Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance

June 23, 1986

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, concluded at Ramsar, Iran, February 2, 1971, and a Protocol to the Convention, concluded at Paris on December 3, 1982. The report of the Department of State is also enclosed for the information of the Senate.

The Convention is the result of a broad international recognition of the economic, cultural, scientific, ecological, and recreational value of wetlands, coupled with rising concern over the progressive worldwide loss and degradation of these habitats and their dependent resources. The Convention provides a framework for promoting the conservation of wetlands through international cooperative and coordinated actions, consultations, and information exchange.

A primary obligation under the Convention is the designation by Contracting Parties of wetlands within their territory for inclusion in a ``List of Wetlands of International Importance.'' If advice and consent to ratification is forthcoming, I intend to designate the four wetlands named in the Department of State report.

The Protocol to the Convention establishes the four language texts of the original Convention as equally authentic and provides a mechanism for amending the Convention.

International efforts directed toward wetlands conservation are vital to the preservation of United States migratory bird populations, which are affected by the loss of wetland habitats to the south. United States participation would complement domestic wetlands protection efforts and legislation; help stimulate Latin American countries, in particular, to cooperate in protecting the wintering habitat of birds that migrate to North America; and provide a framework for sharing U.S. wetlands technology and expertise.

I recommend that the Senate consider this matter at an early date, and give its advice and consent to ratification of the Convention and Protocol.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

June 23, 1986.