The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award winners for 2002


General and press announcement

Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards and Evian Special Prize for 2002

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was established in 1996 by the Convention on Wetlands to recognize and honor, every three years, individuals, organizations, and government agencies that have made a significant contribution to wetland conservation and sustainable use in any part of the world.

evian2.jpg (2371 bytes)This year the Awards are recognizing a private company in Australia, a government agency in India, and a consortium of NGOs in Central Europe. The Ramsar Award is complemented by the Evian Special Prize, consisting of US$10,000 generously donated by the Danone Group (France), owner of Evian Mineral Waters, as part of a programme of support to the Ramsar Convention.

Banrock Station Wines (Australia) has been chosen for its innovative approach to supporting the sustainable use of wetland resources. Banrock management have undertaken ten years of imaginative rehabilitation and management practices at their own complex of wetlands in the floodplain of the River Murray, in cooperation with Wetland Care Australia. They have also developed a promising marketing approach in, so far, eight other countries in which its wines are offered for retail sale, whereby a percentage of the revenue generated by sales is allocated to wetland conservation projects and activities in those countries. The Initiative also provides an exemplary case of the application of wise use principles and practices in viticulture, including education and public awareness activities through its on-site Wine and Wetland Centre. Banrock Station Wines has already announced that the cash award will be devoted to wetland projects in developing countries, in consultation with the Ramsar Bureau. [Citation details.] [Interview with Tony Sharley, manager.]

The Chilika Development Authority (India) has been chosen for its outstanding achievement in restoring the Chilika Lake, designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, in accordance with the principles of wise use and integrated management, and with a strong emphasis upon the participation of the local population and shared decision-making. After the site, the largest lagoon on the east coast of India, had been listed on the record of threatened Ramsar sites, the Authority, under the guidance of its Chief Executive Officer, Ajit Pattnaik, undertook a wide range of actions to remedy the situation, including physical works to restore natural flows of water and salinity levels, economic incentives to discourage poaching, training programmes in ecotourism, improvement of socio-economic infrastructure in local villages, and education and environmental awareness initiatives. The case provides an excellent example of how carefully planned restoration work carried out with the active involvement of all stakeholders can rehabilitate the ecology of a wetland and at the same time improve the socio-economic conditions of the local population. [Citation details.] [Interview by WWF-India with Ajit Pattnaik.]

The NGO Trinational Initiative for the Morava-Dyje Floodplainhas been selected for the Ramsar Award for 2002 in recognition of the work carried out for many years in three countries -- Austria, the Czech Republic, and the Slovak Republic -- to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the floodplains of the Morava (March) and Dyje (Thaya) rivers. The Morava-Dyje riverine landscape is one of the last regions in Europe where traditional land use has secured a rich biodiversity, and it serves today as a model area for the reconciliation of nature and humankind. The NGOs involved are Daphne in the Slovak Republic, Distelverein in Austria, and Veronica in the Czech Republic, with the support of WWF International's Danube Carpathian Programme. Through their efforts, the Ministries for the Environment of the three countries have established a transboundary "Trilateral Ramsar Platform" for the area, whereby a body of 15 experts from the ministries, water management institutions, national Ramsar committees, and NGOs is meeting regularly to ensure collaborative management. [Citation details.] [Interview by Gerhard Sigmund with Miroslava Cierna of DAPHNE.]

Recognitions of Excellence

In addition to the three Ramsar Awards for 2002, a Recognition of Excellence has been conferred upon two individuals whose distinguished service has significantly furthered the cause of wetland conservation and wise use.

Dr Monique Coulet (France) is being recognized both for her scientific research and for her commitment to making practical use of the knowledge acquired in the field. She has worked particularly with the ecology of large rivers, notably the evolution of riparian wetlands and their response to various kinds of disturbances, and has contributed to the development of the concept of connectivity between ecosystems (for example, between wetlands and rivers and/or underground water). She has also worked tirelessly for the long-term conservation of particular wetland areas, especially the Loire river and the complex of the Doubs-Saône-Rhône rivers, most notably as co-founder of the influential Loire vivante and Saône-Doubs vivants campaigns which have helped shape government development policies in these regions. [Citation details.] [Entretien, original in français; Interview English translation.]

Dr Max Finlayson (Australia) is being recognized for his great contributions both to the progress of wetland science and to the work of the Ramsar Convention, particularly in providing leadership to the work of the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) in the ten years since its creation. In addition to his research both in Australia and abroad, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet) and has long worked closely with Wetlands International, serving on its Board of Directors and presently as its newly-elected President. [Citation details.] [Newspaper article.]

The Awards, together with the Evian Special Prize and the Recognitions of Excellence were presented to the winners during the opening ceremony of the 8th meeting of the Conference of the 132 Ramsar member countries on 18 November 2002, in Valencia, Spain. {Photos of the ceremony.}

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. As of July 2002, there are 132 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1178 wetland sites, totaling 102.1 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Photos of the 2002 ceremony

Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award winners for 1999

Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award selection criteria and guidelines

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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