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Ramsar convention

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty that provides the framework for national and international co-operation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

"The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat" was signed at Ramsar, Iran on 2 February 1971. The UK Government signed the Convention in 1973 and Parliament ratified it in 1976.

Contracting parties are required to designate suitable wetlands within their territories for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the ‘List’).

Areas should be selected for their ecology, botany, zoology, limnology (features ’ of lakes), and hydrology. At least one site had to be designated for the List at the time of ratification but Contracting Parties are able to subsequently add to the List. Contracting Parties may also extend the boundaries of a wetland already on the List. A Contracting Party also has the right because of "its urgent national interests" to delete or restrict the boundaries of Wetlands on the List. Where a Contracting Party deletes all or part of a Listed site, they should as far as possible compensate for the loss by way of alternative provision.

The criteria for the identification of wetlands of international importance was agreed at a meeting of Contracting Parties at Montreau in 1990.

There are currently 10 Ramsar sites in Wales. Further information on the Ramsar Convention is available from the Ramsar Bureau (external link).  For information on the 10 Ramsar sites in Wales visit: Joint Nature Conservancy Committee Website (external link).