The 19 Ramsar Regional Initiatives (RRIs) support cooperation and capacity-building on wetland-related issues in specific regions.
A group of Contracting Parties in a region, which may also share a common thematic goal, can apply for endorsement as a “Ramsar Regional Initiative” under the Convention.
The Administrative Authorities responsible for implementing the Convention in their countries drive the development and activities of RRIs. The RRIs give them – and often their ministers – a platform for collaborating with technical experts and representatives of intergovernmental bodies, Ramsar International Organization Partners, NGOs, local communities and private companies.
There are two types of regional initiatives: regional Ramsar centres for training and capacity building, and Ramsar networks for regional cooperation.
The four regional Ramsar centres promote scientific and technical cooperation and exchange of knowledge in their region. They have shown that the professional training and capacity building they provide can fulfil a significant role in increasing Ramsar implementation in countries covered by their activities. Established centres currently cover the Western Hemisphere, West and Central Asia, Eastern Asia and and Eastern Africa.
Ramsar Regional Initiatives are endorsed by the Conference of the Contracting Parties and by the Standing Committee between meetings of the COP. To maintain their formal recognition, they must be in line with principles listed in paragraph 8 of Resolution XIII.9.
RRIs are independently governed and are not authorized to speak or act on the Convention’s behalf, but they work in close contact with the Secretariat. Some initiatives receive start-up financial assistance from the Secretariat’s core budget.