The Ramsar Convention for Wetlands of International Importance is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Signed February 2, 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, the convention was ratified by 21 parties which has to date increased to 168 parties. The convention is held every three years at different locations.
Through the Ramsar Convention, wetlands across the globe have the opportunity to be recognized for their unique and diverse ecological importance. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance now includes 2186 Sites (known as Ramsar Sites) covering over 200,000,000 ha (490,000,000 acres).
How a Wetland Gets Nominated
Letters of support are required from the local or state wildlife or natural resources agency, one member of congress, and all landowners within the site boundaries. Nominations for sites in the United States must be reviewed and approved by the US Fish & Wildlife Service before they are submitted.
- Wetlands provide fundamental ecological services and are regulators of water regimes and sources of biodiversity at all levels – species, genetic and ecosystem.
- Wetlands constitute a resource of great economic, scientific, cultural, and recreational value for the community.
- Wetlands play a vital role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
- Progressive encroachment on, and loss of, wetlands cause serious and sometimes irreparable environmental damage to the provision of ecosystem services.
- Wetlands should be restored and rehabilitated, whenever possible. Wetlands should be conserved by ensuring their wise use.
Ramsar Sites of International Importance