Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites) - Number
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, signed in Ramsar, Iran, 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. When a country becomes a Party to the Convention, it agrees to designate at least one wetland for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the "Ramsar List") and to promote its conservation. In order for a site to qualify as a Ramsar site, it has to have "international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology." The Convention has the following criteria to use as guidelines when selecting Ramsar sites: 1. Criteria for representative or unique wetlands. A wetland should be considered internationally important if any of the following apply: a) It is a particularly good representative example of a natural or near-natural wetland, characteristic of the appropriate biogeographical region or common to more than one biogeographical region; b) It plays a substantial hydrological, biological or ecological role in the natural functioning of a major river basin or coastal system, especially where it is located in a transborder position; or c) It is an example of a specific type of wetland, rare or unusual in the appropriate biogeographical region. 2. General criteria based on plants or animals. A wetland should be considered internationally important if any of the following apply: a) It supports an appreciable assemblage of rare, vulnerable or endangered species or subspecies of plant or animal, or an appreciable number of individuals of any one or more of these species; b) It is of special value for maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of a region because of the quality and of a region because of the quality and peculiarities of its flora and fauna; c) It is of special value as the habitat of plants or animals at a critical stage of their biological cycle; d) It is of special value for one or more endemic plant or animal species or communities. 3. Criteria based on waterfowl. A wetland should be considered internationally important if any of the following apply: a) It regularly supports 20,000 waterfowl; b) It regularly supports substantial numbers of individuals from particular groups of waterfowl; c) Where data on populations are available, it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterfowl. 4. Criteria based on fish. A wetland should be considered internationally important if any of the following apply: a) It supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity; b) It is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend. There are 20 sites that are inscribed in both the Ramsar and the World Heritage List. There also are 52 sites inscribed as both Ramsar sites and UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserves. Lists of common sites are available on-line at: http://ramsar.org/world_heritage.htm and at: http://ramsar.org/mab_sites.htm Contracting Parties report on progress in implementing their commitments under the Convention by submission of triennial National Reports to the Conference of the Contracting Parties. The National Reports are available to the public through the Ramsar Convention Bureau. Please refer to the original source for further information on the variables and collection methodologies.
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat was signed in Ramsar (Iran) in 1971, and came into force in December 1975. This convention provides a framework for international cooperation for the conservation of wetland habitats. It places general obligations on contracting party states relating to the conservation of wetlands throughout their territories, with special obligations pertaining to those wetlands which have been designated to the 'List of Wetlands of International Importance'.
Each State Party is obliged to list at least one site. Wetlands are defined by the convention as: areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine waters, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.
GEO Data Category:
Protected Areas and Environmental Protection
Natural areas, landscape, ecosystems
Wetland, International importance, ramsar sites, number, subregional level
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Jaap Van Woerden
11, chemin des Anemones
+41 22 917 82 94
+41 22 917 80 29
11, Chemin des Anemones
+41 22 917 82 94
+41 22 917 80 29
GIS Data Info
Statistics Data Info
The value "-9999" corresponds to "No Data".
Calculated pre 1991-1992 relative country share
Former Yugoslavia SFR:
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, signed in Ramsar, Iran, 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. When a country becomes a Party to the Convention, it agrees to designate at least one wetland for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the "Ramsar List") and to promote its conservation.
In order for a site to qualify as a Ramsar site, it has to have "international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology."
The Global totals do not correspond to the Reported global totals from original data, the main reason is some unallocated Ramsar sites in the former USSR: The Russian Federation has informed UNESCO that it continues to exercise the rights and carry out the obligations of the former USSR under the Ramsar Convention. Of the sites designated in 1976 by the former USSR, 3 are now in the Russian Federation, 4 are in Ukraine, and 1 is in Estonia; the remaining 5 sites are in other independent States (Azerbaijan 1, Kazakhstan 2, Kyrgyzstan 1, Turkmenistan 1).
While awaiting confirmation by certain members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan) of their status as Parties to the Convention, the Ramsar Bureau points out that these States, together with the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, have undertaken, in the Alma-Ata Declaration of 21 December 1991 to guarantee “in conformity with their legislative procedures, the fulfilment of international obligations, stemming from the agreements signed by the former USSR”.
Copyright c 2002 (Aggregations) United Nations Environment Programme/DEWA/GRID-Geneva.
Data aggregation made by Andrea DeBono and Ola Nordbeck (UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Geneva).