What is the Ramsar Convention?
- The Convention on Wetlands is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
- The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, 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.
- The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.
- Under the three pillars of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:
- Work towards the wise use of all their wetlands through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education;
- Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;
- Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems, shared species, and development projects that may affect wetlands.
- The Secretariat in Gland, Switzerland, manages the day-today activities of the Convention, and publishes Convention documents and the “Ramsar List” of Wetlands of International Importance. It is administratively supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Why in the News?
- Two lakes from India have been inducted into Ramsar Sites.
- Lonar Lake of Maharashtra and Sur Sarovar, also known as Keetham lake, in Agra are the lakes which have been inducted.
- Lonar Lake is a site formed after a meteorite hit thousands of years ago.
- Keetham Lake in Agra supports many migratory birds during winter. Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary Located close to Keetham Lake.