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First Centre for wetland conservation established

Babul Supriyo

The Union Government has announced to establish India's first Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM) on the occasion of World Wetland Day on Tuesday. Babul Supriyo, the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, informed about the establishment of the Centre during a virtual launch event organised today.

The CWCM would be annexed to the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, an institution under the Ministry of Forest and Climate Change (MoF&CC). Speaking at the launch, Supriyo highlighted the importance of wetlands in providing various ecosystem services.

"The dedicated Centre which has been launched today would address specific research needs and knowledge gaps and will aid in the application of integrated approaches for conservation, management and wise use of the wetlands," he said.

As per records, nearly 4.6 per cent of the total land in India are identified as wetlands, covering an area of 15.26 million hectares. As many as 42 sites have been designated as wetlands of international importance, also called Ramsar sites, with a surface area of 1.08 million hectares.

The World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2 to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for the people and the planet. This day also marks the date of the adoption of the convention on wetlands on February 2, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The year 2021 also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention.

"Wetland conservation management would serve as a knowledge hub and enable exchange between the wetland authorities of states/Union Territories (UT), wetland users, managers, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. The Centre would also assist the national and state/UT governments in the design and implementation of policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning, monitoring and targeted research for its conservation," he explained.

The Minister also released publications relating to faunal diversity of all the Ramsar sites in the country and a brochure on designation of Ramsar sites.