Sunday, September 23, 2007

Zambia, the Ramsar Convention and Bangweulu...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Manning []
Sent: 22 August 2007 13:48
To: Ramsar Mailbox
Subject: Bangweulu Zambia

Dear Dwight
Can you send me details of the National Wetland Steering Committee
Ian Manning

See my comments below....

Zambia: Bangweulu Ramsar Site
Ramsar Convention Secretariat blurb...
"The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Zambia on 28 December 1991. Zambia presently has 8 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 4,030,500 hectares.
Ramsar description as follows:
Bangweulu Swamps. 28/08/91; Northern Province; 1,100,000 ha; 11°25'S 029°59'E. Includes National Parks, Game Management Areas. In addition to providing a breeding ground for birds, fishes and wildlife ( e.g., the African elephant Loxodonta africaca, the buffalo Syncerus caffer, and Sitatunga Tragelaphus spekei), the site is known to support large numbers of the endemic, semi-aquatic Black Lechwe (vulnerable Kobus leche) and is home to the threatened Wattled crane (Grus carunculatus), as well as the only home in Zambia for the threatened Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex). The swamp is a natural flood controller and important for groundwater recharge and water quality control. The site contains the historical Nachikufu caves with bushman paintings, maintained by the National Heritage Conservation Commission. Threats to the wetland such as poaching will be addressed by the National Wetlands Steering Committee with a proposed general management plan that will steer development away from sensitive habitats. The Zambian Wildlife Authority in collaboration with WWF-Zambia office are collaborating on improving sustainable livelihoods and ecotourism possibilities. The site was extended from 250,000 to 1,100,000 ha on 2 February 2007. Ramsar site no. 531. Most recent RIS information: 2007.

For further information about the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, please contact the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail: ). Posted 25 January 2000, updated 2 May 2007, Dwight Peck."

Ian Manning comments:
In the original Ramsar core of this site i.e. the water meadows and plains associated with the Lukulu river of the S.E Bangweulu (not the river of the same name i.e. the Bemba Lukulu which debouches into the Chambeshi river), and once the site of the Black Lechwe Project on Chikuni Island, which I headed from 1973-1976, the uncontrolled impacts of fishermen has had a deleterious impact on the most important Black lechwe lekking grounds of the Bangweulu: four foot fishing weirs, permanent huts and villagers houses dot the high ground, altering flow patterns and changing the dynamics of the system. Added to this the embankment access which I originally constructed to allow tourists to reach Shoebill Island camp, now forms an almost solid wall, again impacting and altering flow patterns. In addition, inflated hunting offtake quotas set by the Zambia Wildlife Authority and poaching is from all reports having a negative impact on the biology of animals such as sitatunga, and on the quality of hunting trophies.

What the Ramsar Secretariat does not mention is that the Bangweulu core area of the five river estuaries (Munikashi, Luitikila, Lumbatwa, Lukulu and Lulimala) and deep swamp, provide a productive fishery for the people of the swamp islands; and that what it should have done since 1976 - as per the Black Lechwe Project, was to provide sustained yield offtakes of lechwe and some other species for people who had lived off them for centuries (and still do, but illegally) - particularly the aboriginal baTwa centred about Mboyalubambe. This is the reason why the Chikuni Special GMA was gazetted, and why a National Park was not created. People need to be part of wildlife conservation and development, particularly in S-E Bangweulu. Present work being carried out by the GEF/UNDP Protected Areas Re-Classification Project, should see that the Luitikila National Forest, the Isangano and Lavusi Manda National Parks, the five river estuaries, the Mwendachabe forest, and their associated floodplains, and the Kasanka National Park are knitted into a conservation mosaic covering the chiefdoms of Kopa, Chiundaponde, Chitambo etc, but under a series of interlocking smart partnership of the Landsafe Trust system, rather than just a few National Parks which exclude people, or which are unable to manage the conservation and management of the system as a whole, as is presently the case

Greetings, and many thanks for this. I've forwarded your comments to our Africa team, Mr Abou Bamba ( and his assistant Ms Evelyn Moloko (, and will ask them to inform you about the Committee.

Best regards, Dwight.

Dwight Peck
Communications Officer
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland,

Dear Mr. Nalumino and others,
Accept regards from the Ramsar Secretariat.

We recently received an email from Mr. Ian Manning, inquiring about the National Wetlands Steering Committee in Zambia. This information was provided in the updated Ramsar Information Sheet for Bangweulu Ramsar site. We however realized that we do not have any information documented on this at the Ramsar Secretariat. We would like to inquire whether this is similar to the ‘National Committee’ as encouraged by Recommendation 5.7 of the 5th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties Kushiro, Japan (which encouraged Contracting Parties to establish, or recognize the establishment of, national committees according to the needs of each Contracting Party, to provide a focus at national level for implementation of the Convention. This same recommendation requests that national committees send the Bureau summary information concerning their establishment, updated with reference to their work in subsequent national reports).

We would therefore appreciate you forwarding information on the National Wetlands Steering Committee in Zambia; when it was created, its members, how it operates and other necessary information about. This would help us stay up to date with the activities geared towards the implementation of the Ramsar Convention in Zambia and would serve as a good example to other Contracting parties. We would refer Mr. Ian Manning to you for further information on this issue and subsequent issues.

Furthermore, there was some information provided concerning threats to the Bangweulu Ramsar site and additional information which could be included in the Ramsar Information sheet for this site. You would find this information in his email which is below. The Ramsar Administrative Authority in Zambia, together with Mr. Ian Manning, can check out the possibility of incorporating this information in the RIS for this site or in what way this information could be used.

We are copying this email to Mr. Ian Manning as well.
We look forward to your reply and we hope to get some information on this National wetlands Committee.
Sincere regards,

Moloko Evelyn Parh 
Assistant Advisor, Africa
Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel.: + 41 22 999 01 72 Fax: + 41 22 999 01 69
Web site:

From: PECK Dwight 
Sent: mercredi 22 août 2007 14:17
To: Ian Manning
Cc: BAMBA Abou; MOLOKO, Evelyn
Subject: RE: Bangweulu Zambia
Dear Mr. Manning,

Your email of August 22nd was forwarded to the African team for follow up. Thank you for the information provided on the Bangweulu Swamps Ramsar site.

In response to your question concerning the National Wetlands Steering Committee in Zambia, we are sorry to inform you that we do not have any documented information on this committee at the level of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat. Since we are an inter-governmental organization, we work for the governments of the Contracting parties through officially appointed contact institutions in each contracting party. We have therefore forwarded your request to the Ramsar Administrative Authority in Zambia (the Zambia Wildlife Authority, ZAWA) for further information. We would forward any responses we get from them to you. Meanwhile, we would advice you to keep in touch with them and work hand in hand with them, towards the wise use and management of Zambian wetlands. The contacts information for our contact persons in ZAWA are below:

Mr Nalumino Nyambe
Project Leader
WWF Zambia Coordination Office
PO Box 50551, Ridgeway
Lusaka, ZAMBIA
Fax :+260 1 250 805
Tel: +260 1 255 598
Ms Francesca Chisangano
Senior Ecologist - Conventions and Agreements
Zambia Wildlife Authority
P/B 1, Chilanga
Lusaka, ZAMBIA
Fax: +260 1 278 299
Fax: +260 1 278 365
Tel: +260 1 278 365
Email: &
Mr Monty Hapenga Kabeta
Director General
Zambia Wildlife Authority
Private Bag 1, Kafue Road
Chilanga, Lusaka
Fax: +260 1 278 244
Tel: +260 1 278 524

We hope this information would be helpful to you and we would be grateful if you could tell us more about yourself for the record keeping.

Ian Manning replies:
Many thanks for all your very rapid responses, something very unusual
these days. You ask for some details of myself: I am the former
Warden/Senior Biologist of the Bangweulu Command in 1973, followed by
Director of the Black Lechwe Project until 1976, based in the S.E.
Bangweulu in the black lechwe range, with responsiblity for the
Bangweulu, the Kasanka, Isangano and Lavusi Manda National Parks and
all the attendant Game Management Areas. My work involved black lechwe
protection, research on black lechwe lekking behavour, shoebill stork
behaviour and ecology, and the ecology of the sitatunga. In addition I
translocated lechwe back to the Bwela flats of Chinsali district - an
area in which they once occurred. Since that time I assisted in the
negotiations with Government for a PPP on the Kasanka National Park,
was the scientific advisor to the Kasanka Trust in London, and gave
the use of Shoebill Island and Lake Waka Waka (which had been given to
me by the customary authority) to the Kasanka Trust of Zambia, the
present leaseholders of the Park. For some time I have been trying to
interest investors in taking on the Isangano and Lavusi Manda in a
partnership with Government and their local communities.

You should be aware of the Reclassification of Protected Areas Project
(UNDP/GEF) which seeks to do certain things in the newly constituted
Bangweulu Wetland (RAMSAR). Also, Hapenga Kabeta has since April last
year (2006) not been the DG of ZAWA. That post is now filled by Dr Lewis
Saiwana, someone who assisted greatly in the 80's and 90's with the
PPP in respect of Kasanka.

There would appear to be no national committee dealing with this or
any other wetland, a serious concern.

Look forward to hearing more
Ian Manning

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