Ramsar convention on wetlands [1971]

Ramsar convention on wetlands [1971]

Ramsar convention on wetlands

  • It is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • It is named after Iranian city “Ramsar” where it was adopted in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
  • Only a global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.
  • It is not affiliated with the UN system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
  • World wetlands day – 2 February.
Ramasar convention on wetlands


“The conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

pillars of ramsar convention

Transboundary Ramsar sites

  • Suppose there is a wetland on India and Pakistan’s boundary.
  • So, now the Ramsar site authorities on both or all sides of the border have formally agreed to collaborate in its management, and have notified the Secretariat of this intent.
  • This is a cooperative management arrangement and not a distinct legal status for the Ramsar sites involved.
Montreux record
  • Adopted by the conference of the Contracting Parties in Brisbane (1996).
  • It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
  • It is the principal tool of the Convention.

If a wetland of international importance is brought under the ‘Montreux Record’, what does it imply?
a) Changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur in the wetland as a result of human interference.
b) The country in which the wetland is located should enact a law to prohibit any human activity within five kilometers from the edge of the wetland.
c) The survival of the wetland depends on the cultural practices and traditions of certain communities living in its vicinity and therefore the cultural diversity therein should not be destroyed
d) It is given the status of ‘World Heritage Site’

Indian wetland and Montreaux Record

  • Inclusion – Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan (in 1990) and Loktak Lake, Manipur (in 1993).
  • Removed – Chilika Lake, Orissa (included in 1990 and removed in 2002 after
    rehabilitation efforts)
  • National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP) – This programme was launched in 1986 and has identified some 115 wetlands for urgent protection and conservation. If you recall it had been merged with another prog. (answer in Organization chapter)

International Organization Partners (IOPs)

5 global NGOs have been associated with the Ramsar treaty since its beginnings and were confirmed in the formal status of IOPs of the Convention.

  1. BirdLife International (formerly lCBP)
  2. IUCN – The International Union for the Conservation of Nature
  3. IWMI – The International Water Management Institute
  4. Wetlands International (formerly IWRB, the Asian Wetlands Bureau, and Wetlands for the Americas)
  5. WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) International
International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • It is an international organization (NGO) working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
  • It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying, and education.
  • The organization is best known for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.
  • Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.
BirdLife International
  • BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation Partnership.
  • Together they are 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide.
  • BirdLife International strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
  • BirdLife International is the official Red List authority for birds, for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • It identifies the sites known/referred to as ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’.

With reference to an organization known as ‘Birdlife International’ which of the following
statements is/are correct?
1) It is a Global Partnership of Conservation Organizations.
2) The concept of ‘biodiversity hotspots’ originated from this organization.
3) It identifies the sites known/referred to as ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
a) 1 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3

Wetlands International
  • Wetlands International is a global organization (NGO) that works to sustain and restore wetlands and their resources for people and biodiversity.
  • It is an independent, not-for-profit organization, supported by government and NGO membership from around the world.
  • Wetlands International’s work ranges from research, advocacy and engagement with governments, corporate and international policy fora and conventions.

With reference to a conservation organization called ‘Wetlands International’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1) It is an intergovernmental organization formed by the countries which are signatories to Ramsar Convention.
2) It works at the field level to develop and mobilize knowledge, and use the practical experience to advocate for better policies.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Criteria for Identification of Wetlands under Ramsar Convention

  • If it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type.
  • if it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species; or threatened ecological communities.
  • If it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
  • If it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.
  • If it regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds.
  • If it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of water birds.
  • If it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies
  • If it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path.
  • If it is an important source of food and water resource, increased possibilities for recreation and eco-tourism, etc.

Ramsar sites in India

Ramsar sites in India
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