Montreux Record

The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites or the List of Wetlands of International Importance, where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.

Montreux Record

It is the principle tool under the Ramsar convention for highlighting wetlands sites in need of priority conservation status. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar Database and is subject to continuous review.

Establishment of Montreux Record

In the 4th meeting of Conference of Contracting Parties to Ramsar Convention at Montreux, Switzerland in 1990, it was discussed that only listing of sites under Ramsar convention isn t sufficient. So, it recommended the creation of a database of sites that are facing change in ecological character or have a potential threat. These sites to get priority attention and possible application of the Monitoring Procedure.

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Difference between Wetlands, Ramsar List and Montreux Record

While all three terms are part of the Ramsar convention, they have certain differences

Wetlands

Ramsar List

Montreux Record

The convention uses a broad definition including all areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance includes those wetland sites which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life. The Montreux Record of wetland sites on Ramsar List, where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
Estimated Area - 700-900 million hectare Number of Sites: 2,314

Area - 245 million hectareNumber of sites - 48

The process of Addition of a site to Montreux Record

  1. The country (contracting party) in which the site lies, should request for inclusion of it in the record.
  2. Alternatively, if a piece of information on actual or possible adverse change regarding a site is received, the bureau may draw the attention of the Contracting Party concerned to this information and enquire whether a Ramsar site should be included in the Montreux Record. Note - However, a site can only be included in the Record with the approval of the Contracting Party concerned.
  3. The contracting party is required to provide all the information regarding the site.
  4. The Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) of the convention provides technical advice on the change/potential change in ecological character.
  5. The contracting party will then take the decision as to whether the site should be included in the Montreux Record, in consultation with the Bureau.
  6. Contracting Parties are required to provide a report to the Convention Bureau on the conservation status of sites in Montreux Record.

The process of Removal of a site from Montreux Record

  1. The bureau may receive such request from the country or other sources, suggesting that the risk is no longer there.
  2. Contracting party to provide detail on success of measure taken, proposed monitoring and assessment procedures and the extent to which the ecological character has been restored.
  3. The Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) is consulted for technical advice, which is forwarded to the contracting party.
  4. A wetland will be removed based on the request of the Contracting Party and after consideration of advice and/or comment from the STRP

Benefits of inclusion in Montreux Record

The voluntary inclusion of a site on Montreux Record is a useful tool as -

  1. It would assist Contracting Parties in their domestic commitment to resolve the adverse changes;
  2. Highlighting particularly serious cases would be beneficial at national and/or international level;
  3. Inclusion on the Record would provide guidance in the allocation of resources available under financial mechanisms; and
  4. The Bureau can also provide technical assistance known as Ramsar Advisory Mission, on the request of Contracting Party.

Montreux Record Sites in India

At present, there are two Indian sites Loktak Lake, Manipur and Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan on the Montreux Record.

Chilika Lake, Odisha was the first Indian site to be placed on Montreux Record in 1993 due to siltation, which was choking the mouth of the lake. This resulted in a drop in salinity of the lake. After a range of interventions, primarily the successful dredging of lake-mouth, opening it to the Bay of Bengal, it was removed from the list in 2002. Studies have shown that every rupee spent on the restoration of the Chilika Lake since 1991 has yielded INR 15 in return, making it a model case for the restoration of other wetlands in India.

Montreux Record has provided an important tool for management and conservation of important wetland sites from the harmful effects of human interventions. It compliments the domestic efforts of the countries and helps augment their resources and efforts towards conservation of our natural assets. As of 2018, 32 sites which had been listed on the Montreux Record had since been removed from it, after successfully restoring their ecological character (though one of those had been placed upon it again).

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