SWS annual meeting, 2006, in Cairns, Australia

SWS annual meeting, 2006, in Cairns, Australia

4 September 2006

Ramsar and the "Catchments of Coasts" conference

The Catchments to Coasts conference was held in Cairns, Australia, from 10-14 July 2006, as a joint conference of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) and the Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA). This was the first of the annual SWS conferences to be held outside North America. As part of the conference, Ramsar's Administrative Authority, the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH), who were major sponsors of the conference, organized a symposium on "Implementation of the Ramsar Convention: strategic priorities and challenges for the 21st century", which was chaired at their invitation by the Convention's Deputy Secretary General, Nick Davidson. The symposium reviewed the overall global changes for wetland conservation and wise use and discussed a number of innovative approaches to different aspects of this underway in Australia. A report of the main conclusions of the symposium is being prepared and will be posted subsequently.

SWS is an observer organization to Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), and we took the opportunity during the conference to discuss ways of strengthening SWS members' collaboration with the Convention and STRP, so as to engage the wealth of wetland science expertise amongst the SWS's over 4,000-strong global membership. As part of this it is planned to hold a follow-up symposium on Ramsar and wetland issues at next year's SWS conference, which will be in Sacramento, California, in June 2007.

During the Catchments to Coasts Conference, current STRP member (and its former Chair) Max Finlayson was presented by SWS with its "International Fellow Award" in recognition of Max's extensive work on many aspects of wetlands, including with the STRP. The text of the presentation made in making the award just below.

SWS held a 'blind auction' during the conference, to which the Ramsar Secretariat was pleased to donate a number of wetland books. In all, the auction raised around US$ 4,500 which will be used to support student participation in the SWS 2007 conference.

-- Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General

Max Finlayson and SWS past-President Barbara Bedford, Cairns, 2006

SWS International Fellow Award Cairns, Australia 2006

Heroes play an important role in our lives and careers. They help us aspire and live up to the values they embrace in their careers and in their science. They are individuals we hope take us one step closer to fulfilling our potential.

The ancient Greeks said - "Tell me who you honor and I'll tell you who you are."

Dr. Max Finlayson has already received considerable recognition for his efforts to promote the wise management of wetlands, his extensive work on the inventory, assessment, and monitoring of wetlands, and building bridges between technical experts and local communities.

Max has been President of the Australian Limnological Society, a recipient of their medal, a long time member and recent Chair of the Ramsar Convention's Scientific Technical Review Panel, President of Wetland International's Board of Directors, author and co-author of over 200 technical publications and reports, and is currently with the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka.

Max is internationally recognized and respected for his tireless efforts to guide conservation efforts world-wide.

Max has combined considerable wit, wisdom, and charm - all attributes found in the daily stuff of life - to make outstanding contributions to wetland science, conservation, and management.

The Society of Wetland Scientists is honored to present the SWS International Fellow Award to Dr. Max Finlayson in recognition of these accomplishments.