Tabalak (7,713 ha, 15°04'N 005°38'E) are both significant permanent ponds in the southwest-central department of Tahoua, and La mare de Lassouri (26,737 ha, 14°02'N 009°35'E) is a semi-permanent wetland in Zinder department in the south, part of the Lake Chad catchment. The Oasis du Kawar is a large (368,536 ha, 19°43'N 012°86'E) complex of oases that form a haven between the Erg du Ténére and Erg de Bilma deserts in the vast Agadez department in the north - the Gueltas et Oasis de l'Aïr is an enormous (2,413,237 ha, 18°18'N 009°30'E) complex of permanent and temporary streams, oases and marshes that lies in the center of Niger's portion of the Sahara, also in Agadez. All five sites perform extremely important roles in the lives and livelihoods of their local populations. Ramsar's Lucia Scodanibbio has prepared brief descriptions for the Annotated Ramsar List, and these can be seen here. [13/10/05]
WWF's Global Freshwater Programme provided very important assistance to the Government of Niger in the preparations for these designations, and at the 24th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Niger Basin Authority, meeting in Ouagadougou, 15-16 September, 2005, Niger State Minister Abou Labo, current chairman of the NBA, was presented with certificates for the new Ramsar sites by representatives of two of Ramsar's partner organizations, Denys Landenbergue, WWF International, and Issa Seydina Sylla, Wetlands International. Photos.