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The Ramsar Convention (The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat) is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands, i.e., to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognising the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. It is named after the town of Ramsarmarker in Iranmarker.

The Convention

The convention was developed and adopted by participating nations at a meeting in Ramsarmarker on February 2, 1971, and came into force on December 21, 1975.

The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance now includes 1,869 sites (known as Ramsar Sites) covering around 1,836,000 km², up from 1,021 sites in 2000. The nation with the highest number of sites is the United Kingdommarker at 168; the nation with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Canadamarker, with over 130,000 km², including the Queen Maud Gulfmarker site at 62,800 km².

Presently, there are 159 contracting parties, up from 119 in 2000 and from 18 initial signatory nations in 1971. Signatories meet every three years as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the first held in Cagliari, Italy in 1980. Amendments to the original convention have been agreed to in Paris (in 1982) and Regina (in 1987).

There is a standing committee, a scientific review panel, and a secretariat. The headquarters is located in Gland, Switzerlandmarker, shared with the IUCN.

List of contracting parties

Albaniamarker, Algeriamarker, Argentinamarker, Armeniamarker, Australia, Austriamarker, Azerbaijanmarker, The Bahamasmarker, Bahrainmarker, Bangladeshmarker, Belarusmarker, Belgiummarker, Belizemarker, Beninmarker, Bermudamarker, Boliviamarker, Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Botswanamarker, Brazilmarker, Bulgariamarker, Burkina Fasomarker, Burundimarker, Cambodiamarker, Canadamarker, Chadmarker, Chilemarker, Chinamarker, Colombiamarker, Comorosmarker, Republic of the Congomarker, Costa Ricamarker, Côte d'Ivoiremarker, Croatiamarker, Cubamarker, Cyprusmarker, Czech Republicmarker, Democratic Republic of the Congomarker, Denmarkmarker, Djiboutimarker, Dominican Republicmarker, Ecuadormarker, Egyptmarker, El Salvadormarker, Equatorial Guineamarker, Estoniamarker, Finlandmarker, Francemarker, Gabonmarker, The Gambiamarker, Georgiamarker, Germanymarker, Ghanamarker, Greecemarker, Guatemalamarker, Guineamarker, Guinea-Bissaumarker, Hondurasmarker, Hungarymarker, Hong Kongmarker, Icelandmarker, Indiamarker, Indonesiamarker, Iranmarker, Irelandmarker, Israelmarker, Italymarker, Jamaicamarker, Japanmarker, Jordanmarker, Kenyamarker, Kyrgyz Republicmarker, Latviamarker, Lebanonmarker, Liberiamarker, Libyamarker, Liechtensteinmarker, Lithuaniamarker, Luxembourgmarker, Madagascarmarker, Malawimarker, Malaysiamarker, Malimarker, Maltamarker, Mauritaniamarker, Mauritiusmarker, Mexicomarker, Moldovamarker, Monacomarker, Mongoliamarker, Moroccomarker, Namibiamarker, Nepalmarker, Netherlandsmarker, New Zealandmarker, Nicaraguamarker, Nigermarker, Nigeriamarker, Norwaymarker, Pakistanmarker, Palaumarker, Panamamarker, Papua New Guineamarker, Paraguaymarker, Perumarker, Philippinesmarker, Polandmarker, Portugalmarker, Republic of Macedoniamarker, Romaniamarker, Russiamarker, Saint Luciamarker, Senegalmarker, Serbiamarker, Sierra Leonemarker, Slovakiamarker, Sloveniamarker, South Africa, South Koreamarker, Spainmarker, Sri Lankamarker, Surinamemarker, Swedenmarker, Switzerlandmarker, Syriamarker, Tajikistanmarker, Tanzania, Thailandmarker, Togomarker, Trinidad and Tobagomarker, Tunisiamarker, Turkeymarker, Turkmenistanmarker, Uganda, Ukrainemarker, United Kingdommarker, United Statesmarker, Uruguaymarker, Uzbekistanmarker, Venezuelamarker, Vietnammarker, Zambiamarker, former USSRmarker.

New contracting parties:Antigua and Barbudamarker (02.10.05), Cape Verdemarker (18.11.05), Central African Republicmarker (05.04.06), Iraqmarker (17.02.08), Kazakhstanmarker (15.01.07), Lesothomarker (01.11.04), Marshall Islandsmarker (13.11.04), Montenegromarker (succ. 03.06.06), Mozambiquemarker (03.12.04), Myanmarmarker (17.03.05), Rwandamarker (01.04.06), Samoamarker (06.02.05), Seychellesmarker (22.03.05), Sudanmarker (07.05.05), Turkmenistanmarker (03.07.09), United Arab Emiratesmarker (29.12.07), Yemenmarker (08.02.08).

See also


  1. Ramsar official website, retrieved 2009-11-07
  2. Ramsar Contracting Parties, retrieved 2009-11-07
  3. Ramsar: A brief history,retrieved 2009-11-07

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