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Wetland City Accreditation (WCA) Scheme

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Indore, Bhopal, and Udaipur have been nominated for the Wetland City Accreditation (WCA) scheme under the Ramsar Convention.

About Wetland City Accreditation Scheme

  • Initiated in 2015 under Resolution XII.10 of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention (COP12).
  • Administered by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
  • Recognize and honour cities displaying exceptional efforts in protecting and managing their urban wetlands.
  • Foster positive relationships between cities and their wetlands.
  • Encourage conservation, wise use, and sustainable socio-economic benefits.
  • A total of 43 cities worldwide are accredited as wetlands cities under the Ramsar Convention with 18 cities accredited in 2018, and 25 in 2022.
  • Indore, Bhopal, and Udaipur are the first Indian cities nominated for the WCA scheme based on proposals from state wetlands authorities in collaboration with municipal corporations.

Wetlands in Nominated Cities

Indore – Sirpur Lake:

  • An Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) declared by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in 2017.
  • Commonly known as Pakshi Vihar (bird sanctuary).
  • Shallow, alkaline, nutrient-rich lake.

Bhopal – Bhoj Wetland:

  • Bhopal, known as the ‘city of lakes,’ has the Bhoj Wetland declared as a ‘Ramsar Site’ in 2002.
  • Comprises upper and lower lakes, with the Upper Lake being manmade and constructed in the 11th century.

Udaipur:

  • Surrounded by five major wetlands – Pichola, Fateh Sagar, Rang Sagar, Swaroop Sagar, and Doodh Talai.
  • Integral to the city’s culture and identity, maintaining the city’s microclimate and acting as a buffer from extreme events.
About the Ramsar Convention

·       Signed on February 2, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran.

·       Aims to preserve the ecological character of wetlands of international importance.

·       Currently, 172 countries are contracting parties.

·       Criteria for Ramsar Sites: Sites must meet at least one of nine criteria defined by the Ramsar Convention such as supporting vulnerable species, threatened ecological communities, or regularly supporting a large number of waterbirds.

Global Ramsar Sites:

·       The United Kingdom (175) and Mexico (142) have the maximum Ramsar sites globally.

·       Bolivia spans the largest area with 148,000 sq km under Convention protection.

Ramsar Sites in India:

·       India has Ramsar wetlands covering 11,000 sq km across 18 states.

·       Tamil Nadu has the highest number of Ramsar sites (14), followed by UP with 10 Ramsar sites.

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