A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention,[1] also known as "The Convention on Wetlands", an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO, which came into force in 1975. It provides for national action and international cooperation regarding the conservation of wetlands, and wise sustainable use of their resources.[1] Ramsar identifies wetlands of international importance, especially those providing waterfowl habitat.

As of August 2022, there are 2,453 Ramsar sites around the world, protecting 255,792,244 hectares (632,076,400 acres), and 171 national governments are participating.[1]

Site listings

Ramsar sites are recorded on the List of Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance.[2]

The non-profit organisation Wetlands International provides access to the Ramsar database via the Ramsar Sites Information Service.[3]

Ramsar site criteria

A wetland can be considered internationally important if any of the following nine criteria apply:[4]


The Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type is a wetland classification developed within the Ramsar Convention intended as a means for fast identification of the main types of wetlands for the purposes of the Convention.[5]

Marine/coastal wetlands

Inland wetlands

Human-made wetlands

See also


  1. ^ a b c Ramsar.org homepage. Accessed 03.10.2016.
  2. ^ Ramsar.org: Ramsar Sites List. Accessed 03.10.2016.
  3. ^ Ramsar.org: Ramsar Sites Information Service website, by Wetlands International. Accessed 03.10.2016.
  4. ^ "Ramsar Information Paper no. 5: the criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance" (PDF). The Ramsar Convention Secretariat. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type", Annex I of the Information sheet