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Samoa agress to sign convention on wetlands

Samoa agress to sign convention on wetlands

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has applauded Samoa's decision to join the Ramsar Convention protecting globally significant wetlands.

"Samoa's decision to sign up to the Convention is a major boost to the cause of conservation in the pacific," Mr Carter said.

"Pacific nations want to play their part in conserving their natural heritage but too often the administrative requirements of joining and then being a party to Convention's such as Ramsar provide an unrealistic burden.

"It is fantastic that Samoa has decided to become a party to Ramsar, because until now New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea have been the only state parties in the Oceania region," he said.

Samoa's decision to join the Convention came after a three-yearly Ramsar conference in Spain last week that focussed on addressing some of the difficulties Pacific island nations face in working with the Convention.

The Convention, first signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, is an agreement for the protection and management of wetlands of international importance.

New Zealand ratified it in 1976 and has five wetlands registered as having international status. They include:

§ Farewell Spit at Nelson/Marlborough
§ Waituna Lagoon in Southland
§ Kopuatai Peat Dome in Waikato
§ Whangamarino in Waikato
§ Firth of Thames in Waikato.

Mr Carter said the Ramsar conference also backed the establishment of a regional Oceania coordinator to work with Pacific countries on wetland issues.

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