The Administrative Authority (AA) is the government agency of each Contracting Party entrusted by the national government with the implementation of the Convention at national level and is led by an identified Head of Administrative Authority. The Administrative Authority appoints a person to act as a National Focal Point for the Convention. In some cases, the Administrative Authority delegates responsibilities to regions or provinces, and appoints a Focal Point for each region or province.
Roles and functions of the Administrative Authority
Coordinating global and regional processes
Liaise with Regional Representatives on the Standing Committee and participate in Ramsar Regional Initiatives
Contracting Parties are represented in the Standing Committee by their appointed regional representatives. Administrative Authorities are to liaise with the representatives to make sure their views and opinions are put forward in the Standing Committee. You can find the current representatives as well as their role here.
Participate in the Conference of the Contracting Parties
Representatives of the governments of each of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), to agree on a work programme and budgetary arrangements for the next triennium and consider guidance on a range of ongoing and emerging environmental issues. It is the role of the AA to designate a delegation to attend and participate in the COP. A training to delegations to the COP is provided before each meeting and can be found here.
Approve and update Ramsar Information Sheets on Wetlands of International Importance
The AA is the responsible body for approving and updating Ramsar Information Sheets (RISs). This responsibility can be delegated to National Focal Points. Contracting Parties are mandated to update their RISs every six years. Training on how to do so is regularly provided to National Focal Points by the Regional Teams of the Secretariat. The latest one can be found here.
Coordinating national Implementation
Designate suitable wetlands for the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List” and arrange for their appropriate management
The Administrative Authority has the mandate to select suitable wetlands for designation based on the “Ramsar Criteria” for identifying Wetlands of International Importance (“Ramsar Sites”). The designation is formalized through a letter to the Secretariat from the Head of the Administrative Authority. The inclusion of a wetland in the List embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that ecological character is maintained. The Convention includes various measures to respond to threats to the ecological character of Sites.
Implement a national wetland Policy
As mandated by the Strategic Plan, Contracting Parties should implement the plan at national and regional levels by developing national wetland policies, strategies, action plans, projects and programmes or other appropriate ways to mobilize action and support for wetlands. More information about how to implement the Strategic Plan can be found here.
Establish a national committee to support the implementation of the Convention.
Contracting Parties are mandated to establish National Wetland Committees, according to their needs, to provide a national focus for implementation of the Convention including sharing of information among stakeholders.
Appoint a National Focal Point, and focal points for the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) and communications, capacity building, education, participation and awareness (CEPA) activities
The Administrative Authority is the entity responsible for designating the National Focal Point, who will take care of the day-to-day responsibilities to the Convention, and Focal Points for the two subsidiary bodies of the Convention, the STRP and the CEPA Oversight Panel. Note that the expertise of focal points should reflect the role of the subsidiary body.
Work with other government agencies
The Administrative Authority should work with government agencies concerned with wetlands, water-related issues and biodiversity to strengthen implementation of the Convention. These government agencies could include environmental agencies and the bodies responsible for national coordination of other multilateral environmental agreements, such as the CBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD, among others.