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. (The Ramsar Advisory Mission mechanism was formerly known as the Monitoring Procedure and the Management Guidance Procedure.)
The main objective of this mechanism is to provide assistance to developed and developing countries alike in solving the problems or threats that make inclusion in the Montreux Record necessary.
In most cases, the application of this mechanism consists of a visit by a team of two or more experts who will produce a report on their findings and recommendations. Upon receiving a request from a Contracting Party, the Secretariat agrees upon the terms of reference for the mission with the concerned authorities and determines the type of expertise that will be required for the visiting team. The team's draft report is submitted for review to the competent authorities who have requested the mission, and its revised final report then becomes a public document, which can provide the basis for conservation action at the site. In some cases, the recommendations of Ramsar Advisory Mission reports have provided the framework for financial assistance from the Small Grants Fund and external support agencies.
Between 1988 and 2006, the Ramsar Advisory Mission mechanism has been applied at 58 Ramsar sites or groups of sites. Early missions sometimes consisted of a brief visit by one member of the Secretariat's technical staff, but over the years the missions have tended to become more formal and frequently more detailed, involving multi-disciplinary teams, sometimes in collaboration with other bodies such as the World Heritage Convention, IUCN, and the Man and the Biosphere Programme.
The Secretariat maintains a separate project account to receive voluntary contributions from Contracting Parties and NGOs to defray the expenses of Ramsar Advisory Missions to developing countries and countries with economies in transition.