RAMSAR Sites in India
- 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.
- So, 2nd February is celebrated as “World Wetlands Day” every year.
- Currently, 169 countries are a party to this convention. There are 2289 wetland sites, covering an area around 225399512 hectors, designated under this convention.
- 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.
- Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and essential for human survival.
- It is a place where the land is covered by salty or freshwater. Swamps, Marshes, ponds, the edge of lake or ocean, river mouths and deltas etc. are the examples of the Wetlands.
- 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.
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)
Benefits of Joining Ramasar Convention:
- Facilitates development at the national level of policies and actions for the wise use of wetlands.
- Presents an opportunity for a country to be heard in the principal forum on conservation and wise use of wetlands.
- Brings increased publicity and prestige for wetlands.
- Encourages international cooperation on wetlands and brings access to expert advice on national and site-related problems of wetland, conservation and management.
- Provides access to financial aid through the Convention’s Small Grant Fund.
- Brings access to information and advice on the application of the Conventions’ internationally-accepted standards, such as guidelines on the application of the wise use concept and management planning in wetlands.
OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE CONVENTION
- To recommend sites for inclusion in the “List of Wetlands of International Importance”.
- To ensure wise use of wetlands.
- To establish reserves and promote training in wetland research, management and wardening.
List of RAMSAR Sites in India
- Currently, there are 37 sites in 16 states designated under the Ramsar List. These are given below
- Jammu and Kashmir
- Hokera Wetland
- Surinsar- Mansar lakes
- Wular Lake
- Himachal Pradesh
- Chandertal Wetland.
- Pong Dam Lake
- Renuka Wetland
- Harike Wetland
- Kanjli Wetland
- Beas Conservation Reserve
- Keoladeo National Park (1/10/1981)-Oldest entry in the list.
- Sambhar Lake
- Uttar Pradesh
- Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora stretch)
- Parvati Agra
- Sarsai Nawar
- Madhya Pradesh
- Bhoj Wetland
- Nal Sarovar (2012)
- Andhra Pradesh
- Kolleru Lake
- Ashtamudi Wetland
- Sasthamkotta Lake
- Vembanad- Kol Wetland
- Tamil Nadu
- Point Calimere Sanctuary
- Chilika Lake (1/10/1981) - Oldest entry in the list.
- Bhitarkanika Mangroves
- West Bengal
- East Calcutta Wetlands
- Indian Sunderban
- Deepor Beel
- Rudrasagar Lake
- Loktak Lake
- Nandur (state’s first)
More about 10 New Sites
Out of the 10 new Ramsar sites, 1 lies in Maharashtra, 3 in Punjab and 6 are in Uttar Pradesh. The 10 sites are described as under:
- Nandur Madhameshwar bird sanctuary.
- It lies in Nashik district of Maharashtra.
- It is known by the name of Bharatpur of Maharashtra due to the reason that it receives a large number of migrated birds like that of Bharatpur in Rajasthan.
- It is one and only Ramsar site in Maharashtra.
- Keshopur-Miani community reserve.
- It is situated in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
- It lies in the middle of Ravi and the Beas river.
- It is the first community reserve of India which got notified.
- The management is done by both the locals along with the Forest Department which eventually, resulted in better conservation.
- The migratory birds can be seen over here.
- Beas Conservation Reserve.
- It also lies in Punjab.
- It stretches from Harike to Talwara Conservation Reserve and is 185 kms in length.
- It is renowned due to the fact that it is successful in the reintroduction of Gharials.
- As the banks of a river are very fertile in nature, and hence, proves to be fertile grounds for the ecosystem.
- Nangal wildlife sanctuary.
- It is located in the Roopnagar district near the Sutlej river.
- Different variety of species of both the migratory birds along with the residents can be seen over here.
- Many of the threatened species including the Indian Pangolin can be seen.
- Nawabganj bird sanctuary.
- It is located in the Unnao district of U.P.
- It is also known by the name of Chandrashekhar Azad Bird Sanctuary.
- Many national along with the migratory birds can be seen in this sanctuary.
- Some of them are Garganey Teal, Mallard, Little Grebe, Wigon, etc.
- Parvati Aranga bird sanctuary.
- Parwati and Aranga are the two lakes which are connected and are apart by 1.5 Km.
- It is considered as a potential ecotourism site in the sense that it can provide facilities of bird conservation awareness.
- Saman bird sanctuary.
- It is situated in Bhogav region of Manipuri district, Uttar Pradesh.
- It was in 1990 when it was notified so as to protect the population of cranes in the area.
- It also includes Storks.
- Samaspur Bird sanctuary.
- It is situated in Raibarelli district of U.P.
- It is famous for the preservation of bird species along with the migratory birds.
- More than 250 species of birds can be seen over here.
- It includes Vultures, Kingfishers, Teel, etc. which are also the permanent residents of this sanctuary.
- Sandi bird sanctuary.
- It is located in the Hardoi district of U.P.
- It is also listed as an important bird area by the Bombay natural society.
- Sarsai Nawar Lake.
- It is situated in Etawah, U.P.
- It consists of two lakes which attract White Ibis, Sarus cranes, along with the other birds in large numbers.
- A large population of threatened species of Sarus Cranes, the world’s tallest flying birds can be seen over here.
- It is also considered as small unprotected Wetland.
- 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)
- Chilika lake, Odisha was included in the list in 1993 but was removed in 2002.
- 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.
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