Wetlands for Life - How does your Donation Help?


►►Your donation helps: How to donate?

Donations to the programmes, initiatives and projects posted on this page will help to conserve or restore rivers and other wetlands in order to secure clean, fresh water for people and nature, conserve wetland forests, better manage water resources, conserve mangrove forests and protect coral reefs, fund special missions to evaluate wetlands in danger, educate and inform the public on their values, support vital scientific and technical studies, help governments to designate new Wetlands of International Importance, improve legislation, develop wetland policy, and ensure wetlands are healthy and available for use by all.

1. Small Grants Fund


Wetlands are integral to sustainable development and the Ramsar Convention has established a Small Grants Fund to promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands around the world. The Fund provides up to 40,000 Swiss Francs (Chf) per project to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for wetland conservation. The Fund relies exclusively upon voluntary contributions.


This Small Grants Fund fulfils a special niche where funding is not readily available. Through the Fund, eligible wetland projects receive special grants. Grants are provided to governments, communities, environment groups or wetland managers to implement a value-added project. This catalyst Fund gives a chance to those smaller projects that may be looked over through other funding mechanisms, yet are essential to conserve and effectively manage wetlands in many developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The Small Grants Fund is also designed to provide emergency management assistance for Ramsar Sites under threat and to provide help countries wishing to Parties join the Convention, provide training to wetland managers and to raise awareness and inform the public about what is a Ramsar Sites, why wetlands need to be conserved and how they can participate in the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

From 1991 to 2010, the Fund has provided a total of 7.8 million Swiss Francs to 237 projects from 109 countries, providing up to 40,000 Swiss Francs per project. With the current economic situation, governments have reduced their contributions seriously impacting this extremely beneficial programme to developing and least developed countries. ►Click here to review the complete portfolio of Small Grants Projects


40,000 Chf funds one (1) project

100,000 Chf funds five (5) projects

Without financial support, critical analysis of wetlands of international importance cannot be done as there is no budget for these missions. The impact in the loss of wetlands is significant has a significant cost to local communities and towards global issues like climate change and biodiversity. One paramount issue is the loss of water, including, loss of services in purifying water, the regeneration of aquifers and by adding nutrients to soil.

2. Ramsar Advisory Missions


When a wetland is under threat or danger, a country can call for a Ramsar Advisory Mission to be carried out to evaluate the problem and provide an action plan to reverse the impacts. These missions are designed to send out a team of scientific and technical experts to examine and evaluate the wetland and any and all threats. With rapid urbanization, increased land based pollution and a host of other impacts, more and more wetlands are becoming unhealthy. As a result, there is an increasing demand for assistance from Contracting Parties to have a Ramsar Advisory Mission to help them characterize the situation with the wetland and to design an effective action plan. 


Ramsar Advisory Missions are undertaken to provide assistance to all Contracting Parties to resolve, mitigate or solve problems or minimize threats when a wetland is under high risk. A mission consists of a team of experts from around the world travelling to the wetland to evaluate the situation and analyze the problems facing the wetland. A report on the findings and an action plan is devised and delivered to the national government enabling immediate action to be taken to reduce threats, resolve issues or mitigate the problem.


20,000 Chf for one Ramsar Advisory Mission

100,000 Chf funds five (5) Ramsar Advisory Missions

 ► Click here for more information

3. Mangrove Forests

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to build capacities and take actions needed to conserve, maintain, and restore mangrove forests in danger and to develop a programme of education, training and public awareness on the value and care for mangroves.

The project will encompass mangrove protected areas in three global regions, Africa, Asia and the Neotropics.


Mangroves forest ecosystems are among the most productive and biologically complex ecosystems providing important ecosystem services. Mangroves provide critical support to commercial fisheries acting as nursery, breeding, spawning and hatching habitats for offshore fisheries and in exporting organic matter to the marine environment, producing nutrients for fauna in both the mangroves themselves and near marine and estuarine Ecosystems. Mangroves have proven to play a vital role in shoreline protection, where they serve as natural barriers to the impact of hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis and storm surges. Mangroves also play a significant role in stabilizing fine sediments, contributing to shore stabilization and erosion control. Additionally, mangrove forests are often a source of timber, fuel wood, honey, medicinal plants and other raw materials. They have an important role in recreation and tourism, ecotourists, fishermen, hunters, hikers and birdwatchers providing and provide an important role in the local economy.


300,000 Chf seed money is needed to develop a global proposal

Overall cost for this project is estimated at $5.5 million over a 4 year-time period

4. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Special Report on Water and Wetlands


The special report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) of water and wetlands aims to use the TEEB approach, as developed under UNEP, to generate better understanding of the ecosystem service values of water and wetlands to encourage additional policy momentum and business commitment for their conservation and wise use and raise the priority of water and wetland management.


The loss and degradation of wetlands have substantial financial, environmental and social ramifications on sustainable development and in particular, the livelihood of large populations if not adequately addressed. Loss of food, water and livelihoods sue to the degradation or loss of a wetland can have great social impacts increasing poverty and augmenting migration from urban areas to cities. By using the ex post ecological and economic evidence based studies, the report will demonstrate how understanding and capturing the value of ecosystem services related to water and wetlands can lead to better informed and efficient decision making. 

There is a cost to people and the economy when wetlands are not healthy and viable. This project will provide vital information to all decision makers to take into consideration all the values of a wetland and hopefully help to position wetlands as a high priority.

Click here for more information

Project Cost: 

230,000 Chf (140,000 Chf secured for first phase preparation of report). Additional funding of 90,000 Chf is needed for publication of a report in three languages, English, French and Spanish and to hold peer review workshop on the information and data collected and key findings and messages.

Programme on the Economics of Wetlands

A programme on the economics of wetlands has started with a first step being a report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands. This groundbreaking work will help policy and decision makers in government at all levels, businesses and other private and public sector operations to integrate water and wetland management policy and recognize the significance of water and wetland management. It can also help the private sector to align business performance with the sustainable management of wetlands.

Cost of inaction, or costs from not having the existing Convention implemented is a fundamental economic topic. At the same time, there is a need for quality environmental information for developing responsive and cost-effective policies relating to the maintenance, mitigation and restoration of wetlands so as to ensure there is no loss of their services such as the provision in quantity and quality of freshwater.

5. Defining the State of the World's Wetlands


This project aims to chart the status of the wetlands of the world: something that has not been done before. This pioneering work entails setting a benchmark for Ramsar sites and other wetlands and will define their current status and ecological values. In addition, the Global Wetland Observation System would be updated with the new information and data integrated into the system from the project.


“State of the World’s Wetlands” book is designed to be a flagship publication that assesses the state of Ramsar Sites as a first stage and assess wetlands of the world as a second phase. The publication will look at what is the value of wetlands around the world, what is happening to them, and why – and what can be done to maintain and improve their health for the benefit of people and nature.

No previous comprehensive compilation exists on the global state of wetlands, and to support achieving this through creating better access to all the currently scattered data and information from around the world, a Global Wetland Observing System (GWOS) initiative. This work is being carried out under the auspices of the independent Scientific and Technical Panel of the Ramsar Convention. It is being developed in partnership with Conservation International, Wetlands International, the Group on Earth Observation – Biodiversity Observation Network and many others.

Project Cost: 

Seed funding: 100,000 Chf is needed to begin the development of the research, collect and collate current data and information. 

Overall cost for the full project : $2.3 million over 5 years.

6. New IT system for data and information sheets on Ramsar Sites


The purpose of this project is to provide a new electronic data system that provides a more effective and integrated system for searching, collating, comparing, collecting and analysis of Ramsar Site data. Funding is needed to help the Convention Secretariat to update its antiquated data and information management systems for the Ramsar Convention’s flagship network of Wetlands of International Importance (“Ramsar Sites”).


There are over 2,000 Ramsar Sites covering nearly 200 million hectares. It is by far the largest network of globally-recognised protected areas in the world. Underlying the present publicly-accessible Ramsar Sites Information Service, through which this information is managed, is a seriously out-of-date database structure - and one which cannot hold and provide all the data and information provided by governments when they designate a Ramsar Site.

The project is vital for ensuring the modern functioning of the Convention. It involves the redesign of the standard Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands in order to make all its data and information more consistent and homogeneous across all Ramsar Sites and fully database-compatible. The project entails the development of an on-line Information Sheet submission system and the complete redesign and redevelopment of the system’s underlying databases, with full spatial mapping and interoperability functions being fully integrated into the system.

The result of this project will streamline and make more efficient the processes of data preparation, submission and management and make all the data and information on Ramsar Sites fully searchable and accessible to all who need to find out about more about these wetlands. The long-term value will be improved management, monitoring and decision-making that will help to ensure that the health of wetlands of international importance are maintained for the future.

Costs: 60,000 Chf (50,000 Chf in seed money will help to launch the project)
Timeframe: 2 years

7. Regional initiatives


Regional Initiatives country-led efforts with multi-stakeholder involvement designed to build capacities for implementing the Ramsar Convention, address a common issue of concern or to build a new alliance as a way to work together and address issues or problems with wetlands that are of priority to all countries involved. These Initiatives enable the involvement of all stakeholders at all levels, including the government ministries responsible for the environment and water issues, intergovernmental bodies, NGOs, academia, local communities, and economic actors.

A key objective of regional initiatives is to develop collaboration with other intergovernmental and international partners active in the region.

There are two types of initiatives that are designed to enhance cooperation between regional Parties, build capacities to implementation the convention and create a mechanism for sub-regional exchange of information, technical and scientific information and its application and policy and decision-making.

  • Regional (and subregional) networks for capacity-building and cooperation
  • Regional and subregional centres for training and capacity building.

While seed funding has been allocated through the core budget of the Convention, many of these initiatives need additional voluntary support in order for them to further develop, thrive and accomplish their objectives. 

See descriptions of Regional Initiatives here.

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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): 208,674,247

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