Under-represented wetland types in the Ramsar "List of Wetlands of International Importance"
Coral Reefs and the Ramsar Convention
For more than 30 years, the Ramsar Convention has been the principal instrument for international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Adopted in Iran in 1971, it was the first of the modern global conservation treaties, and is still the only one dedicated to a particular ecosystem type. Parties to the Convention have committed themselves to designating all of their "suitable wetlands", based upon criteria developed over the years, for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the "Ramsar List") and maintaining their ecological character through management planning for their conservation and sustainable use.
The Ramsar Convention's definition of "wetlands" is intentionally broad, including amongst many other types all "areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres" (Article 1.1), but also explicitly allowing the inclusion in the Ramsar List of "coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands" (Article 2.1). Thus according to the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Types, coral reefs figure prominently as Number 3 amongst the categories of marine and coastal wetlands. Some of the best-known internationally important wetlands in the Ramsar List are coral sites located in Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Guinea, Honduras, Islamic Republic of Iran, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom and Venezuela. In several of these countries the sites go deeper than 6 metres, in accordance with Article 2.1.
The Ramsar Secretariat's lead person on coral reef issues is Margarita Astrálaga, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ramsar Resolutions and Recommendations most directly related to coral reefs
Other coral-related links
News and Other Items on the Ramsar Web site
Announcement: In the front line: Shoreline protection and other ecosystem services from mangroves and coral reefs (UNEP-WCMC, ICRAN, IUCN, 2006)
Illustrated report of the ICRI Coordination and Planning Committee meeting, Turks and Caicos Islands, November 2003 (Margarita Astrálaga)
Recommendations of the Coral Reef Management Issues Workshop, Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands, UNESCO, Paris, November 2003
Illustrated report of the ICRI Coordination and Planning Committee meeting, Gland, Switzerland, May 2003 (Margarita Astrálaga)
Report on the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium and ICRI Coordination and Planning Committee meeting, Bali, October 2000 (Gilberto Cintron)
Adobe PDF format No. Sites Surface Area (hectares) Ramsar Sites in which coral reefs (type C) dominate or are significantly present 62 9,790,586
(The above list is current as of 29 September 2006.)
For detailed and up-to-date information on Ramsar Sites, use the Ramsar Sites Information Service search facilities on the Ramsar Sites Database (http://www.wetlands.org/rsis/) maintained by Wetlands International.
-- Photo at the top of the page, copyright SPREP.