Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The 1971 Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) provides a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide essential ecosystem services including water purification, water storage, processing of carbon and other nutrients, stabilization of shorelines, and plant and animal habitat. However, they continue to be degraded and converted to other uses.
The Ramsar Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands, including all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans. Under the three pillars of the Convention, States commit to: work toward the wise use of all their wetlands; designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management; and cooperate on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.