People are at the heart of wetland conservation. For this reason, the Ramsar Convention supports governments to safeguard the cultural values of wetlands, the livelihoods they provide, and the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to participate in their management.
Our lakes, rivers, marshes, coastal areas and other wetlands are often associated with long-standing cultural practices that allow human societies to thrive, adapt to environmental change, and to continue using nature in a sustainable way. In fact, wetlands are central to the lives and livelihoods of more than a billion people around the world, including indigenous peoples.
Cultural practices and traditions can play a powerful role in wetland conservation and wise use. The Ramsar Convention works through the Ramsar Culture Network (RCN) to promote the integration of cultural values and practices within wetland management.
The RCN is a global community of over 120 concerned individuals and organizations worldwide. It provides leadership on wetland culture and livelihoods, works in collaboration with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and acts as the delivery mechanism for Ramsar’s Culture, Livelihoods and Wetlands Partnership.
The Network is intended to incubate new ideas and opportunities for improved management and wise use of wetlands, particularly within the five thematic areas listed below: