Ramsar Wetland Sites – complete detail. What is Ramsar Wetland Sites. Designating and managing Ramsar Wetland Sites. There are over 2,000 Ramsar Sites on the territories of over 160 Ramsar Contracting Parties across the world. Ramsar is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements.
The treaty was negotiated through the 1960s by countries and non – governmental organizations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory water birds. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975………………
A key commitment of Ramsar Contracting Parties is to identify and place suitable wetlands onto the List of Wetlands of International Importance. The Ramsar Convention and its Mission. Ramsar is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements.
Ramsar Wetland Sites
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. There are over 2,000 Ramsar Sites on the territories of over 160 Ramsar Contracting Parties across the world.
A key commitment of Ramsar Contracting Parties is to identify and place suitable wetlands onto the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The Contracting Parties confirmed in 2005 that their vision for the Ramsar List is “to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits/services”. This vision reflects the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which describes ecosystems as the complex of living communities (including human communities) and non-living environment (ecosystem components) interacting (through ecological processes) as a functional unit which provides, among other things, a variety of benefits to people (ecosystem services).
Designating and managing Ramsar Sites
The Convention has several mechanisms to help Contracting Parties designate their most significant wetlands as Ramsar Sites, and to take the steps necessary to maintain their ecosystem components, processes and benefits.
Ramsar Sites are designated according to nine criteria – eight of these are biodiversity criteria, emphasizing the importance the Convention places on sustaining this diversity by designating and restoring wetlands. The Convention also provides the tools making the link between wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services such as fish, fruits, wood, medicines, etc., upon which people depend.
Protected areas in India (Click for the details)
Ramsar is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements. The treaty was negotiated through the 1960s by countries and non – governmental organizations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory water birds. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
The Ramsar Convention and its Mission
The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide essential services and supply all our fresh water. However they continue to be degraded and converted to other uses.
The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:
- Work towards the wise use of all their wetlands;
- Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;
- Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.
The Bodies of the Convention
The Contracting Parties implement the Ramsar Convention in their territories and collaborate on shared projects. The government agency responsible for its national application is known as the country’s Administrative Authority. This agency appoints a National Focal Point to coordinate national implementation and act as the daily contact point.
Every three years the Parties meet at the Conference of the Contracting Parties (the COP), where they adopt decisions to administer the Convention and guide its implementation.
Between the COPs, the Parties are represented by the Standing Committee, which meets yearly. The Standing Committee is guided by the framework of the decisions made by the COP.
Two advisory bodies develop technical guidance to help the Standing Committee and the COP formulate policies: the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) and the Communication, Education, Participation, and Awareness (CEPA) Oversight Panel.
They are all supported by the Convention’s Secretariat and the International Organization Partners (IOPs) which the Parties have formally recognized as official partners of the Convention.
The scope and focus of the Convention’s work is coordinated by means of a Strategic Plan and associated work plans which set out priority objectives and the actions expected or requested of the various bodies of the Convention.
Strengthening economic knowledge and understanding – The TEEB Study on Water and Wetlands, supported by the Ramsar Convention, is an important contribution to better understanding of the economic value and importance of all types of wetlands. Academics and policy-makers are finding and publishing more and more evidence of the economic benefits of both natural and artificial wetlands.
Advising investors and private companies – The Ramsar Convention Secretariat seeks to share knowledge and make recommendations via platforms like the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, as well as work with individual companies on their water and wetland policies, such as the Danone Group’s water policy.
Advising governments – The Ramsar Secretariat provides tailored advice to governments and offers broad support to inter-governmental meetings, to explain the value and importance of wetlands in the context of economic planning and development and to identify opportunities for win-win partnerships.
Stimulating and supporting public-private partnerships – In France, for example, the water catchment area in the Alps above the city of Evian has been designated as a Ramsar Site. A deep collaboration between the Evian division of Danone Group Plc, the City of Evian and surrounding communities has helped ensure purity of the bottled water product, and contributed to the economic vibrancy of the region.
Improving regional cooperation – Ramsar Regional Initiatives seek to improve regional cooperation between a wide range of stakeholders. Their activities and projects are geared towards the goals of the Ramsar Convention, and they are accountable to the Contracting Parties.
The Secretariat maintains a diverse global network of partners, ranging from formal collaborators on Convention implementation and organizations engaged in sustainable development and biodiversity to prominent private companies.