Report and photos by Vai Junblut, Ramsar Officer for Oceania (ROO)
Vainuupo Jungblut, Ramsar Officer for Oceania (ROO), recently conducted an in-country assistance visit to the Republic of Nauru (29 April - 9 May) after a number of initial discussions on accession to the Ramsar Convention on Wetland with the Nauru Department of Commerce, Industry and Environment (DCIE) dating back to 2011. The Republic of Nauru is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific, with an area of 21km2 and population of some 9,300 people.
|Landlocked Brackish Ponds – Anabar/Ijuw districts|
The main activities of the in-country assistance visit included meeting with officials of the Department of Commerce, Industry & Environment (DCIE) and consulting with other relevant national stakeholders such as the Nauru Fisheries & Marine Resources Authority, Office of Parliamentary Counsel, the national Project Steering Committee, the national Treaties Working Group and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. A presentation on the Ramsar Convention, its obligations and the benefits of joining was conducted for the information of all stakeholders. Also during the visit, the DCIE were assisted to develop their work plan for accession to the Convention and daily contact(s) were identified within the DCIE who would have primary responsibility for progressing and finalizing arrangements for Nauru to become a Ramsar party. Relevant staff members of the DCIE also familiarized with the Ramsar information Sheet, the 9 criteria for listing Ramsar Sites and requirements for a suitable Ramsar Site map.
|Ridge to Reef Site – Anibare district|
In working with the DCIE to identify a suitable site for nomination as their first Ramsar site, a field visit was conducted to four wetland sites around the island that had potential to be listed as wetlands of international importance for Nauru.
|Moqua Cave/Subterranean freshwater lake – Yaren district|
During the visit it was evident that Nauru does have sites that meet one or more of the 9 Ramsar criteria. These include seabird nesting areas, subterranean freshwater lakes and caves, landlocked brackish ponds, enclosed brackish lagoons and inshore marine areas and reef systems.
|Buada Lagoon – Buada district|
The ROO will be working closely with the Nauruan authorities to follow up on their preparations for joining the Ramsar Convention and provide the necessary support and technical assistance needed. It is expected that Nauru will complete all formalities for joining Ramsar by December 2013.