The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) -- called the "Ramsar Convention" -- is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the "wise use", or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.
Unlike the other global environmental conventions, Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, but it works very closely with the other MEAs and is a full partner among the "biodiversity-related cluster" of treaties and agreements.
The "Ramsar List" is an official product of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is maintained by the treaty secretariat in collaboration with Wetlands International. Upon joining the Ramsar Convention, each Contracting Party (member state) is obliged to designate at least one (1) wetland site, called a Ramsar Site, for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Sites are selected for designation under the Convention by reference to the Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance.
Ramsar Sites in Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago has three (3) Ramsar sites currently, totalling an area of 15, 919 hectares. These are:
Why conserve wetlands?
Wetlands are among the world's most productive environments. They are cradles of biological diversity, providing the water and primary productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. They support high concentrations of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrate species. Wetlands are also important storehouses of plant genetic material. Rice, for example, which is a common wetland plant, is the staple diet of more than half of humanity.