The 10th Seminar of Ramsar Site Managers was held from 7 to 9 November 2018, at the Metz Congress Centre (Moselle), near the Ramsar Sites of the “Etangs de la petite Woëvre” and the “Etang du Lindre, forêt du Romersberg et zones voisines”.
It was organized by the Lorraine Regional Nature Park and the Ramsar France Association under the theme of “Ecotourism and culture in Ramsar Sites” as part of the Interreg “Itinérance aquatique” programme. This seminar brought together nearly 150 participants during the three days.
The first day provided an opportunity for elected officials and representatives of the various bodies (city, region, state) to recall the importance of preserving and enhancing wetlands, particularly in their role in the fight against climate change. Dominique Gros, Mayor of Metz; Jérôme Bignon, Senator of the Somme and President of the Ramsar France Association; Christian Guirlinger, President of the Lorraine Regional Nature Park and President of the Environment Commission of the Grand Est Region; and Didier Martin, Prefect of Moselle, all expressed this need and the importance of meeting in order to exchange information on this theme.
In the afternoon, there was an opportunity for participants to learn more about the Ramsar Sites in Lorraine, the Greater Region, i.e. the Great East Region, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany: the Petite Woëvre ponds (Lorraine Regional Nature Park), the pond of “Lindre forêt du Romersberg et zones voisines” (Moselle Department), the Rhin Supérieur – Oberrhein (Great East Region), the eight Ramsar Sites in Belgium (Haute-Sûre forêt d’Anlier Natural Park), and the two Ramsar Sites in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Haute-Sûre Natural Park).
A third session presented the various regional and European tools and public policies for river basins in favour of wetlands, and focused on the Interreg cooperation project “Itinérance aquatique”.
The day ended with the General Assembly of the Ramsar France Association, with the validation of the Executive Report, the activity report, and the financial report. There followed the election to replace the outgoing third of its directors and a discussion of the future actions of the association.
The second day began with field visits to the Ramsar Sites of the Lindre pond and the Petite Woëvre ponds. At the first site, participants were able to visit the extensive pond fish farming and the aquaculture experiment, the trails to discover the site, and the ornithological observatories, as well as the exhibition pavilion to raise public awareness of the importance of the environment.
At the second site, participants discovered the history of the pond of Lachaussée, from a fish reserve in the Middle Ages to a 360-hectare farm owned by the Association des Paralysés de France. The trip finished with a visit to the regional nature reserve and to an ornithological observatory. The most courageous were even able to participate in the net draw, which takes place several times a year.
The afternoon was dedicated to two workshops, conducted in plenary. The participants were therefore able to discuss these two topics:
- Ramsar Sites and cultural and heritage development. The presentations encouraged exchanges on the notion of heritage (natural, cultural, intangible), the place of humans in natural environments, and the focus on traditional know-how in these territories.
- Ramsar Sites and nature tourism. The presentations, particularly by foreign speakers (Hungary, Belgium, or for an Anglo-Saxon audience) but also by a qualification process for nature guides, made it possible to open up the spectrum of possibilities for enhancing the value of wetlands and enabled fruitful exchanges with the room.
The second day was finished by the screening of the film “Lachaussée, renaissance d’un étang” in the early evening.
The third day began with the presentation of the parliamentary mission for the preservation of wetlands, with the collection of opinions and comments from a public that is daily concerned by these environments.
This morning session also provided an opportunity to reward the four French cities of Amiens, Courteranges, Pont-Audemer, and Saint-Omer which received the Wetland City Accreditation Award during the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13, Dubai, UAE, 19-29 October 2018) for their commitment to wetland conservation.
Paul Delduc, Director General of Planning, Housing and Nature at the French Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, presented the award to the winning municipalities, who were able to describe their actions in favour of these wetlands.
Download all the presentations during the Seminar here.
Ramsar France Association