RAMSAR – The Convention on Wetlands Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 the treaty celebrates its 40th anniversary on February 2, 2011. This is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem. Wetlands include swamps and marshes, lakes and rivers, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-managed systems such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans. The Convention’s mission is to promote the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world. The headquarters is in Switzerland and more information can be obtained from its website.  The Ramsar Regional Centre East Asia and the Japanese Ministry of Environment, as well as the hosts of the meeting, James Cook University Singapore campus and the Ramsar Convention’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel will convene a workshop in early March 2011 on Rice and Pesticides to examine the use, impacts and management in relation to wetlands and rice paddy biodiversity. This marks an important recognition of the potential impact of the pesticide tsunami on biodiversity both in rice paddies and wetland ecosystems.