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The Ramsar Convention, also known as The Convention on Wetlands, is aimed at preventing the loss of wetlands around the world, especially wetlands that are representative, rare, unique or wetlands that are essential to preserving biological diversity. The sites that are protected by this convention are known as Ramsar Sites.

Barka - Sunset of Lake Menindee - 8 Dec 2022
The sun sets over Copi Hollow, a part of the Menindee lakes system. Image: Abram Powell
© Australian Museum

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was developed during the 1960s by various countries and non-governmental organisations that had developed concerns about the health of wetland habitats, especially in regards to how this affected migratory waterbirds. It was developed and implemented in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar and came into full force in 1975.

Australia was also one of the first countries to name a Wetland of International Importance in 1974: the Coburg Peninsula. Since then, Australia has gone on to name sixty-six Wetlands of International Importance, which covers an area of around 8.3 million hectares.

The Australian Government has implemented the Ramsar Convention within its Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), which outlines guidelines and frameworks for managing Ramsar Sites.

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