India has added 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites to make total 75 Ramsar sites covering an area of 13 lakh 26 thousand 677 Hectare in the country in the 75th year of Independence.
- Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said, the 11 new sites include, four in Tamil Nadu, three in Odisha, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
- India is one of the Contracting Parties to Ramsar Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.
- India signed it on 1st February 1982. During 1982 to 2013, a total of 26 sites were added to the list of Ramsar sites, however, during 2014 to 2022, the country has added 49 new wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites.
- Tamil Nadu has maximum number of Ramsar sites which is 14, followed by Uttar Pradesh which has 10 numbers of Ramsar sites.
About Ramsar Convention –
- It is an intergovernmental environmental treaty that calls for international cooperation and national action to safeguard and sustainably use wetlands.
- The Convention came in to force in 1975 (signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar). It is officially known as ‘the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat’ (or, more recently, just ‘the Convention on Wetlands’).
- The Convention’s mission 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”.
- The aim of the Ramsar list is “to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits”.
- Three pillars of the Convention are – Work towards the wise use of all their wetlands; Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management, and; Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.
- Currently, India has 75 Ramsar Sites which are the Wetlands of International importance.
- The world’s first Site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974.
- The countries with the most Sites are the United Kingdom with 175 and Mexico with 142.
- It is important to note that the Ramsar Convention is not legally binding i.e. it has no punitive sanctions for violations upon treaty commitments. It is also not part of the United Nations and UNESCO system of environmental conventions and agreements.