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The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

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Presentation on theme: "The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

2 What is the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands?
Oldest of the global environmental conventions the only global convention focussing attention on an ecosystem (wetlands) covers very wide range of wetlands - from coral reefs to mountains Ramsar, Iran - where 18 countries signed the Convention on 2 February 1971 X so not an acronym (RAMSAR) X Celebrated annually on World Wetlands Day - 2 February 30th anniversary 2001

3 Ramsar Convention: Mission Statement
“The conservation and wise use of wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.” (draft Strategic Plan )

4 What is the “wise use” of wetlands?
“… their sustainable utilization for the benefit of humankind in a way compatible with the maintenance of the natural properties of the ecosystem” (Ramsar COP3, 1987)

5 Ramsar’s definition of “wetland”
“wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres” (Article 1.1) and “may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within wetlands” (Article 2.1)

6 So….Ramsar covers Natural and human-made wetlands inland/freshwater:
marshes, rivers, lakes, reservoirs etc. coastal/marine lagoons, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds etc. above ground and underground karst and caves but not deep oceans

7 Ramsar Contracting Parties
Contracting Parties commit to delivering the modern Convention through 3 “pillars”: Wise use of all wetlands Wetlands of International Importance - designation and management International cooperation

8 “Accession” - how to join the Convention
Instrument of Accession letter from Head of State Designate first Ramsar site on accession - name of site and map then complete Ramsar site Information Sheet (RIS) send instrument and site designation to UNESCO - the Convention’s depositary

9 The Ramsar Convention today
133 Contracting Parties others in process of joining (accession) from Africa, central Asia, Caribbean, Oceania 6 Ramsar Regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Neotropics, North America & Oceania

10 The Ramsar Convention today
1185 Wetlands of International Importance - “Ramsar sites” 1 million hectares size: from <1 ha to > 6 million ha

11 Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)
selected under one or more of 8 criteria, e.g.: a representative or good example of a wetland type in a country support important biodiversity important life-cycle sites for species e.g. turtle nesting beaches specifically for waterbirds or fish e.g. spawning or nursery areas

12 Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites)
Multiple use sites recognises and supports their values and functions for people flexible and inclusive of many different types and sizes of wetlands: largest: Okavango Swamp, Botswana >6million hectares smallest: Hosnie Spring, Christmas Island 1 hectare

13 The “Ramsar process and bodies”
Contracting Parties (countries) Meetings of Contracting Parties (COPs) main decision-making meetings Standing Committee intersessional governance body Scientific & Technical Review Panel prepares advice and guidance on technical topics Ramsar Bureau the Convention’s Secretariat, based in Switzerland 19 policy, technical and administrative staff

14 Ramsar’s International Organisation Partners (IOPs)
4 international environmental NGOs BirdLife International IUCN - the World Conservation Union Wetlands International World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) important and continuing contribution to Convention implementation at local, national and global scales

15 Links with other organisations
Cooperation with: other NGOs and networks regional environmental organisations other environmental conventions 3rd Joint Work Plan with CBD (adopted April 2002) Ramsar: lead implementing partner for CBD inland waters joint activities developing with UNCCD, CMS, UNFCCC, MAB etc.

16 Key features of the Ramsar Convention
recognises wetlands (goods and services) as vital for human wellbeing (food and water security) and poverty alleviation supports practical wetland sustainable utilization by countries open, collaborative and flexible mechanisms both ecosystems and species both sites and broad-based sustainable use supports implementation - not a “compliance-based” convention provides practical guidance on many topics

17 The Ramsar “tool-kit” - wise use handbooks

18 The Ramsar “tool-kit” - wise use handbooks
English, French & Spanish - published 2000 CD-ROM available now (August 2002) bring together: Guidelines adopted by Ramsar COP7 (Costa Rica, 1999) and earlier COPs relevant COP Resolutions and Recommendations case studies assist implementation - improved access to guidance

19 The Ramsar “tool-kit” - wise use handbooks
1. Wise Use of Wetlands 2. National Wetland Policies 3. Reviewing laws & institutions 4. Integrating wetlands into river basin management 5. Local communities’ & indigenous peoples’ participatory management 6. Communication, education & public awareness - Outreach Programme 7. Strategic Framework & Guidelines for the List of Ramsar Sites 8. Managing Ramsar Sites and other wetlands 9. International cooperation

20 Ramsar Convention - further guidelines for COP8 (2002)
Scientific & Technical Review Panel (STRP) additional guidance on wetlands and: Inventory Impact assessment Ecological character & assessment methods Integrated Coastal Zone Management Ramsar site designation Management planning (new guidance) Water allocations and management Climate change Restoration

21 Ramsar COP8 17-26 November 2002 Valencia, Spain
will approve Resolutions, new guidelines, 2nd Strategic Plan, budgets and Convention modus operandi Resolutions and guidelines on Ramsar Web-site:

22 all you ever want to know about the Ramsar Convention - but didn’t know who to ask…. What’s New? Convention key documents Outreach Wise Use Resource Centre Ramsar Forum - listserve


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