The Ramsar Secretariat
The Ramsar Convention Secretariat carries out the day-to-day coordination of the Convention's activities. It is located in the headquarters facilities of IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) in Gland, Switzerland, and Secretariat staff are legally considered to be employees of IUCN.
The Secretariat is headed by a Secretary General who answers to the Standing Committee and who supervises the work of a small number (currently 16) of policy/technical, communications and administrative staff, four interns, and one outposted representative in Apia, Samoa.
The Policy and Technical staff in the Secretariat itself comprise the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General and four Senior Regional Advisors to assist the Parties (in Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe); the interns serve as Assistant Advisors for the regions to form two-person "regional advisory teams". Each of the SRAs also leads on various thematic issues, as appropriate, such as coral reefs, mountain wetlands, peatlands, poverty reduction, etc. The communications team is responsible for promoting the Convention and the activities of its Secretariat staff, partners, and collaborators through news releases, educational and awareness-raising products, and documentation. Ramsar staff members work in several languages (notably the Convention's three official languages, English, French, and Spanish) and provide expertise in a range of disciplines. Additional staff are occasionally seconded to the Secretariat for special purposes, and consultants are recruited from time to time as needed.
The functions of the Secretariat are to:
* maintain the List of Wetlands of International Importance (§4.3) and note any additions and changes to the List and the Ramsar Sites Database (day-to-day development of the Database is subcontracted to Wetlands International);
* assist in convening and organizing the Conference of the Parties, the meetings of the Standing Committee and the STRP, and Ramsar regional meetings;
* provide administrative, scientific, and technical support to Contracting Parties, especially in relation to the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan;
* assist in recruiting new Contracting Parties;
* make known the decisions, Resolutions, and Recommendations of the COP and the Standing Committee;
* provide secretariat functions for the Scientific and Technical Review Panel and maintain the functionality of the Web-based STRP Support Service;
* seek financial contributions for the Small Grants Fund (§4.4.6), circulate an annual call for applications, and evaluate the project proposals received from Contracting Parties, and evaluate proposals received for the Wetlands for the Future assistance programme;
* administer projects funded with earmarked contributions;
* keep the Contracting Parties, the Ramsar community, and the public informed of developments related to the Convention;
* inform and advise inquirers, where possible, about matters concerning the Convention and wetlands;
* organize Ramsar Advisory Missions at the request of Contracting Parties (§4.3.6) and contribute to follow-up of RAM reports; and
* develop avenues of cooperation with other conventions, intergovernmental institutions, and national and international NGOs.