Udaipur: India’s First Wetland City

Udaipur: India's First Wetland City
Udaipur: India's First Wetland City

The Rajasthan government is diligently working towards bestowing Udaipur, fondly known as the “City of Lakes,” with the distinction of becoming India’s first wetland city.

Reports indicate that the Environment and Forest Department has chosen Udaipur in accordance with the Ramsar Convention of International Importance. This remarkable city is enveloped by five significant lakes, namely Pichola, Fateh Sagar, Rang Sagar, Swaroop Sagar, and Doodh Talai. Udaipur is already included in the restoration project of the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) initiated by the central government.

It’s worth noting that the management of Udaipur’s wetlands and lakes is primarily overseen by the tourism and local self-government departments. The state’s Environment and Forest Department is reportedly in the process of nominating Udaipur to the Ramsar Convention for international recognition.

In reference to this development, Monali Sen, Joint Secretary of the Environment and Climate Change Ministry, mentioned that the department is planning a one-day workshop for district officials and representatives of local bodies to finalize the nomination. The inter-departmental meeting will carefully consider input from all stakeholders.

According to the Ramsar Convention’s criteria, a wetland must be deemed internationally important if it contains a rare, representative, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region. Additionally, it should support vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.

The state authorities assert that Udaipur, with its expansive 37-square-kilometer area, fully meets all the necessary requirements to earn the coveted designation of a wetland city. This distinction is indeed rare, with only a handful of cities worldwide having received such recognition. Apart from Udaipur, Bhopal is also actively striving to attain this prestigious status.

The Ramsar Convention, officially known as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, is a global treaty with the aim of preserving and sustainably managing Ramsar-designated sites. It is commonly referred to as the Convention on Wetlands and is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the agreement was signed in 1971.

In 2022, during the Convention’s proceedings, 25 cities were acknowledged as wetland cities, including Sackville in Canada, Cape Town in South Africa, Ifrane in Morocco, and others from various countries. At present, there are 42 wetland cities situated across 17 nations around the world, with China boasting the highest number at 13 such cities.

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