Wetlands provide a host of ecosystem services for local communities and are often considered "jewels" by the people who rely on and treasure them. Sometimes the value of these ecosystems transcends national boundaries, and many of these "jewels" have been recognized as Wetlands of International Importance (or Ramsar sites) under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (often referred to as the Convention on Wetlands or the Ramsar Convention). As of December 2008, 158 countries were Parties to the Ramsar Convention, including forty-seven African nations that collectively had designated more than 280 wetlands as Ramsar sites for a total area of more than seventy million hectares.
Employing a cooperative, nonregulatory means of wetland protection, the Ramsar Convention provides support for conservation and wise use of wetlands throughout the world. For example, although joining the Ramsar Convention obliges each Party to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, the majority of Ramsar designations are entirely voluntary. Thus, a Party may designate one Ramsar site or many.
But what is the value of such designation? Until recently, there has been little systematic study of the effects of Ramsar designation. In 2007, two of us wrote an article for The Environmental Law Reporter exploring whether, in light of the mosaic of wetland laws in the United States, Ramsar designation provides any additional benefits. After surveying the ...
- R. C. GARDNER, K. D. CONNOLLY and A. BAMBA
- Georgetown International Environmental Law Review
- Date / journal vol no.
- 2009 / Vol XXI, Issue 2