Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wetland diplomacy: Transboundary conservation and Ramsar

Saleem Ali and Pamela Griffin in Our World 2.0:  Increasingly important as population growth and climate change are predicted to worsen water access in many areas of the world, the emerging field of environmental diplomacy seeks ways to use conservation to prevent conflict or build peace between countries.

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971, is the only global environmental treaty that deals with one particular ecosystem. With over 40 years of international wetland conservation work and ratified by 160 countries, it can offer a significant contribution to environmental diplomacy.

Armed with a wide definition of wetlands that includes lakes, rivers and coastal waters, the Ramsar Convention is in a position to help countries build capacity to effectively manage wetlands. Effective agreements like it can contribute to a government’s legitimacy and help to sustain peaceful conditions among its own people and with its neighbours.

As the first treaty to adopt an ecosystem approach to conservation, rather than focusing on the preservation of a single species, the Ramsar Convention led the way for other treaties, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to approach conservation as a holistic system. Ecologically coherent wetlands that cross national boundaries are recognized as transboundary wetlands within Ramsar...

A wetlands in Argentina, shot by Tencho, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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