Basic Understandings of the RCJ
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat, popularly known as the Ramsar Convention 1971, aims to conserve wetlands not only for waterfowl but also for other creatures and ecosystems .
Wetlands are sometimes considered wasteland and are believed to harbor disease carrying insects, pest and harmful creatures. On the other hand, wetlands are extremely rich and fertile. Consequently, they have been reclaimed for arable crop land, residential areas, industrial zones and other purposes. These human activities have been historically praised as great achievement.
Although, some people developed negative thinking about wetlands, they are treasure house of lives. The importance of wetland ecosystem is one of the special features recognized by the Ramsar Convention.
Its recognition is based on the following understandings.
- Waterfowls and migratory birds need not to be protected and managed by people. What is necessary is to regulate people’s activities not to destroy the ecological condition for subsistence of such species, taking into account of their whole life cycle, and their distribution and ecosystem.
- What is necessary is not to exclude people from the wetland ecosystem, but to make them use the ecosystem with other creatures, recognizing that people are just a component of the wetland ecosystem.
- What is necessary is not only to evaluate the value of wetland for people, such as beauty, rarity and so on, but also to evaluate it for all creatures including birds, insects and all other species.
- Issues of migratory birds bear a regional and global character，but measures to conserve their habitats need local actions.
- These perceptions are becoming more common among people concerned with conservation of nature in the face of rising concern for global environmental issues.
The Ramsar Convention was laid down with the above-mentioned basic perceptions. Foresight of the Convention can be praised, but now people have to recognize that it is still important and necessary to realize such perceptions and concept of the Ramsar Convention.
Active and meaningful actions are required to conserve the wetland ecosystem which is critical for conserving biological diversity and securing the life sustaining function of the earth.
In order to promote sustainable utilization of wetlands and their resources and foster the mission of the Ramsar Convention, the Ramsar Center Japan (Society of Wetlands and People) was established. Its bylaws are given below.
The Ramsar Center Japan (Society of Wetlands and People)
The purpose of the Ramsar Center Japan is to contribute to increasing number of Ramsar Sites and enhancing nature conservation movement based on the basic principles of the Ramsar Convention through undertaking participatory action on wetlands and wetland resources, carrying out research on relationships between people’s life, wetland ecosystem and wildlife in all parts of the world, particularly in Japan and Asia, and promoting studies on inventory, management plan, and policies to conserve wetlands and their resources.
Activities include programmes and projects needed to achieve the above-mentioned purpose.
Financial resource of the Ramsar Center Japan depends on membership fees, donations, financial supports and others.
Membership is open for individuals who agree to the purpose of the Ramsar Center Japan. Those who apply for membership are required to be recommended by two bona-fide members.
- Managing Board
The managing board of the Ramsar Center Japan is composed of the President, the Vice President, the Auditor and the Secretary General. The President represents the Ramsar Center Japan. The Vice President helps the President and if necessary acts on behalf of the President. The Auditor audits the account of the Ramsar Center. The Secretary General represents the secretariat.
- General Assembly
General Assembly is held more than once a year and decides basic policies, such as projects and financial plans, and other activities necessary to achieve the purpose of the Ramsar Center Japan.
Expert committees are established for particular projects. These committees are held when necessary.
- Annual Membership Fee
JPY 8,000 per person
The Ramsar Center Japan publishes “Ramsar News”.
The secretariat manages the operation of the Ramsar Center Japan.
Ramsar Center Japan c/o Maple Tours Travel Agency
Room 101, Dear Place Meguro 2-3-1 Meguro, Meguro-ku,
Tokyo 153-0063 JAPAN
Phone & fax: + 81-3-3792-5513