40 Years of Wetland Conservation
All the numbers
40The Convention on Wetlands is 40 years old in 2011.
160From Albania to Zambia, the number of Contracting Parties is now 160.
1918The total number of sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance is 1918.*
187,044,576The total surface area of designated sites covers 187,044,576 hectares.*
*Figures updated 28 February 2011
The Ramsar Mission
How does Ramsar designation protect wetlands?
Ramsar's member countries are committed to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance. Thus, once these sites are listed and their size is recorded, they should be protected from development, pollution and drainage.
Through its list of Wetlands of International Importance, Ramsar aims to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life.
The oldestOn 8 May 1974, Australia's Coburg Peninsula became the first area to be added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
Covering over 220,000 hectares in the Northern Territory, it contains extensive tidal flats, estuaries, mangroves, riverine wetlands and Melaleuca (paperbark) swamps, dominated by eucalyptus forest.
The newestThe most recent additions to the Ramsar List are Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laguna Cabral o Rincon in the Dominican Republic, the Complejo Jaltepque in El Salvador and the Ba Be National Park in Vietnam which were all added on 2 February 2011.
Around 75% of new sites included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance since 1999 are the result of WWF’s work at different levels.
Working with the Ramsar Convention, national governments, international river basin organizations and other institutions, WWF's efforts to work to protect these vital wetlands includes:
- Supporting implementation of international agreements and treaties on biodiversity and wetlands.
- Promoting payments for environmental services (PES) for financing freshwater ecosystem services.
- Assessing and increasing the representativeness of freshwater habitats in protected area networks.
- Establishing freshwater conservation networks.
- Restoring critical freshwater habitats.
How you can help
- Help save water! Using water efficiently at home, at work and at school helps protect freshwater resources.
- Take action online. Support WWF's campaigns by email or through online petitions.
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