11 November 2022.
The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP14) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is being co-hosted by Wuhan (China) and Geneva (Switzerland) from November 5 to 13, 2022. During the event, the Wuhan Declaration was adopted and a report on Ramsar sites was released.
What are the key findings of the report?
- Information about many of Ramsar Sites of International Importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention is absent or missing.
- The report called on the countries to assess these wetlands again to obtain the latest information.
- Information on 75 per cent of wetlands in the list of Ramsar Sites is outdated. This includes information about sites endangered by the threats posed by the anthropogenic activities.
- As of June 30, 2022, there are 2,439 Ramsar sites, covering a total area of around 254,689,088 hectares, which is slightly larger than Algeria – the tenth largest country in the world.
- Of these, information was outdated or missing for 1,826 Ramsar Sites.
- Parties to the Ramsar Convention are required to update the Ramsar Information Sheets (RIS) for their Ramsar sites at least once in every six years.
- Information for at least 1,225 Ramsar Sites were updated more than six years ago. Parties have not yet submitted updates via the online RIS that was operationalized in January 2015.
- There is a significant rise in the number of outdated RIS when compared with the COP12 and COP13.
- Information on at least 775 sites was updated 18 years ago.
About Wuhan Declaration
The Wuhan Declaration calls for a strong political will and practical outcomes to promote the conservation, restoration, management and wise and sustainable use of wetlands. It commits additional resources for the improved implementation of the Ramsar Convention’s strategic plan. It also calls for an increase in the impact-oriented actions up until 2030.
According to the 2nd Global Wetland Outlook released in 2021, wetlands are especially vulnerable to sea level rise, coral bleaching and changing hydrology. They are critical for achieving global commitments related to climate change and sustainable development. Wuhan Declaration seeks to address this issue.