At the time of joining the Convention, each Contracting Party must designate at least one wetland site within their territory for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the "Ramsar List").
These "Ramsar Sites" acquire a new national and international status. They are recognized as being of significant value not only for the country or the countries in which they are located, but for humanity as a whole.
There are currently over 2,400 Ramsar Sites around the world. They cover over 2.5 million square kilometres, an area larger than Mexico.
Parties continue to designate wetlands for inclusion in the List. They select suitable wetlands for designation by referring to the Criteria for identifying Wetlands of International Importance.
The Convention has provided guidance to Contracting Parties on the management of Ramsar Sites, in addition to its guidance on the wise use of all wetlands.
The inclusion of a wetland in the List embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained. The Convention includes various measures to respond to threats to the ecological character of Sites.