Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, including rivers and lakes, coastal lagoons, mangroves, peatlands and coral reefs. It also covers human-made wetlands such as fish and shrimp ponds, farm ponds, irrigated agricultural land, salt pans, reservoirs, gravel pits, sewage farms and canals. Some 2,200 wetland sites, totalling 215 million hectares, have been designated for inclusion by its 169 member states or “Contracting Parties” in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance as of August 2016.
The Convention obliges its Contracting Parties to include wetland conservation considerations in their national land-use planning. Parties must promote, as far as possible, “the wise use of wetlands in their territory”. The Convention’s “Wise Use Guide- lines” call upon Contracting Parties to:
- adopt national wetland policies, which involves a review of existing legislation and institutional arrangements;
- develop programmes of wetland inventory, monitoring, research, training, education and public awareness; and
- take action at wetland sites, including the development of integrated management plans covering every aspect of the wetlands.
BirdLife International; IUCN – The World Conservation Union; Wetlands International; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the International Water Management Institute, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust are formally recognized as the Convention’s ‘International Organization Partners’. The Secretariat also cooperates with many other international and national NGOs and has formal collaborative agreements with most global environment Conventions.