Table of Contents
- 1 Measures to Protect Wetlands
- 2 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
- 3 Ramsar Sites in India
- 4 Wetlands International
- 5 National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP)
Measures to Protect Wetlands
- Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
- Ramsar Sites in India
- Wetlands International
- National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP)
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
- International treaty for “the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands”.
- It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands.
- It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran.
- The Convention was signed on 2nd of February, 1971.
- The 2nd of February each year is World Wetlands Day.
- Number of parties to the convention (COP) is169.
- At the center of the Ramsar philosophy is the “wise use” of wetlands.
- Wise use: maintenance of ecological character within the context of sustainable development.
Need for Such Convention
- Wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or “ecosystem services” that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.
- 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last century.
What is wetland
- The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatland, 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.
- Conference of the Parties (COP) is the Convention’s governing body consisting of all governments that have ratified the treaty.
- Every three years, representatives of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP)
- COP is the policy-making organ of the Convention which adopts decisions (Resolutions and Recommendations) to administer the work of the Convention.
- The most recent COP12 was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay in 2015. COP13 will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2018.
Under 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 trans boundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.
- At the time of joining the Convention, each Contracting Party undertakes to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
- The inclusion of a “Ramsar Site” in the List embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained.
- The List of Wetlands of International Importance included 2,231 Ramsar Sites in March 2016.
- The country with the highest number of Sites is the United Kingdom with 170
- The country with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Bolivia.
The Montreux Record
- The Montreux Record 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.
Q1. If a wetland of international importance is brought under the ‘Montreux Record’, what does it imply?
- Changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur in the wetland as a result of human interference.
- The country in which the wetland is located should enact a law to prohibit any human activity within five kilo meters from the edge of the wetland
- 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
- It is given the status of ‘World Heritage Site’
International Organization Partners
- The Ramsar Convention works closely with six other organizations known as International Organization Partners (IOPs). These are:
- Birdlife International
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
- Wetlands International
- International Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)
- Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD),
- Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
- Convention on Migratory Species (CMS),
- World Heritage Convention (WHC) and
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Project funding is done by various groups like multilateral development banks, bilateral donors, UN agencies such as UNEP, UNDP, Non-governmental organizations etc.
Transboundary Ramsar Sites
- Contracting Parties are designating their new and existing Ramsar Sites as Transboundary Ramsar Sites.
- These are ecologically coherent, shared wetlands extending across national borders, which are managed collaboratively.
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
- At present, there are 26 Ramsar Sites in India.
State and Area in km²
|3||Bhoj Wetland||Madhya Pradesh|
|4||Chandra Taal||Himachal Pradesh|
|7||East Calcutta Wetlands||West Bengal|
|9||Hokera Wetland||Jammu and Kashmir|
|11||Keoladeo National Park||Rajasthan|
|12||Kolleru Lake||Andhra Pradesh|
|14||Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary|
[Declared as Ramsar site in 2012. Most recent Ramsar Site in India]
|15||Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary||Tamil Nadu|
|16||Pong Dam Lake||Himachal Pradesh|
|17||Renuka Lake||Himachal Pradesh|
|22||Surinsar-Mansar Lakes||Jammu and Kashmir|
|23||Tsomoriri||Jammu and Kashmir|
|24||Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)||Uttar Pradesh|
|26||Wular Lake||Jammu and Kashmir|
- 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.
Q1. With reference to a conservation organization called ‘Wetlands International’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
- It is an intergovernmental organization formed by the countries which are signatories to Ramsar Convention.
- 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.
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: b) 2 only. Wetlands International is an NGO
National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP)
- NWCP was implemented in the year 1985-86.
- Under the programme, 115 wetlands have been identified by the MoEF which require urgent conservation and management interventions.
- Criteria for identification of wetlands of national importance under NWCP are same as those prescribed under the ‘Ramsar Convention on Wetlands’.
- Conservation of wetlands to prevent their further degradation and ensuring their wise use for the benefit of local communities and overall conservation of biodiversity.
- to lay down policy guidelines for conservation and management of wetlands.
- to provide financial assistance for undertaking intensive conservation measures.
- to monitor implementation of the programme.
- to prepare an inventory of Indian wetlands.
- The Central Government is responsible for overall coordination of wetland conservation programmes.
- It also provides guidelines, financial & technical assistance to state govt.
- Since the land resources belong to them, the State Governments/UT Administration are responsible for management of wetlands.