Kiribati Joins Ramsar, Designates Coastal Wetland
1 May 2013: The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) has reported that the Government of Kiribati has acceded to the Convention, becoming its 166th contracting party. The coastal wetland No'oto-North Tarawa was designated as its first Ramsar site.
According to the Ramsar Secretariat, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the depositary of the Convention, has confirmed that it received the instrument of accession of Kiribati, as well as the name and map of one Wetlands of International Importance. The Convention will enter into force for this country on 3 August 2013.
The Ramsar Secretariat reports that Kiribati's first site, No'oto-North Tarawa wetland, contains a range of coastal ecosystems that support high levels of biodiversity and are rich in resources. The site is also an important breeding area for marine species, including endangered species, and is one of the few areas in Kiribati where mangroves grow. Activities carried out on the site include small-scale agricultural gardens, domesticated livestock breeding, small-scale coconut plantations, fishing and reef gleaning.
Kiribati's designation contributes to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]