The Ramsar Sites Information Service
The Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS) provides access to information on wetlands designated as internationally important under the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, 1971). These wetlands are commonly known as Ramsar Sites. Wetlands International delivers the RSIS for the Ramsar Convention, under a contractual arrangement with the Ramsar Secretariat.
The RSIS includes the searchable Ramsar Sites Database, and a number of other utilities, including a WebGIS displaying spatial information on Ramsar Sites, downloadable GIS data of the Ramsar Sites (spatial boundary and/or location). The RSIS provides on-line access to all official Information Sheets on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS), and increasingly it also includes links to other relevant but unofficial information sources concerning Ramsar Sites in different countries, such as external Web sites, publications and management plans. All such links are clearly indicated as not being part of the official Ramsar site information provided by Administrative Authorities.
In the Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance and numerous Conference of Parties decisions, Parties have committed themselves to developing a strategic approach to designating a coherent and comprehensive national and international network of Ramsar Sites. The latest version of the Strategic Framework, which guides identification and designation of Ramsar Sites, is available as the Ramsar Convention's Wise Use Handbook 14, 3rd edition 2007.
The RSIS gives the results of different analyses conducted on the database: assessment and gap analyses of current coverage of wetland types, summary and indicator analyses at the global or regional level, and assessments in relation to other conservation actions and features. Several tools and resources are, and will be increasingly, provided through the RSIS to support the Parties in identifying gaps in Ramsar Site coverage and to prioritize wetlands for future Ramsar Site designation.