1000 wetlands in India

Chilika lake. Photo: Ritesh Kumar/ Wetlands International

Chilika lake. Photo: Ritesh Kumar/ Wetlands International

Conservation and sustainable management of wetlands is crucial to stop the decline of migratory water bird populations and to reverse the trend. India therefore wants to extend its wetland conservation programme from 100 wetlands to a network of 1000 wetlands. To this end, the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is considering establishing a National Centre for Wetlands to support research and capacity building in this field.

Political decision-makers and conservation experts discussed possible measures to achieve this at the "Knowledge Exchange on Wetlands and water birds event" that took place at the margins of the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) in Gandhinagar, India. This was at the invitation of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) project "Wetlands Management for biodiversity and climate protection".

The panel of experts recommended that conservation measures should be planned at landscape-level focusing on ecological connectivity and ecological valuation of network of wetlands. Participants also discussed the need to strengthen wetland management capacities and to launch an initiative for South Asia. This initiative is designed to promote knowledge sharing and cooperation among the countries in the region on the conservation of the habitat of migratory species.

The event also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss further opportunities for regional cooperation and mechanisms to ensure the conservation of migratory water birds and wise use of wetlands in South Asia.

people on a conference stage

As further activities at CMS COP 13, the IKI project presented the publication An Inventory, Assessment and Monitoring Framework for Indian Wetland. The Ramsar Convention identifies the Inventory, Assessment and Monitoring Framework for Indian Wetlands (WIAMS) as essential tools for wetland planning and management. In addition, the IKI project participated in the CMS COP13 exhibition to present its contributions to the management of habitats for migratory species in India. The exhibition was very well received by the visitors; representatives of the Indian MoEFCC, the governments of various Indian states, conservation NGOs and the CMS Secretariat as well as international experts.