Ramsar Convention Secretary-General
Wetlands of International Importance “Ramsar sites” are internationally recognized wetlands that meet one of nine "internationally defined" criteria. They cover an estimated area of 257,183,374 hectares and represent the largest network of officially recognized wetlands in the world. These sites host various categories of CITES species that contribute to the biodiversity and natural functioning of wetland ecosystems at global, regional and national scales.
Wetlands of International Importance are important for the reproduction, growth, migration and subsistence of wild species, which are of enormous social and economic value, contributing to rural incomes and significantly affecting the local and international economies of countries.
Despite these values, illegal wildlife trade threatens them, fuels armed conflicts and consequently affects local communities’ livelihoods as they undermines the very existence of wild species and their habitats worldwide.
Identifying sustainable solutions to address threats to wildlife is urgent, as the conservation of these species could sustain local and national economies and contribute to solving the planetary crisis of biodiversity loss and poverty alleviation. However, identifying solutions to address wildlife loss is severely constrained by many factors, at the heart of which is inadequate data on the status of species and their habitats.
As we celebrate World Wildlife Day 2024, I would like to draw the attention of the global community to the urgent need to digitize wildlife information and data for conservation purposes. The Convention on Wetlands currently hosts an electronic platform of 2503 Ramsar sites with information on flora and fauna species, wetland area, types, characteristics, flora and fauna species. In this regard, coordinated partnerships between national governments and MEAs would be invaluable in ensuring that information and data from vulnerable indigenous communities, women and youth make it into global electronic databases to promote effective conservation of wild species.