Minutes of the 7th Meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel -- Appendix II


Appendix II to the minutes of the 7th Meeting of the STRP

Final version of Criteria to be proposed to Standing Committee

1. Criteria based on representative, rare or unique wetland types

A wetland should be considered internationally important if:

(a) it is a representative, rare, or unique example of natural or near natural wetland types found within the appropriate biogeographic region;

2. Criteria based on biological diversity

2.1 Criteria based on species and ecological communities

A wetland should be considered internationally important if:

(a) it supports rare, vulnerable, or endangered species or ecological communities; or

(b) it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of a particular biogeographic region; or

(c) it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions;

2.2 Specific criteria based on waterbirds

A wetland should be considered internationally important if:

(a) it regularly supports 20,000 waterbirds; or

(b) it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.

2.3 Specific criteria based on fish

A wetland should be considered internationally important if:

(a) it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity; or

(b) it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.

Note on Cluster 2: Criteria based on biological diversity: the sub-group does not believe that sub-criteria for other taxonomic groups can be adequately elaborated prior to COP7.


  • Should be drafted by a small working group to be established by the Chair of the STRP and the Bureau;
  • First draft to be circulated to full STRP for comment;
  • Final version to be completed by 31 August for Standing Committee papers;
  • Should pay special attention to definitions and include a glossary of terms explained in easy language;
  • For criterion 1, should develop fully the concepts of: (a) hydrological, biological and ecological functions of wetlands in relation to wider functioning of watersheds or coastal systems; (b) provision of vital services to human populations;
  • For criterion 2, the guidelines should cover adequately the issue of endemism, which is no longer mentioned per se in the proposed criteria;
  • Guidelines should be set in the overall context of wise use and make clear cross-references to other relevant tools, mechanisms, and key issues under the Convention (e.g. management planning, economic valuation, involvement of local communities).
Back to top
Follow us 
Ramsar Awards 

The Convention today

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

Ramsar Secretariat

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

Ramsar Forum: subscribe