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Place Ramsar, 2 February 1971
Conclusion 02/02/1971
Accession 20/03/2006
Entry into force 20/07/2006


Dépositaire : UNESCO Ouverture à la signature : Le 2 février 1971, sans limite. Entrée en vigueur : Le 21 décembre 1975, conformément à l’article 10 Entrée en vigueur pour le Cameroun: le 20 juillet 2006

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat 1971


Ramsar, 2 February 1971

­ Protocol, Paris, 3 December 1982

­ Amendments to Articles 6 et 7 of the Convention, 28 May 1987

The Contracting Parties,


Recognizing the interdependence of man and his environment;


Considering the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands as regulators of water régimes and as habitats supporting a characteristic flora and fauna, especially waterfowl;


Being convinced that wetlands constitute a resource of great economic, cultural, scientific and recreational value, the loss of which would be irreparable;


Desiring to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future;


Recognizing that waterfowl in their seasonal migrations may transcend frontiers and so should be regarded as an international resource;


Being confident that the conservation of wetlands and their flora and fauna can be ensured by combining far­sighted national policies with co­ordinated international action;


Have agreed as follows:


Article 1

1. For the purpose of this Convention wetlands are 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 water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.

2. For the purpose of this Convention waterfowl are birds ecologically dependent on wetlands.


Article 2

1. Each Contracting Party shall designate suitable wetlands within its territory for inclusion in a List of Wetlands of International Importance, herein­ after referred to as 'the List' which is maintained by the bureau established under Article 8. The boundaries of each wetland shall be precisely described and also delimited on a map and they may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands, especially where these have importance as waterfowl habitat.

2. Wetlands should be selected for the List on account of their international significance in terms of ecology. botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology. In the first instance wetlands of international importance to waterfowl at any season should be included.

3. The inclusion of a wetland in the List does not prejudice the exclusive sovereign rights of the Contracting Party in whose territory the wetland is situated.

4. Each Contracting Party shall designate at least one wetland to be included in the List when signing this Convention or when depositing its instrument of ratification or accession, as provided in Article 9.

5. Any Contracting Party shall have the right to add to the List further wetlands situated within its territory, to extend the boundaries of those wetlands already included by it in the List, or, because of its urgent national interests, to delete or restrict the boundaries of wetlands already included by it in the List and shall, at the earliest possible lime, inform the organization or government responsible for the continuing bureau duties specified in Article 8 of any such changes.

6. Each Contracting Party shall consider its international responsibilities for the conservation, management and wise use of migratory stocks of waterfowl, both when designating entries for the List and when exercising its right to change entries in the List relating to wetlands within ils territory.


Article 3

1. The Contracting Parties shall formulate and implement their planning so as to promote the conservation of the wetlands included in the List, and as far as possible the wise use of wetlands in their territory.

2. Each Contracting Party shall arrange to be informed at the earliest possible time if the ecological character of any wetland in ifs territory and included in the List has changed, is changing or is likely to change as the result of techno­ logical developments, pollution or other human interference. Information on such changes shall be passed without delay to the organization or government responsible for the continuing bureau duties specified in Article 8.


Article 4

1. Each Contracting Party shall promote the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl by establishing nature reserves on wetlands, whether they are included in the list or not, and provide adequately for their wardening.

2. Where a Contracting Party in its urgent national interest, deletes or restricts the boundaries of a wetland included in the List, it should as far as possible compensate for any loss of wetland resources, and in particular it should create additional nature reserves for waterfowl and for the protection, either in the same area or elsewhere, of an adequate portion of the original habitat.

3. The Contracting Parties shall encourage research and the exchange of data and publications regarding wetlands and their flora and fauna.

4. The Contracting Parties shall endeavour through management to increase waterfowl populations on appropriate wetlands.

5. The Contracting Parties shall promote the training of personnel competent in the fields of wetland research, management and wardening.


Article 5

The Contracting Parties shall consult with each other about implementing obligations arising from the Convention especially in the case of a wetland extending over the territories of more than one Contracting Party or where a water system is shared by Contracting Parties. They shall at the same time endeavour to co­ordinate and support present and future policies and regulations concerning the conservation of wetlands and their flora and fauna.


Article 6

1. The Contracting Parties shall, as the necessity arises, convene Conferences on the Conservation of Wetlands and Waterfowl.

2. These Conferences shall have an advisory character and sha1l be competent inter alia:

(a) to discuss the implementation of this Convention;

(b) to discuss additions to and changes in the List;

(c) to consider information regarding changes ii the ecological character of wetlands included in the List provided in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 3;

(d) to make general or specific recommendations to the Contracting Parties regarding the conservation, management and wise use of wetlands and their flora and fauna;

(e) to request relevant international bodies to prepare reports and statistics on matters which are essentially international in character affecting wetlands.

3. The Contracting Parties shall ensure that those responsible at all levels for wetlands management shall be informed of, and take into consideration, recommendations of such Conferences concerning the conservation, management and wise use of wetlands and their flora and fauna.


Article 7

1. The representatives of the Contracting Parties at such Conferences should include persons who are experts on wetlands or waterfowl by reason of knowledge and experience gained in scientific, administrative or other appropriate capacities.

2. Each of the Contracting Parties represented at a Conference shall have one vote, recommendations being adopted by a simple majority of the votes cast, provided that not less than half the Contracting Parties cast votes.


Article 8

1. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources shall perform the continuing bureau duties under this Convention until such time as another organization or government is appointed by a majority of two­thirds of all Contracting Parties.

2. The continuing bureau duties shall be, inter alia:

(a) to assist in the convening and organizing of Conferences specified in Article 6;

(b) to maintain the List of Wetlands of International Importance and to be informed by the Contracting Parties of any additions, extensions, deletions or restrictions concerning wetlands included in the List provided in accordance with paragraph 5 of Article 2;

(c) to be informed by the Contracting Parties of any changes in the ecological character of wetlands included in the List provided in accordance with, paragraph 2 of Article 3.1

(d) to forward notification of any alterations to the List, or changes in character of wetlands included therein, to aIl Contracting Parties and to arrange for these matters to be discussed at the next Conference;

(e) to make known to the Contracting Party concerned, the recommendations of the Conferences in respect of such alterations to the List or of changes in the character of wetlands included therein.


Article 9

1. This Convention shall remain open for signature indefinitely.

2. Any member of the United Nations or of one of the Specialized Agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency or Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice may become a party to this Convention by:

(a) signature without reservation as to ratification;

(b) signature subject to ratification followed by ratification;

(c) accession.

3. Ratification or accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of ratification or accession with the Director­General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (hereinafter referred to as 'the Depository').


Article 10

1. This Convention shall enter into force four months after seven States have become Parties to this Convention in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 9.

2. Thereafter this Convention shall enter into force for each Contracting Party four months after the day of its signature without reservation as to ratification, or its deposit of an instrument of ratification or accession.


Article 11

1. This Convention shall continue in force for an indefinite period.

2. Any Contracting Party may denounce this Convention after a period of five years from the date on which it entered into force for that Party by giving written notice thereof to the Depository. Denunciation shall take effect four months after the day on which notice thereof is received by the Depository.

Article 12

1. The Depository shall inform all States that have signed and acceded to this Convention as soon as possible of:

(a) signatures to the Convention;

(b) deposits of instruments of ratification of this Convention;

(c) deposits of instruments of accession to this Convention;

(d) the date of entry into force of this Convention;

(e) notifications of denunciation of this Convention.

2. When this Convention has entered into force, the Depository shall have it registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter.


In WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized to that effect, have signed this Convention.

Done at Ramsar this 2nd day of February 1971, in a single original in the English, French, German and Russian languages, in any case of divergency the English text prevailing, which shall be deposited with the Depository which shall send true copies thereof to an Contracting Parties.





Opened for Signature:

On 2 February 1971 (remain open for signature indefinitely).


The convention has been signed by the following States subject to ratification:

Andorra                                                                                            23 February 2012

Argentina                                                                                          4 May 1992

Belgium                                                                                            19 March 1975

Costa Rica                                                                                        28 September 1984

El Salvador                                                                                       14 May 1998

Estonia                                                                                              29 March 1994

Finland                                                                                              19 April 1973

Germany                                                                                           28 November 1974

Iran                                                                                                   25 August 1972

Ireland                                                                                              14 February 1975

Israel                                                                                                 14 June 1993

Italy                                                                                                  10 January 1975

Luxembourg                                                                                     31 August 1989

Malaysia                                                                                            7 September 1994

Netherlands                                                                                      7 July 1975

Pakistan                                                                                            17 November 1975

Paraguay                                                                                           15 September 1992

Peru                                                                                                   28 August 1986

Portugal                                                                                            15 July 1976

Switzerland                                                                                       21 February 1974

Russian Federation                                                                           13 February 1974

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland                 6 September 1973

United States of America                                                                 13 September 1985


Entry into force:

21 December 1975, in accordance with Article 10


Authoritative texts:



Registration at the UN:

17 February 1976, No. 14583