The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

02/12/2009
Download the basic Ramsar List
Ramsar Sites in order of listing, with site numbers
The Annotated Ramsar List on the Web
The Montreux Record
Transboundary Ramsar Sites
Ramsar Sites Information Service
Wetlands International

Upon joining the Ramsar Convention, each Contracting Party is obliged by Article 2.4 to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Sites are selected by the Contracting Parties, or member states, for designation under the Convention by reference to the Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance. Data on designated wetlands are communicated by the Parties to the treaty secretariat by means of a Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS) including accurate data on various scientific and conservation parameters and a map precisely delimiting the boundaries of the site. Upon receipt of the RIS, the Secretariat ensures that the data and map meet the standards set by the Conference of the Parties and then adds the site's name and basic data to the List of Wetlands of International Importance -- it then forwards the data and map to Wetlands International for inclusion in the Ramsar Sites Database. The Secretariat formally acknowledges the status of the site as a Wetland of International Importance and sends a handsome site certificate to the Administrative Authority charged with implementation of the Convention in the country concerned. The authorities in the Contracting Party are encouraged to post signs at the site itself showing prominently the site's status as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands; suggested wording for these signs has been agreed by the Standing Committee.

The basic List itself is updated continuously by Ramsar staff with every new site added -- arranged alphabetically by Contracting Party, the basic List shows the site name, date of designation, region within the country, surface area in hectares, and central geographical coordinates of each site. Annotated summaries Wetlands Internationalon each Ramsar site are presented here on the Web. The Ramsar Sites Information Service, maintained with the Ramsar Sites Database by Wetlands International, provides much more information about each Ramsar site, including in most cases the lastest Ramsar Information Sheet in PDF format. Questions about the List itself should be directed to the Secretariat (ramsar@ramsar.org); questions about individual sites on the List and requests for analytical information based upon the data can be answered by querying the Ramsar Sites Information Service.

Additions to the List. Following accession to the Convention, "each Contracting Party shall designate suitable wetlands within its territory for inclusion" in the List (Article 2.1) and may also extend the boundaries of those already included. As far as the Convention and the Secretariat are concerned, any wetland which meets at least one of the Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance and has been designated by the appropriate national authority can be added to the Ramsar List. Although the first Ramsar Site designation, which accompanies the accession documents, must be sent by the diplomatic channel to UNESCO, the Convention's depositary, all subsequent designations, signed by the appropriate national authority and accompanied by a completed Ramsar Information Sheet, should be sent by the national authority directly to the Secretariat.The actual in-country procedures for reaching that stage depend upon the policies of the member states, and some Contracting Parties have published explicit procedures for deciding upon a designation. Persons and groups wishing to initiate the process of designating a new Ramsar site should first contact the government agency which is acting as Ramsar Administrative Authority and seek its advice on the process: the list of Administrative Authorities is available on this Web site.

Deletions from the List. A Contracting Party may also, because of its urgent national interest, delete or restrict the boundaries of wetlands already included in the List (Article 2.5 of the treaty). Article 4.2 provides, however, that such deletions or restrictions should be compensated for by the creation of additional nature reserves or by the protection, either in the same area or elsewhere, of a suitable portion of the original habitat. Historically, no Ramsar sites have ever been "de-listed" (although three early sites were later removed from the List, in coordination with the Contracting Party, when it was found that they did not meet the Criteria that were subsequently developed); on only three occasions, Parties have invoked the "urgent national interest" clause to restrict the boundaries of Ramsar site, in Belgium in the 1980s, in Australia in 1997 (although in this case the restriction of boundaries did not in fact occur), and in Germany in 2000. The Parties have provided guidance on these issues in Resolution VIII.20 (2002).

National Inventories. The establishment of wetland inventories, based on the best scientific information available at both national and international level, constitutes an effective basis for promoting the designation for the Ramsar List of the largest possible number of appropriate wetland sites. Some Contracting Parties, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, have applied the Ramsar Criteria to a national roster of potential sites and designate the sites progressively, as formalities are completed at national level. Recommendation 4.6 (Montreux, 1990) urges Contracting Parties to establish such inventories showing in particular those sites which are of international importance, and in Resolution VIII.8 (2002) the COP has provided a "Framework for Wetland Inventory" to assist the Parties. The Secretariat will try to assist Contracting Parties and States preparing to join the Convention, particularly in States where no national scientific inventory is available.

The Montreux Record. Sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance which are considered to have undergone, to be undergoing, or to be likely to undergo change in their ecological character brought about by human action may be placed on the Montreux Record and may benefit from the application of the Ramsar Advisory Mission and other forms of technical assistance.

Transboundary Ramsar Sites. In some instances, Ramsar Contracting Parties have established their new and existing Ramsar Sites as parts of Transboundary Ramsar Sites (TRS), meaning that an ecologically coherent wetland extends across national borders and the Ramsar site authorities on both or all sides of the border have formally agreed to collaborate in its management, and have notified the Secretariat of this intent. This is a cooperative management arrangement and not a distinct legal status for the Ramsar sites involved.

Note that the List provided here is always completely up-to-date for those sites officially added to the List, but there may be designations which have been announced sent to the Secretariat and are still undergoing processing, and so have not yet been officially added.

© 1996-2013 Ramsar Convention. The "Ramsar List" is an official product of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is maintained by the treaty secretariat in collaboration with Wetlands International. The Ramsar List or material from the List may be reproduced freely for educational, journalistic and other non-commercial purposes, but the material must be clearly dated to indicate its currency and sourced to the Secretariat. For commercial uses of the Ramsar List or material from the List or the Ramsar logos, please contact the Ramsar Secretariat.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,342

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