As a part of the programme of the 71st UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Ecosystem Management – Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services, our diverse group from 21 countries (mainly from the tropics and subtropical areas) had the experience to visit an important place for tourists, scientists and environmentalists alike: “The Botanical Garden of TU Dresden”. With an extension of three hectares, the garden is home of around 10,000 species of native and exotic plants, that had been well preserved and managed by specialized gardeners, volunteers and dedicated scientists since 1822. Today the scientific head of the Botanical Garden is Dr. Barbara Ditsch, a woman with great knowledge and passion regarding plant conservation and management and to whom we are deeply grateful for sharing her knowledge and warm hospitality.
During this pleasant excursion, we could find a variety of native and endangered plants included in the red list of Saxony as Arnica montana; medicinal and toxic herbs as Colchium autumnale, tropical and subtropical aquatic, carnivorous or ornamental plants as Victoria cruziana, Nepenthes sp. and orchids respectively, as well as perennial plants and deciduous trees from Europe, temperate Asia, North America and the Mediterranean region. Also our excursion was warmed up with the visit into three wonderful and well managed greenhouses showing the tropical and subtropical regions, and even the humid weather of the Amazon or the warm and dry weather of Madagascar desert.
New concepts of conservation and plant management have been provided to our pool of knowledge, where we could learn that The Botanical Garden of TU Dresden is working with the aim to integrate several innovative proposals towards an important topic in this decade: “Ecosystem services”. In which it is relevant for the ex-situ plant conservation and for the local animal diversity (e.g. providing habitat for 120 bees that have been recorded here and in its surroundings), but also providing a harmonic space for tourism, education and research (estimated 100,000 guests/year), highlighting the multiple roles of botanical gardens within urban areas. This experience had contributed both in our cultural enrichment and also in our professional knowledge, in which the majority of us will be very glad to bring this innovative and multidisciplinary idea of conservation for our countries.
by Vanessa Wätzold Ospina (Colombia)
The end of the summer break marks also the beginning of a new CIPSEM course year and we are happy to welcome the participants of the 71st UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Ecosystem Management. We are looking forward to spend the next weeks with our guests from Ethiopia, Nepal, Bolivia, Rwanda, Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Guatemala, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Ghana, China, Peru, Madagascar, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Bhutan, and Colombia.
“How a role play by the International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA) helped coping with convention negotiations”
by Mr. Mamadou Welle – Senegal
Alumnus of the 39th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management
From 29 May 2017 to 2 June 2017 I had the opportunity to participate to the 53rd standing committee of the Ramsar Convention in Gland, Switzerland. More than 100 delegates hailing from 50 countries, representatives of Ramsar’s six International Organization Partners (IOPs) and several independent observers attended this event. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971.
The work was organized around regional meetings, subgroup meetings and plenary sessions. A series of documents, compiled by the Secretary General of the Convention, served as the basis for exchanges between the delegations of the contacting parties, observers and representatives of the IOPs. Issues relating to the structuring of the convention, management procedures, action plans and strategies for sustainable management of wetlands were discussed in depth. Regional meetings gathered every morning delegates of each region of the world. This helped them harmonize their positions and discuss relevant issues specific to their region. Draft resolutions were proposed, discussed, validated or rejected during plenary. The principle of consensus has been the rule for making decisions.
As it was the first time I attended such international meeting, the acuity of the issues, the diversity of participants and their commitments in defending their views could have been daunting. Luckily it was manageable for me to deal with all raised points and to be a fair but determined negotiator on behave of my home country, and other West African countries, which are represented by Senegal in the Ramsar committee. Actually I did not have to start from scratch! I felt rather at ease because I could fall back to the tips that I had received during the role play about international convention negotiations in the International Academy for nature Conservation (INA) on Vilm Island during the 39th International Postgradudate Course on Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging Countries during my time at CIPSEM!
The 13th conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) will be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates from 21 to 29 October 2018. Let’s make an appointment there!
The journey began on Sunday morning to the Isle of Vilm, a very beautiful nature paradise at the Baltic Sea coast. The story goes back to some 6,000 years ago from the waves of the rising sea Litorina which created an island from Moraines that glaciers had left during the years of ice age some 12,000 years ago.
During the brief introduction given at the same night we arrived, it was clear that the academy for nature conservation working at the isle gives its all to protecting the natural biodiversity in and around the area. The biodiversity rich nature reserve in the island has about 300 species of flora accompanied by a rich variety of fauna ranging from birds, bats and insects with a pair of white tailed eagle nest on this very island.
At 9 am the following morning the lecture began with staff members of the Academy by picking out the most pressing issues in conservation and biodiversity. We started with biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES), and brief insights to the convention on biodiversity (CBD) by Horst Korn and Kathrin Bockmühl. This part of the CBD gave us how things really go at the convention and the challenges we face when it comes to the real deal of keeping nations interested in a common goal.
On Tuesday evening, we took a walk through the places of the island and learn/witness the beautiful forest first hand, dominated by aged beech trees of approximately 250-300 years. The spectacular view at the rugged land towards the sea gives a sensational feeling to the soul and it says a lot about the endless beauty of nature. On the way back we had the chance to see the photos of trees with their spectacular structures taken at this very island being kept in a gallery for quite some time (15 years).
After spending almost 3 full days at the world class guest houses and conference rooms accompanied by staff members of the academy and CIPSEM secretariat; a journey awaited for us on Thursday to depart froT the isle to Jasmund national park located at the South East Rügen biosphere reserve. On our way inside we also visited the Konigsstuhl national park center which is found at the center of national park Jasmund on the island Rügen opened in 2004. It provides information about the national park by also making visitors’ experiences easier and fun. With its 2,000 sq.m exhibition on the theme ‘journey back in time’ took as back to the past of the ice ages. Without the need of tour guide it was amazing how information is passed through the headphones provided at the entrance. The last visit for the day was at the ‘Naturerbezentrum Prora’. On the way through we saw the ‘eagle nest’ viewing tower that enables to see the island and marine sceneries.
Authors: Gerald Lifa and Hilina Yohannes