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Max Finlayson

Ramsar Listing, Wetlands of Distinction, and Rights of Wetlands

Brief introduction covering Ramsar listing as a potential form of recognition of the success of the restoration of the wetlands, in response to the original goal of establishing a world class wetland through the restoration project; the alternate and less formal Wetland of Distinction which recognises the Winton Wetlands as a gem in MDB; and the emerging concept of rights of wetlands as previously discussed in the science forums based on the Whanganui River (NZ) example.)

Max Finlayson


  • Chair, Environmental Strategy and Advisory Panel, Winton Wetlands
  • Chair of Wise Use of Wetlands, IHE Delft, Netherlands
  • Adjunct Professor, Gulbali Institute, Charles Sturt University


Four decades of experience as a wetland researcher, educator, and policy advisor in Australia and internationally with expertise in wetland assessment and monitoring including addressing drivers of ecological change, such as those from water pollution, invasive species, agricultural impacts, and climate change, and supported community-engagement in wetland management. Has since 1990 been an independent technical advisor to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands through four different employers, and attended 10 conferences of the parties to the convention, including two on behalf of the Australian government. Has participated in global assessments of climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem services, environmental change, and water management and agriculture, and the state of the world’s wetlands. Currently working on a vulnerability assessment of coastal wetlands in eight Caribbean states, an assessment of carbon sequestration by wetlands, and promoting the uptake of the rights of wetlands.