The Ramsar 'Toolkit', third edition (2007)


The Ramsar Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands, 3rd edition

This 3rd edition of the Ramsar handbooks replaces the series published in May 2004. It includes relevant guidance adopted by several meetings of the Conference of the Parties, in particular COP7 (1999), COP8 (2002), and COP9 (2005), as well as selected background documents presented at these COPs.

This series has been prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention following each of the 7th, 8th and 9th meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP7, COP8, and COP9) held, respectively, in San José, Costa Rica, in May 1999, Valencia, Spain, in November 2002, and Kampala, Uganda, in November 2005. The guidelines on various matters adopted by the Parties at those and earlier COPs have been prepared as a series of handbooks to assist those with an interest in, or directly involved with, implementation of the Convention at the international, regional, national, subnational or local levels.

Each handbook brings together, subject by subject, the various relevant guidances adopted by Parties, supplemented by additional material from COP information papers, case studies and other relevant publications so as to illustrate key aspects of the guidelines. The handbooks are available in the three working languages of the Convention (English, French, and Spanish).

The Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands,
3rd ed. (PDF format)

The Ramsar Convention ‘toolkit’ for the wise use of wetlands (including Guidelines adopted by the 7th, 8th and 9th meetings of the Conference of the Parties)
Convention pillar 1: Wise Use
Wise use of wetlands
Handbook 1
Wise use of wetlands
A Conceptual Framework for the wise use of wetlands
Wetland policies and legislation
Handbook 2
National Wetland Policies
Developing and implementing National Wetland Policies
Handbook 3
Laws and institutions

Reviewing laws and institutions to promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands
Wetlands and people
Handbook 4
Wetland CEPA

The Convention's Programme on communication, education and public awareness (CEPA) 2003-2008
Handbook 5
Participatory skills

Establishing and strengthening local communities' and indigenous people's participation in the management of wetlands
Wetlands and water
Handbook 6
Water-related guidance
An Integrated Framework for the Convention's water-related guidance
Handbook 7
River basin management

Integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management
Handbook 8
Water allocation and management

Guidelines for the allocation and management of water for maintaining the ecological functions of wetlands
Handbook 9
Managing groundwater
Managing groundwater to maintain ecological character
Wetlands and spatial planning
Handbook 10
Coastal management

Wetland issues in Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Wetland inventory, assessment, and monitoring
Handbook 11
Inventory, assessment, and monitoring

An Integrated Framework for wetland inventory, assessment, and monitoring
Handbook 12
Wetland inventory

A Ramsar Framework for wetland inventory
Handbook 13
Impact assessment

Guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into environmental impact assessment legislation and/or processes and in strategic environmental assessment
Convention pillar 2: Ramsar sites designation and management
Wetlands of International Importance
Handbook 14
Designating Ramsar Sites

Strategic Framework and guidelines for the future development of the List of Wetlands of International Importance
Handbook 15
Addressing change in ecological character
Managing wetlands
Handbook 16
Managing wetlands

Frameworks for managing Ramsar sites and other wetlands
Convention pillar 3: International cooperation
International cooperation
Handbook 17
International cooperation

Guidelines for international cooperation under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
All 17 Handbooks in English (PDF, in ZIP file)38MB

Note: The Handbook pages are laid out for A4 size paper printed at 100%; readers intending to print to "letter-size" (8.5x11") paper should set their Acrobat printer set-up to "scale to fit" or something similar.

Copyright © 2007, Ramsar Convention Secretariat

Citation: Ramsar Convention Secretariat, 2007. Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of wetlands, 3rd edition. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland.

Reproduction of material from this publication for educational and other non-commercial purposes is authorized without prior permission from the Ramsar Secretariat, providing full acknowledgement is given.

Series Editors: Sandra Hails, Dwight Peck
Series Supervisor: Nick Davidson
Design and layout: Dwight Peck

Additional support for the French and Spanish versions: Danièle and Richard Devitre, Javier Casáis

This 3rd edition of the Ramsar handbooks series has been made possible through generous contributions from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Handbooks on the Wise Use of Wetlands on CD-ROM.

The Ramsar Handbooks include all of the guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Contracting Parties, as well as a good deal of additional illustrative material, and this 3rd edition has been updated through the 9th meeting of the COP in November 2005. The CD-ROM includes all 17 of the Handbooks in Adobe PDF format in English, French, and Spanish versions, with a Web-based interface. The CD-ROM can be ordered free of charge by contacting Ramsar's Montse Riera ( and specifying postal address and number wanted. We sincerely hope that the Handbooks will be useful to you as you progress toward realizing the objectives of the Convention.

The Secretariat wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Department of State for the publication of this edition of the Handbooks. The cover photo is by Blair Hammond, Canadian Wildlife Service.

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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

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