Here we will enlighten you about the Ramsar Sites in India here. This topic is important for CDS, CAPF and other defence exams.
Ramsar (Wetlands) Sites in India
Four more wetlands from India get recognition from the Ramsar Secretariat as Ramsar sites. A total of 46 sites from India has got this recognition.
- Thol (Gujarat)- It was constructed for irrigation in 1912. In 1988, it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the state government to protect the birdlife found in this open-water wetland site.
- Wadhwana (Gujarat)- Wadhawana was also created as an irrigation dam in 1910 in Dabhoil taluka of Vadodara, some 40 km away from Vadodara city.
- Sultanpur (Haryana)- The Sultanpur National Park in Haryana supports more than 220 species of resident, winter migratory, and local migratory waterbirds at critical stages of their life cycles.
- Bhindawas (Haryana)- Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary is a human-made freshwater wetland. It is also the largest in Haryana. Over 250 bird species use the sanctuary throughout the year as a resting and roosting site.
What are the Wetlands?
- It is a place where the land is covered by salty or fresh water. Swamps, Marshes, ponds, the edge of lake or ocean, river mouths and deltas etc. are the examples of the Wetlands.
- Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and essential for human survival.
- Wetlands are home to various species of mammals, birds, fishes and invertebrates. They support the cultivation of crops like rice, and also provide ecological services benefiting the human race like water filtration, storm protection, flood control etc.
Why are Wetlands are called Ramsar Sites?
- In 1971, an international treaty was signed at Ramsar, Iran for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
- The mission of the Convention is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
- Ramsar Convention is an only intergovernmental treaty which gives a solid framework to the nations for the conservation and use of wetlands and their resources and helps to protect such unique ecosystems.
- It is also known as the “Convention on Wetlands”. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar on 2nd February 1971 and came into force on 21 December 1975.
Facts about Ramsar Sites:
- So 2nd February is celebrated as “World Wetlands Day” every year.
- Currently, 169 countries are a party to this convention. There are more than 2289 wetland sites, covering an area around 225399512 hectors, designated under this convention.
- The United Kingdom has the most number of sites - 170.
- The world's first site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974.
- Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Queen Maud in Canada are the largest Ramsar sites.
- The secretariat of Ramsar convention is located in Gland, Switzerland.
The mission of the Convention
- The mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and international actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
- Contracting parties vow for international cooperation to protect wetlands in the following three ways known as “three pillars for co-operation”.
- Make judicial use of all their wetlands
- Designate suitable wetlands for the list of “Wetlands of International Importance” (Ramsar List) and ensure effective management of the wetlands.
- International cooperation on transboundary wetlands shared wetland systems etc.
Designation and Management of Ramsar Sites
- When a country agrees to join the convention, it has to designate at least one wetland site as a wetland of international importance.
- The information on acceding country’s first Ramsar site is sent to UNESCO with other documents. UNESCO acts as a convention’s repository.
- Management of their Ramsar sites lies primarily with the contracting parties to maintain their ecological character and retain their essential functions and values for sustainable development.
- For transboundary sites management, the authorities on all sides of the border of a particular site should agree to collaborate and notify their intention to the convention secretariat at Gland.
Bodies of the Convention
- Government agencies of the contracting parties i.e. nations are known as the country’s ‘Administrative authority’. They appoint a National Focal Point to coordinate the national implementation of Ramsar projects and act as the daily focal point.
- Every three years, Parties meet at Conference of Parties (CoP), to administer convention.
- Most recent CoP 12 was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay in 2015. CoP 13 will take place in Dubai, UAE in 2018.
- Between CoPs, the parties are represented by the Standing Committee which meets annually.
- “Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP)” and “Communication, Education, Participation, and Awareness (CEPA)” are two technical advisory bodies of the convention.
- There are five International Organisational Partners (IOPs) to provide the necessary support to parties.
- Birdlife International
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
- Wetlands International
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
List of RAMSAR Sites in India
Currently, there are 46 sites designated under the Ramsar List. These are given below:
Name of Site
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary
Sultanpur National Park
Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary
Pong Dam Lake
Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Vembanad Kol Wetland
Tso Kar Wetland Complex
Beas Conservation Reserve
Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve
Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary
Keoladeo Ghana NP
Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary
Parvati Agra Bird Sanctuary
Saman Bird Sanctuary
Samaspur Bird Sanctuary
Sandi Bird Sanctuary
Sarsai Nawar Jheel
Upper Ganga River
Asan Conservation Reserve
East Kolkata Wetlands
- Montreux Record is a register of wetlands sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or likely to occur.
- Ecological character of a Ramsar site may degrade because of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. Out of these 27 sites, currently, 2 sites in India are included in the Montreux Record.
- Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan (1990) – first site to be included in this list
- Loktak Lake, Manipur (1993)
Note: Chilika lake, Odisha was included in the list in 1993 but was removed in 2002.
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