The Ramsar Convention


Ramsar is the oldest of the modern intergovernmental agreements on the environment. The treaty was negotiated in the 1960s between countries and non-governmental organizations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitats for migratory water birds. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.

The mission of the Convention is “the conservation and wise use of wetlands through local and national actions and through international cooperation, as a contribution to the achievement of sustainable development throughout the world.”

Within the framework of the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties undertake to:

– work towards the rational use of all the wetlands in their territory;

– designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;

– cooperate at the international level on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.


Number of contracting parties: 168
Number of designated sites: 2,161
Total Area: 205,682,155 Hectares

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