The Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security will, following consultations with the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, submit a proposal to the Ramsar Convention Secretariat to designate Caverne Patate in Rodrigues as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site).
In the event of the acceptance of the designation of Caverne Patate as a Ramsar Site of International Importance, the site would gain international recognition which would contribute to further develop the site and attract more tourists to the island.
Caverne Patate, which is about 1057 metres long (accessible area: about 600 metres), is a cave system full of stalactites and stalagmites which is located directly underneath a coral plain. It has been formed as the result of tectonic plate movement and is now one of the most popular tourist sites in Rodrigues. The natural landmark comprises numerous interesting formations and can be visited independently or with a guide.
Ramsar is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements. The treaty was negotiated in the 1960s by countries and non-governmental organisations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory water birds. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Its mission is the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.
The Ramsar Convention Secretariat carries out the day-to-day coordination of the Convention's activities. The offices are co-located with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Gland, Switzerland, which provides some supporting services to the Convention.
The network of Ramsar Sites includes coastal and inland wetlands of all types. The world's first Site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974. The largest Sites are Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Queen Maud Gulf in Canada, each covering over 60,000 square kilometres. The countries with the most Sites are the United Kingdom with 170 and Mexico with 142.
Ramsar Sites in Mauritius
As at date, three Ramsar Sites of International Importance have been proclaimed in Mauritius. The Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary was the very first Ramsar Site of International Importance designated in Mauritius in September 2001. Blue Bay Marine Park and Pointe D'Esny wetlands have been nominated as second and third Ramsar Sites of International Importance.