The Standing Committee has clearly defined tasks and procedures. Its tasks were first set out in 1993 in the Framework for Implementation of the Ramsar Convention (Resolution 5.1), but are currently defined by Resolution VII.1 (1999). Its composition and responsibilities were amended by Resolution XIII.4 (2018).
Membership is determined using a proportional system. Each regional group is represented according to the number of Contracting Parties in the group. The hosts of the previous and next COPs are also represented.
The roles of members
Contracting Parties elected as Regional Representatives on the Standing Committee have the following tasks:
The Standing Committee allocates specific tasks to members working in subgroups, including the Management Working Group (with a role defined by Resolution IX.24 and Decision SC34-3) and the groups covering finance (Decision SC16-1) and the planning of the next COP meeting (Decision SC34-6). Oversight panels review the progress of the CEPA Programme and the STRP.
Rules of Procedure for meetings of the Standing Committee, in all matters not specified in Resolution VII.1, are governed by the Rules of Procedure for the Conference of the Contracting Parties.
Interpreting between English, French and Spanish is provided for plenary sessions of the meetings but not for subgroup meetings. In 2014, the Standing Committee decided that meeting documents should be available in French and Spanish as well as English.