The Ramsar Convention, or ‘Convention on Wetlands of International Importance’ aims to promote and protect wetlands throughout the world. To date, wetlands are the only type of habitat in the world to have a dedicated international convention. Ramsar wetlands are wetlands of international importance due to their role in preserving biological diversity or because they are a representative, rare and unique wetland type. Globally there are 1,869 Ramsar wetlands, of which 65 are in Australia covering an area larger than Tasmania.
See where WetlandCare Australia is working on Ramsar sites around Australia:
The Ramsar Convention has stemmed from a recognition of wetland habitat as key to migratory bird species. One such bird, Latham’s Snipe provides an example of how far away countries need to work together to protect the habitat of these migratory species. The Snipe travels from Australia to Japan each year to breed, resting in Papua New Guinea along the way. Without habitats in all of these countries the Snipe could not complete its lifecycle and would perish.
As a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, Australia has a responsibility for the wise use of all wetlands. Further to this, designating specific wetlands to the Ramsar Convention carries responsibility for ongoing sustainable management of their ecological value. This requires maintaining and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage values of each site. Many of Australia’s Ramsar wetlands are located within national parks, nature reserves and state forests. Some are also located on privately owned land, proof of the high level of commitment and increasing capacity of the community to protect these iconic areas.Across Australia, WetlandCare Australia is committed to working with governments, private landowners and the community to implement the responsibilities of the Ramsar Convention by increasing the level of knowledge about, and the wise use of all wetlands and assisting with the management of Ramsar sites to ensure that these unique places will remain for future generations.
As a signatory to the Ramsar Convention,Australia has the responsibility to ensure the wise use of all wetlands.
WetlandCare Australia’s 2015 Conservation goals for Ramsar
- Promotion of the wise use of all wetlands and support for international efforts to deliver wetland outcomes in Australia through participation in global and national forums, ongoing management of the Australian Wetlands Alliance, delivery of annual World Wetlands Day national event and the provision of ongoing technical support to the national wetlands community
- Implementation of ecological character descriptions and management plans for all Ramsar-listed wetlands in Australia by governments
- Implementation of a National Wetlands Policy that includes the implementation of a Communication, Education, Participation and Action (CEPA) plan for Australia
- Improved capacity for 30 private landholders in best practice aquatic ecosystem management for Ramsar listed sites
OUTCOME: Improved delivery of Australia’s obligations against the Ramsar Convention through improved protection, conservation and management of Ramsar listed wetlands and engagement of the community, landholders and industry in the wise use of all wetlands.