January 18, 2011 - The 8th Session of the National Assembly of Bhutan ratified the Ramsar Convention today after 1 hour 30 minutes discussion. Thirty six out of thirty six members of parliament present during the session voted to ratify the 12 articles of the Ramsar Convention. The Agriculture and Forests Minister, Lyonpo (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho said that the decision is only going to further benefit the country in its effort to conserve wetlands in Bhutan.

January 18, 2011 – The 8th Session of the National Assembly of Bhutan ratified the Ramsar Convention today after 1 hour 30 minutes discussion. Thirty six out of thirty six members of parliament present during the session voted to ratify the 12 articles of the Ramsar Convention. The Agriculture and Forests Minister, Lyonpo (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho said that the decision is only going to further benefit the country in its effort to conserve wetlands in Bhutan.

He further stated that being a member and having Ramsar wetland sites in Bhutan will not only help the people and government of Bhutan avail fund for conservation but also help in enhancing research activities in the proposed Ramsar Sites. He further stated that it will only increase Bhutan’s stringent tradition of environmental conservation.

Phobjikha and Khothokha valleys in Wangduephodrang and Bumdeling in Trashiyangtse – all wintering habitat of the Black-necked Cranes – are the three potential wetlands proposed for Ramsar sites by the government.

The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971), called the “Ramsar Convention” ( www.ramsar.org), is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. Unlike the other global environmental conventions, Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, but it works very closely with the other MEAs and is a full partner among the “biodiversity-related cluster” of treaties and agreements. The Ramsar Secretariat is based at Gland, Switzerland (Source: www.ramsar.org).

 Reported by Tshering Phuntsho