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5-January -2024

1. Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change submits proposals for Wetland City Accreditation under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for cities of Indore, Bhopal and Udaipur.

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservation
UPSC candidates should study Ramsar Convention, Wetland City Accreditation, and India’s conservation efforts for urban wetlands for environmental governance and international relations.
Context:
  • India’s Ministry of Environment submits Indore, Bhopal, and Udaipur for Wetland City Accreditation under Ramsar Convention.
  • The nominated cities, known for cleanliness, aim to safeguard urban wetlands, promote conservation, and gain international recognition for their efforts.
More information on the news:
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has submitted three nominations from India for Wetland City Accreditation (WCA) under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
  • The nominated cities are Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), and Udaipur (Rajasthan).
  • These nominations are based on proposals from respective State Wetlands Authorities in collaboration with the Municipal Corporations.
  • The wetlands around these cities provide various benefits such as flood regulation, livelihood opportunities, and recreational and cultural values.
  • The three nominated cities have Ramsar Sites, including Sirpur Wetland in Indore, Bhoj Wetland in Bhopal, and several wetlands around Udaipur.
  • Indore, known for its cleanliness, has Sirpur Lake recognized as a significant site for water bird congregation and is being developed as a Bird Sanctuary.
  • Bhopal, also recognized for cleanliness, has proposed conservation zones around wetlands in its draft City Development Plan 2031, with Bhoj Wetland as a lifeline.
  • Udaipur, located in Rajasthan, is surrounded by five major wetlands integral to the city’s culture and identity, helping maintain the microclimate and providing a buffer from extreme events.
  • The WCA is a voluntary accreditation system approved by the Ramsar Convention to recognize cities that take exceptional steps to safeguard their urban wetlands.
  • The scheme aims to promote conservation, wise use of urban wetlands, and sustainable socio-economic benefits for local populations.
  • To be formally accredited, a city must meet international criteria outlined in the Operational Guidance for WCA of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
  • The Wetland City Accreditation will generate public awareness about urban wetland conservation and align with the ongoing Amrit Dharohar initiative of the MoEF&CC, promoting the unique conservation values of Ramsar Sites in the country.
More about Ramsar Convention
  • Date: Adopted on February 2, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran.
  • Objective: International treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
  • Importance: Recognizes wetlands as ecosystems crucial for biodiversity, water resources, and climate regulation.
  • Member Countries: Over 170 countries are parties to the convention.
  • Designated Sites: More than 2,400 Ramsar Sites globally, covering over 250 million hectares.
  • Criteria for Designation: Focus on ecological character, biodiversity, and sustainable use.
  • Action Plans: Encourages countries to develop and implement national plans for wetland conservation.
  • Role in Biodiversity Conservation: Addresses the protection of migratory species and habitats.
  • Periodic Review: Ensures the effectiveness of conservation measures.
  • Global Impact: Ramsar sites contribute significantly to the preservation of global biodiversity and sustainable development. 
PYQ: Comment on the National Wetland conservation Programme initiated by the Government of India and name a few India’s wetlands of International importance included in the Ramsar Sites. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2023)
Practice Question: How does the Ramsar Convention contribute to global biodiversity conservation, and what measures does it recommend for the sustainable use of wetlands? (150 words/10 m)

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