The Ramsar convention recognises wetlands of global significance. Many IBAs qualify as ‘Wetlands of International Importance, according to the criteria of the convention, but many have not yet been nominated for this designation by governments.
There are three global initiatives that promote the conservation and good management of particular sites: the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention), the World Heritage Convention (WHC) and the Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme.
Although many Important Bird Areas (IBAs) meet the criteria for official recognition under these mechanisms—respectively as ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ (Ramsar Sites), World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves—so far only a small minority are benefiting from such status (Evans 1994, Heath and Evans 2000, Fishpool and Evans 2001, BirdLife International 2001, BirdLife International 2002, BirdLife International 2005; see figures). However, the documentation of sites as IBAs has helped to increase significantly that small proportion over the last 20 years, as legislators and planners increasingly use national IBA inventories in evaluating and improving the effectiveness of protected-area networks under their jurisdiction.
Compiled 2004, updated 2008
BirdLife International (2008) Many IBAs are recognised under global or regional conventions, but many remain neglected. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/202. Checked: 23/09/2014
|Key message: Working to fill gaps in coverage|