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Culture and Wetlands

Partners and Activities
Ramsar Convention
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

ACTIVITY

The Ramsar Culture Working Group


Culture is associated with each activity of a given society and its dynamic nature allows them to constantly change and evolve. When it comes to wetlands, these activities may involve, among others, salt gathering, reed cutting, fishing, nets weaving, rice growing, boat building, animal grazing, hunting, and the construction of huts, roofs and fish-traps using reeds.

Since ancient times people settled near wetlands and used their resources in numerous ways, developing strong links manifested in their cultural and spiritual traditions and associated heritage.
After many decades of practicing nature conservation around the globe, it has become apparent that unless the welfare of the local populations is taken into consideration and their participation in related activities is not ensured, sustainable results cannot be guaranteed. Reconnecting people to wetlands and the adoption of integrated approaches to the natural and cultural heritage have thus become prerequisites for successful conservation initiatives.

It has been shown that adopting integrating approaches wetland sites may become appealing destinations through mild tourism activities can support financially local communities. Further, many cultural aspects involve traditional resource management techniques, which can be incorporated successfully in contemporary nature conservation efforts.

Resolution IX.21 (2005), para. 17 provided the framework for the establishment of the Convention’s Culture Working Group in 2006: The Conference of the Parties “REQUESTS the Ramsar Secretariat to establish a multi-disciplinary working group on the cultural values of wetlands, with a balanced geographic representation, under the supervision of Standing Committee, with appropriate input from the STRP, to coordinate the activities described above”.

Since 2009, its members consisted mainly by Ramsar Regional representatives, but it will be shortly expanded, encouraging the participation of institutions and committed individuals.

Some past activities of the CWG have been:

-  Preparing advice for the Ramsar Contracting Parties on the basis of Resolutions VIII.19 and IX.21 and producing and publishing Culture and wetlands: a Ramsar guidance document in English, French and Spanish.

- Organising a side event on culture and wetlands during Ramsar COP10 in Changwon, November 2009.

- Drafting a Ramsar position paper on the future of the World Heritage Convention.

- Representing the Ramsar Convention at culture oriented events, such as the side event at COP10 on ‘Culture in Asian wetlands’ and the Symposium on the future of the World Heritage Convention (Paris, France, February 2009).

- Organising a side event on culture and wetlands during Ramsar COP11 in Bucharest, Romania in July 2012.

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