Sarawak ID|Register

Ramsar Convention


   Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands (held at Capsian seaside resort, Ramsar, Iran, agreed on 2, Febrary, 1971) - also known as Ramsar Convention.

Malaysia joined the Convention on 10 March 1995 as a contracting party with 6 sites covering a surface area of 134,158 hectares. A total of 160 contracting parties worldwide joined the Convention, with 1896 sites and surface area of 185,467,509 hectares (as at 19.8.2010).

Wetland project in Sarawak

The mission of the Ramsar Convention, as adopted by the Parties in 1999 and refined in 2002, is “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”.

What is the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands?

The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. Thus, though nowadays the name of the Convention is usually written “Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)”, it has come to be known popularly as the “Ramsar Convention”. Ramsar is the first of the modern global intergovernmental treaties on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, but, compared with more recent ones, its provisions are relatively straightforward and general. Over the years, the Conference of the Contracting Parties has further developed and interpreted the basic tenets of the treaty text and succeeded in keeping the work of the Convention abreast of changing world perceptions, priorities, and trends in environmental thinking.

The official name of the treaty, The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, reflects the original emphasis upon the conservation and wise use of wetlands primarily as habitat for waterbirds. Over the years, however, the Convention has broadened its scope of implementation to cover all aspects of wetland conservation and wise use, recognizing wetlands as ecosystems that are extremely important for biodiversity conservation and for the well-being of human communities, thus fulfilling the full scope of the Convention text. For this reason, the increasingly common use of the short form of the treaty’s title, the “Convention on Wetlands”, is entirely appropriate.

The Convention entered into force in 1975 and now (as of January 2009) has 158 Contracting Parties, or member States, in all parts of the world. Though the central Ramsar message is the need for the sustainable use of all wetlands, the “flagship” of the Convention is the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) – presently, the Parties have designated for this List more than 1,822 wetlands for special protection as “Ramsar sites”, covering 169 million hectares (1.69 million square kilometres), larger than the surface area of France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland combined.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) serves as Depositary for the Convention, but the Ramsar Convention is not part of the United Nations and UNESCO system of environment conventions and agreements. The Convention is responsible only to its Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), and its day-to-day administration has been entrusted to a secretariat under the authority of a Standing Committee elected by the COP.

Kuching Wetland Criteria as RAMSAR SITE

Criterion 1: The site is a particularly good representative example of a natural coastal mangrove system, characteristic of the Borneo (Udvardy, 1975) biogeographical region.

Criterion 2: The site supports the Proboscis Monkey Nasalis larvatus - listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and ‘Endangered’ in the 2004 IUCN Red List, Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus - listed in the 2004 IUCN Red List as ‘Vulnerable’, and Griffith’s Silver Leaf Monkey/Langur Trachypithecus villosus (listed as “Data Deficient” in the 2004 IUCN Red List).

Criterion 4: The site is of special value as a nursery area for the Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

Criterion 8: The site is an important spawning and nursery ground for fish and prawn species. 

Useful Links