The Ramsar Convention is very pleased to welcome the United Republic of Tanzania as its 120th Contracting Party. Tanzania's instrument of accession to the Ramsar Convention, as amended by the Paris Protocol, was accepted by UNESCO as of 13 April 2000, so the treaty will come into force for Tanzania on 13 August 2000. As its obligatory first Wetland of International Importance, the new Party has designated the vast Malagarasi-Muyovozi Wetlands (3,250,000 hectares), which is listed as fulfilling all eight of the Ramsar Criteria.
The Ramsar site is a vast and complex riverine floodplain wetland in the basin of the Malagarasi River in northwest Tanzania, is one of the largest and most important wetlands in East Africa. The basin has five main rivers, the Malagarasi, Moyowosi, Kigosi, Gombe, and Ugalla, which drain an area of 9.2 million ha (about 30% of the Lake Tanganyika catchment system). The core area of the Ramsar site comprises lakes and open water in tbe dry season covering about 250,000 ha, together with a permanent papyrus swamp of about 200,000 ha with large peripheral floodplains that fluctuate widely on a yearly basis, depending on the amount of rainfall, but cover up to 1.5 million ha. The wetland habitats are surrounded by very extensive miombo woodlands and wooded grasslands which are part of a larger region of forests and wetlands covering about 15 million ha in western Tanzania. The site is extremely important for large mammals, migratory and resident waterbirds, fish and plants (with perhaps as many as 50 indigenous fish species), as well as providing significant livelihood support to local communities. Major livelihood activities in the site are fishing, hunting, honey gathering, harvesting forest products and cattle grazing. The majority (95%) of the Ramsar Site is within protected areas (game reserves and forest reserves), while the balance is in district or village lands. A Danish International Development Assistance (Danida) project, "Sustainable and Integrated Management of the Malagarasi-Moyowosi Ramsar Site," has been active in the area since 1999.
The Malagarasi-Muyovozi Wetlands become the Convention's 1024th Ramsar site.
The boundary of the Ramsar site is outlined with a dark blue line.