Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pacific encouraged to step up and be recognised - Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards

One of the founding fathers of the treaty, Dr Luc Hoffman, awarded.
Photo courtesy of IISD

7 July 2012, Bucharest, Romania - The 11th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands opened in Romania awarding five winners of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards.

Established in 1996, the awards recognize and honor the contributions of individuals, organizations and governments around the world in promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Presented at COP events since 1999, this year’s edition were given in three categories:  Education to the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Management to Ms. August Henriques and Science to Prof. Tatsuichi Tsujii.

The jury also conferred a Recognition of Achievement Award to Mr Thymio Papayannis for his inspired leadership in the field of wetland conservation, wise use and the cultural value of wetlands in Greece, the Mediterranean and globally.

As 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Convention, the Standing Committee decided to honour one of the founding fathers of the treaty, Dr Luc Hoffman, with a 40th Anniversary Honorary Ramsar Award.

“Congratulations to these award winners for their hard work to conserve global wetlands,” said Vainuupo Jungblut the Oceania Ramsar Officer at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“I think this is a really good opportunity and example to encourage the people of our region, those who have been working towards the wise use of our wetlands for many many years to step up and be recognised.  There is a lot of expertise in the Pacific at the local level, many people that have done a lot of work on wetlands conservation for the past 40 years.”

A call for nominations is made in anticipation of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention which is held every three years.  These nominations are then analysed by the Secretariat to submission to the Standing Committee Subgroup which also acts as the Jury to make the final decision.

"We encourage our Pacific people to nominate and be nominated for these awards when the call for nominations is made."

Each award winner receives a cash prize of USD 10,000 generously donated by the DANONE Group, as part of the DANONE/Evian Fund for Water in support of the Ramsar Convention.

The DANON/Evian Fund for Water is a partnership between the Ramsar Convention and the DANONE Group for the purpose of supporting the Convention in taking action for the wise use of water resources and for maintaining their quality.

The 11th Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is from 6 – 13 July, hosted by Romania for which six of the seven Pacific contracting parties to the convention are attending.  These are; Australia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Palau and Samoa.  Papua New Guinea, also a contracting party to the Convention is not attending this year.

Please read to find out more about the award winners.

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