Convention on Wetlands of International Importance signed in Ramsar

The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem. It was signed by the representatives of 18 nations in the Iranian town of Ramsar and entered into force in 1975. It established a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation of wetlands and their resources. Firstly, parties had to commit to the “wise use” of all their wetlands. Secondly, parties had to designate suitable wetlands for the List of Wetlands of International Importance or “Ramsar List,” which now contains over 2000 sites and is approaching 200 million hectares in total surface area. The third pillar provided for international cooperation on transboundary wetlands and associated issues relating to wetland systems, species, and development projects that may affect wetlands. The Convention provided the impulse for World Wetlands Day, which has taken place on 2nd of February each year since 1996. As of October 2011, 160 countries can be counted as contracting parties to the Ramsar Convention.