During the 52nd meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Acting Secretary General Ms Ania Grobicki announced, to general acclamation, that the number of Sites on the Montreux Record had just been reduced to 46 with the submission of a report by the Ramsar Administrative Authority for Tunisia outlining the actions completed to enable the removal of Ramsar Site no. 213, Ichkeul, from the Record.
About the Montreux Record
The Montreux Record is the principal tool of the Convention for calling the attention on those Ramsar Sites where an adverse change in ecological character has occurred, is occurring, or is likely to occur in the ecological character of a “Wetland of International Importance”, and which are therefore in need of priority conservation attention. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar Database and is subject to continuous review.
A site can only be included in the Record with the approval of the Government concerned and to remove it from the Record the same government has to follow the procedures established by the Convention. The Register is not a “black list” but a way to recognize the existence of a serious problem and the government’s determination to deal with it. The inclusion of a site in the Montreux Record also facilitates obtaining assistance from the Convention and/or other member countries to help solve these problems.
Read more HERE about the procedure that should be observed when considering to include or remove a listed site in the Montreux Record.
The National Park of Ichkeul: a World Heritage Site
Besides being part of the Ramsar List as a Wetland of International Importance, the National Park of Ichkeul is also a site inscribed on the World Heritage List maintained by UNESCO in the framework of the World Heritage Convention.
The Ramsar decision to remove the site from its Montreux Record should follow the decisions adopted at the 30th Session of the World Heritage Committee in 2006 (WHC- 06/30.COM/19) where it was decided «to remove Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia) from the List of World Heritage in Danger» (see page 26 of the report).
Concerning Ichkeul (included in the Ramsar Montreux Record since 1995), according to the Directorate General of Forests in Tunisia, a special attention is granted to this site at national level: facilities, management and monitoring. These actions were reflected by a remarkable improvement of the ecological status of the site.
Read more about the withdrawal request made by the DGF Tunisia here.
To learn more about the state of the National Park of Ichkeul and the actions undertaken by Tunisia, a Withdrawal Questionnaire of this Ramsar Site from the Montreux Record was sent to the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fishing, represented by the Directorate General of Forests.
For more details, to read about the withdrawal questionnaire for Ichkeul click here.
Following these steps Acting Secretary General Ms Ania Grobicki made a request to the STRP to accept the removal of the Ichkeul lake from the Montreux Record. Until now the process is ongoing, and the STRP will provide its advises and feedback soon.
To read the letter from the Acting Secretary General Ms Ania Grobicki, click here.
Finally, the removal of a Ramsar Site from the Montreux Record does not imply the total absence of problems or dangers that may threaten the site in the future but it shows that the key problems that led to its inclusion in the Montreux Record have been solved.
Paul Ouedraogo, Senior Regional Advisor for Africa, Ramsar Secretariat
Habib Abid, Ramsar focal point, DGF Tunisia