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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text


Summary of the "Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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U.N.T.S. No. 14583, vol. 996 (1976), p. 243.


             CONVENTION ON WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE
               ESPECIALLY AS WATERFOWL HABITAT (RAMSAR), 1971

The Contracting Parties,

RECOGNIZING the interdependence of man and his environment;

CONSIDERING the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands as regulators
of water regimes 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 far-sighted 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,
hereinafter 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
time, 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 its
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 its territory
and included in the List has changed, is changing or is likely to change as
the result of technological 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 shall 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 in 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 two-thirds 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;

 d)  to forward notification of any alterations to the List, or changes in
     character of wetlands included therein, to all 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 Director-General 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:I

 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 all Contracting Parties.




                        PROTOCOL OF AMENDMENT

A Protocol to amend the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
Especially as Waterfowl Habitat was adopted in Paris on 3 December 1982.
The Protocol provides as follows:

The Contracting Parties,

CONSIDERING that for the effectiveness of the Convention on Wetlands of
International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, done at Ramsar on
2 February 1971 (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention"), it is
indispensable to increase the number of Contracting Parties;

AWARE that the addition of authentic language versions would facilitate
wider participation in the Convention;

CONSIDERING furthermore that the text of the Convention does not provide
for an amendment procedure, which makes it difficult to amend the text as
may be considered necessary;

HAVE AGREED as follows:

Article 1

The following Article shall be added between Article 10 and Article 11 of
the Convention:

"Article 10 Bis"

1. This Convention may be amended at a meeting of the Contracting Parties
convened for that purpose in accordance with this Article.

2. Proposals for amendment may be made by any Contracting Party.

3. The text of any proposed amendment and the reasons for it shall be
communicated to the organization or government performing the continuing
bureau duties under the Convention (hereinafter referred to as "the
Bureau") and shall promptly be communicated by the Bureau to all
Contracting Parties. Any comments on the text by the Contracting Parties
shall be communicated to the Bureau within three months of the date on
which amendments were communicated to the Contracting Parties by the
Bureau. The Bureau shall, immediately after the last day for submission of
comments, communicate to the Contracting Parties all comments submitted by
that day.

4. A meeting of Contacting Parties to consider an amendment communicated in
accordance with paragraph 3 shall be convened by the Bureau upon the
written request of one third of the Contracting Parties. The Bureau shall
consult the Parties concerning the time and venue of the meeting.

5. Amendments shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the Contracting
Parties present and voting.

6. An amendment adopted shall enter into force for the Contracting Parties
which have accepted it on the first day of the fourth month following the
date on which two-thirds of the Contracting Parties have deposited an
instrument of acceptance with the Depository. For each Contracting Party
which deposits an instrument of acceptance after the date on which
two-thirds of the Contracting Parties have deposited an instrument of
acceptance, the amendment shall enter into force on the first day of the
fourth month following the date of the deposit of its instrument of
acceptance.

Article 2

In the testimonium following Article 12 of the Convention, the words "in
any case of divergency the English text prevailing" shall be deleted and
replaced by the words "all texts being equally authentic".

Article 3.

The revised text of the original French version of the Convention is
reproduced in the Annex to this Protocol.

Article 4

This Protocol shall be open for signature at UNESCO headquarters in Paris
from 3 December 1982.

Article 5

1. Any State referred to in Article 9, paragraph 2, of the Convention may
become a Contracting Party to this Protocol by:

 a)  signature without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or
     approval;

 b)  signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, followed
     by ratification, acceptance or approval;

 c)  accession.

2. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the
deposit of an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession
with the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (hereinafter referred to as "the Depository").

3. Any State which becomes a Contracting Party to the Convention after the
entry into force of this Protocol shall, failing an expression of a
different intention at the time of signature or of the deposit of the
instrument referred to in Article 9 of the Convention, be considered as a
Party to the Convention as amended by this Protocol.

4. Any State which becomes a Contracting Party to this Protocol without
being a Contracting Party to the Convention, shall be considered as a Party
to the Convention as amended by this Protocol as of the date of entry into
force of this Protocol for that State.

Article 6

1. This Protocol shall enter into force the first day of the fourth month
following the date on which two-thirds of the States which are Contracting
Parties to the Convention on the date on which this Protocol is opened for
signature have signed it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance
or approval, or have ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to it.

2. With regard to any State which becomes a Contracting Party to this
Protocol in the manner described in paragraph 1 and 2 of Article 5 above,
after the date of its entry into force, this Protocol shall enter into
force on the date of its signature without reservation as to ratification,
acceptance or approval, or of its ratification, acceptance, approval or
accession.

3. With regard to any State which becomes a Contracting Party to this
Protocol in the manner described in paragraph 1 and 2 of Article 5 above,
during the period between the date on which this Protocol is opened for
signature and its entry into force, this Protocol shall enter into force on
the date determined in paragraph 1 above.

Article 7

1. The original of this Protocol, in the English and French languages, each
version being equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Depository.
The Depository shall transmit certified copies of each of these versions to
all States that have signed this Protocol or deposited instruments of
accession to it.

2. The Depository shall inform all Contracting Parties of the Convention
and all States that have signed and acceded to this Protocol as soon as
possible of:

 a)  signatures to this Protocol;

 b)  deposits of instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval of
     this Protocol;

 c)  deposits of instruments of accession to this Protocol;

 d)  the date of entry into force of this Protocol.

3. When this Protocol 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 Protocol.

DONE at Paris on 3 December 1982.