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International policy
The Ramsar Convention
Related maps, pictures, links

The Ramsar Convention is an important policy tool in the Amur-Heilong basin. The basin is supervised from the Asian Ramsar Bureau office. More than 12 Ramsar sites have already been listed and inventories have been completed for wetlands that qualify as Ramsar sites throughout most of the basin.

The basin includes many important wetlands that are linked by hydrology, bird breeding, and wildlife migration. These wetlands are ideally suited to coordinated management using the Ramsar Convention's regional, river basin approach. Integrated river basin management (IRBM) in the Amur-Heilong can only be accomplished through international cooperation, a worthy objective of which would be an agreement and plan for protecting the entire Amur-Heilong River ecosystem. Drafting of the plan is a long-term commitment that would require several preparatory stages: design of a regional conservation framework, development of a common transboundary vision, drafting of a basin-wide action plan, and specification of implementation mechanisms. The Ramsar Convention's regional approach provides a suitable framework for managing this process.

During recent years integrated river basin management (IRBM) became one of most important themes of Ramsar because of its long tradition of helping to form regional initiatives and alliances. The Mediterranean Regional Ramsar Initiative , uniting 11 countries in project activities and 25 countries in policy consultations, is the most advanced model developed under the Ramsar Convention heretofore. The founding of the Mediterranean Initiative led to the establishment of a funded coordination body supported by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat. This body is able to discuss and coordinate wetland policy issues beyond bilateral agreements, and can establish joint transboundary projects and raise funding. In 2005, more than 10 such regional initiatives existed globally. Some of these had received approval from the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and have started operations.

Since all countries of the Amur-Heilong basin are long-time signatories to the convention, this mechanism could provide a very useful umbrella for transboundary efforts in integrated river basin management. Many existing bilateral and trilateral agreements may be used to support this umbrella and to address aspects of IRBM (wetland management, international protected areas, protection of transboundary ecosystems and biodiversity, pollution monitoring, fisheries regulation). The Ramsar Initiative was discussed in May 2005 at the Ramsar Regional Asian Meeting and was supported by participants, including official representatives of the three basin countries. A plan to establish regional coordination facilitated by the Ramsar Convention was also approved at a Trilateral Meeting of Dauria International Protected Area (DIPA) in March 2006.



Detailed hydrography of Amur River basin

Wetlands of Amur

Major protected areas of Amur-Heilong

Upper Ussury –Lake Khanka.

Khanka Lake international nature reserve

Small Hinggan transboundary area (Manchurian forests ecoregion)

Dauria Steppe Global 200 ecoregion

Overlapping GEF projects in Amur-Heilong River basin (PPT SLIDE)



International cooperation

Daurian steppe

Song-Nen plain

Amur meadows and wetlands – Amur midflow

Khanka Lake and Upper Ussury Wetlands

Lower Amur Wetlands


Great Zhanhe Wetland - not covered by any conventions so far. Heilongjiang. (Photo by GuoYumin)


Also look:

Need for a Cooperation Framework

Russia-China agreements on environmental protection and natural resources(table)

China-Mongolia environmental agreements

Mongolia-Russia cooperation

Participation in biodiversity conventions

Examples of bilateral and regional conventions and action plans

GEF in Amur Basin


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