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Biodiversity & Environment

Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management

  • 04 Feb 2021
  • 6 min read

Why in News

Recently, on the occasion of the World Wetland Day, the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change announced the establishment of a Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM), as a part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM).

  • World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February.
  • The year 2021 also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands signed on 2nd February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
    • The theme for 2021 is 'Wetlands and Water'.
    • It was first celebrated in 1997.

Key Points

  • Significance of Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM):
    • The dedicated Centre 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.
    • It will help in building partnerships and networks with relevant national and international agencies.
    • It would serve as a knowledge hub and enable exchange between State/ UT Wetland Authorities, wetland users, managers, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners.
    • It 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 wetlands conservation.
  • Wetlands:
    • Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently. They include mangroves, marshes, rivers, lakes, deltas, floodplains and flooded forests, rice-fields, coral reefs, marine areas no deeper than 6 metres at low tide, as well as human-made wetlands such as waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs.
    • Though they cover only around 6% of the Earth’s land surface, 40% of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands.
  • Significance of Wetlands:
    • Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They mitigate floods, protect coastlines and build community resilience to disasters, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
    • Wetlands are critical to human and planet life. More than 1 billion people depend on them for a living.
    • They are a vital source for food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower.
    • 30% of land-based carbon is stored in peatland (a type of wetlands).
    • They play an important role in transport, tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people.
    • Many wetlands are areas of natural beauty and many are important to Aboriginal people.
  • Threats:
  • Status of Wetlands in India:
    • India has nearly 4.6% of its land as wetlands, covering an area of 15.26 million hectares and has 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites)
      • Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines of the convention.
      • There are currently over 2,300 Ramsar Sites around the world.
      • Recently, India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site.
    • Wetlands are regulated under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.
    • The 2010 version of the Rules provided for a Central Wetland Regulatory Authority, but new Rules of 2017 replaced it with state-level bodies and created a National Wetland Committee, which functions in an advisory role.
      • The newer regulations removed some items from the definition of “wetlands” including backwaters, lagoons, creeks, and estuaries.
      • Under the 2017 regulations, process to identify the wetlands has been delegated to the States.

National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management

  • Location:
    • It is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • Divisions:
    • It has various research divisions including, Geospatial Sciences, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Coastal environmental impact assessment, Conservation of Coastal & Marine Resources, etc.
  • Objective:
    • It aims to promote integrated and sustainable management of the coastal and marine areas in India for the benefit and wellbeing of the traditional coastal and island communities.
    • It also intends to promote sustainable coasts through increased partnership, conservation practices, scientific research and knowledge benefit and well being of the current and future generation.
  • Role:
    • Survey of India and NCSCM have mapped the Hazard Line for the entire coast of India, which includes vulnerability mapping of flood, erosion and sea-level rise.
    • It also advises the Union and State Governments and other associated stakeholders on policy, and scientific matters related to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).


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