The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands towards the Sustainable Development Goals

22 June 2017

“The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands towards the Sustainable Development Goals” was the title of the Executive Briefing presented by the Ramsar Convention Secretary General, Martha Rojas Urrego, to Permanent Missions on 21 June at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The briefing was attended by representatives of 48 countries and seven organizations (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Graduate Institute, International Union for Conservation of Nature, UN Environment, Inter-Parliamentary Union, SDB Lab, UN Development Programme and UN Office for Project Services).

Chief of Political Affairs and Partnership Section at the UN, Salman Bal chaired the event and opened the session by introducing the new Ramsar Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego to the UN community. He highlighted wetlands’ great political and economic importance and the gravity of the mandate of the Convention on Wetlands in protecting these vital assets and the increased importance of the role of the Convention in the sustainable development agenda.


During her presentation the Ramsar Secretary General said “The 169 governments which have signed the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands have demonstrated their commitment to develop policies for the sustainable management of wetlands. It is an important platform of political commitment which needs to be replicated.”

The Secretary General explained the contributions  of wetlands to various Sustainable Development Goals: food security, availability and sustainable management of water, sustainable economic growth, biodiversity, climate change resilience and gender equality. She has stressed that frameworks such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals provide opportunities for countries to integrate wetlands conservation and restoration as part of their mitigation efforts and national action plans for climate change reduction; Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Martha Rojas-Urrego concluded by reminding participants that synergies and cooperation with other Conventions are crucial in achieving global sustainability goals.