Where a Ramsar Site’s ecological character is threatened, the Contracting Party can request a Ramsar Advisory Mission (RAM). This mechanism was formally adopted by Recommendation 4.7 in 1990. It enables both developed and developing countries to apply global expertise and advice to the problems and threats that could lead to a loss in ecological character to a wetland.
Typically a Mission consists of a visit by a team of two or more experts. When it receives a request from the competent authorities of a Contracting Party, the Secretariat agrees on terms of reference for the Mission and determines the range of expertise that the visiting team should have.
The team’s draft report is submitted for review by the Contracting Party, and the revised final report is then published. The findings and recommendations in the report can provide the basis for action at the Site, and possibly for subsequent financial assistance.
Between 1988 and 2015, the Ramsar Advisory Mission mechanism has been applied at 79 Ramsar Sites or groups of Sites. Over the years the missions have become more formal and detailed, now often involving multi-disciplinary teams. Many have been carried out in collaboration with partners such as IUCN, the World Heritage Convention, and the Man and the Biosphere Programme.