Fri, Oct 24, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Ma says Taiwan should be part of wetland treaty

CONSERVATION CLUB Taiwan would like to promote conservation and raise public awareness of wetlands, Ma told members of the Society of Wetland Scientists

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) expressed the hope yesterday that Taiwan would become a party to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

The international wetlands convention, also known as the Ramsar Convention, was signed in 1971 to promote the conservation of the delicate ecological systems. More than 150 countries have signed the treaty.

In a written statement addressed to the opening ceremony of the First Asian Wetland Convention and Workshop of the Asia chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS), Ma said the Republic of China (ROC) wanted to join the convention to join global conservation efforts.

The convention, being held in Taipei, opened yesterday and runs until Sunday.

Ma said Taiwan is home to extensive wetlands and that through the efforts of the Construction and Planning Agency, the government wanted to set aside 75 stretches of wetland as protected.

In addition to promoting conservation and management measures for the wetland areas, the government will work to increase public awareness of the importance of protecting these areas and other environmental resources.

Although Taiwan is not a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, the nation strongly supports its principles and regulations and wants to become a member, Ma said.

Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) said in a speech at the opening of the conference that the 75 wetland areas to be set aside as protected areas comprised 1.23 percent of Taiwan’s total land area.

The construction agency and local government agencies have extensive experience in managing wetlands, Liao said, adding that he hoped Taiwan would share some of this experience and knowledge with the rest of the world during the conference.

The conference is being held at the National Taiwan University Hospital International Convention Center and will cover four major topics, including the ecological, economic and cultural significance of wetlands in Asia; wetland restoration; management of wetlands; and global and local community participation and education.

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