Bhutan joins the Ramsar Convention

Minister of Agriculture & Forests, Lyonpo (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho presenting the Ramsar case to the Parliament (c)WWF BhutanOn 10th January, 2012 during the 8th Parliament session of Bhutan, the government formally ratified Bhutan’s profile entry in the Ramsar Convention, a high level inter-governmental treaty on wetlands. The global environmental treaty recognizes three wetlands– Phobjikha, Khothokha and Bumdeling- all wintering grounds for Black-necked Cranes as potential Ramsar sites in the country.

Introduced into the session by Agriculture and Forests Minister, Lyonpo (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho; he said that the decision is only going to further benefit the country in its effort to conserve wetlands. He highlighted that wetlands constitute a resource of great economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value, the loss of which would be irreparable. Being a member of the Convention will result in Bhutan benefitting in areas of wetlands preservation such as fish and wildlife habitat, natural water quality improvement, flood storage and mitigate against the affects of climate change.

During the session, the government also endorsed the three identified wetlands- Phobjikha, Bumdeling and Khotokha as Ramsar declared sites.

Some of the benefits entitled with the Ramsar designation include increased support for-

• public awareness about the importance of the sites,
• participation by local stakeholder in its management,
• protection of the site and its surrounding (buffer) areas,
• conservation funding,
• opportunities for promoting scientific research and ecotourism

WWF Bhutan had been working closely with the Watershed Management Division, Ministry of Agriculture & Forests (focal contact for Ramsar) to build a case for Bhutan’s assession in the convention. With funding support from Living Himalayas Network Initiative, Saving Wetland Sky High (SWSH) and Ramsar Convention, WWF Bhutan supported the division with a series of stakeholder meetings and wetland research which further expedited the assession.


Source: WWF Bhutan