The Ramsar Convention, also known as the Convention on Wetlands, inscribed Myanmar’s Nantha Island and Mayyu Estuaries as a Ramsar Site on 22 May, according to the convention’s secretary office.
The proposal to list as a Ramsar site was submitted by the Forest Department and the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) with the approval from Rakhine State government.
The Nantha Island and Mayyu Estuaries, located between Yathedaung and Sittway townships in Rakhine State, measures 3,608 hectares (about 8,916 acres).
It has a variety of animal species including endangered birds. It is also a habitat for endangered sea turtles.
The Nantha Island and Mayyu Estuaries met five of nine Ramsar site criteria, and was listed as a Ramsar site. The five Ramsar criteria the Nantha and Mayyu met are as follows;
(1) It contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.
(2) It supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
(3) It supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
(4) It regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.
(5) It is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.
The Nantha Island and Mayyu Estuaries is also included in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Site Network.
The slogan “Our solutions are in nature” of International Day for Biological Diversity 2020 emphasizes hope, solidarity and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature.
The Nantha Island and Mayyu Estuaries became Myanmar’s sixth Ramsar site, preceded by Gulf of Mottama in 2020, Inle Lake in 2018, Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017, Indawgyi Wildlife Sanctuary in 2016, and Moeyungyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014.
The six Ramsar sites in Myanmar measure 278,669 hectares.
Since 2005, Myanmar has participated in the Ramsar Convention, and has been effectively utilizing the wetlands to fulfill the basic needs of the locals in the areas and reduce the climate change.
They have also been implementing other programmes of the convention including the designation of the wetlands to be international importance under the Ramsar Convention, administration, and cooperation on jointly-owned water resources and species.
Myanmar has many wetlands that can be qualified as a Ramsar Site. Therefore, the proposals to list the remaining wetlands as a Ramsar site will be submitted to the Convention on Wetlands. —MNA (Translated by Kyaw Zin Tun)