Oman becomes Ramsar’s 167th Contracting Party
UNESCO, the Ramsar Convention’s depositary, has informed the Secretariat that as of 19 April 2013 Oman has completed the formalities and deposited its instrument of accession with the Director-General, along with the required name and map of at least one Wetland of International Importance. Thus the Ramsar community can warmly welcome the Sultanate of Oman as the 167th Contracting Party, for which the Convention will enter into force four months from that accession date, i.e., 19 August 2013.
Oman’s first Ramsar Site, the 172-hectare Qurm Nature Reserve wetland, lies at the heart of Muscat, the capital city. It contains a natural Avicennia marina mangrove forest and salt marsh situated at the foot of the Hajar Mountains and facing the Gulf of Oman, representing a healthy and valuable coastal wetland in the arid Arabian Desert and Gulf of Oman ecoregion. It is an important shelter and habitat for juvenile fish and marine invertebrates, and acts as a natural protection from tropical storms and cyclones. An estimated 194 species of birds visit the area, including terns, gulls, egrets and herons.
The site’s urban setting provides a double advantage: not only does it have aesthetic value appreciated by residents and tourists alike, it also offers the opportunity to raise awareness about the value of wetlands within an easily accessible and natural mangrove forest. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman is planning to establish a state of the art education and research centre at the site, set for 2015.
(Photo: Lew Young, Ramsar)