Ramsar activities and programmes

The Ramsar Convention sponsors and hosts a number of wetland-related programmes and activities directed to the Ramsar and wetland community and to the general public.


Read more about the Convention's 40th anniversary, World Wetlands Day, celebrated on or around 2 February globally every year since 1997; about the Ramsar Awards for wetland conservation and wise use, bestowed in three categories at each 3-yearly meeting of the Conference of the Parties; about the Convention's Communication, Education, Participation, and Awareness Programme, which assists governments and practitioners in their efforts to spread the message; about the Convention's programmes to support small wetland projects financially; about the Secretariat's programme for hosting young interns from around the world; about the Wetlands International service to provide information about Ramsar sites to the public; and about the Secretariat's mutually beneficial relationships with private sector enterprises.

World Wetlands Day

2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.   Read More »

The Convention's CEPA Programme

An expansive section of the Ramsar Web site devoted to the Convention's programme for Communication, Education, Participation, and Awareness (CEPA), a clearing house for CEPA resource materials that is also designed to give readers a broad view of what the CEPA programme is trying to achieve for wetland conservation and wise use and why that is important. It identifies the institutional structures and materials that are intended to guide implementers of the programme and offers practical advice on key topics for practitioners.   Read More »

Ramsar Advisory Missions

Special attention is given to assisting member States in the management and conservation of listed sites whose ecological character is threatened. This is frequently carried out through the Ramsar Advisory Mission, a technical assistance mechanism formally adopted by Recommendation 4.7 in 1990.   Read More »

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award, for actions that have significantly contributed to long-term conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, were established in 1996 in order to recognize and honor the contributions of individuals, organisations, and governments around the world towards promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Since its inception, the Award has been bestowed in three categories on each occasion, and all of the Award laureates have also received the Evian Special Prize, a cash prize of US$ 10,000, through the generosity of the Danone Group (France).   Read More »

Small project assistance programmes

The Ramsar Convention maintains three assistance programmes for small projects (or parts of larger projects) for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. The Small Grants Fund supports projects from around the world, both through direct assistance and through seeking donors for additional proprosals. The Wetland for the Future initiative, funded by the United States State Department and Fish and Wildlife Services, supports small capacity building projects in Latin America. The Swiss Grant for Africa assists the Secretariat's Africa regional team in facilitating specific activities in that region.   Read More »

The Ramsar Sites Information Service

The RSIS provides access to information on wetlands designated as internationally important under the Ramsar Convention. Wetlands International, based in the Netherlands, delivers the RSIS for the Ramsar Convention, under a contractual arrangement with the Ramsar Secretariat. The Service 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.   Read More »

National Ramsar Committees

There are a variety of mechanisms to assist Ramsar Contracting Parties implement the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands at the national level. Among those are the National Ramsar Committees (NRCs) or National Wetlands Committees.   Read More »

Partnerships with the private sector

The Ramsar Convention benefits from partnerships with carefully selected enterprises in the private sector. Since 1998, the Danone Group has provided generous financial assistance, under the “Evian Initiative” named after Danone’s Evian bottled water brand, to the Convention’s communications and public awareness activities. “Biosphere Connections” unites Ramsar, IUCN, and the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme with the generosity of the Star Alliance group of airlines to provide subsidized travel for the conservation activities of our organizations.   Read More »

The Ramsar Internship Programme

The Ramsar Internship Programme supports four regionally-oriented positions, one each for Africa, the Americas, Asia/Oceania, and Europe. The posts are normally one-year to 18-month positions and offer an opportunity for young graduates to become acquainted with the workings of an intergovernmental treaty dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and, more specifically, wetland ecosystems. The upper age limit of applicants is 30 years old.   Read More »

Culture and wetlands

Culture is an attribute of all the activities of each society, as they evolve through the ages. As wetlands, since ancient times, have been inhabited and used in many ways by human beings, there are strong cultural and spiritual values associated with many of them. Since 2006, the work of the Convention on the cultural aspects of wetlands has been carried out through Ramsar’s Culture Working Group (CWG).   Read More »

Tourism and wetlands

People are naturally attracted to water, to coastal wetlands such as coral reefs and beaches, and to inland wetlands such as lakes and rivers, reflecting the strong bond between people and nature. The Ramsar Convention has only recently formally addressed wetland tourism, recognizing the increased demands for tourism expansion and the potential negative impacts on the health of wetlands, but also understanding that, if managed sustainably, tourism can bring many benefits, environmental, social and economic.   Read More »
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The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,181 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,545,658

Ramsar Secretariat

Rue Mauverney 28
CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 999 0170
Fax: +41 22 999 0169
E-Mail: ramsar@ramsar.org
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