Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: Scope and Implementation

  • Nick C. Davidson
Reference work entry


The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is the longest established of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements (often known as multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs)). The text of the Convention was opened for signature in the town of Ramsar, Islamic Republic of Iran, on 2 February 1971. The Convention was developed in the 1960s as a response to increasing concerns about accelerating conversion and destruction of wetlands and the impact of this on both people and biodiversity, especially waterbirds. The Convention’s aim is to “stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future,” and it expresses its Contracting Parties’ confidence “that the conservation of wetlands and their flora and fauna can be ensured by combining far-sighted national policies with coordinated international action.” The Convention is implemented through the three “pillars” of its strategic plan: the wise use of all wetlands, the designation and management of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites), and inter-national cooperation – including on shared wetlands, river basins, and populations of migratory waterbirds. The 45-year growth of the Convention is outlined, as are the Convention’s bodies and their roles and the extensive suite of the Convention’s formally adopted technical implementation guidelines.


Ramsar Wetlands Contracting parties Conference of contracting parties Standing committee Scientific & technical review panel Resolutions Technical guidelines 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Land, Water and SocietyCharles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  2. 2.Nick Davidson EnvironmentalWigmoreUK

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