- Dates – 07-08 October, 2021
The Ramsar Convention, signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, is the only global treaty that focuses specifically on wetlands. 2021 marks fifty years of the Convention. Today, 171 countries have signed the Convention that provides “the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources” to protect 2,416 sites of international importance covering over 2.5 million square kilometres. The Convention entered into force in India on 1 February 1982, with 42 sites designated as Ramsar Sites.
Wetlands are defined as ‘land areas saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that they take on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem’. Lakes and rivers comprise inland wetlands, rice paddies and farming ponds are manmade wetlands, and estuaries, deltas and mangroves make up coastal wetlands. Three pillars of the Convention dictate what contracting parties to the Convention commit to: wise use of all wetlands (protection, conservation and maintenance of wetlands); designating wetland sites of international importance that makes up the Ramsar List; and cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands.
Wetlands are essential to human wellbeing, including economic growth and climate mitigation. They provide water for human consumption and agriculture, as well as protect shores. They are the greatest natural carbon stores available on the planet and support biodiversity. Wetlands are considered important in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Ramsar Convention’s fourth Strategic Plan (2016-2024) explicitly identified four overarching goals and nineteen specific targets that directly support the achievement of SDGs including ending poverty (Goal 1), ending hunger (Goal 2), ensuring sustainable management of water (Goal 6), and ensuring decent work and economic growth (Goal 8).
Despite the apparent benefits of wetlands, they are being degraded mostly due to negative human intervention and a growing population. Wetlands are being over-exploited, threatening their survival. Therefore, there is a need for more conversation about wetlands and to raise awareness about them.
In this backdrop, India Foundation proposes to host a 2 days conference on wetlands. The conference will highlight the importance of wetlands to India and the world and discuss the way forward for future collaboration with like-minded partners.
The proposed sub-themes for the conference are:
- Wetlands and climate change
- Nature & Biodiversity conservation
- Capacity building around wetland conservation
- Importance of wetlands for maintaining ecological connectivity
- Regional wetland management and restoration
- Wetlands management encompassing urban areas
- Impact of plastic pollution on wetland biodiversity
- Wetlands and Water
- Water Quantity & Quality
- Wetland Health Cards
- Critical analysis of Central and State Policies & Programmes, recommendations on incorporating SDGs into such policies.