Ramsar Briefing Note on avoiding, mitigating, and compensating for wetland loss


The third publication in the scientific and technical Briefing Note series, Avoiding, mitigating, and compensating for loss and degradation of wetlands in national laws and policies, is a supporting background document to Draft Resolution XI.9, "An Integrated Framework and guidelines for avoiding, mitigating and compensating for wetland losses", proposed by the Ramsar Standing Committee for consideration by the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in Bucharest in July 2012.

The new publication provides examples of the variety of approaches that Contracting Parties have taken in adopting the "avoid-mitigate-compensate" sequence in laws and policies throughout the Ramsar regions, ranging from wetland-specific and biodiversity-related laws and policies to more general environmental impact assessment instruments.

The "avoid-mitigate-compensate" sequence is an important tool for maintaining the ecological character of wetlands. There are a number of Resolutions and Recommendations already adopted by the Ramsar Parties which, whilst they emphasize the need to avoid wetland losses as an imperative, also recognize the three-stage approach to avoiding, mitigating (or minimizing), and compensating for residual wetland losses when strict avoidance is impossible for any reason.

Briefing Note no. 3, authored by Royal C. Gardner, Marcela Bonells, Erin Okuno, and Juan Manuel Zarama, is available in PDF format here.

The Ramsar Scientific and Technical Briefing Notes series is prepared by the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) in order to share relevant, credible and interesting scientific and technical information on wetlands with a broad audience. Read more about this series here.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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