Ramsar Convention

Ramsar Convention is a multi-party convention on wetlands around the world. Its Idea came into being in the year 1962 and was signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of “Ramsar” finally, it came into force in 1975. Ramsar convention came into force in 1975 with a long discussion and pre-determined agenda, which was, “To conserve and use wisely, all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation.”

Ramsar Convention (1971) on wetlands around the world
Ramsar Convention (1971) on wetlands around the world

What are Wetlands?
Wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, natural or artificial, permanent or temporary with flowing or static water, fresh or brackish or salty, including areas of marine water with a depth of which at low tides does not exceed 6 meters.


Facts on Ramsar Convention.

  • In 1962 MAR conference came up with the idea of the need to conserve wetlands and called for an international treaty for wetlands.
  • From 1963 to 1970 the document for the Ramsar convention to conserve wetlands was negotiated.
  • In 1971, the Ramsar convention conference took place in the Iranian City of Ramsar.
    18 Nations agreed to the convention agendas.
  • Australia was the first country to accede to the convention.
  • Cobourg Penensula, in Australia was the first ramsar site.
  • In 1975 the convention came into force and UNESCO became its depository.
  • In 1981, India joined the convention declaring Chilika Lake and Keoladeo National Park as Ramsar sites.
  • The official name of the treaty is “The convention on wetlands of international importance, especially on waterfowl habitat.”
  • Wetland Day, since 1997, is observed on 2nd February.
  • Ramsar Convention works in three languages, English Spanish and French.


Working of Ramsar Convention.

Ramsar convention works on three main points.

  1. Wise Use:- Support and advice on using the wetlands wisely and conserving them.
  2. Listing:- Designate the Ramsar sites across the globe for efficient conserving.
  3. International Cooperation:- Transboundary Wetland cooperation, for the shared wetland body, between multi parties, that has value for species interaction internationally.

The convention is not a regulatory authority and it was modified by the Paris Protocol of 1982 and the Regina Amendments in 1987.
Montreux Record launched in 1990, is a register of the list of Ramsar sites around the World, that needs urgent attention. The conference of the contracting parties so of the Ramsar convention meets once every three years.
Convention has 6 international organization parties, 1) Birdlife International 2) IUCN 3) Wetlands International 4) WWF 5) International Water Management Institute 6) Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

The 4th convention strategic plan was designated for the year 2016 to 2024, and it was approved at COP12 of the convention.
18 members of the standing committee of the convention are elected at every COP and they remain in the position till new members are elected at the next COP.

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