the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their
Number of Contracting Parties: 168
Number of Ramsar Sites: 2,186
Total surface of designated sites: 208,449,277 ha
The Ramsar Convention and its mission
The Convention’s 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”.
Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide essential services and supply all our fresh water. However they continue to be degraded and converted to other uses.
The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:
- work towards the wise use of all their wetlands;
- designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;
- cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.