Ramsar Trivia Questions -- test your wits. Well, just take a guess anyway.
Ramsar Trivia Question 4: Who can join the Ramsar Convention?
Answer: Not you, and not me, and not the European Union. Article 9.2 of the Convention stipulates that "Any member of the United Nations or of one of the Specialized Agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency or Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice may become a Party to this Convention". The Convention enters into force for nations that accede to it four months "after the day of its signature without reservation as to ratification, or its deposit of an instrument of ratification or accession" with the Director-General of UNESCO, the Convention's Depositary. (Similarly for any Party that should ever choose to quit -- the quitting doesn't take effect until four months later.) (Oh, and no Party can quit before it's been a Contracting Party for at least five years -- that's in Article 11.2.)
That four months' delay before entry into force explains why nearly all Parties have at least one Wetland of International Importance that was designated four months before the date upon which they're formally listed as having become full members of the Convention.
Many who would like to see supranational bodies and regional integration organizations become members of the Ramsar Convention are saddened when they learn that this cannot happen without amending the Convention itself, a process that could take years.
Ramsar Trivia Question 3: How many Wetland People of International Importance are there so far?
Answer: Three (Thymio Papayannis, 2001; Eckhart Kuijken, 2002; Veit Koester, 2003). Delmar Blasco has been designated as a Wetland Person of Intergalactic Importance, but that's slightly different. Photos here.
Ramsar Trivia Question 2: Where was the 1971 Ramsar conference meant to be held?
The 1971 International Conference on the Conservation of Wetlands and Waterfowl, hosted by the Government of Iran and organized largely by Eskandar Firouz and IWRB, was intended to be the occasion for the signing of the Convention text, and was meant to be held in Babol-sar, a Caspian city rather farther to the east of Ramsar. Evidently, as the number of registrants grew beyond the capacities of Babol-sar's facilities, the venue was hastily rearranged for the lakeside resort of Ramsar.
In recent years, by the way, Ramsar no longer appears on some maps (e.g., the Times Atlas of the World), appearing under the name Sakht-sar instead. Judging from the Secretary General's visits there over the past few years, however, the city of Ramsar itself is unaware of any change. ("-sar" seems to refer to the mouth of a river, rather like "aber-" in Scotland and Wales.)
Ramsar Trivia Question 1: How many Conferences of the Parties have there been?
(2 points for "10", 1 point for "it can't just be 8, that's too easy", no points for "8" or any other figure)
There have been eight Ordinary Meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, to wit: Cagliari, Italy, 1980; Gröningen, The Netherlands, 1984; Regina, Canada, 1987; Montreux, Switzerland, 1990; Kushiro, Japan, 1993; Brisbane, Australia, 1996; San José, Costa Rica, 1999; and Valencia, Spain, 2002.
And there have been two Extraordinary Meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, to wit: Paris, France, 1982, to negotiate the "Paris Protocol", and Regina, Canada, 1987, to negotiate the "Regina Amendments".
A third extraordinary meeting was requested by Algeria, in diplomatic notification 2002/2 of January 2002, to be held concurrently with ordinary COP8 in Valencia in order to amend the Convention to allow regional economic integration organizations, such as the European Community, to become Parties to the Convention, but the request failed to elicit the required assent from one third of the Contracting Parties and didn't happen.
Ramsar Trivia is Fun! Ask the Marsh Toads.