February 2, 2011

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Filed under: biodiversity, climate, water — inece @ 7:30 pm

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands celebrates its 40th Anniversary on 2 February 2011, marking the day that 18 nations agreed, in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, on the text of the Convention.

The Ramsar Convention, which currently has 160 Contracting Parties, is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. The Ramsar Secretariat has developed 12 Key Messages on wetlands in recognition of the Convention’s 40th Anniversary, which can be accessed online.

As the Key Messages recognize, wetlands provide irreplaceable ecosystem services, including provision of food, water purification, storage and supply of freshwater, flood control and storm protection, and recreation. Wetlands are frequently areas of high biodiversity and many species are wetland-dependent for all or part of their lifecycles. Wetlands also have a key role to play in the carbon cycle and in climate change mitigation and adaptation.  As part of a renewed commitment to Ramsar on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, countries could evaluate areas to strengthen enforcement of existing laws to protect wetlands and, where necessary, strengthen relevant legislation.

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